Written by Jarin Eisenberg
I love teaching online, I do. But there are just some aspects of a face-to-face classroom structure I miss.
Addressing students as they walk into my class and asking how they are doing. Having students interact with one another in a way that allows them to steer the conversation. Laughing at the funny jokes my students make on one topic or another.
I miss those elements of the traditional classroom. I miss the energy of a great couple of hours of interaction where you just really connect with your students. I miss seeing the light bulb go off when it all suddenly clicks!
Now, thanks to the always innovative team that works behind the scenes for Florida Tech, I have some of those elements back at my disposal. The incorporation of Adobe Connect allows online instructors to host live lectures, interact with their students in real time and record lectures for future use.
This feature means instructors and students can connect in a way that fosters the student-teacher relationship and makes for a more dynamic classroom. By getting to better know their instructor, students can better relate to the course and program.
Here is what I’ve found works best with the live lectures:
- Keep them short: Pick one concept or topic to elaborate on and then use the rest of the time to go over upcoming assignments.
- Don’t be afraid of silence: Just as in a face-to-face environment, there are likely going to be some moments of silence as students wait to see who will be the first to answer. That’s OK. Give them time, ask lots of questions and they will jump right in with you.
- Don’t be deterred by a small turnout: I have only used this tool for one term and the highest turnout I have received so far is seven students. Yes, that is a small number. But the quality of the discussion is there. Keep hosting live lectures; they will catch on.
- Relax and be yourself: The first lecture I hosted was very straightforward, but in the second I let loose a bit, letting my personality show. It is OK if a portion of your lecture is informal. Students will feel they have a better sense of who you are. Remember, school should be fun, too!
- There is no reason not to do it: Instructors should be taking advantage of the live lecture tool. Our goal is to pass along knowledge, and to convey passion and urgency for the topic we teach. We should use every means possible to do so. No excuses.
The incorporation of Adobe Connect exemplifies the Florida Tech motto: High Tech with a Human Touch. So, pick a time and day, and just go for it!
Jarin Eisenberg is executive director of Melbourne Main Street and an instructor at Florida Institute of Technology, where she previously was coordinator of online degree programs at the Bisk College of Business. To learn more about Eisenberg, read our interview here.