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Teaching Online

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One of the most common challenges to teaching online is the use of appropriate technology. Appropriate technology is technology that doesn't get in the way when teaching online. Imagine you walk into the classroom, you have prepared the lesson, and have the materials ready. Students are most likely prepared as well. Teaching online requires the same sort of planning skills. However, teaching online also includes technological planning skills. Here are some of the most important questions to ask yourself when teaching online.

  • Which technological tools should I use when teaching online?
  • Will there be any bottlenecks that might impede sessions when teaching online?
  • Are the students technologically capable to profit from the sessions?
  • How do I present materials when teaching online?
  • How do I make sure that the use of technology doesn't become the focus of lessons when teaching online?

Which technological tools should I use when teaching online?

This question is of utmost importance. It's essential to know your software inside and out before you begin teaching online. Students will look to you for guidance if there are any issues. Therefore you need to provide technological support while teaching online. There are many wonderful tools for teaching online, take the time to read blogs that make recommendations. The more you know about your tool set, the more productive teaching online will be for your students.

Will there be any bottlenecks that might impede sessions when teaching online?

This question is often ignored. A bottleneck is any kind of technological impediment to teaching online. This can include bandwidth problems - especially if you are using video. Make sure that your connection speed, and, more importantly, your upload rate is fast enough to handle the data stream when teaching online. Another type of bottleneck can relate to the speed of students' computers. If students are using an older version of software you have chosen to employ, the documents you send for homework may not be compatible. It's best to have a checklist of technological requirements posted on your website or profile to ensure students can handle the technology you choose to use when teaching online.

Are the students technologically capable to profit from the sessions?

This relates to the statement before about providing technological support when teaching online. You want to make sure that students won't be worrying about how to use their computers, software, etc. during online sessions. Help prepare students for your sessions before you begin teaching online. You can do this by providing an instructional video that goes through a typical session.

How do I present materials when teaching online?

There are many types of software that allow you to present materials when teaching online. However, if there are bottlenecks, or other technological limitations, you might want to choose a more simple solution. As always when teaching online, let the technological realities set the tone. If there are problems, it might be best to use Skype and send simple text documents to the students. In a worst case scenario, you can cut and paste text selections into the chat window when teaching online.

How do I make sure that the use of technology doesn't become the focus of lessons when teaching online?

With all this talk of the use of technology when teaching online, it's easy to imagine that lessons might devolve into sessions on how to use software. The quickest way to ensure that teaching online is successful is to allow that to not happen. If you carefully consider all of the above points, you'll find that you can stick to your English learning agenda when teaching online.

Teaching Online - Business Savvy Required

Finally, one of the most important elements to success when teaching online is to be an entrepreneur. Teaching online usually means finding your own students, promoting yourself and making sure word gets out about your abilities. Teaching online means creating your own opportunities. It certainly doesn't mean that you'll have steady hours and a regular schedule. I recently visited Edufire, one of the most active online tutoring communities. There were more than 1,500 English tutors signed up and ready to start teaching online.

To stand out from the crowd when teaching online, you'll need all the tools at your disposal. That means you'll need linguistic tools, teaching skills, technological savvy and business acumen to be successful when teaching online.

Opportunities

If you are interested in opportunities for teaching online, this article on online teaching provides a starting point for building out your online teaching experience.

If you have any experience teaching online, please share your impressions with visitors by clicking on the 'Readers Responses' link below.

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