Ensuring that all students assume good intentions.
One of the biggest issues that students have to overcome in a face to face class is the fear of doing well. Steinberg notes,
"Contemporary American society pulls teenagers away from school toward social and recreational pursuits. There is widespread peer pressure not to succeed academically. One of five students say that their friends make fun of people who try to do well in school. More than one-half of all students say they never discuss their schoolwork with friends."
With the amount of peer pressure that students face, allowing online education is one way to fight out against this. Making learning "cool" or "important" is a constant battle that we face. Any portion of online education has to overcome this hurdle.
Students should be taught in the first on line sitting that we had to assume good intentions and that is where criticism comes from. Without the ability to see facial expressions or hear tone and pitch, things that are printed on the screen can be interpreted in a context that the author never meant.
We want our students to think that reading is the key to unlock the doors of success. We are able to use the technology to help dispel the myth that reading is only for "nerds" or that being cool means that you are not supposed to do school work. One misstep can undo a long period of hard work. This can be ruined by one comment from another student.
By having the learning done without the usual brick and mortar setting can lead to breakthroughs. In designing a class, the ability to connect, without the fear of being criticized is an important step. Ice Breakers are designed to lessen some of the anxiety that has built up with any classroom. Also, group work is given to learn how to depend on your fellow classmates. The ability to sink or swim can forge connections as well.
One of the advantages of online education is that you can blend into the educational experience. Some people are here only for the knowledge and nothing else. They are not trying to make new colleagues to lean on, only people to help them prepare for tests and other projects. For people that might find themselves intimidated by the larger classroom setting, online provides that hint of anonymity to allow freedom of expression for some students.
Making sure that written instructions are clear and concise.
One of the inherent weaknesses with online instruction is the instructor cannot use student feedback or interaction to change the course of the activity or instruction.
Most good teachers can figure out when something is not working right and quickly change on the fly, or provide better instructions to help the student achieve the desired outcome.
READ 180 has lexile level books to insure that the students are reading books that are approximated for their ability. Teaching face to face can constrain a teacher to teaching to the grade level, instead of teaching to the student.