Success in a rigorous, content-focused online course is possible.

Reflective discussions, enhanced focus on individual student-teacher relationships, automated retrieval practice, and quality group dynamics are all possible in online classes. Since face-to-face courses are readily available in public schools, my expectation is that I must teach at least as well as a face-to-face course, and wherever possible, better. Because, otherwise, why would students sign up for my class?

How to do it? Teachers must intentionally focus on their interaction with students. There are two main types of online interaction:

  • Synchronous means something that happens at the same time—teacher and students are working together at the same time, interacting with each other in real time. One strong argument for this type of education is that it creates a community of learners—students enjoy each other’s company, and the teacher can direct the experience.
  • Asynchronous interaction has a time delay built in. Like text messaging and voice mails, asynchronous education allows time for reflection before students respond. This can increase the quality of class discussions, and allow introverted students, students who have trouble with audio processing, English Language Learners, and students who don’t think as fast to participate more equally.

Online classes can be successful.

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