Most Faculty Tackle Synchronous Online Instruction Ill-Prepared
By Dian Schaffhauser 09/22/16
a new report from the Online Learning Consortium, a non-profit professional organization that aims to help educators integrate best practices into their online instruction. The OLC researchers involved in developing “What Can We Learn From Our Colleagues? A Framework for Virtual Classroom Training” solicited online responses from 733 people with “substantial” experience in teaching and “significant” experience in online.
Among the instructors who had taught using a synchronous classroom, two thirds (66 percent) had received training specifically on how to do that. A quarter (27 percent) received a month or more of training; a third (32 percent) received less than a day. A remarkable 55 percent took their training before going into a virtual classroom.
Half of the respondents were primarily self-taught; only 24 percent received formal training; and the remaining 26 percent did their learning through informal conversations with peers who teach synchronously. The training included lots of reading, video tutorials and listening to lectures — in other words, as the report’s authors noted, “sage on the stage” activities that are “antithetical to effective virtual classroom pedagogy.” Forty-one percent of people said synchronous activities “played little or no role in their virtual classroom training”; only 30 percent found that synchronous activities did play a substantial role.
What didn’t exist in training for almost four in five respondents were any of the following:
- “Shadowing” of an experienced online instructor;
- Teaching or co-teaching in a classroom being monitored by a trainer or experienced online instructor; or
- Reviewing recordings of their own performances in a virtual classroom.
Also helpful, the survey found:
- Peer coaching from colleagues;
- Reviewing recordings of the instructor’s performance; and
- Consulting with an instructional designer.
my note: another glaring proof that faculty IS needed in the process.
more on synchronous online instruction in this IMS blog