“So, at the start I found it a very lonely process, I was very unsure about whether I was doing things correctly or not, so the more I did it, the more I gained experience, to finding it very enjoyable and a very interactive space to work” (Online Educator, Farrell et. al, 2019).
Getting started teaching online can be very challenging for those new to online education. Transitioning from the traditional modes of face to face teaching to online is difficult, as teaching online requires different pedagogical approaches to traditional lecturing. Therefore effective teaching online requires both an understanding of online pedagogy and the underlying technology used to facilitate online education.
What does the literature say?
Educators who move from traditional teaching to the online environment often bring their traditional pedagogies with them, which may not be as effective in the online environment; hence they need professional development on using online pedagogies (Baran, et al., 2011; Bezuidenhout, 2018; Meyer, 2013). In addition, educators who are confident in their abilities in face to face teaching may not bring this confidence with them to online teaching (Northcote, Gosselin, Reynaud, Kilgour, & Anderson, 2015). The quality of online learning is firmly linked to the professional development and support received by educators for teaching in the online environment (Adnan, 2018; Englund et al., 2017; Kibaru, 2018; Vaill & Testori, 2012). Resistance by educators to online teaching is often attributed to the lack of understanding of pedagogies and learning theories in online education, professional development is essential in helping educators engage in online pedagogies (Adnan, 2018; Kibaru, 2018; Kilgour, 2018).
For those new to teaching online, they should focus on developing three key elements of effective practice:
- Establishing and encouraging presence
- Facilitation of interaction and active learning
- Supporting students (Ni She et. al., 2019).