May 22, 2016
Are you looking to teach an online course for the first time? Or have you already taught online but are looking for some tips to help you become more effective?
The world of online learning is expanding at a rapid pace.
More courses are being offered and more students are enrolling every semester. And while teaching an online course can be done while sitting at your computer in your pajamas, being an effective online instructor requires a good deal of practice and preparation.
Of course, teaching online does take away the face to face involvement with students. Nothing can take the place of seeing a student smile after finally understanding a difficult concept.
But online teaching can be even more rewarding than on-campus teaching, when done well.
What makes an effective online instructor?
While good teaching involves a large number of qualities and techniques, effective online teaching centers on three main points:
1) You must be clear about your expectations!
Since students are not sitting right in front of you, it is extremely important to be very clear. Since you cannot see the students, you cannot see them sitting with a puzzled look while nodding their head in agreement.
How do you know if you are clear enough?
Ask the students.
Carefully evaluate the quality of the work, and how close the finished product matches the instructions.
Have a colleague read your material before the course begins.
If student evaluations are distributed at the end of the semester, you can use the feedback to help you improve your course and teaching techniques ñ but keep in mind that by then you can no longer help the students learn what you want them to learn!
2) You must communicate frequently and effectively!
Most students will expect you to be sitting at your computer whenever they send you a question by email. Of course, that is not practical, nor is it reasonable. So it is a good idea to give students a time frame in which you will respond, with 24-48 hours being typical.
And itís not enough to just communicate frequently. You must also communicate effectively. While some students (especially new online students) will want you to ìtake them by the handî through each step, if you already have clearly written instructions, you can direct them to the instructions.
Keep in mind that most students are not asking you questions to bother you ñ usually, they just want to make sure they are doing what you want them to do. So be understanding, even when you get questions that make you shake your head.
If you get the same questions frequently, it is a good idea to save the questions ñ and your responses ñ to create a ìfrequently asked questionsî section.
3) You must let your personality shine through!
If students just wanted to read a book, they wouldn’t need you to read it for them. So, when teaching online, avoid taking the easy way out by simply posting a few readings and having students answer the questions:
Add a little of your personality to your assignments and communications (but be careful when using humor, as it is difficult to convey online).
Give real life examples that you have learned from being the subject matter expert.
Create interesting and interactive assignments to help students really learn the material.
Good teaching, like being good at anything, takes practice.
If you are clear if you stay in close contact with your students and if you create an interesting learning experience, you will be the online instructor that students want to learn from!
July 14, 2015
If you’re looking to borrow a sum of money then the chances are that you’ll look to take out a personal loan rather than any other type. The term personal loan is simply used to describe standard types of borrowing – i.e. a loan taken out by a consumer rather than a business for general purposes (but not for a mortgage which is obviously dealt with by a mortgage loan).
The majority of personal loans can be used for any purpose and the chances are that your lender won’t even be hugely interested in what you want the money for. Their primary concern is checking that you’ll be able to repay your loan! This situation can be different with specialist loans (which also fall under the banner of personal loans) such as home improvement loans and car loans, for example. These loans are expected to be used for their specified purpose – i.e. a major DIY project or a car purchase.
Apart from this fact the majority of personal loans work in much the same way. You apply for your loan, get your money and then spend it as you intended. You will then make a regular payment (usually on a monthly basis) to your lender to repay the money you borrowed for the period of time in your loans agreement. This payment will be made up of a sum of money that goes to pay off the original sum you borrowed plus a sum that goes towards paying off the interest you’ll be charged. So, at the end of your loan term you’ll have repaid your original borrowings and the interest attached to your particular loan.
One difference worth noting here is that between unsecured and secured personal loans. Unsecured loans are given to consumers without security (or to those that choose not to use available security to get a loan). These loans will generally have higher interest rates attached to them than secured loan options and you may be restricted in how much you can actually borrow here. Secured loans, on the other hand, will have lower interest rates and can be taken out for higher sums. The reason behind this is the fact that this kind of loan will use your property (usually your home) as a guarantee against your loan. So, if you default on your repayments your lender has a cast-iron guarantee that they will get their money back via the property you used as security.
If you aren’t a home owner then you will generally be restricted to taking out unsecured loans here but, if you do own your own property, then you’ll have to make a choice between a secured or unsecured loan. This really boils down to personal preference and how comfortable you are using your home as security in order to get a better deal. In the majority of cases this isn’t an issue and most people will opt for secured loans to get the right kinds of rates and loan amounts for their purposes.
Do be careful to make sure that you understand the beginners guide to personal loans both how it works and how to get the best rates for the loans you take out before you sign up to anything. There are hundreds of sites on the Internet that can give you more detailed information or that can even help you apply for a loan – take a look online for personal loans in a UK search engine (such as msn.co.uk for example) before you start for some useful information.