Can teaching online be as effective as traditional face-to-face classes? Can teachers and students bond as well online as they do in traditional classrooms? Many online English teachers worry about these things.
What people are discovering is surprising: not only can online classes be as effective as traditional classes in academic quality, there are many ways in which they surpass the traditional classroom environment.
Online learning (and teaching) is better than face-to-face classes
- Easy access & fair opportunity: The teacher, lesson slides, chat box, and the blackboard are at the fingertips of each student on their own screen.No one gets left behind or stuck at the back of the classroom (as sometimes happens in a face-to-face classroom). In the online learning environment, all students are at the “front”of the class!
- It’s green: No need to waste time and energy for transportation . Meeting online requires no fossil fuels or headaches in traffic. Online classes use virtual classroom programs and all of the content is digital. It saves both energy and trees.
- Convenience and flexibility: Teaching online offers instructors and students more options. Online teachers have more flexibility in teaching during non-traditional class times, and they can teach anywhere they have access to the Internet. Students can study and learn in the comfort of their own home at a time that works for them and their family.
- Getting to know students better: The online environment provides a more comfortable environment for shy students to participate in activities and conversations. At the same time, the online environment attracts students who are self-motivated and more likely to initiate conversations, pose questions, and collaborate with their classmates and instructor.
- Higher levels of engagement: In online courses, students’ engagement and learning increases. Students who typically don’t participate in the face-to-face classes are more likely to come out of their shell and interact with their classmates in an online learning environment. Instructors get more in-depth, thoughtful responses from students.
- Highly interactive discussions: One of the most exciting features of an online course is the discussion forum. When an instructor guides a conversation, every student in the class is expected to listen, respond intelligently, and respond several times.Many online students have indicated that this is the first time they have ever “spoken up” in class and that they enjoy the opportunity.
- Smaller class sizes create a learning community: Teachers sometimes develop surprisingly close relationships with their online students. It is also common for students in online courses to develop a strong sense of community among their classmates which enhances the learning process.
- Professional development: The thinking, planning, research, learning, and effort that goes into creating and teaching an online course keeps teachers on their toes. The benefit of this constant development is that we are always on the cutting edge of teaching methodologies and professional development. As a result, many online teachers find far greater satisfaction in the online teaching community. And happy teachers means happy students!
- Better Organized: A major benefit of teaching online is that everything is well-organized which makes it easier to share resources among teachers. A majority of online teachers report that online teaching tools have increased their overall efficiency.
- Immediate, private correction can be made: If a student is missing something, the teacher can pick up on it right away and get the student back on track. In traditional environments, the problems might not be discovered until a major test or a major paper has been failed. This frustration and failure can be avoided with immediate, continued guidance from instructors.
Online education can meet the needs of both teachers and students in an exciting, high-quality educational experience. The fact that online education is new and constantly evolving keeps us working to always make it better. And while traditional classrooms may always have a special role in students’ lives, there are some ways in which teaching online is even better than teaching in traditional face-to-face classrooms.