I get to design and teach an online course for Spring 2021 for my Graduate Assistantship. I will teach a Pathways course, Educating Exceptional Learners, so I will have undergraduate students from various majors. I hope to motivate students to apply the course information to their own fields. While I am excited about this opportunity, I am also nervous. How can I make an online course engaging? What if students do not find the course useful?
The article, Finding My Teaching Voice, calmed my nerves. I am also “earnest, intense, and detail-oriented.” My earnest nature comes out when I try to get students to apply concepts to their own work and lives. I will explain to students that I want them to relate their learning to their own experiences, so they incorporate the information into their lives. I will tell students this in advance as a way to be transparent about my pedagogical beliefs. My intense nature and attention to detail will come out in how I design the course. I will work hard to make each course module engaging by using video, images, and text. I will also make sure to provide students with detailed directions for course assignments.
The second article, The Authentic Teaching Self and Communication Skills, confirmed the importance of writing a detailed syllabus. Although my class will be online, I will be able to have students interact with each other through discussions, images and/or videos. I plan to write my expectations for these interactions in the course syllabus. I also hope to use the syllabus as a way to communicate excitement about the course and students in the class. I will explain in the syllabus that I want to students to engage with each other and find the class useful. I will also have students complete anonymous surveys in the modules to let me know if the information is useful for them.
I hope I can find my authentic and genuine teaching voice as I teach an online class. Even though I will not teach via Zoom or in person, I will still have the opportunity to interact with students during office hours, online discussions, and grading their assignments. Thus, I think I will get a chance to practice teaching and learn what works best for me.