Instructor Role in Online Community
Here are the top 3 roles I believe are crucial to the Online Instructor
Without a properly designed online course there is no point to playing a role in an online community that is already dysfunctional. Don’t just “put your content online” but tailor the delivery, instruction and deliverables to be suited for online. It should be more efficient while still meeting the same real life course outcomes and objectives.
I have heard many stories and complaints about lack of instructor presence and believe it is one of the most important factors for a successfully online-community. The instructor sets the tone and pace of the class, and a failure to be present will lead to lower levels morale and ultimately of performance. For me the issue is simple, “be there, be in class and be available” and “make your presence and availability known to the students”. Since I teach live classes online, it is important for me to always be there and my presence is in the form of being on the microphone, answering student questions and helping students live. Students know I am present because if they have a question I normally reply in seconds.
I can often help several students at once, when compared to being in class and students will wait until I can walk over to them. I meet my students every 3 business days for another class session and I always go over the previous work, and current work, invite questions and check in to see how the students are doing. By doing this you are alleviating a lot of stress they may have.
Some students may not be comfortable chatting or speaking live and they will e-mail me and I make sure that I provide prompt replies at all times. I’ve been told that my prompt, helpful and supportive replies have increased student performance.
You should make all attempts and a layered approach to managing your presence through your LMS, live class sessions, e-mail and any tools the students commonly use.