What are the essential characteristics an online instructor should have in order to be an effective virtual teacher?

In our era where forms of communication are continuously evolving in the researching for the most effective ones. This context applies for the Online Education Community. When we are teaching we are communicating information, thus we first try to get to know who is our audience so that then we can adapt the way we will be communicating and deliver the information/lesson…

In the last 2 weeks we have been highlighting the common and differences between teaching in a face to face and an online class.

After that I have read the resources provided by our online lecturer and researched online, here under the main characteristics that I think an online educator should have:

–          Effective communication skills

–          Provide students with immediate feedback (within 24hours).

–          When grading student assignments, it’s best to provide constructive recommendations for improvement that are highly motivating and encouraging.

–          Make students feel they are a part of the program by letting them know how important their contribution is to the class.

–          Let students know they were missed when they return from being absent.

–          Students should perceive that the goals of their learning experience are directly related to their own personal goals. Also, their learning experience should be organized around what they see as relevant to the “real world.” The student is provided with self-directed and independent learning activities. The faculty should ensure that the learning environment is characterized by mutual trust and respect, freedom of expression, and acceptance of differences.

–          Engage students by hosting live webinars.

–          Establish an early alert system. Identify and assist underperforming students who are at risk. Recommend to the students to seek assistance with the appropriate support staff.

–          Help students establish specific goals for attending the program and each course. At the very beginning of the course, in the announcement section, the instructor should establish the course expectations. This ensures the students know early on what is required of them for a successful completion of the course. If the student does not meet their weekly goals, the faculty should contact the student and remind them of the course goals and help to get the student back on track.

–          Don’t wait for students to come to you with questions. Being proactive in encouraging communication is a good way to make sure students stay on track. [1]

–          Be open to trying new technology tools. Technology changes rapidly, and an important part of your job is being able to explore new tools and decide what does and doesn’t work.

–          Experience online courses from a learner’s perspective by taking a virtual class. Being a student in an online environment is likely to help you pinpoint what works best.

–          Teach to manage online time well. Virtual teaching requires a lot of advance planning to pull together the resources for each lesson and to have a backup plan if technical problems arise.

A challenging question about what other students think not what Colleges highlight…

Which online instructor characteristics would help students succeed ? [2]

Anne Arundel Community College asked students in 27 sections of online psychology courses to answer the following multiple-choice question:

The comments from participants, they identified communication/availability and feedback as the two primary characteristics that the students found important in their online courses. Students wanted frequent, timely communication and substantive feedback on their assignments.


[1] Katie Ash,  Published in Print: June 17, 2009, as Characteristics of ‘Highly Qualified’ Online Teachers


[2] Donald Orso and Joan Doolittle are psychology professors at Anne Arundel Community College Reprinted from “Instructor Characteristics That Affect Online Student Success.” Online Classroom,(October 2011): 2,7.



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