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Online Instructors on the Front Lines of Tech Support

Online instructors are not strangers to technology support. Often working with multiple tools and platforms, including the learning management systems that deliver their courses, they rely on support as they develop their own skills and troubleshoot issues with students. This can be both time consuming and distracting, particularly in introductory courses as students learn not only the subject matter, but also how to "get around" on a virtual campus and in a virtual classroom.

This week our guest host Jennifer Shamsy, an instructional designer and online educator, will explore the instructor's role. Join us and share your experiences and suggestions!

The following questions will guide our discussion:

Q1) What kinds of tech assistance are online instructors typically called on to provide to students in their courses?

Q2) What should the instructor's role be in providing tech support to students in an online course?

Q3) How could the instructor's role in providing tech support change based on the level/type of course?

Q4) How much time should online instructors spend on providing tech support to students? What is your experience?

Q5) How do institutions support instructors who provide tech support during their online courses? Could this be improved upon?

Q6) What is your advice for instructors? Time management, workload, and student support.

Q7) What's on the horizon? Share your predictions for the future role of instructors as courses incorporate additional technologies!

This week's read-aheads:

Reducing the Online Instructor's Workload [PDF] from EDUCAUSE Quarterly

Guidelines for Professional Development of Online Teachers [PDF] from Southern Regional Education Board

The Role of Technical Support and Pedagogical Guidance Provided to Faculty in Online Programs from Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

Preparing Instructors for Quality Online Instruction from Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

Gearing Up: 4 Tech Basics for Online Learning from