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Why Connectedness is Important in Online Teaching

Online teaching has been in existence for over two decades. The concept is not new. However, the constant emergence of new models, tools, and environments makes the transition from brick and mortar to online cumbersome for many teachers. They need to quickly adapt and transition to this instructional model and implement new tools and pedagogy. While some online teachers have made a seamless passage, others report a lack of training and support. Even though there is scholarly research on the evaluation of teacher readiness, there exists a gap in examining the affective domains of teachers' perceptions and abilities to teach online and how those perceptions and emotions are impacted by organizational culture.

Studies show that online instructors' perceptions of being connected to and supported by other faculty members had a positive impact on their ability to adopt new technologies. Teachers who perceived a high level of support were more likely to persevere in online learning activities (Hung, 2016). Additionally, when faculty members themselves are involved in the process of professional development, they take a sense of ownership and connectivity to the process itself (Baran & Correia, 2014). Overall, positive work culture and supportive supervisors were named as important to institutional support (Hung, 2016).

Through a culturally abundant environment, teachers collaborate, take risks, and experience growth as leaders as well as within their organizations.

Teachers' mindset in the transition to online teaching should be considered as it relates to the importance of cultivating a culture of abundance. Feelings of frustration and inadequacy are common characteristics of novice online teachers (Bennett, 2014). Their fears and concerns coupled with the identity shift from teacher-centered to student-centered instruction resulted in teachers feeling exposed to areas outside their levels of expertise (Cutri, & Mena, 2020). In a culture of abundance, teammates demonstrate compassion and forgiveness, allowing new online teachers to show their vulnerability without negative consequences. Through rapport building and collaboration, teachers may be empowered to adopt the new technology, models, and pedagogy that online instruction requires.

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