With little advance warning, and time to prepare, the field of higher education rapidly transformed this year and almost all classes had to move to a virtual learning environment. To the surprise of some instructors and students, it was discovered learning could actually occur within this environment and academic rigor be upheld in the same manner as traditional classes, that is once instructors were able to overcome the initial learning curve. Making the transition from face-to-face teaching to online teaching is not an easy one, until you've taught a few classes and developed a teaching style.

Then there are those instructors and students who have already been familiar with this type of learning platform and did not have an initial adjustment period. There are online schools that have been serving a non-traditional, working adult population for quite some time, and doing so very effectively. I've been involved in the field of distance learning for over 15 years, both as an online learner and as a faculty member, and now I work for one of the premiere online universities. When the pandemic struck, this university was well-prepared to continue meeting the needs of adult learners of all ages who wanted to achieve new academic and/or career goals.    

It is likely the field of higher education will be forever changed, from an academic perspective and learner point-of-view. Learners who want to continue to feel safe understand more than ever that online classes provide a viable and convenient option for learning. I have been fortunate to have acquired many roles throughout my time in this field, from online educator to Chief Academic Officer. Based upon my experience in this field, I recently authored a series of posts about online teaching which can serve to provide you with a set of best practices for this seemingly new normal in higher education. I hope you are inspired by what you read.

Maintain Excellence in Online Teaching While Addressing Learner Challenges

Whenever you are challenged by a learner, this becomes an opportunity to demonstrate you really do care about this learner as a person. Or you can allow yourself to become further isolated and indifferent to what this learner actually needs because of the improper situation you find yourself in now. From my own experience, the greater the learner challenge, the more of a defining moment it becomes for your teaching practice.  

These are the challenges addressed in this post:

Students Who Do Not Want to Respond

Students Who Do Not Want to Cooperate

Students Who Do Not Want to Engage

Students Who Are Not Receptive

Students Who Cannot Communicate Properly

Learners who challenge you are not an indicator you have failed as an instructor in any manner. There will never be a perfect classroom environment, with a perfect set of learners. This just does not exist in reality. The nature of distance learning is going to present unique challenges for adults to adapt to and some will do so better than others.

To continue reading this post, please use this link: http://www.drbruceajohnson.com/blog/2020/04/maintain-excellence-online-teaching-while-addressing-learner-challenges

Five Strategies That Will Inspire Your Students to Learn in a Virtual Classroom

One of the challenges educators must learn to address involves engaging students they cannot see in the learning process. Even the most experienced online educators can find it challenging to do at times, especially for students who are not responsive to outreach attempts. I think about this very topic every time I start a new term, and I'm always re-evaluating how to evolve and inspire students in new ways.

These are the strategies presented in this post:

Strategy #1: Be Actively Engaged with Your Students

Strategy #2: Direct Involvement is Required

Strategy #3: Craft Feedback which Connects with Your Students

Strategy #4: Create a Persona in the Virtual Classroom

Strategy #5: Use Words to Represent You Thoughtfully and Carefully

Regardless of the approach you use, every instructional strategy you implement should be done with the purpose of closing the virtual gap. I've found students who feel connected to their instructor, because of the instructor's responsiveness, meaningful feedback, engaging discussion posts, thoughtful communication, and ease of accessibility, are those who are going to be most engaged in the learning process.

To continue reading this post, please use this link: http://www.drbruceajohnson.com/blog/2020/04/five-strategies-will-inspire-your-students-learn-virtual-classroom

Four Strategies Every Online Educator Needs for a Work-Life Balance

Online educators have been implementing the work-at-home model long before there was the 2020 crisis. Some referred to it as "teaching in your pajamas" – because of the nature of the job, which often meant for many, working a full-time position during the day while teaching as an adjunct during the evening hours. Those who are in a full-time position may still find themselves working during both daytime and evening hours, simply due to the needs of the learners and the requirements of classroom management.

These are the strategies presented in this post:

Strategy #1: Create a Professional Practice Philosophy Statement

Strategy #2: Create Your Schedule, One Week at a Time

Strategy #3: Stick to the Plan, When It's a Valid Plan

Strategy #4: Learn to Unplug When It's Time

Learning how to balance your daily and weekly tasks is an art, more than it is an exact science, and it will take some time and practice. If you have not been a remote employee before, this will require a new mindset. The best advice I can offer is to make certain you have a designated space to perform your teaching duties.  

