Feeling Like a First Year Teacher: Toward Becoming a Successful Online Instructor

Feeling Like a First Year Teacher: Toward Becoming a Successful Online Instructor

Lloyd P. Rieber (University of Georgia, USA), Gregory M. Francom (University of Georgia, USA) and Lucas John Jensen (University of Georgia, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-147-8.ch004
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Abstract

An ever increasing number of college instructors are finding themselves asked or required to teach online. While some embrace this opportunity, others are making this transition with some reluctance. The move from face-to-face to online teaching can be difficult, and unprepared instructors may become discouraged or, even worse, may allow mediocrity to creep into their teaching. In this chapter, a different perspective is offered to instructors who are experienced, but new to online learning to help them make the adjustment—imagining once again themselves as first year teachers. Doing so should help them to revisit the enthusiasm, daring, exhilaration, and yes, even terror that they experienced when they first began teaching. Three fundamental principles are offered to guide college teachers in their earliest online teaching experiences. Examples are provided to show how one instructor found innovative ways to use online technology that were consistent with his teaching style.
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Background

Before beginning my career in a tenure-track higher education faculty position, I (Rieber) was a public school teacher for five years, with most of that time spent teaching fifth grade. I've often joked over the years that I hoped my students from my first year of teaching received an education somewhere down the line because the only person who probably learned anything that year was me. It was an amazing year, and I never worked harder or learned as much in so short a time. But, with a lot of help and support from my principal and several experienced teachers at the school – combined with a mixture of perseverance, courage, daring, humility, and terror – I slowly found my way. Of course, I also had some skill, knowledge, and a beginning teaching philosophy (however fragile) gained from my teacher education program at the University of Pittsburgh. Over the course of the next five years I think I became a good teacher. Those five years were an incredibly formative time for me as a professional educator, one that has informed and guided me and my university research in the 25 years since I left the public school classroom.

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