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by Janice Florent

image of an apple with teaching online written on it

Faculty readiness to teach online and student readiness to take online courses are key to success in online education. In a Campus Technology article, Paul Beaudoin writes,

Teaching in the blended or online learning environment is not a direct transfer of the traditional face-to-face class. The challenges of online learning often require a different set of skills that may not come easily to brick-and-mortar instructors.

Paul suggests six things instructors can do to be better online teachers. They are:

  1. Maximize your digital savvy
  2. Be an active and engaged participant
  3. Reinvent your wheel
  4. Include your learners in the learning process
  5. Reassess assessment
  6. Realize it's okay to fail

To find out more about his suggestions for being a better online teacher, read Paul's article "6 Ways to Be a Better Online Teacher."

I had planned to submit my blog post while at the conference but I was so busy learning and networking that I'm back in the office now.  So here's a quick summary of my experiences.  The Quality Matters organization is comprised of many dedicated professionals and the member institutions are equally concerned with developing and teaching quality online or hybrid courses (QM uses "blended"; we at Xavier use "hybrid") in order to have positive student outcomes. They're also big on "takeaways" so I have literally hundreds of resources now, and will be posting several key ones to CAT's Online Faculty Resource Center (debuting soon). For your information, here are a number of the actual presentations that were posted as well.

My takeaways from the conference are

  1. we can offer workshops for faculty on actually teaching online, which is entirely separate from developing the course
  2. we need to do more to make our courses accessible from the beginning rather than create accommodations after the fact (I also learned that numbers are better than bullets for screen readers so I'll be using numbers from now on)
  3. we don't need to reinvent the wheel--we can partner with other institutions to offer more for our students
  4. size does matter, especially in online language courses
  5. faculty preparation and skills are necessary components for SACS approval of online and hybrid courses/programs

and I could continue, but I think having begun and ended with faculty concerns really shows how important they are to student success and therefore why CAT is dedicated to assisting our faculty in developing and teaching online and hybrid courses for our students at Xavier.