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T
ips and strategies to help you become an effective online teacher include:

  • Provide prompt meaningful feedback to queries and assignments. However balance this promptness by setting reasonable limits. Don't try to be available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week (be fair to yourself).

  • Design for student to student interaction, you don't have to be in the middle of every 'conversation' or online conference. Let your students provide some expertise and expect that they will provide useful contributions. (On the other hand you need to be present to ensure that everyone is participating appropriately).

  • Be clear and upfront about your expectations, while still being flexible enough to meet the needs of your students. Remember many adults are taking distance courses so that they can juggle family, work and educational pursuits. [return to top]

  • Humanize your content by focusing on your learners not on the mode of delivery. While online courses rely on computers and various technologies for many aspects of communication and delivery, the technology should always support your learning goals and your students. [return to top]

  • Select realistic (authentic) examples that will be relevant to your learners. You may want to encourage your students (or groups of students) to suggest relevant examples or cases for the rest of the class to consider. Build upon student knowledge and experience. [return to top]

  • Encourage and insist upon participation by all students. Using a threaded discussion board is one means by which reluctant or shy students might feel comfortable contributing to online discussions. Start early with some sort of "ice-breaking"/getting used to the technology activity. This might, for example, take the form of brief biographical information posted to an introductory online conference or the design of individual web pages for posting to the course site. Make sure every student succeeds in this initial activity (you may need to email individual students to provide encouragement and assistance). [return to top]

  • If you are new to the technologies being employed, practice before you start your courses. Know who to contact if you or your students have trouble with the technologies. [return to top]

  • To ensure that course materials are accessible and to help troubleshoot as the course progresses, consider surveying your students before your course starts to get an idea of their technical ability and personal resources. This type of survey may also help you troubleshoot problems as they arise.

    Questions to ask might include:
    • type of computer (power PC, pentium, 486, etc.)
    • operating system and versions (Mac, Windows)
    • browser and version (e.g. Netscape 4.7)
    • monitor resolution (e.g. 800 x 600)
    • internet connection speed (e.g., 28.8, cable, etc.)
    • email package (e.g., Netscape, Outlook, etc.)
    • plug-in installation (if required for your course, e.g. RealPlayer, Adobe Acrobat)
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Follow the links below to see some practical examples of how you can use the Web to achieve the key elements and tips and strategies mentioned in this website.

After reading through our tips and strategies web pages on active learning, online communication, and feedback try our self assessment to see what you remember.

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Email graphicPlease send comments and suggestions regarding this website to:
Jennifer Stein steinjm@home.com.
Linda Steeves lsteeves@mail.sd74.bc.ca
Christine Smith-Mitsuhashi christine.smith-mitsuhashi@ubc.ca
Last updated April 14, 2001. ©
All Rights Reserved 2001