Effective And Ineffective Online Instruction

Effective And Ineffective Online Instruction

Effective And Ineffective Online Instruction

List three characteristics of the most effective instructors you have experienced. Explain why you think each was effective and how these characteristics might contribute to effective instruction online.

Include specific examples from the commentary in the Effective Online Instructors video to support your explanation.


It’s really important as an online instructor to give clear and explicit directions. If this sort of thing happened in my classroom, here’s a few things that I would do to address the problem.

First of all, I would look at the specific assignment that students are questioning. And I would try to see, OK, if I normally give this sort of response in my face-to- face classroom, something is not translating online. And I would review those directions and rewrite them.

I would then put a class announcement up for the students, alerting them, hey, students. I want to clarify a few points. And then I would provide more explicit directions and provide much more information to just make sure that I was really clear in that sense.

In addition, I may also have to provide additional time for the students to complete the assignments, especially if I was hearing it from multiple students that they weren’t understanding. I wouldn’t want to inadvertently dock the student when it’s really not their fault if I wasn’t giving those clear and explicit directions.

Next, if needed, I would also consider possibly doing a short video.

Sometimes, if things are not being conveyed in the written form, it can be helpful for the student to see and hear, and for you to be able to have that opportunity as the faculty member to express it through speaking in that sense because we know that there are all different sorts of learners in that sense. So there might be a different way to convey that message for more of your class to understand.

Also, I would make sure to make myself available and accessible to the students. So if I would need to schedule an extra office hour during that week to address it or make sure they knew when my regularly scheduled office hours were and encourage them to come and speak to me about it.

Another thing as well, just remember, you may be getting emails from a few individual students. It may not be something where a student posts their confusion or their questions within a discussion board that the entire class can see. So as an online instructor, it’s important to remember to not only address those individual students, but if you find that two or three students are having this question, it’s most likely that five to eight students that are not reaching out to you are most likely confused at their home, wondering, well what do I do? I’m afraid to ask.

© 2016 Laureate Education, Inc. 1

The Art of Teaching Online: Tiffany Hamilton – Giving Clear and Explicit Instructions

They may be asking a fellow student instead of asking you because they don’t want to feel like they’re asking a silly question in that sense. So make sure to address the individual students but also to follow up and address the class as a whole and let them know, “I’ve gotten a lot of questions from students.” Just so, you know, it makes the student feel like, OK, I’m not the only one. Gosh, you know, I didn’t think I understood. But I thought it was just me.

So it can make them more comfortable and kind of create that environment where they know it’s safe, and it’s OK to ask questions. And they’re not going to be looked at as being silly or that’s a stupid question because you really want to make sure to clarify things as you’re moving forward.

And what I would really do in the future is if I knew there were some specific assignments that just were not– the directions were not clicking, I would make sure to review those assignments before the next course.

I would rewrite the directions. And I would take an extra step and provide some additional support, especially if it was like a final assignment that just was confusing to students. They always had a few more questions.

I would maybe even consider having a specific office hours on that final assignment or something to really just give the students the opportunity to have that back and forth because when students are online, it’s not like a regular classroom. So, you know, when you’re just teaching someone in a lecture hall, you can see the students. You can see their confused looks on their faces, them scratching their heads. You can see them raise their hands with questions.

But when you’re online, you’re missing all of that. You don’t see any of that. If a student has a question, they have to seek you out and email you. And your response, you know, is not going to be automatic. You’re going to see it within that 24-hour period and answer them. But there’s not that back and forth that you may have within a traditional setting.

So it’s important that you’re really providing those clear and explicit directions. And even when you think you do, it’s always great to just check in and make sure that the students don’t have any questions or let them know, if you have questions, I’m here to help. You know, please reach out to me. So they feel comfortable, even if you think you’ve given the most explicit and clear directions, that you’re still providing the opportunity and the forum for them to ask questions and to feel comfortable doing so.

© 2016 Laureate Education, Inc. 2

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