Wilfredo Rodriguez, Coordinator, EdTech
Since the pandemic in 2020, the popularity of online learning courses has expanded tremendously. In fact, it was the only way to continue the teaching and learning process. Alternatively, halting everything related to education was the choice left. All aspects of online learning are important in order to build a successful class. However, we are going to talk about which are the two most important one: Instructor presence and immediate feedback according to Dr. Al Infande, Online Human Resources faculty at Columbia Southern University in Orange Beach, Alaska.
Instructor presence or visibility is imperative in order to build a successful online course. This means to be accessible to students when they need to reach out the faculty with questions or clarifications. Many ways are available to achieve a well-visible instructor presence including posting the contact information and office hours clearly and easily available. The contact information can be posted in the course announcement, course syllabus, and having a dedicated place where students can just click to see it. Also, responding to students’ inquiries in a timely fashion is very important; It is acceptable to responds within 24-48 hours in most universities. Using announcements is a good way to keep the instructor presence active by posting course updates, due dates and any relevant information. The discussion board is another way of being active in the course by creating open-ended and challenging questions, guiding and supporting students to keep the discussions going beyond the classroom. Instructor presence is essential in a successful online class and there are may ways to accomplish it by posting the contact information, responding to students’ inquiries within 24-48 hours, using announcements and the discussion board.
Immediate feedback is the second most important practice in online courses according to Dr. Al Infande. Students should know how they will be graded from the first day of classes. Prompt grading and feedback is imperative to the success of students because they should not be waiting too long to receive how they did in exams or assignments and how they are doing. This helps the class to provide better evaluations and retention. Providing feedback to those who are not participating, present or performing poorly is vital to bring them back to active students. Providing immediate feedback to students is a very important aspect of a successful online class.
To summarize, two of the most important concepts in online teaching and learning are instructor visibility and immediate feedback. These two practices contribute to a very successful class. Visibility is achieved by posting the contact information and office hours, utilizing the syllabus, using announcements and discussion boards. Immediate feedback for grading exams and assignments keep students aware about their work in the course.