For the first time ever, I’m teaching an online class… I’ve been teaching for years, and I love it, and I use technology wherever I can in my classroom (cuz I love that too…) but this summer is the FIRST time I’ve ever taught online. Wait, I take that back. There was that one time, a few years ago, teaching for a spin-off of Phoenix. The “environment,” if it could really be called that, was all email. It was hideous. So hideous I don’t even have that mess on my resume…. So, really, this summer is my FIRST time teaching an online course in a real, honest-to-goodness academic online environment (SPC uses Angel…)
So, this online class. I knew it was going to be a lot of work. What I did NOT know was exactly HOW MUCH work we were talkin’… I consider myself a rather good teacher, and I really enjoy my work–this is my passion. And in a F2F class, I have no problem making a TOTAL fool of myself if necessary (I think it stems from starting out in a preschool…) And I honestly think that my F2F students really get a lot of info that they need, but that I don’t always realize I’m giving them–you know, like what not to do, where to focus their efforts, etc–usually simply by the WAY I say things, my tone of voice, my expression and gestures. Lo and behold, the first set of essays from my online class, not exactly what I was expecting. And all because they didn’t get all those unconscious verbal cues. So I’ve spent much of the last week trying to revise guidelines to be that much more specific, and addressing questions from my students (they’re wonderfully forbearing with me). I’ve never had to think so much in a class as I have this session (admittedly, teaching my first online class in an accelerated session, probably not my best idea), but I’m actually finding that I’m becoming a better teacher.
Will I continue teaching online classes? Well, yes, mainly because that’s where academia is moving, and I don’t want to be left behind. But will I ever leave the classroom? That big echo-y room where I am the QUEEN? Hells no…. I love it too much! And I’m getting used to teaching online, getting more used to using all the tools Angel has that I’ve been able to ignore up to this point. And I’m actually having fun! (yes, I have an odd sense of fun).
I’ll keep you posted on my progress!