This paper outlines the researcher's individual growth and evolution of online instruction over the span five years. The details of this paper include a synthesis of recent research combined with online teaching experience. The method used is autoethnography in which the author seeks to analyze personal experience within the cultural context of teaching in the virtual classroom. The data collection included notes, peer and student evaluations, interviews with colleagues, and course materials (syllabi, assignments, rubrics etc.). The result is a document that serves as a guideline for current and future online instructors. The paper provides a glimpse into the process of learning how to embrace and understand the pedagogy of online teaching. The author describes the progression of accessing professional development opportunities, learning to utilize a learning management system, and organizing content. Furthermore, within the context of research and experience, this paper explains the importance of creating measurable student learning outcomes and aligning assessment. Technology tools are discussed as well, as an integral role of instruction. Finally, the author examines the challenges, the commitment, and the lessons learned as a developing online professor. The author recognizes that this type of research does not utilize quantitative data, but relies on data collected through qualitative means. However, the information provided in this paper is grounded in research and enhanced by personal experience, allowing the reader an opportunity to make connections and improve his/her own online teaching.
Jill Purdy, Cedar Crest College, USA
Stream: Teaching online
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