Teaching Online Requires Specialized Skills, Knowledge, and Equipment

Teaching online is vastly different than teaching in a physical classroom. The most significant difference is the difficulty students may have communicating with the educator.

Educators must develop the ability to...

  • engage everyone in the subject matter of the course
  • recognize areas of weakness in all pupils
  • assist struggle students in those specific areas
  • encourage the student to develop the self-confidence to overcome fear of failure
  • motivate the pupil when he or she lacks drive

To be a successful as an online educator, the instructor must possess finely tuned skills in developing:

  • trust that a virtual environment can foster the development of skill and understanding
  • respect for the qualifications of the instructor
  • an ability to motivate diverse personalities
  • mastery of appropriate approaches for diverse students

These skills and abilities are essential for an online teacher. An applicant for an online teaching position may require interviewing skills particular to the online environment, not simply the requisite education and experience. Equipment also will need to be verified, to ensure that the instructor can deliver the services without significant technical delays. One application required the applicant to check speeds for both Internet upload and download on www.bandwidthplace.com. That information was added to the application.

Some employers require phone links, requiring a voice sample from www.vocaroo.com. The applicant must record his or her individual sample as a part of the interview process. For these recording samples, a high value is placed on an enthusiastic voice.

There is written information to prepare the hopeful candidate for an online teaching position. A free handbook titled the Online Handbook for the University of Colorado Denver can be obtained by contacting the university directly.

Those who have used the book and taught both online and traditional courses claim the book is able to teach you how to teach online.

The handbook is broken down into four sections:

  1. Trends and issues with online learning
  2. Examples of technology in action
  3. A brief overview of twenty-five emerging e-Learning tools that you can use in your own teaching
  4. Additional resources for the online teacher

The text explains an extensive number of topics: instructional design, multimedia, Web 2.0 tools, social networking, blogs, social media, and collaborative work online. There is a significant array of material related to effectively using online discussion. Teachers who are willing to invest the time can win a job teaching online.

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