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Getting Started

Think about the last time you attended a great lecture. The topic was fascinating. The speaker was an expert. When question time came, you thought of a particularly salient point and sat on the edge of your seat hoping someone else would raise it. photo of conference participant asking a questionOr maybe you were brave enough to take the microphone. But then when you sat down you thought of a related idea or question you couldn’t ask without monopolizing the conversation.

Online and in the Conversation

Online interaction is the perfect answer to that discomfort. Teachers have found that students who normally will not speak up in class can be voluble online. And by designing an online course properly, those online, written conversations can take on a depth that face-to-face discussions develop only in the most ideal conditions.

You may miss something—a raised eyebrow, a wrinkled forehead, a gasp—that lets you know someone is confused or skeptical. But there are ways to compensate for many of the cues you miss when you are communicating online. And the rewards may surprise you.

They Will Come

Why is there such an interest in online learning? For both students and teachers, it presents an element of convenience. Even weekly or biweekly deadlines are less confining than the strictures of time and place imposed by a classroom. By offering “flexible course delivery options,” institutions of higher education can reach students who, because of time, distance, or physical restrictions, simply could not attend the class in a traditional setting.

A secondary gain of online learning is that it opens the tools of the Internet to the broader use students will likely need after graduation. The level of technology available and expected in everyday life is constantly increasing. Online learning helps students reach the comfort level with technology that will give them an advantage in the work world.

As you delve into the the field of online instruction, I hope you’ll find this site to be a usefule resource. In it you will find information about standards, some interesting teaching tools, some great resource websites, existing communities of online teachers you can join, and even a place to go when you hear some esoteric word or acronym.

When you are faced with challenges and questions that require more than a website can give, . Perhaps I can help. Cheers!