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Over the past several years, online learning has become more prevalent and relevant in communities around the world. At all education levels, remote learning opportunities are increasingly prevalent, with even the youngest learners figuring out how to navigate virtual classrooms.

As the demand for online learning continues to increase, some educators may be considering remote teaching opportunities. Keep reading to learn how to teach online and develop the skills needed for remote teaching.

What Is Online Teaching?

Online teaching (or remote teaching) is the practice of educating students on a virtual platform, allowing educators to use digital tools, such as video conference software, learning management systems, and virtual learning platforms, to provide students with lessons.

Online learning has become more popular, particularly in the years following the COVID-19 pandemic, when students of all ages were learning virtually to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Today, many students learn online, from elementary-aged students to grad students.

The Pros and Cons of Online Teaching

While teaching was once considered a job that had to be done in person, many are now seeing that there are both advantages and disadvantages to online teaching.

According to Indeed, some of the top benefits of online teaching include:

  • Increased flexibility in the workplace. When remote teaching, educators can work from a space where they are most comfortable, with some having the opportunity to teach from home. The hours are often more flexible as well, as there are usually both synchronous and asynchronous components to online teaching.
  • Improved ability to differentiate instruction. Digital learning platforms provide teachers with a variety of tools and resources to deliver their lesson plans, allowing teachers to select the method that is right for their students.
  • A better sense of connection with students. Some online teachers have found that they can facilitate longer, more in-depth discussions in a virtual classroom, often because there are fewer distractions and students are more focused. In addition, teachers have more opportunities to connect with their students on an individual basis, often scheduling one-on-one video calls with them to check on how they are progressing.

As with anything, there are some drawbacks to consider. Some of the disadvantages to online teaching include:

  • Technology issues can disrupt the learning environment. Remote teaching, by its very nature, is heavily dependent on digital tools and resources. At times, devices may require repairs or there may be internet connectivity issues, which can prevent or disrupt the learning process.
  • The digital learning environment may not be right for all students. Online teachers may have to adjust based on the needs of their students to ensure that the experience is beneficial for all students.

The Future of Teaching With Online Coursework

Once considered a less common alternative to on-campus courses and classrooms, online learning has rapidly become the norm of modern education. Moving forward, online coursework will likely maintain its pivotal role in education.

Online learning will continue to play a powerful role in the future of teaching because it is flexible, accessible, cost-effective, and customizable.

Skills and Certifications for Online Teaching

Online teaching requires you to develop both classroom management and teaching skills as well as technical skills. The most important skills for online teachers to develop include:

  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Subject expertise
  • Online classroom management
  • Proficiency with classroom technology

Like educators who work in a traditional, in-person classroom environment, online teachers working in primary and secondary schools should also have the necessary licensure and certification their state requires for. In addition, they may also earn specific online teaching certifications to hone the skills needed in a virtual learning environment.

Does an Online Teacher Need Specific Certifications?

While online teachers are not mandated to acquire specific certificates for virtual instruction, pursuing such credentials can be highly beneficial. Certificates in online teaching equip educators with essential skills and strategies to effectively navigate virtual classrooms. These programs often cover topics such as designing and delivering online instruction, utilizing learning management systems, and implementing innovative online teaching techniques. Ultimately, obtaining certificate in online teaching enhances educators’ proficiency and confidence in delivering high-quality virtual education experiences.

How to Establish Credibility as an Online Teacher?

To be an effective and impactful online teacher, you will need to establish credibility. According to LinkedIn, you can easily establish credibility as an online teacher when you showcase your subject expertise, let your personality shine through, and solicit feedback from your students. By being transparent and accountable, your students will begin to see that you are a dedicated teacher who is willing to go the extra mile to earn their trust and respect.

Planning and Preparing for Online Teaching

All teachers, regardless of the grade level they teach or the learning environment they work in, must be prepared for every lesson. However, planning and preparing for online teaching looks slightly different than it does in a traditional classroom environment.

These are a few of the factors that you will need to consider when planning and preparing for an online lesson:

Course Planning and Structure

If you are in charge of designing and implementing an online course, you will need to create a structure for the course that is cohesive and effective for online learning. These are the steps you should take when planning out the structure of an online course:

  • Start by creating an outline for the course and establishing goals and desired outcomes.
  • After you have made your outline, identify the types of content you plan to use within the course. Most online courses include a variety of content and media to increase engagement and accommodate all learning styles.
  • Verify that the course design is user-friendly and that students will be able to easily navigate through the lessons. The design should be fluid and intuitive, allowing students to move from one component to the next with ease.
  • Include both synchronous and asynchronous components. Synchronous components happen in real-time and allow you to provide your students with instant feedback. Asynchronous components allow students to complete their work at their own pace, giving both you and them some much-needed flexibility.

Mastering Technology for Online Teaching

Technology plays a pivotal role in online teaching, and you will need to become proficient in a wide variety of digital tools and resources to effectively teach online.

The most common types of educational technology used in online teaching include:

  • Course management systems
  • Quiz and exam tools
  • Live delivery platforms or videoconferencing tools
  • Interactive learning labs

Creating an Effective Virtual Classroom Environment

The learning environment for your virtual classroom may vary based on the age of your students or the subject area you are teaching. However, you can take steps to ensure that any virtual learning environment is welcoming and effective.

