Wednesday, September 09, 2009

How do I learn to teach online?

For some teachers, there are misconceptions about the process of teaching online. Some think teaching an online course is exactly the same as teaching in the classroom. Well, as a practitioner of both types of teaching I can attest that they are significantly different processes. So if you have never had the opportunity to be a student in an online course or have never had a mentor who can teach how to teach online then where do you gain the knowledge and skills?

There are few different answers to this question. You could go to school to learn this material. That’s what I did. However, if you don’t have the time to invest in that route, luckily there are many resources your can read that will help you develop and improve your skills. Today I came across one particularly good one. It is the Online Handbook for the University of Colorado Denver and it is available freely online.

It has four major sections: 1) trends and issues in online learning, 2) examples technology in action in online courses, 3) a brief overview of 25 emerging e-Learning tools that you can use in your teaching, and 4) additional resources for the online teacher.

This document is fantastic. It covers a wide breadth of topics from instructional design, multimedia, Web 2.0 tools, social networking, blogs, twitter, collaborative work online and has a significant amount of material on how to effectively use online discussion in your course.

If you are new or experienced in teaching online, this will be valuable reading. There is something in here for everyone.


Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Eric, thanks for the link to the eLearning resource - it will come in handy as I am currently designing a set of guidelines for educators who are moving from F2F to online teaching.

I had a great laugh when I found my photo on this post...fame at last! But I wonder if you could do me a favour...if you got my photo from my blog or Flickr account, please could you attribute it as all my images are under a CC license.

cheers Sarah

Eric said...


Wow! Fantastic coincidence that I chose your picture off of FlikrCC. You're famous now! I have the attribution on the mouse-over of the photo. Can you see it when you mouse-over? If not, I will place another credit line at the end of the post. Let me know.

Thanks for the comment Sarah.


Sarah Stewart said...

Truth be told, one of your readers gave me a heads-up...the coincidence is that you have just posted about a resource that I can use thanks for that :)

Living Careers said...

Thanks for the information on eLearning as I am looking to enhance my teaching and private work to the online realm as well.
This is going to be useful.

Danielle Gruen of Living Careers

Nancy Weitz said...

Another suggestion: one of the best things you can do to learn about teaching online is to take an online course yourself. Invaluable experience for understanding the student's perspective of what works and what doesn't.

Sarah Stewart said...

I totally agree, Archidictus. Otago Polytechnic run a few open online courses that are free to join:

and of course there's the Siemens/Downes connectivism course that's just started:

xclmedia said...

Thanks for the information on eLearning as I am looking to enhance my teaching and private work to the online realm as well.