Challenges of Online Teaching

By Pam Burke
Florida Virtual School
Social Studies Instructor
As an educator with many years of classroom experience, I take pleasure in my quest for new opportunities and the direction that online teaching has taken my students and me. A cup of coffee at my workstation, casual attire, and money saved for running shoes in lieu of high heels are benefits to be certain, but below I offer a few actual benefits:

  • Student access to learning 24 hours a day
  • The forming of a team to help meet student needs
  • Up-to-date content information that is just a click away
  • Opportunity for a unique student/teacher rapport

For today's student, time is a valued commodity. Online teaching may offer access to a course and a teacher as frequently as seven days a week. By enlisting student, parent, and teacher as participating team members, student success becomes the shared goal. Online teaching also affords the most up-to-date information available. An Economics teacher, for example, finds that data on the GDP, national unemployment, the prime rate, etc, are all just a click away. Timely phone conversations with students further enhance the learning process and help to establish the much-needed rapport between student and teacher. Still, there are challenges to be met:

  • Meeting the demand of large numbers of students seeking courses
  • Helping students maintain a consistent course pace
  • Counseling students who have so much on their plate that choices need to be made
  • Continued education of others as to the benefits of online learning

For the teacher the greatest challenge of online teaching might be finding the strength of heart to occasionally turn off the computer, but for now I will take comfort in the many benefits derived and the cup of coffee at my work station.