Teaching English Online Anyone here teach English, Writing, or Literature online? I’m looking for comments, questions, answers, concerns, experiences, etc. about teaching English online. I used...

Teaching English Online

Anyone here teach English, Writing, or Literature online? I’m looking for comments, questions, answers, concerns, experiences, etc. about teaching English online. I used to think that regular teaching was a lonely profession at times, but being out here on the Internet can really make one feel isolated.

Teaching online is definitely a love/hate relationship with me. How is it with you?

Asked on by ajacks

19 Answers | Add Yours

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I have been an online English teacher since last September, mostly in addition to my day job as a classroom English teacher.  I found that there are some unique challenges to teaching English online, but there are many opportunities as well.  For example, I have been able to do more one on one tutoring with students who really need help.  Since the online environment is more flexible, I find myself spending more time with students one at a time.  Also, everything is typed!  This is neat for an English teacher, because we can use programs like Turnitin and the mark-up feature in Word to bring our commenting and grading to the next level.  Also, connect with other teachers at your school, even if they are not in your content area.  Sometimes you need to vent, sometimes you can share ideas.  It makes things less lonely.

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amymc | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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I teach English online for the North Carolina Virtual Public School.  It is an amazing experience.  So many students do not succeed in traditional classrooms who thrive online.  In addition, students who live in areas that do not have enough interest in a certain class can take that course online.  I find this particularly true with my AP LIT students and also know that many students at my face-to-face school take online Chinese!  For students who need a few extra credits to make up for indiscretions their freshmen or sophomore years, online courses are terrific for helping them stay on track for graduation.

As far as learning, I have become a true believer.  Students actually carry on amazing discussions via discussion boards.   I guess it is becuase they are less embarrassed because of their anonymity.  The quality of work is equal or better than what I get in a traditional school.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Teaching on-line certainly has its negatives as well as its positives! In the college where I worked they had an excellent Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Moodle which had a number of excellent tools to create a virtual on-line community. This did help in a way, but you need to encourage students to contribute and become part of this community to make it work. Using wikis and discussion boards as part of assessments really facilitated this process. You are also doing the right thing in joining on-line groups such as enotes for you as a teacher to gain support and ideas. Keep up the good work - I think e-learning is only going to increase with the advances in technology we see!

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ajacks | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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AS for me, to take part in this highly- valued discussion, i do believe in online course teaching. my students themselves said that. i feel sometimes that some of my students go online and we can get in touch in an easy way. hence, some topics can be tackled over here online....

Very true!  Even with my "blended" classes (some F2F; some online) I get more discussion and one-on-one contact when my students than I do when they're in the actual classroom.

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ajacks | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Ive taught online around 3 years and I love it. It is amazing the amount of teaching you can do in both asynchronous and synchronous environments. The students know what is at stake because the course is delineated, so they are aware of the fact that they have no choice but to complete their work. Plus, they express themselves best as millenial learnners through chat and email than through a tedious classroom visit.

I agree!  With all the technological advances in online instruction it's getting to be more of a learning experience for both the students and the teacher.

And like you said, most of the students express themselves better with theses new technologies.

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Ive taught online around 3 years and I love it. It is amazing the amount of teaching you can do in both asynchronous and synchronous environments. The students know what is at stake because the course is delineated, so they are aware of the fact that they have no choice but to complete their work. Plus, they express themselves best as millenial learnners through chat and email than through a tedious classroom visit.

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djmccormick | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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I just read through the replies to your posts.  I have only had one student in English, the rest have been or are in math and science courses.  I have developed numerous tools (all of which are free) to assist in the delivery of lessons and the retrieval of assignment, communicating with student and having students interact with each other. The are many drawbacks but there are also many benefits.

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ajacks | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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In reply to #10: Absolutely! It's the same for any kind of class, both F2F or online. If the student wants to learn, then the job is easy for the teacher---unless the teacher doesn't want to teach, or even worse, doesn't know how to.
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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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The quality of online classes is determined by the mindset of both teacher and students. As a fulltime teacher and fulltime wife and mother, I am pursuing my masters. The drive time to a university is 1 1/2 hours one way, so I find the need to avail myself of at least one online class a semester. One of those was a reading class that was absolutely phenomenal, and one of those was an introductory research class was absolutely lacking. In both cases, I as a driven and determined student wanted to learn. In the reading class I did; in the research class I didn't. This was not due to a change in my nature, but rather the teaching style and attitude of the instructors.

