Friday, September 10, 2010

What Makes a Good Online Teacher?

Passion! Come to your online class with passion or be prepared for unresponsive, apathetic students. Passion in the Confer classroom radiates from your voice and the comments you make to encourage your class to participate and to make your class memorable.

Knowledge. It's logical that if you don't know what you're talking about, you can't teach it. And if you only know the "book learning" but can't express how to put your knowledge into practice, you're unlikely to satisfy today's students.

Accessibility. Every student deserves your individual attention. In the Confer classroom, there are plenty of tools for eliciting responses from your students, and you'll want to use them all to ensure that the unique personalities and talents of every student are respected and allowed expression.

Adaptability. It's nice when your preparation and organization are rewarded, but in the synchronous online classroom, instructors learn to expect the unexpected and adapt to them. Can you grin when your presentation doesn't load properly or students flood your chat area with questions or irrelevant comments? Can you change your plans when they stop working?

Magnificence. That's right: be magnificent. The best teachers convey a sense of elegance, grace, and bravura that mesmerizes students and makes them want to do their best. Using chat, impromptu polls, zany drawings, or engaging presentations - or simply exuding a personable style - they bring students into the experience of learning.

Fun. Enjoy yourself online. Smile, laugh at yourself, and allow students to make mistakes and laugh about them as well. Teaching is serious business, yes. But it's also fun. Break the ice and allow yourself to be human.

I'm sure there are more qualities you've seen in good online teachers. Tell me about them! Your comments are welcome.
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