Tips for Preparing to Teach an Online Class

Online classes have become so popular over the past decade that many students have earned their entire degree without setting foot inside of a classroom.  Teaching online classes poses new challenges for educators, even for those who are experts in their fields.  Your transition into online teaching can be simplified by following the tips below.

Communication is Crucial

In an online environment, students and educators lack the face-to-face interaction typical of a traditional classroom setting.   In order to form a good rapport with students, online teachers must create an atmosphere where their students feel comfortable interacting with each other and the class facilitators.  Set up a time where students can get in touch with you, similar to office hours, where you will answer their questions through email, forums, or instant messages. 

Content is King

As an online teacher, your credibility relies solely upon the virtual communications you have with your students in the form of responses, lecture notes, and assessments.  Simply taking the materials you use in a traditional classroom and posting them online may not be enough.  Check your materials for errors and typos, and make sure the files are labeled properly with descriptive titles. 

Be As Technologically Savvy as Your Students

Do you know if your current software allows you to open documents created in the newest version of Microsoft Office?  Or on a Mac?  These are simple questions you can ask to make your life, and the lives of your students, much easier.  Ask the technical support department at your school about all of the services they offer that could help innovate your classroom.  Be sure that you understand your online classroom’s tools before you share any information with your students.

Becoming an online teacher can be a challenge for both beginning and experienced educators.  With a little extra preparation, your transition into online teaching can greatly increase the satisfaction of your students and simplify your job.

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