The above infographic outlines five strategies that are key for an online instructor to know in order to be an effective facilitator. These five strategies are broken down further and are in no particular order:
- Be Present: Facilitators that regularly check-in or engage with their students help to build human connections that are similar to in-class settings (Boettcher, 2013). Online settings can feel isolating at times therefore regular communication with students can assist with reducing any potential anxiety they may have while navigating the course (Dunlap & Lowenthal, 2018).
- Set Clear Expectations: Communication and trust are key as students will mirror the behaviour of the instructor (Boettcher, 2013). If you are unable to return an assignment within the timeframe you promised, then communicate clearly to the students as to why. The expectation you create is that if a student needs an extension then they will need to communicate clearly to you as well.
- Make Learning Accessible: Online learning requires content to be broken down into segments that are easily digested by students (Bull, 2013). Also, take into account that students will use various devices to access the course therefore design the course to be mobile and computer based to ensure all students have the same access (Boettcher, 2013).
- Encourage Support: Students operate better when they are members of a supportive learning community therefore provide forums to allow for synchronous and asynchronous conversations (Boettcher, 2013). By designing the course to provide faculty-to-student, student-to-student, and student-to-resource dialogue there is a greater chance of creating an engaged course community.
- Be Prepared: While technology is great, there is always the chance that something will go wrong so be flexible and adaptable if your planned technology or platform fails (Dunlap & Lowenthal, 2018). Have a strong Plan B or Plan C in place which may require dropping certain learning segments due to the failed technology.
Boettcher, J. V. (2013). Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online.
Bull, B. (2013). Eight Roles of an Effective Online Teacher. Faculty Focus.
Dunlap, J. C., & Lowenthal, P. R. (2018). Online educators’ recommendations for teaching online: Crowdsourcing in action. Open Praxis, 10(1), 79–89.