Worked with students in small groups of 4-5 to help develop their basic reading, understanding, and writing skills. Helped individual students prepare for exams. Filled out evaluations and reports to chart students`progress. Teaching online is a lot of work.
I`m sometimes asked if I feel it takes more or less time to teach online, compared to teaching in the classroom.
Quite honestly, I don`t feel I can answer that question. Online teaching does seem to take more time, but I`ve never systematically compared it to a classroom-based course.
Up front, it takes a great deal of time to put curricular materials together for an online class. I`ve spent as much as several weeks reshaping my classroom materials to work for online students. In some cases, activities that I have used effortlessly in the classroom couldn`t be adapted at all for online use, such as hands-on activities so instead, I created new but comparable activities.
I also sunk a lot of time into learning the classroom management system, which at the start of my online teaching was WebCT. How were we tutors going to use assessments with this system, or incorporate discussion? How was I going to grade my students, and how was I going to motivate them to participate in a discussion? Countless decisions had to made at the onset about just how the online course would be structured, operated, and maintained.
Although a lot of effort goes into planning the course and its website, there`s also the matter of the daily and weekly workload. In an online course, students will not necessarily be completing assignments at similar times each week. Instructors must communicate with students on their schedules, which means checking email on a regular basis and keeping up with student discussions that take place on virtual message boards.
Another issue with communication that new online instructors might overlook is that questions that can be answered verbally in the classroom require a written explanation in the online course, and sometimes, it takes more time to write out a sensible explanation than to say it.
If classes are conducted on a regular basis, the tutor needs to be able to grade things quickly and efficiently to ensure that students receive timely feedback, and grading papers and other assignments electronically might take some time for the instructor to get used to. I try to respond to students` questions and concerns as quickly as I can. I use discussion in my courses, and with around 4-5 students per session, I need to be online daily so the workload does not become too overwhelming.
In some ways, I think the workload for an online course is similar to that of a face-to-face environment—but it seems like more work because it`s not as concentrated. For example, in a classroom, a tutor may do the bulk of his work for the week while he is meeting with students, and if all students are together in one place, announcements can be made and questions can be answered for the entire class. In other words, a great deal of teaching can be done in one sitting. An activity (or several activities) can be completed during a single class period, and any issues related to that activity will be discussed in real time with the entire class. Then everybody moves onto the next thing simultaneously.
In the online setting, though, the workload is distributed. Students will likely be working at different times during the week, and their questions will trickle in accordingly. Plus, an activity that might take 20 minutes to complete in a classroom setting might take a few days to discuss online, especially if students are not able to be online together at the same time.
2. Students appreciate regular communication and timely feedback on their progress.
I teach statistics, so students often come to my courses feeling anxious about the subject matter. Students may also feel anxious at the thought of taking an online course, and it should be part of the tutor`s job, as much as possible, to put students at ease right from the beginning.
I want them to know I`m there if they need help. I want them to know they will receive quick responses to any questions or concerns they have. I strive to create a supportive online community where students can be free to take risks in a discussion, attempting to explain their understanding of challenging concepts and ideas. For this reason, it`s crucial that the instructor has a presence online.
I try to let students know that I`m online often and that I want to hear from them if they have questions or concerns. To set the tone, each subject starts with me asking the students to introduce themselves, and I always begin by posting my own intro.
It is with great excitement that I look ahead to being a tutor, given the experiences that I have had with teaching over the past six years. I have been fortunate enough to be a teaching fellow students in a number of courses beginning when I was a BTEC Diploma student in Business Studies at The Liverpool City of College and continuing during my time at Liverpool John Moores University as an undergraduate student. In each of these courses, the lecturer offered me a great deal of autonomy to give a guest lecture and/or lead sections in addition to holding office hours, constructing exams, and grading papers.
I have also had the opportunity to be a co-instructor in three courses: Business Management, Business Studies and Business Law. Each course presented a wonderful opportunity to learn and to grow as a tutor. Summaries of student evaluations of my instruction follow.
I co-taught business & society, managing people in organisations with another graduate student through Summer Program.
Among our students were international students, home students and minority undergraduates, undergraduates from other universities, and advanced high school students. We designed the entire course and lectured, led discussions, and conducted demonstrations in every class. I learned a great deal about tailoring the pace and content of the material to the expertise and interests of the students, which was an exciting challenge given the diversity of the class.
The Multivariate business class that I co-taught was geared toward graduate students with one or two talented undergraduates
among the ranks. I worked closely with the professor but gave a series of lectures over the course of the semester using many of my own materials. In this class, I learned how to make statistics fun, by appealing to the utility of the topic (for research and for better arguing
a point in the real world) as well as by attempting to use compelling examples in each lecture.
Finally, I co-taught introduction to management & finance on-line for The City of Liverpool College. This was an amazing experience, in that I had never before had the opportunity to use the World Wide The Web as a classroom. The experience presented its own challenges (e.g., Can enthusiasm for a subject be adequately communicated over cyberspace?) and its own strengths (e.g., having students from across the country and the globe, of all ages and backgrounds, participate in
the class). Intimately linking technological advances with classroom experiences is certain to become the norm, and I feel fortunate to have already gotten my feet wet in this teaching medium.
Another domain in which I have gained teaching experience over the past few years is as a clinical psychologist in training. I was given the unique opportunity to be voted as the overall best student in business studies of The Liverpool City of College and the first runner-up overall student in my final year as a college student.
In that role, as a graduate student in my final year not only assisted in the Assessment and Teaching Practice course for first-year graduate students, I also supervised these students in conducting their studies and writing essay reports and assignments.
One student described in the year-end evaluation that I was a very sensitive supervisor who always made her feel my input was important. Another described I can't think of anything in supervisory repertoire that could be improved. I think that he should keep doing what he is doing. In commenting on my written feedback on write-ups of a dissertation, business plan and other assessments, world of work interviews, he describes, Incredible! My previous supervisor was a journal editorgetting a report back from reminded me of working with him comments greatly improved the quality of my report, both in terms of content and writing style.
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