As classroom teachers we can see when students are successful or not. We can see if students are engaged in a lesson and are learning by completing their work or working with others in the class. As teachers we do many things to assist our students and set them up for success. We plan, grade, give feedback, help and give additional practice time if needed.
In planning for an online course, teachers can do many of these same things to help support students to do better in the course. Most people who are taking online courses are between the ages of 25 and 50 (Moore, et al). These students are typically taking the course to “upgrade the skills and knowledge needed in employment.”
Moore, et. al stated that a few things helped online learners to be successful:
There’s much research that shows the importance of social presence in online learning. Richardson and Swan stated, “Research has demonstrated that social presence not only affects outcomes but also student, and possibly instructor, satisfaction with a course” (2003). They said that teacher immediacy and the presence of others were especially important in delivering an online class. In another study by Gunawardena and Frank, they stated that, “… designing academic computer conferences where equal attention must be paid to designing techniques that enhance social presence” (2009).
When I was a mentee learning from my mentor at the Anchorage School District she gave me a book, “101 Answers for New Teachers and Their Mentors: Effective Teaching Tips for Daily Classroom Use.” I used that as a guide for my teaching for many years and shared it with my superintendent who purchased it for all the teachers in my single-site district. Breaux points out many things that most of us might find common sense, but are really helpful to review. She says to get off to a positive start and reminds us that “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” She also says that the teachers should:
Breaux is definitely an optimist. She closes (and I’ll close) by saying, “…one person really can make a difference-and every one of you reading this is that person.”
Breaux, A. (2003). 101 Answers for New Teachers and Their Mentors: Effective Teaching Tips for Daily Classroom Use. Eye on Education Inc. Larchmont, NY
Gunawardena, C & Zitytle, F. (2009). Social Social presence as a predictor of satisfaction within a computer‐mediated conferencing environment. American Journal of Distance Education. Retrieved from: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08923649709526970
Moore, Michael G.; Kearsley, Greg (2011-04-22). Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning (What’s New in Education) (Page 151). Cengage Textbook. Kindle Edition.
Richardson, J & Swan, K. (2003). Examining Social Presence in Online Courses in Relation to Students’ Perceived Learning and Satisfaction. Illinois Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship. Retrieved from: https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/18713