Faculty are faced with a few hard questions about the online classes that they lead. If being honest, many would admit that they do not enjoy being online as much as the in-person environment. This might explain why less than 10 percent prefer to teach online exclusively. Here are a few of those questions:
- Do you enjoy being online?
- Do you prefer interacting with students in an online environment?
- Do you look forward to communicating with students online?
If you don’t enjoy working in an online learning environment, imagine what this might be like for some of the students.
Faculty that teach in-person do many things to help make students feel comfortable in the physical classroom. Smile, greet students, use eye contact, and answer questions. Even when the physical space may be less than attractive, there are many ways to make the space more welcoming and comfortable for all.
The same strategy can be applied to online learning environments. Making the effort to ensure an inviting, comfortable, and pleasant online learning space will create a more favorable learning environment.
Students will be comfortable and enjoy being in your online class if you:
- Use interactive tools for engagement such as media and visuals.
- Minimize the amount of text being used in general. Streamline course navigation and organization. Less is more.
- Encourage participation and create a positive/optimistic experience that speaks to student success.
- Show compassion and care for your students in both a private and public way.
- Be respectful of the students’ time by being present, engaged, and punctual.