Week 1: Teaching online is different


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Figure 1 Same teacher, different tools

Welcome to Take your teaching online (part 1)! In this first week of the course, we will introduce some of the key differences between teaching online and teaching in a face-to-face environment. These differences mean that teaching online is a substantially different experience to teaching face-to-face, with a substantially different skillset needed for the teacher. The good news is that most teachers can adapt not only their face-to-face teaching skills, but also many of their existing teaching materials, to suit an online environment. There are a lot of possibilities, but as a minimum, if you have a computer and your students have a mobile/tablet or computer and can access to the internet, then you can start to teach and learn online.

In this week, you will also meet Rita, our animated colleague who is working her way through this course alongside you. Please allow Rita to introduce herself and to outline what she hopes to get from this course.

Download this video clip.Video player: tto_1_week1_rita_start.mp4
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Hi, I’m Rita. I have been a teacher for some years now. I spend a lot of time thinking about how I teach, but I have never really explored how to use technology to help me teach in different ways. Recently, this has become more important to my work.
I would like to be able to introduce some online elements into my teaching. I have heard about some of the key concepts like ‘flipped learning’ and ‘Open Educational Resources’, but I would like to learn a lot more about them and be able to consider how I might apply them to my own practice.
I am fairly confident in terms of using basic online resources in the classroom. For example, I incorporate graphics or images from the web into my slideshows, and I stay in touch with colleagues I have met at events. I do have a Facebook page, but it is only for catching up with friends and I don’t use my real name in case my learners discover me on there. I have had a dip into some other tools like Twitter, but I could not really get to grips with how to get anything useful out of it, and I love YouTube but I have not really come up with useful ways of getting YouTube videos into my lessons.
It is a long-term objective of mine to maybe do some online teaching at some point, and free myself from the restrictions of the classroom. I am hoping this course will help me get started on that path, give me some concrete ideas for how I can use online teaching techniques in my regular work, as well as sparking some ideas for what I might do in the future.
So, here goes – I will be returning every week to see how you are getting on. Best of luck to everyone. Let's get started!
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Rita is a teacher who will be working through this course alongside you. She is, like you, interested in teaching in different ways and learning how to teach more effectively and inclusively, and how technology can play a part in that.

Rita is a good teacher, she is quite confident in the classroom, and she likes to use images and sometimes videos in her teaching to keep the students interested. One of her long-term teaching objectives is to deliver some teaching online. She is not sure if this will be possible as part of her current job at her current university, but maybe sometime in the future it could be, or she may wish to change to a new job that includes online teaching.

Rita is hoping that studying this course will help her to learn about online teaching and enable her to pursue this goal of delivering teaching online in the near future.

Every week of this course we will catch up with Rita and how she is doing, as a prompt for you to think about your own teaching practice and development, and what you have learned in each week of this course.

By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • discuss the main characteristics of online education activities and how these differ from face-to-face teaching
  • begin to determine the kinds of face-to-face teaching activities that might, or might not, transfer successfully to an online environment
  • summarise the elements of online teaching that need a different skillset to face-to-face teaching.

1 Synchronous and asynchronous modes of teaching