The rise of online learning: the benefits and challenges for teachers – Part One: Benefits
Rise of online teachingThe popularity of online courses has created a lot of discussion in the education market in recent years. Teachers, institutions and educational publishers who do not embrace the technological shift run the risk of being left behind. Whether people feel positive or negative about tech taking over the classroom, it is a learning development that cannot be staved off. But as we rush to increase our use of technology in educational settings, have we properly considered the advantages and disadvantages for teachers?
Many areas of study have seen a dramatic shift towards online learning: language courses; vocational courses; short courses; courses for pleasure or personal interest; college courses and even university degrees have all been implemented either in part or entirely into an online environment. This has undoubtedly had an effect on the role of teachers, who need to include technology in their teaching strategy if they are to remain the most important tool to their students.
The first part of this blog post will consider the positive aspects of teaching online.
The good newsThere are certainly many benefits to teaching in an online environment. For teachers who have other job responsibilities, teaching online can usually fit more easily around their primary job role. The ability to set your own schedule and pay rates can be a major bonus, as it gives you more freedom over your life. Even if teaching online is your only job role, you still have the ability to choose your own working hours. This is particularly useful if you teach students living overseas and have to work by a different time zone. Early riser? Start at the crack of dawn. Night owl? Start work in the afternoon and finish late. This is the same case for teachers who have families and may have to commit more time to raising children or being home for long periods to care for relatives.
Another advantage is the possibility of working from a remote location. Want to live in a rural village miles from educational institutions? Not a problem – this is certainly possible when you work online, as you do not need to be present for work in physical form. If you want to take a long holiday or go travelling, you can also teach online to fund you while you’re on the move – you just need to make sure you are somewhere with a reliable internet connection.
Many digital platforms that facilitate online learning allow teachers to save information easily and access it whenever they log in. This kind of automatic organisation allows the teacher to focus their time on aspects of their job that require more attention, such as planning lessons and communicating with their students. Some platforms even assist in marking the student’s work – this is an obvious and highly effective benefit, as many teachers feel they spend a huge amount of time marking work, which can leave them feeling exhausted after a day of lessons.
Perhaps the biggest benefit to teaching online is this – teachers still play the most important role in the learning experience. Technology cannot replace the job of the teacher, but it does lend itself as a very useful tool for enhancing the experience for both the teacher and the student. Deciding to teach online can encourage the teacher to recognise the control they have over their own career and put their mind at rest.
The second part of the blog post will focus on the disadvantages of teaching online and will also consider the student’s experience.
What kind of technology do you use to compliment your lessons? Do you work online or do you work in a physical classroom? Let us know in the comments section below.
You might also be interested in:
- The rise of online learning: the benefits and challenges for teachers - Part Two: Challenges (blog) - the second part of this two-part blog exploring the rise in popularity of online learning and the challenges it can pose for teachers
- FELTAG: Using Technology for Learning in Further Education (blog) - EPALE UK Ambassador Bob Harrison discusses recommenations made by FELTAG in respect of the need for innovative digitalisation of Further Education Colleges
- Digital Teaching Professional Framework (resource) - a framework that aims to increase understanding of how teachers and trainers can use technology to enrich their teaching and their own professional development
- The BBC and Belfast Met: Make it Digital Course (blog) - discusses a non-credited short-term course run by Belfast Met and BBC Northern Ireland which aims to give NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) students experience in the creative industry