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Teaching Online


At the risk of sounding fairly absurd - teaching online is very much like, and very much unlike, classroom teaching. Let me explain. Many of the tasks and functions performed by an instructor online are much like classroom functions. For example, regardless of medium, learning is still the goal...and learning happens through communication. Communication happens on several fronts - student to student, student to teacher, student with content, and student with the interface of technology. The critical aspects of learning (brain-compatible classroom, learning styles, multiple intelligence, etc.) don't vary from online or classroom.

If the process or core activities don't change from classroom to online, what does? The biggest change is the role and function of both the teacher and the student. The teacher needs to shift perspective from the "provider of knowledge", to a "facilitator of knowledge". The student needs a similar shift - from passive learner to active learner. This is a very rough overview - but it captures the heart of the transition needed to succeed online. The real challenge, as always, lies in the details of making it happen.

Teaching online involves acquiring a new set of beliefs about what it means to be a teacher. The teacher's role online is to guide, direct, and equip students with the skills and abilities to provide for their own educational needs in the future.


"This essay, then, describes some of the most cost-effective and appropriate ways to use computers, video, and telecommunications technologies to advance the Seven Principles."

50 Ways to Leave Your Classroom
Neat resource (PowerPoint format) offering practical ways to "move online"

Low Threshold Applications and Activities
"A Low Threshold Application (LTA) is a teaching/learning application of information technology that is reliable, accessible, easy to learn, non-intimidating and (incrementally) inexpensive."
Excellent resource site for instructors new to technology and teaching.

Electronic Class Discussion
"This handbook provides advice for instructors on one particular use of instructional technology-the use of electronic communication to extend class discussion beyond the time and place of class meetings."

Conceptual Model - Teaching & Learning
Provides a broad overview of educational intentions, learning styles, logistics, pedagogical issues, and facilitation.

Effectively Using Electronic Conferencing
"These suggestions are meant to stimulate your thinking about using electronic conferencing in your course; you don't necessarily have to follow every suggestion in order to be successful."

E-moderating Homepage
Good resource page by Gilly Salmon. "5 Step Model" nicely sums up stages of learner progression in learning online.

Facilitation Interaction Online
"This paper contains background material for the discussions. First we will give a brief introduction to computer conferencing, somewhat generically and look at both the advantages and the disadvantages of the various "flavors" of computer conferencing. You have to know your tools before you can use them. We will then look at interaction in online learning environments, the changing roles of teachers and students and the role of the online conference tutor/moderator/facilitator."

Facilitating Online Organizational Learning
"This paper describes some different interpretations of a learning organisation and considers this as a background for the online introduction of learning technology into UK universities"

Dr. Gilly Salmon Resources
Several presentations and papers by Dr. Salmon are available...excellent information.

Succeeding as an Online Facilitator
"What does it take to succeed as an online facilitator? What skills, knowledge and competencies do classroom instructors need for teaching online?"

Online & Offline Facilitation
By Nancy White of Full Circle...She also facilitates an informative group on Yahoo. Subscription is available on this page.

Online Guide
"This resource is designed to offer novice and experienced instructors who are teaching courses electronically, through computer-conferencing (CC), constructive ideas about planning,developing, implementing, and evaluating their online courses. Many of the principles in this guide also apply to traditional teaching/learning situations and other technological media." Also see the Instructor/Facilitator page.

Node Guide to Online Discussions
Lists resources for instructors who are using online discussions for the first time. Cost: $25 CAD


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