iNACOL, the International Association for k-12 Online Learning, has an updated version of the national standards as they relate/define quality online teaching strategies and practices. A recent article in eSchool News regarding the updated standards indicates that the field is changing so rapidly that even the terminology used has become outdated within the past 12 months.
As online learning becomes more the norm, the standards are meant to guarantee that teachers are well informed and capable of providing a personalized learning environment for each student. What makes an effective online teacher?
Great question! Although I have not experienced it often, the few online teachers I have had have not always been effective. I think an online teacher must be aware of all participants/students- their needs and their understanding of the topics being covered. Communication is key! The online experience I had last year with Thinkfinity was great! I loved having tasks to complete and discussions to respond to. But I especially loved the feedback from my teacher/instructor. Those few words of encouragement or guidance were priceless! Communication is key--- had to reiterate it because it really does mean the world to any online student. My two cents.
I agree that communication is key. In a brick and mortar situation, the first things teachers do is connect with the students. Why would virtual be any different? I also believe the ability of the teacher to do more than just grade papers is needed. A successful on-line teacher needs to be teaching, not just grading and sending cute comments back.