Teaching Online is a clear, accessible and reassuringly practical book - essential reading for anyone interested in online teaching and course delivery. The authors share their wealth of experience in a fundamental area of interest to language teaching professionals today. It deals comprehensively with: - ways you should approach both online and blended courses - tools you should know about - techniques you should use for successful online teaching Teaching Online contains three distinctive parts which focus in turn on theory, practice and development: Part A gets you started and building your own online course, and recommends a route, from course sites to course behaviour, that will take you safely towards successful online teaching. It is accompanied by a wide-ranging list of tools for teaching, from blogs to word clouds. Part B provides a bank of practical activities that cover the four skills, language work and evaluation, with special sections for activities to begin and finish an online course. Additional comments provide insights on how to make your online teaching more effective Part C investigates avenues for your further online development, both professional and personal, with references to Web 2.0 tools that connect you with the worldwide professional community of teachers and an introduction to the concept of the PLN (Personal Learning Network) for your individual development.
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It feels like a very long time ago, but in fact it was only 1997. Those were the early days of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), and I cut my teeth writing materials and tutoring on an online MA programme.
I learned the hard way. I'm primarily an educator, a face-to-face language teacher and teacher trainer. I knew next to nothing about technology back then. Apart from a technician in a T-shirt telling me (far too fast) how our online platform worked, I had absolutely no training. Suddenly I found myself running this full MA programme online, with real students, and it was sink or swim. I don't think I exactly swam gold medal style but I managed to keep my head above water, although it cost me many sleepless nights. The course had no classroom component at all. As a face-to-face trainer, I knew it was important to get the group to gel online, and I also had to help my learners find their way around the VLE - all at a distance.
Where to start? What to do? How to design interactive and meaningful tasks for my learners? How to make the whole experience enjoyable for them and for me? How to keep us all afloat - for two whole years? I really didn't know. Nevertheless, for six months I survived and group seemed to be coming along fine.
Then things changed. I took a six-week fully-online course run by a university in the UK.
A revelation! As a learner on a well-designed online course, I learned more in six weeks than in six months on my own. Not only important things about task design but, more importantly, I had the experience of being an online learner myself. It was a real eye-opener.
Although I consider myself an independent and self-motivated learner, I started to realise just how important tutor support is online, how a fast response time is fundamental, how being heard and responded to by both tutor and peers is vital, how tasks can be meaningful and collaborative. And praise! I needed praise from my tutor. Lots of it!
That's why Lindsay and I got together to write this book. Because, even now, there are still many of you out there who are asked to provide learners with online and blended (partly online) learning, but are given no support. You may get technical help with the VLE, but you often get no pedagogical support at all. We hope this book will provide it.
Nicky Hockly has been in ELT for over 20 years. She is Director of Pedagogy of The Consultants-E, specialising in online learning, teaching and training. Co-author of How to Teach English with Technology (Pearson Longman) and Learning English as a Foreign Language for Dummies (John Wiley), she spends most of her working life online.
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