Is teaching online right for me?

If you are comfortable with every changing technology, desire more contact with your students outside a traditional classroom and want to reach new groups of students, then teaching online might be right for you. A popular misconception is that teaching online involved less work or less frequent contact with students. In reality, for most instructors teaching online actually requires more time. The reward is more frequent contact with your students.

How is teaching online different from what I already do in the classroom?

In many ways, teaching online is no different than teaching face-to-face. You are still responsible for delivering course content and can do so using a variety of instructional materials and techniques, including lectures, video, writing assignments, and individual and group activities. The one thing that is required in all online courses at Crafton Hills College is regular and frequent discussion among faculty and students to replicate that which occurs in the classroom.

How will I deliver content and maintain contact with my students?

The San Bernardino Community College District currently uses the Canvas learning management system. A learning management system is an online site where students can access course content, communicate with you and other students, submit assignments and complete quizzes, tests and examinations.

What is the first step I can take if I want to teach online?

The first thing you should do if you want to teach online is notify your department chair of your interest. Together you should decide on a specific course for you to prepare and work out a realistic time line of when you could begin. Your faculty chair will also help you navigate the three steps involved in the online teaching approval process.

How can I learn more about teaching online?

There are a variety of different training and professional development opportunities which can help you learn more about how to teach online. It is recommended that you take at least one course in how to work with the Blackboard course management system and at least one course in the techniques of online teaching. Crafton Hills College regularly sponsors Blackboard training as well as occasional workshops related to teaching online. Another good source is @One. @One offers a variety of courses and workshops related to teaching online at low or no cost. Having been a student in an online course is also good experience.

Once I get started, where can I go for help and support?

For technical support, the San Bernardino Community College District provides 24/7 technical support via a toll-free number. At Crafton Hills College, the Distance Education Coordinator can be of help. Also the Educational Technology Committee, or ETC, is the group charged with oversight of online and hybrid course. Most of the members of this committee have taught online themselves, so they are a great resource in terms of help and support.

Are there any special requirement for teaching an online course at CHC?

Like any course, you will be required to have a clear and comprehensive syllabus for your course which outlines basic information about your course. In addition, you will need to provide students with guidelines regarding how the course will be administered, including the use of Blackboard, policies regarding communication and resolving technical issues. All online courses at CHC require regular discussion among faculty and students and active learning activities which appeal to a variety of learning styles. You can see the specific requirements by reviewing each of the 3-steps involved in the online teaching approval process.

I know that publishers often provide online course materials and even complete online courses. Can I use them?

It always wise to see what is already available, whether that is publisher-provided material or content developed by faculty colleagues. However, the ETC will want to see that you have done more than merely re-packaged materials created by others. Your course must demonstrate your own individual presence as an interactive instructor.

What kind of computer do I need to teach online?

The average computer found in your office or home office with a high-speed Internet connection in most cases is adequate. Unless the course involves specialized software, you should be able to use a Microsoft operating system, a Mac or Linux. In addition, the ETC recommends using Microsoft Office Suite products, including MS Word and MS PowerPoint.

Do I have to know how to build websites, write programs or edit videos?

No. While such skills might be helpful, they are not essential.

What about quizzes, tests and examinations?

Just as in a face-to-face class, you have a variety of ways of assessing your students’ mastery of course content. Blackboard allows you to administer objective quizzes, tests and exams. You can input your own questions or upload questions from a publisher-provided test bank. Blackboard accommodates a variety of different types of questions, including multiple choice, true/false, matching and fill in the blank. Many instructors utilize the test pool feature which allows for questions to be drawn from a larger bank of questions. Other instructors use essay exams which can be submitted electronically like other assignments. No matter what kind of questions are included, most instructors require students to complete quizzes, tests and exams within a certain time period.

How will students submit assignments?

There are several ways for students to submit assignments in an online course. Blackboard provides a number of functions for submitting work. Other instructors prefer to have students submit work outside of Blackboard, including through email.

Am I expected to hold office hours?

When you teach online, your responsibility to hold office hours is no different than when you teach face-to-face. Full time faculty are contractually required to hold office hours, part-time faculty are not. There is no special requirement to hold virtual office hours when you teach an online course. Although many student questions can be answered through FAQ files, discussion board posts, e-mails or instant and text messaging, it is always a good idea to have some appointed time when students can reach you. Whether you choose to hold these office hours virtually, via the telephone or in person is up to you.