Seven Guiding Principles for Highly Effective Online Teaching
A graduate program for teachers can help hone your online education skills.
Whether they’re teaching elementary school or high school, educators are engaging online with more students and in more ways than ever. That makes knowing how to inspire and educate students in all online learning environments more important than ever, too.
Recognizing how crucial these skills are, Walden University’s Dr. Judith Blakely, academic coordinator in the school’s online Doctor of Education (EdD) degree program, and Dr. Michael Jazzar, contributing faculty member in the online EdD program, wrote the article “Seven Guiding Principles for Highly Effective Online Teaching” with colleague Ted Ray. In it, they offer teaching strategies educators can implement immediately.
“Distance is no longer an obstacle to teaching and learning; faculty training, guidance, and support are needed.1 In support and guidance for new and experienced online educators alike, seven guiding principles to highly effective online teaching have been identified, developed, and tested over the last 2.5 decades of our collective experience,” the authors write.
Those principles are: Presence, Participation, Persistence, Presentation, Personalization, Personality, and Passion. These principles are relevant when engaging with students at all levels of education, and you can customize your teaching strategies to fit your specific group of learners. Read on to learn more about these “seven Ps” and how you can use them to become a more effective teacher.
Connect with your students before they enter the online course room. Start by emailing a warm welcome letter that includes a short introduction, course description, and contact information. Once students enter the course, welcome them with an introductory video, the course objectives, and your expectations for successful completion. Make sure you’re available daily to provide timely feedback and respond to learners’ questions and needs. In weekly and daily updates, you can inform learners of events and encourage them to use course, program, and school resources. We highly encourage and recommend that you post something in the online course room each day to document your presence.
Participate to Make It Great
Active participation is crucial for effective online education. Encourage students to engage continuously. Plan to interact with each learner at least weekly—and more frequently if possible—and respond to student questions within 24 hours. To accomplish this, you may need to enter the course room twice daily. Teleconferences or video conferences are a must. And, to further boost participation, consider calling students to discuss questions, needs, and interests.
Set high expectations for student learning—never settle for less than each student’s very best performance. To achieve these outcomes, provide students with consistent support. It is essential that you establish a learning culture based upon clearly stated expectations to maximize student achievement. Model your persistence by continuously leading students toward mastery. At times, you may have to dispense tough love, so that you never let students get by with less than their best efforts.
Presentation Is Everything
Presentation should be varied, exciting, and differentiated. To achieve this, pull the powerful tools of technology into the online course presentation. Integrate outside materials, websites, YouTube and other videos, simulations, and field experiences into the teaching/learning experience. Embed links to relevant sources in your announcements, discussion examples, and discussion posts. Host live discussions. Be sure to include audio/video feedback responses to assignments and discussion posts. Blogs, MOOCS, digital badges, gaming, looping, and flipping the classroom are powerful strategies to further boost engagement and connection with content.
When teaching online, always think about how you would communicate with learners face to face. Whenever written communication is insufficient, you should reach out with phone calls to maintain a personal connection. In addition, it is crucial that you project your understanding of the learner’s thoughts. Socratic questions, particularly on the discussion board, encourage personalization for each learner. Foster a high-quality, substantive exchange. Personalized feedback is a must and, as such, you should use students’ names with care and concern in all collaborations.
Let Personality Shine
To achieve the best results, online learners need to know who their instructors are as humans. Don’t be afraid to let students see your personality traits and qualities such as humor, self-motivation, confidence, optimism, and integrity.
Passion Is Essential
An instructor’s “digital” passion influences student achievement, retention or completion, and satisfaction with courses,2 and it is contagious. You can demonstrate passion by consistently displaying a positive, respectful, and constructive disposition. Teachers who learners see as empathetic, caring, and enthusiastic are often also perceived as having a passion for teaching and learning.
Earn a Teaching Degree Online
You can learn more about online elementary school education by enrolling in Walden’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) – Elementary Education degree program. Walden, a leader in distance education for more than 50 years, can help you expand and update your elementary school teaching skills, fill your toolkit with fresh teaching strategies, and prepare you for licensure.
In Walden’s master’s in education online degree program, you’ll learn in an immersive environment enriched with interactive media and virtual simulations. You’ll find curriculum in your online MAT degree program that is inclusive and will help prepare you to meet the needs of diverse learners.
Walden offers a full complement of online teaching degrees, including a BS in Elementary Education (Teacher Licensure). Experienced faculty members, virtual field experiences, interactive simulations, and comprehensive student support services are some of this elementary education degree program’s highlights.
Earning an elementary education degree online is an attractive option for working professionals who want to return to school while staying engaged in their careers and personal lives. Walden’s online learning platform lets you decide when and where you’ll do coursework. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection.
If teaching elementary school is your career passion, an online MAT or BS in Elementary Education program can help you meet your professional goals and position you to inspire young learners in any learning format: face-to-face, online, or a blend of both formats.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) – Elementary Education online degree program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
1Source: Nilson, L., & Goodson, L. (2017). Online Teaching at Its Best: Merging Instructional Design With Teaching and Learning Research. Indianapolis, IN: Jossey Bass.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
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