The Benefit of Online Teaching for Traditional Classroom Pedagogy: A Case Study for Improving Face-to-Face Instruction


Mischelle Taylor Stone and Suzzane Perumean-Chaney.  “The Benefit of Online Teaching for Traditional Classroom Pedagogy: A Case Study for Improving Face-to-Face Instruction.  Merlot Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, volume 7, number 3 (September 2011): 393-400.

Abstract: Much of the literature concerned with online education has focused on the development and implementation of strategies and techniques for improving learner outcomes. Other studies have examined the varying levels of expertise both students and instructors possess in using online technology, or how courses delivered in traditional classrooms can be modified for online delivery. Missing from the literature has been a discussion of how teaching online can inform traditional classroom pedagogy. This paper details the authors’ experience with the development and delivery of an online statistics course. The pedagogical and practical benefits of teaching online are identified, and specific suggestions are made for how instructors can use these benefits to improve their traditional classroom pedagogy.

The authors reach the following conclusions:

  1. Improved ability to know what material is “essential” to the students’ understanding and learning. A focused delivery of traditional pedagogy minimizes student confusion and misunderstandings and leaves time for additional activities that can be used to enhance student learning.
  2. Improved ability to logically and consistently organize and deliver course material. The use of weekly modules containing an overview that summarizes the lecture topic and objectives is helpful to both the instructor and the student in organizing course material
  3. Improved willingness to seek out and complete training on how to teach in the traditional classroom. While some colleges and universities require training to teach online, few, if any, require training to teach in the classroom. Many colleges and universities provide both individual and group training to instructors who are new to teaching, and the experience of teaching online can enhance an instructor’s desire and ability to be a better teacher in the traditional classroom.
  4. Improved ability to create multiple strategies for the submission of student work and clarification of misunderstandings. The experience of teaching online enables instructors to devise varied strategies for the submission of course work, and provides additional arenas for the instructor to clarify misunderstandings in a forum in which all students can participate.
  5. Improved ability to use new technologies for the development and delivery of instruction. Knowing what tools are available for course development and delivery can broaden an instructor’s ability to prepare course materials and deliver them in creative, stimulating ways.
  6. Improved ability to maintain the course schedule.
  7. Improved ability to maintain contact with all students in the course. In traditional classrooms, students can sit quietly for weeks, engaging little, if at all, with the instructor, the material, or their peers. Teaching online exposes instructors to a wide variety of strategies for enhancing student engagement because they must participate.
  8. Improved pedagogical versatility. Being proficient teaching in multiple venues increases one’s own instructional flexibility, and also increases the flexibility of a department to deliver instruction to students.
  9. Improved student access to the course material during instructor absences. Having the course material created by the instructor available during the instructor’s absence facilitates student learning and helps maintain the course schedule.
  10. Improved student learning due to the repetitive availability of course material, including practice problems and solutions. Once voice-over lectures have been created, they can be uploaded to Blackboard for use in any course.

The article is available here.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.

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