To continue reading this post, please use this link: http://www.drbruceajohnson.com/blog/2020/03/four-strategies-every-online-educator-needs-work-life-balance

6 Critical Best Practices for Online Teaching: Be Prepared

To help you prepare for the requirements of online teaching, there are critical best practices you can implement to ensure you are effectively and substantively engaged in your class. These are the product of my work as an online educator, along with my work in faculty development, having been reviewed by the strictest of standards and applying these standards to faculty I've reviewed. You can use these best practices as a checklist for the development of your own online teaching practice, regardless of how long you've taught online classes.

These are the best practices presented in this post:

Best Practice #1. Become the Support Your Learners Need

Best Practice #2. Develop a Mindset Which Encourages Positivity

Best Practice #3. Be a Leader in Academic Writing

Best Practice #4. Become a Master of Your Course Materials

Best Practice #5. Be Determined to Become a Lifelong Learner

Best Practice #6. Establish a Standard of Excellence

While I am separated from my learners, I have found tools to bridge this gap and replace the distance with a virtual presence. Now with these six critical strategies, I can further assure learners I am there to support them and their progress in a nurturing, positive, and supportive manner. If you can take this approach yourself, perhaps you and your learners will find online learning to be a viable and enjoyable form of education.

To continue reading this post, please use this link: http://www.drbruceajohnson.com/blog/2020/03/6-critical-best-practices-online-teaching-be-prepared

Discover 5 Essential Learner-Centered Strategies For Online Instructors

Who is responsible for creating a nurturing and welcoming class? The answer of course is the instructor. Even when a course is pre-built and has all elements designed and in place, it is the instructor's active engagement that brings the class to life by modeling best practices and implementing learner-centered strategies. The strategies I've developed are a result of time and practice, noting what has been effective, and adapting to what learner's need in order to continue their academic development.

This involves more than just being "seen" in the class by learners, it also includes all interactions with them, which are teaching moments in and of themselves. Whether it is an email or a discussion post, everything an instructor responds to or develops has meaning, and a potential to engage the learner further in the class. Perhaps the following strategies will help you to continue to develop your instructional practice, while also creating a sense of purpose for the duties you perform in the classroom.

These are the strategies presented in this post:

Essential Strategy #1: Encourage Learners to Become Involved.

Essential Strategy #2: Always Offer Reassurance and Reinforcement.

Essential Strategy #3: Be Highly Present and Engaged.

Essential Strategy #4: Share Your Knowledge and Insight

Essential Strategy #5: Pay Attention to What Learners Need

This is what you will find at the very heart of a classroom where learner-centered strategies are being utilized, an educator who cares about their learners and is willing to take the time necessary to nurture their progress. Online teaching then becomes transformed, from a focus on job duties, functions, and time involved, to the needs of individual adult learners.  

To continue reading this post, please use this link: http://www.drbruceajohnson.com/blog/2020/03/discover-5-essential-learner-centered-strategies-online-instructors

About Dr. Johnson

Dr. Johnson has worked in the field of higher education and distance learning since 2005. He specializes in distance learning, adult education, faculty development, online teaching, career management, and career development. Dr. J has a Ph.D. in Postsecondary and Adult Education, a Certificate in Training and Performance Improvement, and a Master of Business Administration, MBA. Presently Dr. J is a Core Faculty member for one of the premiere online universities, fulfilling his life's mission to teach, mentor, write, and inspire others.

As a scholar practitioner, Dr. J was published in a scholarly journal and he has been a featured presenter at an international distance learning conference. He has also published over 200 online articles about adult learning, higher education, distance learning, online teaching, and career development.

Dr. J offers the following transformative resources:

• Brand New: Mindset Tune-Up Inspirational Card Deck:

Start your morning or transform your day with words of encouragement. Any time of the day, pick a card from the deck. You will feel uplifted and inspired, and the words will provide you with a sense of mental renewal.  You can also keep a card out during the day to remind yourself to stay focused on your best qualities and strengths. These are more than affirmations; these cards are personal self-empowerment statements.  

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Special Sale: http://www.drbruceajohnson.com/resources/dr-js-first-class-coffee-mug

Dr. J also offers:

• Transform Online Teaching: Expert Strategies and Essential Resources Every Educator Needs

• Appreciative Andragogy: Taking the Distance Out of Distance Learning

• Getting Down to Business: A Handbook for Adjunct Faculty Who Teach Business

Please Visit: http://www.drbruceajohnson.com/resources-and-store

About Affordable Quality Writing

Dr. J founded Afforded Quality Writing in 2003 to offer skill-based resume writing and strengths-based career coaching. Dr. J helps hundreds of clients each year by providing a well-written and highly effective resume, along with instilling in them a renewed self-confidence and sense of purpose.

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