Although I have been teaching face-to-face for a number of years, on-line teaching is new to me. I have just begun teaching my on-line course at TRU.
About a decade ago I took an on-line course that was about on-line teaching. We focused on various multi-media modalities (how to create a website and a podcast, understanding programs such as Elluminate, etc.). All of the on-line “tech” terms were very new and confusing to me and because of my lack of comfort and familiarity with technology, the class tasks/assignments seemed daunting.
One practice which was extremely effective was the instructor’s presence. She was extremely available, patient, and encouraging. Even though I asked a million questions, she never made me feel incompetent. She responded to email questions very quickly and gave lengthy answers/explanations. She offered to speak to me over the phone and always checked in to make sure that her explanation had clarified my query. Although I found the class difficult and stressful, her way of being present with me made me feel supported and motivated me to persevere.
One thing I wish is that she had made accessible to us a document of FAQ’s (I probably could have saved myself and her quite a bit of time!) as well as a glossary document (often in her replies to me, she would use technological terms that I did not understand. I would then need to send a second email asking her to explain them to me).
I have a glossary document of key course concepts that I send to my students as soon as they register and I am in the process of creating an FAQ document (because I have just started teaching this course, I haven’t yet had very many questions). I hope to be as responsive and supportive of my students as my instructor was with me; she left a lasting impression.