I found the article “Preparing Instructors for Quality Online Instruction” very interesting and with some interesting information.
As the author’s of the article say …”there is a considerable interest in online education, particularly as it relates to the quality of online instruction.” Exists many issues that must be discussed, such as the answers to the following questions placed by the author’s: …” What will be the new role for instructors in online education? How will students' learning outcomes be assured and improved in online learning environment? How will effective communication and interaction be established with students in the absence of face-to-face instruction? How will instructors motivate students to learn in the online learning environment?”
It depends on the instructors, the success of one online course, first of all, it is an innovative technique of teaching and online instruction must be effective, attending to the challenges and barriers of the online teaching and for the Instructors.
The instructors will have new roles to play and new responsibilities and they have to adapt themselves to this new era in teaching. They must be prepared to leave the learning centred in the teacher in one classroom and accept the challenge of the centred student education.
There’s a role shifting that the teacher/instructor must assist, accept and join.
It’s not only the instructor that is changing but also the learner. They both have to play multiple roles and adjust to new roles. They must adapt to new environments, and they also must be open mind for the usage of technology. Teachers must deal with feelings such as frustration and must help students to overcome with their problems on the usage of technology.
Both teacher/instructor and learner must be motivated and be prepared for the asynchronous communication.
The learner must play a more active role.
The students must ensure their integrity and their honesty while attending to an online course.
The quality of online education must be assured by facing the new challenges and adjusting the attitudes facing the new opportunities, new teaching styles, adapting new strategies in the course design, new teaching methods, new learning environments, and all this must start before the online course and must be carefully planned.
“… online education has the following features: (a) it provides a learning experience different than in the traditional classroom because learners are different, (b) the communication is via computer and World Wide Web, (c) participation in classroom by learners are different, (d) the social dynamic of the learning environment is changed, and (e) discrimination and prejudice is minimized”
“…face-to-face interaction can be substituted by online discussions in bulletin board systems, online video conferences… Online education can also promote students' critical thinking skills, deep learning, collaborative learning, and problem-solving skills.”
“Alley and Jansak (2001) have also identified 10 keys to quality online learning. The authors suggested that online courses will be high quality when they are student-centered and when:
• Knowledge is constructed, not transmitted.
• Students can take full responsibility for their own learning.
• Students are motivated to want to learn.
• The course provides “mental white space” for reflection.
• Learning activities appropriately match student learning styles.
• Experiential, active learning augments the Web site learning environment,
• Solitary and interpersonal learning activities are interspersed.
• Inaccurate prior learning is identified and corrected.
• “Spiral learning” provides for revisiting and expanding prior lessons,
• The master teacher is able to guide the overall learning process.”
“To ensure the quality of online instruction, the qualification of the instructors should be a first consideration. Since the preparation of instructors is also paramount, those who teach online courses should understand what their roles are and adjust their attitudes for this role change. Second, it is important for instructors to master, design, and delivery strategies, techniques, and methods for teaching online courses. Third, the institution should provide technical and financial support for faculty. Fourth, school administrators should also realize what their role and responsibilities are in ensuring quality online instruction. Critical to this process, administrators should recruit qualified faculty or instructors for their online education programs. Moore (2001) also noted that to effectively deliver online courses, faculty must promote student-to-student interaction with minimal faculty intervention, engage students in regular assignments, cultivate students' self-directed abilities, and then provide specialized attention to students who lack self-directedness.
The increasing diversity of the nation's student population and advancements in the development of educational technology has encouraged the popularity of online instruction
(Bi, 2000). However, academic institutions that offer courses online still face many challenges. Therefore, administrative support is crucial if programs are to be successful. Administrators must consider issues related to intellectual property, pedagogical rigor and methods, course management, and instructional compensation of faculty (McAlister, Rivera, & Hallman, 2003). In essence, successful online instruction does not happen by magic. It is a collaboration of instructors, administrators, students, and the community at large. The courseware development industries should keep the instructors tuned in about their product updates and provide training and technical service support to instructors. The government, community, and parents should also help the school to ensure the quality of online instruction.
Moving from traditional methods of teaching to online methods of instruction often create dramatic shifts in the perspectives of instructors and their students (Dringus, 2000). Moreover, many issues have been raised about the quality of online instruction:
• Administrators should not force faculty to teach online courses who do not wish to do so.
• Training in WebCT should be made more user friendly.
• Mentors should be available in each department or college who can answer questions that come up from faculty who have limited experience in teaching online courses.
• Departments should limit the enrollment in online courses so that instructors will be more focused on communicating and interacting with online students.
• Instructors need to take courses to better understand technology; specific classes need to be taken in order to design websites for online courses.
• Instructors must have the support of other instructors who have taught online courses before, as well as administrative and technical support.
• Instructors should consider how to increase the interaction between students-instructor and peer-interactions by using various types of instructional design methods.
• Instructors should encourage students to evaluate the courses continuously and periodically so as to improve online teaching.”