Teaching in a classroom requires a passion for education, dedication to your students and creativity and teaching online classes is no different. It takes a great teacher to successfully translate his or her teaching abilities to an online forum. A great teacher exudes confidence and energy in the classroom, and to be an effective online teacher, you must maintain that same aura.
It is this transition that Karen Kipp, Online Teacher of the Year in 2011, says is the most challenging aspect of teaching online classes. Karen, who teaches for the 21st Century Virtual Academy in Jefferson County, Colorado, says teaching online is not easier, despite what people might think. It’s all about learning what works and what doesn’t — how to best apply your skills to an online setting and communicate with your students in the most effective way.
How do I teach online?
If you want to teach at the high school level in a district that is incorporating online education, then the requirements are the same as becoming certified to teach in that state. If you are looking to teach online in higher education, then the individual institution will set the requirements. Teachers of online classes are generally trained in the technology they will be using, and most becoming familiar with communicating primarily via video calls and email.
Teaching online classes requires most of the same preparation as teaching in a brick-and-mortar classroom. You design the curriculum, you select course materials and you craft lesson plans. The elements that are essential to teaching a class are all there — what changes is the venue.
Recent advances in technology help create an immersive experience that aims to not just recreate the in-class experience, but to enhance it. You may be teaching online classes through live video sessions in which your students are able to interact with you and with each other. If a student needs additional help or if you need to meet with them alone, you can schedule an individual video call. All assignments and course materials are digitized, and there are often social networking components to the program that promote communication between students, much like 2SC. These dynamic features of the online classroom help ensure that no student is ever lacking in any aspect of the educational experience.
Why teach online?
Advances in technology have revolutionized the world of online education. Schools now have the ability to offer high-quality programs that can actually improve upon traditional brick-and-mortar schools. Top-ranked educational institutions recognize the potential for diversifying the programs they offer and expanding their network of students. Gone are the days when online education was stigmatized, and many schools have joined the movement to provide quality online education.
Teaching online classes will allow you to take part in a movement that is changing the face of education. As more schools develop online programs, they will need teachers who are not only great at what they do, but who are familiar with the new technologies needed to really push education in to the 21st century. If the technology and resources are there to ensure that you continue to be the best teacher you can be, there is no reason not to consider teaching online classes.