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Supporting Teachers in the Transition to Online Teachers

Understanding the complete picture of becoming an online teacher and transitioning to remote teaching is important as it informs best practices in their professional development. Analyzing previous studies conducted before the recent pandemic is vital as it illustrates that it is not as straightforward as applying traditional methodologies and content to an online format. A teacher must first consider the learning objective our outcome and then leverage the appropriate tools to accomplish the goal. Schmidt et al. (2016) focused on first understanding which learning activities were most helpful to instructors to construct the best professional development topics. Gurley et al. (2018) deepened the understanding by studying educators’ perceived teaching presence and preparation to teach in blended and online learning environments. This study demonstrated that it is critical that teachers participate in a formal preservice training program before launching online courses. Before developing such programs, it is imperative to fully understand the stages of learning an instructor undergoes in the transition to online education. The threshold concepts studied by Kilgour et al. (2019) illustrate the core themes: course design, online presence, and interactivity. These key themes form the framework on which professional development topics may be constructed. Taking the whole picture of the transition to online teaching into account, Naylor & Nyanjom (2020) focused on understanding the emotional responses of new online teachers. This is valuable to institutions developing professional development programs and supporting teachers. Finally, Perrotta & Bohan (2020) examined the personal experiences of online teachers to identify which professional activities they perceived as positive and valuable. This study, in cooperation with the others, has the power to inform institutions on supportive and training best practices for teachers transitioning to online education. In the wake of a pandemic that required the world to question the very nature of teaching and force instructors into the online world with little preparation, these studies provide valuable insight into how we might have done it better.

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