Instructor Interaction is Integral to Student Success in Online Learning

When considering an online degree, it is important to know that student success in online learning depends largely upon the instructor of the course. Sure, in online learning the student is very independent. Additionally, much of the learning comes through text book readings, supplementary online readings, and interactions with peers. Still, a good instructor helps provide context to the course content, guides the student in their learning and overall adds to student success in online learning. Following are a few ways that an instructor effectively helps a student to learn when taking courses online.

A Good Instructor is Friendly and Flexible

An effective online instructor is friendly, approachable, articulate and flexible. This latter idea – flexibility – can sometimes be a problem for online instructors who seek to make online education more rigorous through overly strict expectations. Certainly it is necessary for student success in online learning to hold students to certain levels of performance. However, overly emphasizing due dates above quality can be a problem with some online instructors. There needs to be a level of flexibility, allowing for the life events that actually draw students to online education. A flexible instructor helps you get your degree online fast and with less stress.

A Good Instructor is Present

An effective online instructor is present in their course room at least four or five days a week. This means that the instructor is providing feedback and answering questions in a timely manner. A truly effective online instructor also injects something of their own knowledge and experience into a course, providing anecdotes from the “real” workplace, clips of their own experience, and suggesting additional sources or information beyond what is provided in the text book.

A Good Instructor Provides Feedback

An effective instructor provides students with quality feedback. This means answering student questions in a timely and thorough manner. It also means providing thorough feedback on student assignments and papers, both on the content and the writing (since writing is so important to student success in online learning). It also means commenting on students’ discussion postings or clarifying concepts that arise during peer discussions.

A Good Instructor Encourages Interaction between Classmates

I wrote above that it is important for a good online instructor to be present in the course room, providing feedback and adding to discussion. However, an effective teacher also knows when to step back and does not monopolize online conversations. To encourage student success in online learning the most effective instructor sets expectations, stays available for questions, provides input and guides discussions, but does not interact so much as to prohibit constructive conversation between students with the class.

Are you an online instructor?

Share your tips for helping your students be successful in online learning.