WikiEdProfessional eLearning Guidebook/An Overview/Case study - An empathetic teacher would help

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An empathetic teacher would also help a lot!

I like to share my personal experience concerning online learning. I received my first degree in mathematics and a minor in Education without any online experience but then that was over 15 yrs. ago. Recently, I received my Master's in Adult Ed. and was introduced to online learning. As far as my background is concerned, I have always been apprehensive about learning online exclusively.

My position was if I have survived all these years and have accomplished my goals without it, then what was the need? However, in the last year of my Master's program, I realized it was pertinent that I pick up on this trend if I was to work with my adult clienteles effectively.

Fortunately, I had a very encouraging and non-threatening instructor who eased me into this realm. A knowledgeable instructor can help reduce much of the anxiety of getting into this intimidating mode of learning. My first online course with her was half and half. Meaning that the first half of the semester was business as usual but she introduced bits and pieces of how to use the computer. The latter half was to use technology completely. We were given guides and resources on how to gather information online and how to evaluate this information. Most importantly, she did not assume that we were all computer nerds. She provided an inviting atmosphere and we were comfortable in asking basic questions such as copy and paste, sending and opening attachments etc.

After this course, I got the courage to take the next course under her completely online. We worked with Blackboard within which we built a support system that helped enrich this type of learning. Following this, the rest of my courses were completely online and I found the convenience and the autonomy beneficial to my situation. I lived an hour away from the university and had to drive 3 times/week in the evening and that was exhausting.

I believe some background and experience with information and communications technology is critical when engaging with online learning, but I know now that a well-trained and empathetic instructor is even more critical to success in online learning.