Step 4: Tying it All Together

Keys to Success

What are the key characteristics of successful remote instructors? As you explore the following list, honestly evaluate your own skills and aptitudes, and decide what areas to focus on for your professional growth.

Flexible Because remote instruction is still fairly new, you will certainly experience a few kinks along the way with the technology, the content, and your students. Stay on your toes. Know when to bend and when to regroup. Try new, creative solutions and be open to reevaluating your practices.

If you roll with the punches and learn from your errors, you will be fine.
Effective planners You will need time to transition content from a f2f class into the remote setting. Planning the course in advance avoids a potential disaster and reduces challenges. Students will be more comfortable if they can preview the content and make appropriate plans. This does not mean you cannot change the plan—see the previous item.
Consistent and clear Learning remotely can be frustrating if students do not know what to do. To minimize this frustration, provide thorough directions and set standards for successful completion. Let students know exactly what you expect from them: discuss communication etiquette, timelines and due dates, and completion requirements. Establish a routine for your course and encourage students to revise work that does not meet your standards.

You must also let students know what they can expect from you. Tell them how long it will take for you to respond to messages and grade assignments. Let them know when you will participate and when you expect them to carry the load. If circumstances force you to change expectations, make sure students know why.
Enthusiastic Some remote instructors have a tendency to hide behind the content. Students still need you and your personality to succeed! Make sure your presence is known. Show style in your writing. If students are intrigued by you, they will stay engaged in your course, participate, and work harder. Enthusiasm is contagious!
Inclusive Facilitate and create an inclusive climate in which all students feel welcome, safe, and integral. Encourage everyone’s input and participation.
Effective writers Remote teaching is writing intensive. First, your writing must be clear to your audience. From that foundation, work to add flair and recapture as much of the subtext of f2f communication as possible. Find ways to add humor, emotion, and empathy into your documents and postings.

While the core content must be clear, your ongoing communication is also critical: summarize main points, ask clarifying questions, provide encouragement, and offer meaningful feedback.
Comfortable with technology While advanced technical skills are not necessary, you need to be comfortable with word processing, file management, web browsing, and email. You need to be able to diagnose and troubleshoot the inevitable problems, while remaining focused and positive.

Now that you have completed the responsive course redesign workshop, you are ready to build the rest of your course. Additional resources are provided on the next page.

Go to Resources