The following is a guest blog post by Beth Knuth. Beth is one of our online eLo Web Design instructors along with being a business teacher (@nvhsbusiness) at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, IL. In this post, Beth shares five tips for teachers to follow in order to get to know your students in a virtual environment.
I started teaching online courses about 8 years ago. It started with a summer Consumer Economics course in which I met with the students once at the beginning of the summer to give them a brief orientation. After this point, I never saw their faces again! It was almost as I was teaching a class of invisible people. I would get emails and submissions now and then, but there was nothing behind the name. I struggled as a teacher not getting to know my class, especially since interacting with students is one of my favorite parts of teaching!
As the years went by, online classes evolved and went from basic dropbox submissions to discussion boards, video chats, and virtual discussions. Students names on my roster turned into pictures of faces (which was great!) and we as online teachers were provided with more ways to communicate with students. Along with this evolution of technology, I found more ways to interact with my class which in turn gave me a renewed interest in teaching online courses.
Here are a few ways that I have gotten to know my students online. This list is not all-encompassing, but highlights a few strategies that I have found helpful! I would love to hear any strategies that other online teachers have used.