Communication. This is the number one concern we hear from instructors who are new to the online environment — that they will not be able to communicate with their students. Essentially, this is a concern about interactions between the learner and the instructor. Believe us, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to interact with your students; in fact, online instructors communicate with ALL of their students individually on a regular basis, as opposed to speaking to the entire class at once.
Interaction between the learner and the instructor is one of three types of interaction discussed by Michael G. Moore in an influential editorial in the American Journal of Distance Education in 1989. The three types of interaction that must be present in order for learning to occur are:
As you watch this video, think about the following questions. What do you think the distribution of learner – content, learner – instructor, learner – learner interactions should be in an online course? In today’s media-rich, online environment, what types of tools can be used to facilitate effective learner – instructor interaction? To view the captions, click the “CC” button in the bottom toolbar of the video player.
While there are many different hats that you’ll need to wear depending on the situation in an online course, you’ll basically spend your time doing these three things:
- Managing the course and your students.
- Facilitating the learning activities.
- Assessing student learning.
In other words, you will be communicating with your students. In the online classroom, much of our communication may be in writing, but the online course allows you to substitute almost every written interaction with one using multimedia.