Do all students merit your full attention and time?
Let’s face it: teaching adults requires a significant amount of time and effort. When you have a large class, you have an increased number of students and responsibilities competing for your attention, which can lead to a time crunch. If you teach courses in a conventional college setting, you are aware of the amount of time required to prepare lectures and grade assignments or exams. Online teachers, particularly in the for-benefit online school industry, might not need to foster course materials – however they ordinarily have week by week conversations and criticism assumptions that requests a huge venture of time. For instance, one web-based school anticipates that their teachers should be engaged with class conversations during five out of seven days, give input to tasks in the span of seven days, and compose week after week criticism reports. The amount of time the instructor spends facilitating the class can probably be estimated. In addition, the majority of instructors are employed as adjuncts and likely also work full-time jobs.
What implications does this have for your students? I was very independent as an online student, but it was important to me to “see” my instructor actively participating in the class and interested in how I was doing. As a workforce improvement subject matter expert, what I have noticed is that those understudies who are performing ineffectively are the ones who get the most consideration. This was not necessarily because they were interacting one-on-one with their instructors; rather, it was because they had to put in a lot of effort to give feedback. This indicates that a student who is performing well will frequently go unnoticed by an instructor because they will appear to require no additional assistance. I’ve seen many well-written papers returned to students with only a few brief comments, if any, and little effort made by the teacher to engage the students in the subject.
I have to admit that before I started teaching online, I felt the same way. When I started working on feedback and read a well-written paper, I breathed a sigh of relief after mapping out the tasks that needed to be completed for the following week and estimating how long it would likely take to complete those tasks. Perfect papers seemed to make my work easier and take less time. However, I quickly discovered that this strategy can actually be detrimental to an instructor, particularly when students believe they are working independently and that no one seems to care. I quickly learned that students can easily disengage when they feel alone, especially in an online class. It didn’t take me long to realize that every student, no matter how well or poorly they perform, deserves my full attention and that every student, even the best of them, has developmental needs to consider and address.
Examining a Range of Understudies and Obligations.
There are never-ending combinations of student experiences, perspectives, and developmental needs in any given class. However, it is possible to make a generalization that describes the typical range of students in an undergraduate college class. Because that is where the majority of my experience in higher education has been, I am utilizing my experience in online teaching and online faculty development within the for-profit online school industry as my point of view. Ten percent of students in a typical class could be rated above average, thirty percent could be rated average, and sixty percent could be rated below average. Again, these are averages based on undergraduate or students with less experience.
Take a look at the range of responsibilities that a typical adjunct online instructor would be expected to carry out for each class week. The instructor’s time would be spent managing the classroom, which would include things like answering questions and making announcements. A minimum of thirty percent of an instructor’s weekly allocated time would be spent posting participation messages, and sixty percent of that time would be spent providing feedback. This is relying on the presumption that a teacher will download student work and provide feedback on it. There is a reason to compare the types of students to the amount of time an instructor spends facilitating a class: each student receives the same amount of time and attention.
To begin, the majority of an instructor’s week will be devoted to providing feedback and meeting all contractual deadlines. Typically, the type of student and the quality of their submitted papers are directly correlated with the type of feedback provided. In addition to adhering to the required academic writing standards, the quality of the paper for an above-average student will typically be comparable to the response that is anticipated for the assignment. Any developmental issues would be related to academic writing, and for an average student, the content will likely be on target (or what would be minimally acceptable for an average grade). When reviewing an average paper, many instructors will concentrate on addressing writing issues.
Last but not least, a below-average student will require the most time because the academic writing and the paper’s content will likely both require improvement. It is easy to see why, as it will be difficult to read, comprehend, and evaluate a paper that is poorly written and not entirely on target. When I first started teaching online, I remember reviewing papers that were similar to the ones I’ve just described. At first, I was afraid because I knew there were a lot of problems that needed to be fixed, which would make giving feedback take longer and take up more of my time. More importantly, I wouldn’t have much positive feedback if I concentrated on every negative aspect. As a result of my work with online faculty, I am aware that content is frequently neglected while writing issues are prioritized. When I first started teaching online, I used to take the same approach.
