Online Teaching Part 2

I received two insightful comments after posting about online teaching. Since then, I’ve also had a look at what Sue at An ELT Notebook previously posted about online learning, and I’d encourage others to check it out – the three articles touch on several issues relevant to online teaching.

One thing that struck me in connection to both comments I received was that my thoughts on online teaching are greatly influenced by my own experience – perhaps so much so that it’s unwise for me to try to generalize without mentioning that as a disclaimer first.

Given the mention in both comments of utilizing online learning as part of a regular class, it does make sense that this could play a larger and larger role in classroom learning in the future; I don’t think a takeover is imminent, but it could well have an impact in time.

I also don’t disagree with the idea that there is a segment of the population which completely online teaching would appeal to, but I still don’t feel totally convinced that this segment is large enough to greatly impact classroom teaching. For a busy professional who already has a computer and internet access, online learning will be a cheaper and likely more convenient alternative – but while I really have no sense of demographics of EFL learners, I just think that many don’t have that level of access. That said, it’s possible that companies which currently pay for their employees to learn English – especially during working hours – might have an interest in saving money by using completely online learning.

Amy’s comment made me realize that I didn’t even consider school-age learners in English-speaking countries! I still don’t think adult ESL learners in such countries are generally in a position to switch to online learning, but for kids in school it might be a more realistic option, at least as part of their learning. However, public schools are certainly not in danger of being completely replaced with online learning – so I still wouldn’t see it as a threat.

In conclusion, I don’t know what I think anymore! It is both a wide and interesting topic and I’m curious to hear the opinions of others and also… just to see what happens.

** Sue recently reported some problems posting a comment on the other online teaching post – if anyone else is having an issue, please let me know at tefl_logue at yahoo dot com.