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ajacks | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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This is really not a good way to use online teaching. Like you said, it’s only for students who are making up credit for what they missed in their regular F2F classes, and that already shows they’re missing the self-discipline online coursework needs.

Furthermore, it seems the teachers involved with this online “teaching” don’t really seem to want to do it if they’re not even answering the students’ questions. That’s one of the cardinal rules of teaching online: the teacher has to communicate in a timely manner with the student. In a regular online college class a teacher who doesn’t respond back to an email within a minimum of 24-48 hours wouldn’t be teaching online very long. This also applies to any post that a student makes in a discussion area.

A good online class will also have a synchronous “office hour” at least once a week where the students can logon and chat “live” with the teacher. This past semester I even used Skype to have a “F2F” meeting with my online students.

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Our school district just started online classes two years ago, but they're used for students who are trying to recover credit.  The problem that I've had with trying to help students who are taking online English classes is that there is such a distance between them and the teachers.  If a student has a question about an assignment or the grade, he or she is at the mercy of the teacher to answer it.  The distance created by the online process allows some teachers to ignore student questions or problems.  Perhaps this is more prolific at the high school level than at the postsecondary level.

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ajacks | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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I’m happy to see such enthusiasm! Check out South University---they’re one of the largest online colleges around. Also, check out your local colleges: you could get on as an adjunct and teach 1-2 classes online.

Speaking of being an adjunct, check out the “Adjunct Nation” website. They have job listings, and every once in a while they’ll post online teaching gigs.

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ajacks | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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I did it for a few years. You had to accept student work on faith and accept whether or not they read a particular work. Grading by email or posting can be very unemotional, and trying to help someone write better resulted in so much writing that the lessons sometimes were lost.  If you take a look at courses that are already on-line like Apex, then you know that you have a lot of detail in finding the right computer medium to do it in.

At one college they use Blackboard, and I have them submit their papers to Safe Assignment first, so they can see what they’ve “inadvertently” plagiarized. Then they get the chance to edit their drafts.

I agree that it is harder to help to someone online than it is F2F. That’s why I’ve switched to synchronous communication during my “office hours.” We can chat live.

I’ve never heard of “Apex.” I’ll have to check that out, Thanks!

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ajacks | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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For me online teaching was hate-hate, but it might have been because a lot of my students were doing credit retrieval.  It was really a pain because the vast majority of those students who had already failed classes had a hard time reading and concentrating.  That sort of student isn't exactly cut out for doing online work.

I know just where you’re coming from. You can always tell those students that don’t belong in an online class, and even worse, don’t want to be there. I can see why it was strictly a hate/hate situation.

Sometimes I think it’s worse to get those students who want to learn, but have no idea of how to navigate the online course, or even use the Internet. They took the class because all the “regular” classes were full, and they “just HAVE to get those last 3 credits to graduate.”

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

I would really like to get in to teaching english online - even if it is just for the experience. Does anyone have any good links/contacts? I am used to editing student work remotely so I think it may be interesting to give it a go and at least be able to make a comparison with the face-to-face stuff. I find that sometimes my 'best time' for marking and giving inspirational guidance would be in the early hours: not many students available for feedback then! 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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For me online teaching was hate-hate, but it might have been because a lot of my students were doing credit retrieval.  It was really a pain because the vast majority of those students who had already failed classes had a hard time reading and concentrating.  That sort of student isn't exactly cut out for doing online work.

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cjk | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Great tip! Thanks so much! Has anyone heard of a model for high school - Independent study?

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profrssor | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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AS for me, to take part in this highly- valued discussion, i do believe in online course teaching. my students themselves said that. i feel sometimes that some of my students go online and we can get in touch in an easy way. hence, some topics can be tackled over here online....

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epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

I did it for a few years. You had to accept student work on faith and accept whether or not they read a particular work. Grading by email or posting can be very unemotional, and trying to help someone write better resulted in so much writing that the lessons sometimes were lost.  If you take a look at courses that are already on-line like Apex, then you know that you have a lot of detail in finding the right computer medium to do it in.

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