On of the great misconceptions among teachers and administrators who have never developed or taught an online class and that is that teaching online is easier than brick-and-mortar classroom. teaching. The assumption is that once the course is online, it will somehow run itself.
I know it may not be politically correct to quote someone from Penn State (old rivalries die hard), but Dr. Lawrence C. Ragan has written a terrific, and succinct, commentary on this subject in "From Real to Virtual Classrooms: The 5 Key Transition Points."
Here are Dr. Ragan's 5 points with a few highlights I find particularly worthy of mentioning…
1. Teaching Presence
"Contrary to the belief of many novice online educators, the role of the online faculty member requires more, not less, attention to the role of instructor."
"Many of the traditional teaching methods do not translate well to the online classroom."
2. Changing Classroom Dynamics
"The type of and frequency of interactions changes online, and new boundaries for classroom behavior may need to be established."
3. Time Management
"It is generally accepted that the online classroom will require an additional 10-15% of faculty member’s time to successfully complete the course."
4. Learner Characteristics
"This potential diversity of learners can also challenge the faculty member to reconsider what she knows and believes of the students in their class."
5. Technology Interface
"The specific technological skill sets required to “survive” a first or even third online course offering can be very different than those developed after five or more offerings."
"Most learning management systems are complex, data driven environments with hidden and often overwhelming levels of nuance."