As you begin to plan your course and create your classroom environment, get creative. You can add personal touches that will make your online learning space feel both fun and inviting. For example, you may want to create a classroom home page that mimics an in-person classroom — design a virtual bulletin board, include a link to an e-library for quiet reading, and add a button where students can quickly send you a message.

When the course begins, you should involve your students in the process of establishing a classroom environment. Together, you and your students can come up with a set of norms and etiquette rules that will guide behavior in your online learning environment. For instance, you can decide whether students should raise their hands during a video conference to ask a question, or simply type their question into the chat. By allowing students to help establish norms and guidelines, you are showing them that they are a valued and respected part of the classroom.

Tips for Effective Online Teaching

These are a few tips and strategies that may help you become a more effective online teacher:

Encouraging Student Interaction and Discussions

Discussion-based learning is an integral part of the online learning experience, with many students and teachers feeling that they can have more productive and in-depth discussions in a virtual environment. As an online teacher, you should create moments where students can interact with one another and engage in discussion, as this will help create a greater sense of community within your online classroom.

Communication Strategies for Online Teaching

You must be able to communicate clearly and effectively if you are planning to teach online. When communicating with your students online, you should:

  • Keep messages as short as possible and only include the most pertinent information.
  • Clearly identify action items within the communication.
  • Communicate on a regular basis. For example, you may want to send a classroom update each Monday or a wrap-up e-mail every Friday.
  • Rely on different communication methods to reach all your students. E-mail, text messages, video messages, and audio recordings can all be incorporated into an online teaching communication plan.

Motivating Your Students in Online Classes

Keeping students motivated in an online learning environment can be challenging. By keeping students engaged and interested in your coursework, you will ensure that they keep signing on day after day, week after week. You can increase student motivation by:

  • Using varied instructional methods to ensure no two days are alike.
  • Adding interactive components, such as games and surveys, to your classroom lesson plans.
  • Providing students with timely feedback and being receptive to any feedback they have for you.

Setting Clear Expectations for Your Students

Similar to a traditional, in-person learning environment, you will want to establish guidelines and expectations for your classroom. When your students know what you expect of them, they are less likely to become disenchanted or disengaged by the learning experience. As an online teacher, you should outline when you expect students to appear for synchronous learning, how you expect them to submit assignments, and what they can do to participate fully in class.

Being Present and Active in the Virtual Classroom

As a teacher, you play a key role in the classroom environment and community culture. You should be present and active in classroom life, including on discussion boards, in social media groups that you have created for your class, and during video conferencing sessions. Students should feel as if they can come to you to discuss any concerns or questions they have, and they cannot do that unless you are an active participant in your own virtual learning space.

Types of Online Teaching Jobs You Can Explore

Online teachers work in a variety of capacities within the field of education. According to Indeed, some of the most common types of online teaching jobs include online classroom teachers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels; online professors and instructors at the collegiate level; online adult education providers; and online tutors.

Knowing the types of students you want to work with and the subject areas you want to teach will help you determine which type of online teaching job may be the best fit for you.

Online Tutoring Jobs for Teachers

Online tutoring allows teachers to focus on a specific subject area and work with students either in a group setting or on an individual basis. Known for its flexibility and versatility, online tutoring is an excellent option for teachers looking to work remotely and create their own schedules. Online tutors are often responsible for reviewing course material with students, developing practice tests and quizzes, and offering support in targeted areas to improve student outcomes.

Online ELT Teaching Jobs

English Language Teachers (ELTs), also known as ESL teachers, specialize in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to students whose primary language is not English. Online ELTs often work with English language learners seeking fluency. They utilize digital teaching tools to assist students in developing their English reading, writing, and speaking skills.Top of Form

Getting Started With Your Online Teaching Journey

A foundation in education will allow you to begin your online teaching journey. Before you begin exploring opportunities in online teaching reflect on your strengths as an educator and determine what types of roles may be best for you. Although an online teaching certificate may not be required for the positions you are considering, these types of programs can help you develop the skills needed to teach effectively in a virtual learning environment.

What Are Some Common Challenges Faced by New Online Teachers?

Online teaching may be incredibly rewarding, but new online teachers face similar challenges that you may need to overcome:

  • Gauging student interest and engagement levels. It can be tricky to know whether students are truly engaged in the course, particularly when you are new to online teaching.
  • Knowing how to choose the right digital tools for the lesson you have planned.
  • Striking the right balance between giving students flexibility to complete their work and allowing them to have too much free time.

H2: Earn a Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching at Post University

At Post University, we offer a Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching that features a skills-based curriculum specific to remote teaching. Request more information about our programs today.

The Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching is not designed to fulfill the educational requirements for any educational credential, such as a state teacher’s license. Professional credentials vary by state and include requirements outside of education, which may include exams, background checks, work experience, and more. Learn about teaching certification requirements through the state departments of education:

Thank you for reading! The views and information provided in this post do not reflect Post University programs and/or outcomes directly. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, you can find a complete list of our programs on our website or reach out directly!

Please note jobs and/or career outcomes highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs or career outcomes expected from any Post program. To learn more about Post’s programs and their outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions advisor.