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Student-teacher interaction is essential in online courses. Online courses require rich content that includes many modalities for students to choose their learning path, including text, audio, video, kinesthetic and other modes. This is one of the features of online learning that is difficult to produce and separates from traditional classroom learning. Learning in most classrooms is largely auditory with some visual aspects. Once kids know how to read, we largely teach through talking and listening.
The individualized tracks allow students to slow down or speed up their learning. If they want to watch a video to learn the content, they can. If they want to read, they can do that. This freedom is essential because it’s possible.
The above chart shows a triangle where students interact with the content as they would in any course through essential understandings, course goals, the insights they develop.
Teacher student interaction occurs through email. Online discussion boards are excellent ways for teachers to give every student feedback and additional ideas to consider. This is not possible in a traditional classroom, where discussions are dominated by the articulate few. Additionally, online sessions using video conferencing allow teachers to further explore concepts, assess students’ understand, and clear misconceptions — the essence of what teachers do in a traditional classroom.
Further another part of the triangle includes student-to-student interaction. This can occur through group projects, discussion boards, and discussions in video conferencing software, among others.
A strong combination of content, interactions with other students, and active interactions with their online teachers, students in virtual programs (online/blended/etc) can be successful.