Blog Post

The Changed Role of Teachers in an Online Learning Environment

There are so many challenges and rewards of being a teacher and the best ones always put in lengthy hours after school and over weekends. Discipline problems are huge challenges for teachers in the 21st century and now they face a new challenge – teaching in an online learning environment.  

Learning new online tools

Many colleges are still closed worldwide, and teachers and children have had to adapt to the online world. Because research suggests that this online learning shows increased retention of information. This way of learning might be here to stay and teachers have had to get to know terms such as video conferencing tools, online learning software, language apps, and virtual tutoring.

Look at Wuhan in China, the government has instructed millions of full-time students to resume their studies through online platforms. Moving online has given teachers a different perspective on teaching and to take different roles. 

A teacher can’t just upload lectures – the medium of delivery online is different. It requires the teacher to conceptualize an online course and redesign it for the online world. 

Knowledge of technological maintenance

The traditional teacher is challenged to adopt or even develop new courses to achieve online learning objectives. Technology is an inherent part of online learning and the traditional teacher will now need to be tech-savvy. The teacher has to know how to choose tools that are used for learning and that they themselves can use with ease. The teacher also has to know about the ongoing technological maintenance required for an online course. 

There are lots of tools and links that need constant monitoring to ensure they function property for students and don’t cause frustration. 

Interaction must be established

When teaching a traditional on-campus course, there are always times for social interactions and a class culture is established. For an online course, the online teacher has to be a bit more creative.

They have to establish a means of interaction among all the students. This means finding out about how to use emails, chat rooms or other communication means. The online teacher must establish a solid presence online so that students feel engaged and not isolated from the online courses. The online educator must manage all correspondence and create and organize all written resources and respond to all inquiries. 

Online teaching offers an amazing variety

Teachers moving online don’t have to be boring. In fact, moving online has resulted in teachers being able to access lots of additional resources. Virtual lessons have provided teachers with new, exciting opportunities for course planning. Teachers have been forced to update their tech skills and have learned how Zoom, for instance, can bring other experts into their virtual classroom. 

One drawback, however, is that in a classroom, a skilled teacher can pick up if a pupil is disengaged, but online it can be more challenging. Nonetheless, college students should no longer be spoon-fed and online teachers provide students with the chance to become more self-motivated.

Self-paced online courses

Covid-19 has seen many students the world over taking more of their classes online. A massive percentage of colleges are holding some or all of their classes online. 

StraighterLine.com allows you to earn college credits at different colleges with their online, self-paced college courses. Find out more about StraighterLine business courses as the educational company offers many sought-after online higher education courses. They have lots of different courses in English, Maths, Sciences, and Business among others. 

After you sign up for courses, you then apply to a partner college, where you will transfer the course for credit. Their courses are recommended by The American Council on Education’s College credit recommendation service (ACE credit and it offers different price options.

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1 comment

Thank you so much for your blog post. I found the resources you provided to be compelling an I'm excited to take time to shift through them later. Although I don't teach on a college campus I hope that my perspective can be useful as both a graduate student who has acted as the learner in an online environment and as a high school teacher who has been the virtual instructor for AP programming students. 

Just looking back several years ago to my undergrad the average online course seemed to be entirely composed of asynchronous work and very little opportunity to interact with the instructor or other students. I recall my first professor who required we meet with project groups via Google Meets because she was convinced that video conference calls would be a future industry standard and I doubt any of us could have predicted how true this would turn out to be. As a new grad student my courses consist of virtual meetings, online discussion forms, and shared documents and are a far cry from the read a chapter submit an assignment format I was so use to encountering in my undergrad online courses. 

Through the course of the entire pandemic I have been employed as a high school teacher, typically for CTE subjects such as programming and graphic design. I am fortunate enough to have skills in programming, graphics, web development, and UX design. But I can state that without a doubt the average teacher (or college professor) do not have the same advantage. There where numerous moments that I had to mentor my mentors in my teaching profession. While they shared with me their incite of classroom management and developing lesson plans, I was teaching them how to create a Canvas course that students could actually navigate and use properly. Even with my undergraduate degree being primarily in arts and technology I still struggled as an educator. I can't even begin to number the times my students found a broken link or an unshared document that had slipped my mind between the time I spend being a teacher, a student, and a person. 

My district I work for has always put an extreme focus on social and emotional wellbeing for students. In a time that we as people have become increasingly isolated because of the ever changing conditions of COVID-19 it has never been more important to foster connections in classrooms. At the same time I feel like it has never been so difficult to make connections such as student to student or student to instructor. I believe this goes beyond the occasional email or discussion thread. As an instructor it is my duty to provide meaningful opportunity for interactions and as a student it is my challenge to navigate the new standard for social interactions. Participating in a virtual meeting via Zoom is an entirely separate skill set than discussing the same topic in person. 

I do agree that the online platform is here to stay in some manner and as a technology teacher and student I'm happy to continue incorporating it into my future. However I want to end my response by bringing up some concerning limitations to the online classroom. Our virtual learning is only as good as what our educators and educatees have access too. Sometimes this manifests as the limited resources that are deemed useable and accessible by a school district or university. The online classroom isn't just a free-for-all when we have to consider security risks to a network. Beyond this institutions have to do a better job at addressing the access issues in relation to the digital divide. At the start of the pandemic I worked in one of the most economically disadvantaged schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and now I teach in a district I could never afford to live in. I've seen first hand entire neighborhoods denied internet coverage by large corporations. With over 75,000 families still lack reliable internet coverage in the Dallas area alone I believe that online learning has a long way to go in order to be an effective platform for educating students. 

I really enjoyed this article because I think it brought up some interesting ways on how the role of the teacher has shifted in just little over a year. I am curious to see how institutions such as universities and school districts will continue to incorporate the online learning platform as time progresses. Not only in how the role of teacher could potentially change to incorporate new technology but also how institutions address access issues for all parties involved. 

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