There are three mistakes online teachers make. Three big ones. The transition from in-person to online learning in 2020 was not an easy one. Universities and high schools were forced to change the way they teach in a very short period of time, and this has created stress for students and teachers alike.
Even for seasoned online educators, it can sometimes seem like the experience of teaching through a computer screen is full of stumbling blocks. There are constantly new problems arising, and it can be difficult to settle into a proper rhythm or capture the moments of pedagogical magic that come from an engaged classroom.
But before you convince yourself that online teaching isn’t for you, stop and remember this: you are not alone. Read about these three mistakes online teachers make.
Online education is on the rise, and many teachers and corporate trainers are experiencing growing pains right now. And that’s okay.
At DaDesktop, we get a lot of feedback about the type of problems that our customers face. We have been keeping our ear to the ground, and want to share our knowledge with the broader education community.
Today we stress the importance of avoiding 3 key mistakes that many online teachers make. These are common problems that can be solved through effective teaching strategies and following the advice of leaders in the industry.
So read on to find out what these mistakes are, and how to avoid them.
Quantity Over Quality
Many teachers who transition from the classroom to an online setting make the mistake of assuming that there should be the same amount of course content for both.
This is just not true. Video lectures are much more draining and impersonal than in-person lectures, so the format of course content needs to change.
Video lectures should be presented as bite-sized chunks of learning to be interspersed with engaging activities like class discussion or gamification.
When deciding how much course content you should cover in your course, always go for depth over coverage. Students face a lot of challenges with at-home learning that make it difficult for them to cover as much ground, and they benefit much more from going deeper into a topic and engaging with each other about it.
“It’s Good Enough”: Failing to Invest in Equipment and Tools
One of the fundamental differences between teaching online versus in person is setting.
In-person teaching uses university classrooms, community buildings, or any other space for rent that has a whiteboard, projector, and a place for your students to sit and learn together.
If you are teaching online, the space in view of your webcam becomes the classroom, and your virtual teaching platform is an extension of this. These are some key elements that students will evaluate to make a judgement about your course’s value – which is fully within your control.
Many online teachers use the webcam on their computer, a pair of Bluetooth headphones, and the screen-sharing feature on their video conferencing app to run lessons. This does not get the job done.
We recommend investing in a decent quality DSLR camera, microphone, and lighting setup for starters. This ensures that your students can hear and see you properly, and allows you to be more expressive when teaching.
Your background should convey professionalism and personality, without being too busy or distracting. “Virtual” backgrounds can work in a pinch but are too finicky to use all the time.
Finally, invest in a reliable and powerful online teaching platform. This is part of your student’s classroom experience, and should appear just as professional as you do during your lessons.
Missing Out on Community and Relationship Building
The past year has already been isolating enough, so there is no good reason to conduct your online course with a “lone wolf” mindset.
In earlier blog posts, we have written about the importance of supporting online teaching staff and promoting community-building and virtual care for your students. The verdict is pretty clear: students and staff who talk to each other outside of class end up learning more effectively.
But many online teachers do not accomplish this.
Some assume that keen students will reach out to each other independently to form study groups and bond over mutual interests. Others feel that their support staff are there to do just that: take directions and support when needed.
This is not how an effective online course or corporate training business gets built. Your students can end up feeling isolated and unengaged, and your support team may leave for somewhere where they feel more appreciated.
We recommend setting aside classroom time for relationship and community building through activities like icebreakers and socials, and creating open lines of communication so that students feel comfortable reaching out to you directly. A very important part of this relationship-building happens between students and instructors too!
Your support staff should be addressed through video chat or phone calls as much as possible, and they should be viewed as valuable team members as opposed to gig workers who are meant to assist with a narrow range of tasks.
Avoiding Key Mistakes and Growing Your Online Education Business
Now that you know the top pitfalls to look out for when teaching online, we hope you are excited to build your online course or training program further.
Sometimes what could really be holding you back are the tools in your toolbox. This is a challenging time in the field of education, and you need to be able to trust everything from your physical tech (video camera, microphone, lighting), to your virtual teaching program.
This is where DaDesktop comes in. We are a fast-growing platform that is challenging some of the biggest players in the game by offering a full suite of features with industry-leading support and competitive pricing.