Learning to Teach Online

  • Clark-Ibáñez M
  • Scott L
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THE GROWTH OF ONLINE LEARNING is hard to ignore. Survey responses from over 2,200 U.S. colleges and universities have shown that almost 3.2 million students were enrolled in at least one fully online course during fall semester 2005, an increase of almost one million students from the previ-ous academic year (Allen and Seaman 2006). Many universities continue to use online classes as a long-term strategy to handle growing student enrollment and shrinking space and budgets (Roach 2004, Thompson 2004). As a result, even the least technology-savvy professors are being asked to consider teaching partially or fully online. You no longer need advanced technical knowledge to teach online, but it does re-quire a new pedagogy to engage students, stimulate critical thinking, and provide a safe environment for learning. In this arti-cle, based on an ASA workshop about best practices for online teaching, we offer insight into how to create an online sociol-ogy class that promotes student learning and critical thinking. We discuss the benefits and challenges of online courses and utilize student quotes to illustrate experiences from highly interactive online classes. Our philosophy of online teaching and learning is that student learning comes first and the technology follows. Another tenet we hold is that learning happens through interaction and active participation. 1 We teach online courses using a student-centered, constructivist approach where the instructor facilitates student learning. Stu-dents benefit from this approach. One stu-dent explained: I am typically a fan of sitting in a classroom where I can see my professor and take notes on a lecture; however, this experience online really impressed me...It was a positive jour-ney. I probably did more reading than had I been in a class setting, where I tend to depend

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  • Marisol Clark-Ibáñez

  • Linda Scott

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