Yes, face-to-face communication is always the most preferred, however, as a teacher, there are several reasons why I enjoy teaching online and find it rewarding.
My office hours are always open.
In the classroom, students usually swarm to talk to you after class, but it’s always rushed and never fully private. You certainly can’t get into a deep conversation.
Online means students can reach me 24/7 and we can hold a conversation as long as we want. Another class isn’t hustling us out the door. I have students email me before a course even starts with questions, and long after to talk about something that they found interesting. And we continue that communication via LinkedIn as well. That connection that makes teaching so rewarding happens anytime, regardless if it’s face-to-face.
There isn’t any need to save face in an online environment.
Students can shine as much as they want in an online classroom – they don’t have to worry about raising their hand too much, or being scoffed at by other students. They can fully express themselves in a discussion forum without fear of class politics.
Communication is usually edited and well-thought-out.
There is something about putting thoughts in writing that makes a person write, and hopefully, rewrite, until their ideas really come shining through. That’s something you don’t get in a classroom, where often it’s about answering first, not answering well.
There will be no misconstruing your facial expressions or body language.
In the classroom, students see you and your facial expressions, but they don’t realize your reaction might be to something else going on in the classroom. They might only be focused on you, but you see all of them. (And the many disruptions.) When you teach online, you teach without distractions and focus on each individual student.
Students are usually non-traditional… and success-oriented.
My online students are all ages and socioeconomic levels, with diverse backgrounds and lifestyles. Many of them have full-time jobs and families. Some are deployed and active duty. But all of them share one characteristic and goal – they aren’t forced to be there, and they are genuinely trying to enrich their lives. And that interest is reflected in the time and effort they put into their work.
Do you have any thoughts on teaching? Feel free to share your thoughts or reach out to me directly.