Transitioning from traditional in class teaching to online facilitation seems easy but requires a lot more preparation, developing proficiency in various communication tools and mobile technology and have a lot of confidence in dealing not only with the group that you can see but with the groups you can rarely meet face to face.
Understand and be at peace with the thought that you will most probably never be on top of the latest technology. Technology is important but more important in the online environment is how you use it and how much value it adds to the learning experience for the student.
To succeed as an online instructor you should be flexible and creative. Anything that can be achieved in the traditional classroom can be achieved in the online environment. You just need creativity and flexibility. The social interaction among students happens easily in the traditional classroom. Presentations, discussions, hands raised are providing so many opportunities for the students to engage with each other and the instructor. The same can happen in the online environment, but in a different way. Forums and discussion boards, group projects and case studies, when closely monitored by the instructor can provide almost the same social interaction.
Provide instructions or concept explanations in 2, 3 or more formats. When introducing a new concept in the traditional classroom, you can always look around and gage how much of the concept has been understood by how many students. Usually, the instructor will continue to verbally explain it or provide a Powerpoint, a video – if time allowed. In the online environment, there is no way of getting this quick feedback. Therefore it is important to introduce new concepts using various resources, in various formats. For example: introduce the concept through a short video that the instructor pre-recorded, then provide links to video or audio material, scholarly articles and so on.
Create a personalized, learner-focused course. Gone are the days when class composition was uniform with students within a certain age group, at a similar knowledge and language level. The online classroom composition is diverse with students anywhere from 16 to 70+, at different stages in their lives. Designing an online course structured on smaller modules with less information to cover allows students to create their own learning plan while fulfilling their real life responsibilities too. The online format provides learners more opportunities to stay longer on a module that is harder to grasp, even look for their own resources to help understand while skimming the modules with information they already know.