#16: Be Authentic while Teaching Online

#16: Be Authentic while Teaching Online

Because online teaching is known for its isolation, how can we be authentic while teaching online?

The answer to this question is to see the humanity in our students. And, to get to know them as people. Of course, this can be challenging with a large class, grading demands, and other competing demands.

In today’s podcast, I’ll share strategies to help you be authentic while teaching online.

Wiley Educational Research

Wiley Educational Research

Today, I saw the Wiley Educational Research posted on Linkedin. You can view it here: https://edservices.wiley.com/ .

What does it mean for online education?

First, the researchers have been conducting this study repeatedly for several years. They report having surveyed over 15,000 fully online learners during the bast many years. I’ve used some of their reported statistics and trends in my own work, and particularly in my recent book Teaching Music Appreciation Online. I believe the data is useful and adds insight to online higher education.

Second, it’s unclear whether any survey respondents were impacted by COVID-19 yet, because the authors noted that data were collected in January and February 2020. Broad effects of the pandemic did not impact higher education until late March 2020 and onward. Regardless, the needs and preferences of online learners are well represented under normal circumstances. Next year’s report will definitely be worth a look!

Here are some of the key insights that returned this year:

  • Online learners prefer to take classes from institutions located close to home
  • Online learners typically prefer affordability and reputation when choosing where to enroll

And, new findings about what online learners really want include the following:

  • Pride in the institution and are willing to pay more tuition for an institution’s reputation
  • The fastest route to completing the program and speed throughout the process (including applying, accepting transfer credits, and goal achievement)
  • Specific programs (and they will go elsewhere to find it rather than opting for an on-campus option)
  • Career services
  • Options to learn via mobile devices

As we look to the future of online education, considering the preferences and needs of online students will help us continue to provide what they most want.


#12: Battling Impostor Syndrome in an Online Career

#12: Battling Impostor Syndrome in an Online Career

Do you ever feel like you’re battling impostor syndrome in an online career?

Impostor syndrome, also known as impostor phenomenon, is one’s own perception of themselves. With this perception, an individual might doubt themselves. Further, there might be fear. It may seem like others know more than you do about what you are doing. Ultimately, there is a feeling that you don’t deserve your success.

Influences On Our Thinking

People who teach in face to face settings go to work every day. As a result, they can tell stories about the day to friends and family. And they might have colleagues, department chairs, or administrators. These people see their students and get involved in committees.

When we work online from home, there are just as many stories to tell. We also have colleagues and supervisors. And, we have students too. But we do not see these people face to face. And our loved ones don’t see us get dressed and leave for work. Hence, traditional ideas about work and significance seem unclear.

If you teach online asynchronously and feel like an impostor in your online career, you might struggle to feel satisfied with your efforts. Or, feel driven to work harder, and work longer hours. Teaching through the computer is known to be isolating and create its own kind of disconnect. And it may be difficult to put the computer away at the end of your teaching day.

Where to Start With Impostor Syndrome in an Online Career

While impostor phenomenon is complex, there are many ways to start to overcome these feelings. It will take consistent focus to connect your efforts to your online work. And at first, these suggestions will seem like they could never work. But trying them will help you turn around and begin to connect with your efforts and your results.

Here are tips to help you gain the upper hand, when you’re battling impostor syndrome in an online career:

  1. Consider and articulate your online teaching philosophy. Write it down. Make sure that it means something to you and communicates your most important values about education and teaching.
  2. Get to know your values, strengths, and personality. Learn about what makes you unique, and why you cannot compare yourself to others.
  3. Thoughtfully choose online teaching approaches that connect to your teaching philosophy, and which use your greatest strengths and skills.
  4. Participate in professional communities in your subject area and in online education.
  5. When possible, present at professional conferences.
  6. Develop your identity as an online educator, and share it through various outlets like LinkedIn.
  7. Build relationships with your students, colleagues, and peers.