What is the significance of knowing the technology available to you?
“The primary tool that you will need to become familiar with is the course management system (CMS) that your institution uses” (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010, p. 57). As an instructor, understanding the course management system is a must because it is used to provide structure in the online learning environment.
Online learners range in ages and also in their experience with technology, therefore the instructor needs to have a good idea of the different web applications and software that will support their learning.
Why is it essential to communicate clear expectations to learners?
Students in online learning environments must be self-motivated and self-directed. Unlike in the traditional classroom setting where the instructors are able to clearly communicate and support all of the students, online learners must be able to comprehend and complete assignments and post discussions without being reminded. Rubrics should be clearly established and posted so that each student understands how and when to post to assignments and also how the assignments will be graded.
What additional considerations should the instructor take into account when setting up an online learning experience?
Boettcher & Conrad discuss the importance of establishing an online presence of the instructor as well as building an effective learning community (2010). Although online learners are self-motivated and self-directed, they also need the support of the instructor, especially in the first few weeks of the course. Instructors should be there to guide the discussions and to take the discussions to a deeper level. Students that don’t feel the presence of the instructor and don’t feel supported, could potentially drop out.
Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.