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The Benefits of Teaching Online

written by: Laurie Patsalides•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 12/8/2011

Online instructors, professors and teachers have reported several benefits of teaching online courses. While teaching online may present different challenges to the instructor than in a traditional college or university, some really enjoy it.

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    A Look at Some Great Advantages

    Seasoned and adjunct instructors alike are now gravitating toward teaching in an online learning environment. Teaching online is proving to have many benefits for those who are interested in trying. Let's take a look at the benefits of teaching online.

    • Teaching online has the potential to be a profitable income for those who enjoy spending time on the computer. There are many online colleges and state colleges recruiting online instructors.
    • Flexibility of location and time - Wherever and whenever you have Internet service, you can teach. This is a very convenient teaching position. Be aware though that traveling abroad may cause connectivity issues.
    • Online courses are highly interactive and effective - In an online course it is difficult for a student to avoid interaction with the professor. In face-to-face instruction a student can mimic learning by a head nod and a smile. When learning in an online course, the student has to explain his or her understanding in words allowing the teacher to have a clearer assessment of the student's knowledge of the course material, along with reading, writing and computer literacy skills.
    • Facilitating higher order thinking - Online teachers have frequent opportunities to ask higher order thinking questions which allow students to analyze, synthesize and evaluate instead of just recall. Also as forums are in writing, the teacher can review the discussion board to interject even more higher-order thinking questions during the next online meeting.
    • Ability to teach to a wider audience of non-traditional students - Teachers interviewed about the benefits of teaching online liked that they were able to get to know and learn from students from all over the world, which broadened the online teacher's own experience. Students of diverse backgrounds will make for interesting conversation and research papers.
    • Intellectual challenge - Students will expect more frequent feedback from an online instructor. This will require the teacher to provide relevant course content on a frequent basis, to be organized, timely and a good communicator.
    • Course content is related to the real world - Because students in an online class bring a variety of experience with them, they share their experiences with the instructor and how they will apply the learning, which may increase the teacher's satisfaction with his work.
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    In summary, while there is no question that some online instructors find disadvantages to teaching online courses, it seems that those who have more experience teaching online also learn to appreciate its benefits. To decide if teaching online is right for you will require a thorough self-examination of teaching style, personal preference and assessment of one's technical, verbal and written competencies.

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    References

    Fish, Wade E. and Gill, P. B. Perception of Online Instruction, January 2009 ISSN: 1303-6521 volume 8 Issue 1 Article 6. TOJET

    Liu, S., Kim, K., Bonk, C.J., and Magjuka, R. What Do MBA Professors Have to Say About Online Teaching, Volume X, Number II, Summer 2007. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration