The instructor’s role in teaching an online class is not substantially different from that of teaching a traditional face-to-face course. There is one variable though that can affect the success or failure of the online experience and that is whether or not the instructor has the technical capabilities to troubleshoot technology barriers as they arise, and regardless of the bombproof nature of the course or the platform, technical difficulties will arise and they will come up in the middle of the instruction. When this occurs it is highly difficult to maintain the flow of the course. “As an online instructor you will need to master the online learning platform in which your course operates. You will be expected to take full advantage of its capabilities. An experienced online instructor will recognize which tools should be used to enhance and advance the students’ learning experience. Moreover, you should share navigational tips and tricks with students to ensure they are prepared to learn in an online classroom. Opportunities for synchronous communication, including live chat or live video sessions, will only help you gain credibility and respect in your students eyes” (Ely, 2011).
How many times have we all seen technology fail at exactly the moment it is most needed? Of course that is a rhetorical questions, but essentially, the instructor needs to be fluent enough with the platform to either problem-solve, or have the insight and the preparation to revert to plan B, or C. Without a backup, the technology will at some point fail, and the instructor does not need to be a tech genius, but he does need to have control of the delivery and be prepared to use another mode if it is required.
Dutton, J. (2016). Best Practices and Expectations for Online Teaching. Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Retrieved from http://facdev.e-education.psu.edu/teach/bestpractices
Ely, S. (2011, October). Five Expectations Students Should Have of an Online Instructor. E-Learn Magazine. Retrieved October 25, 2016, from http://elearnmag.acm.org/featured.cfm?aid=2048939
Moore, M. G. (2012). Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning, 3rd Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved fromhttps://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781133715450/