Thursday, May 19, 2011

Question of The Day: Online Teaching

By Shelly Blake-Plock

Starting in the Fall, I'll be teaching a year long high school Latin course entirely online. Would like to hear some advice and thoughts from teachers and students who have conducted classes on the web; what's been your takeaway? What are the pitfalls? What are the benefits? How did you make the learning happen?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. I have taught in a second language environment for most of my career. I can say when it comes to teaching any language it would be beneficial to set a reasonable class size, have administrative support; have ample curriculum materials (multimedia), allow students to respond in a variety of ways.
    Consider that many former students today when asked - what do you know of the target language - the response is often "I can read it" ; "I can understand some" but "I can't speak it".
    My advice, aim first and foremost at imparting communicative skills for real-life purposes.
    Good luck!

  2. Is it introductory Latin? If so, you know what drum I'll beat there. Operation LAPIS was designed from the start to exist in an online-only environment, but easily adapted for simultaneous face-to-face contact. I'd love to see you involved in some way, drop me a note on Twitter.

  3. What makes the biggest impact in online classes I believe is how you cultivate a classroom community. Some teachers do that with synchronous tools such as Elluminate, others do that by having students get to know one another asynchronously. One of the best online teachers I know does weekly, if not daily 5 minute webcasts to update her students on how the class is going. It is easy to get disconnected when teaching online, any effort you can make to create an online community with your students will help a great deal.

    If there is one thing I would warn you about - it is to use discussion boards well. Demonstrate (and possibly use a rubric) what a good discussion post looks like - "I agree" does not constitute a good response. Ask reflective questions and have your students debate different sides of a topic.

    I find that I struggle sometimes demonstrating a concept through text. Screencasts have been great for me to illustrate a point, as well as provide a reference for mys students later.

    Good luck and have fun!

  4. Building a strong teacher presence in the class is very important. Tools such as webcasts and audio recordings help.

    It is also very important to remember that, contrary to popular belief, students do not necessarily know how to use the technology. Built in support is a must. Screen casts can be very useful to demonstrate how to submit assignments, participate in discussions, etc...

    Consider a tool like Voxopop to conduct audio discussions (forums) rather than textual. This would give students an opportunity to hear you and their classmates speak the language.

  5. The idea to teach on-line classes is awesome.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.