Is online teaching impersonal?

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by Kizmet, Dec 11, 2015.

  1. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  2. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    But we all know this....
    Two students come to mind - 1 was in one of my first classes in 2006 and we still email each other. The second has become what I would consider a friend and I just spoke to him this week about helping with a project.
  3. palaver

    palaver New Member

    One of the toughest things for me to overcome as a distance learner has been how to collaborate with other students and teachers. Communication is often difficult in distannce learning and being impersonal, as a student and teacher, is sometimes an easy trap to fall into. It's tough working with people you don't know and likely will never meet in real life. One way to work on this is make mandatory a group project. Online collaboration tools are really getting impressive in terms of allowing the ability to work in real-time with others in editing or creating documents.

    I've used Google tools in the past but wasn't hugely impressed, but recently have been trying out ProofMe ( and have been pretty impressed. The free accounts have 5gb of storage space with no limits on the number people who can edit and access documents. It integrates pretty well with other online storage websites like Dropbox and Onedrive and has sharing capabilities with almost all social media outlets. I think it would be really good for marketing courses where you need multiple people working on a product design all at the same time and giving feedback on others' work.
  4. mainearaprado

    mainearaprado New Member

    No, it's not impersonal. I remember teaching ESL online to Japanese and Korean individuals. I felt like it was even more personal than teaching in a classroom setting as you get to spend time with each and every one of your students. You get to ask them about their day, you discuss a lot of things, and you learn a lot about them. This is a great way to develop a pretty solid bond, if you ask me.
  5. kajalsengupta

    kajalsengupta member

    No I do not think it is impersonal. It depends on how you connect with others. I teach online and must admit that I have made great connections in course of my work. It is not necessary to meet physically to get connected.
  6. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  7. jonlevy

    jonlevy Member

    I suspect in some respects it is more personal as students may feel safer sharing information with an online mentor. One of my former students is now a colleague of mine and collaborator. However the bulk of students certainly are swiftly forgotten.
  8. TomE

    TomE New Member

    Maybe it is more impersonal for the 5-10 percent of students who would generally be "dominating" in-class conversations, but for the vast majority, and particularly for those who would NEVER otherwise speak up in an in-person class, it can actually be MORE personal with discussion boards making weekly contributions a requirement. Where a professor would never know a student's name other than on a test (and maybe not even then if test grading was relegated to TAs), in the online environment, at least there is regular, weekly "interaction".
  9. Davewill

    Davewill Member

    I'd say it depends more on the teacher and student than whether the class is online or not. I've seen professors that are very impersonal in their style in classroom settings, and I've had online teachers that were very hands on. By the same token, if a student can choose not to participate in discussions, or ask questions in either setting. Of course if the student makes the choice, one could argue that he has "personalized" the course his own way, I suppose.

    I also think that for some students, the online environment allows easier participation, because they find it easier to write a discussion post than to spontaneously participate in a classroom discussion.
  10. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Anyone who participates on DegreeInfo knows that online interaction can be personal. I think that environment is often not matched in online courses, but part of that is that so many learning management systems have abysmal forum design.
  11. jonlevy

    jonlevy Member

    Have to agree. Given the discussion board is so important, I have seen very little progress in the ten years I have been teaching online. One school I worked for did try some sort of blog plug in but it was not fully integrated and involved learning a second platform. Moodle, Blackboard, Angel etc. all seem to use the same plain dull format.

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