This results in an instructional strategy that prioritizes challenging, academically underprepared, and below-average students first, depriving the majority of above-average and even some of average students of the instructor’s time. This is similar to the squeaky wheel analogy in that the students who have the most needs and who speak up receive the most time and attention from their teacher. Although this is understandable, it can lead to a learning environment that is not optimal from an instructor’s perspective. Fear, feelings of intimidation, negative perceptions of their instructor’s disposition, or simply not being conditioned to ask questions may prevent some students from speaking up or seeking assistance. Students face additional obstacles when taking online courses because of the distance involved.
Providing each student with time and attention.
Every student, it goes without saying, is deserving of an instructor’s time and attention. It is possible to demonstrate to students – regardless of how well-developed or underdeveloped their academic skills may be – that their instructor has time for them and is concerned about their progress even during the busiest of class weeks, when the list of papers to review never seems to end. From my own insight, I accept there are four critical regions inside a teacher’s instructing practice that can be utilized to showed accessibility for their understudies.
#1. Communication and Interactions: Every interaction you have with your students matters. Every student will be more willing to cooperate and accept your feedback if you can develop a productive working relationship with them. Your interactions ought to be cordial, rational, and professional. The tone of all communication should be responsive rather than emotional and reactive. Based on the tone of the message, students will sense or perceive how you are feeling. Your students will feel valued if you provide supportive assistance and encourage them to ask questions. This is likewise an amazing chance to exhibit appreciation, which can make them feel better and fearlessness.
#2. Written Assignment Feedback: I understand that a well-written academic paper that is easy to read may appear to be an opportunity to save time; On the other hand, each paper ought to take the same amount of time. After reading the paper once, I try to understand the student’s perspective. I start by looking at the content. After that, I think about the requirements for the assignment, the subjects that need to be covered, and the learning goals that students are expected to achieve. You will have a good idea of what is acceptable and what you expect students to address after evaluating an assignment enough times.
By making comments and asking questions, I try to interact with students through the content of their writing. The objective is to keep them interested in the subject further while offering my own perspective to help them broaden their perspectives. It will, at the very least, reassure them that they are on the right path, and it frequently aids in their comprehension of the subjects. Regarding the expected standards for academic writing, I have learned to make suggestions rather than demand compliance or correct what was written. I also try to coach students by encouraging them to use the resources they have, including any additional resources I might share to address particular requirements.
#3. Providing Your Perspective and Experience: Working with pre-developed courses presents a challenge because the structured materials may lack their voice. Through the use of course announcements and the creation of substantial discussion responses, I have discovered methods for sharing my experience and perspective. I can share supplementary materials and resources, provide a preview of upcoming topics, and summarize weekly topics by including course announcements. In addition, I am imparting my knowledge through these strategies. It gives the impression and impression that online students are truly involved in the class when they “see” an instructor actively involved in this matter. It additionally exhibits that the educator has dedicated the time important to make ideal circumstances for learning.
#4. Serving as a Student Mentor: Being a mentor and coach for your students is the most engaging instructional practice you can use. How much time this requires relies on the educator and their ability to make ideal class conditions. In addition to the methods I have described for providing feedback, I occasionally send students check-in emails. My students feel more connected as a result of this. I will email or call the student, depending on their availability, if they are having difficulty or haven’t been in class recently. This tells them that somebody wants to think about it and that can frequently have an effect with understudies and their capacity to endure at whatever point they feel tested. I want to mentor them by serving as a coach and support system, fostering their academic growth, which in turn generates internalized positive feelings.
There is no doubt that every student needs to know that their teachers are available to them and that they are valued. It may suffice to demonstrate that you care about them and that they are not just a randomly assigned student number in your class by responding to a question in a caring manner. Students must also be aware of your presence and involvement in the class, which serves as an example for them to follow for their own level of involvement. If you are currently teaching, I am certain that you are concerned about your students. Just make sure you have enough time each week to be there for them, and if you need to, add more time to meet their needs. I can appreciate the difficulty of adjunct teaching while maintaining other responsibilities; However, think about how good it will feel for both you and your students to see them flourish as a result of your weekly attention and time.