Enter Connecting with Students in Online Classes and Why Itcontent title here...
5 Ways to Build Relationships with Students as an Online Educator
The educational environment today is far different than years previous. With ever-increasing advancements in technology, education is becoming more accessible through the internet. An expansion into the world wide web has come with many benefits including an average decrease in price and more accessibility, but isn’t without some shortcomings as well. One of these shortcomings is the student-teacher relationship.
Why Building Student Relationships Matter
Since the inception of formal education, the student-teacher relationship has been integral to the success of the educational process. An educator presents their expertise to the student and in return, the student often provides critical feedback or a different perspective, creating a symbiotic relationship.
In online education, however, this relationship can often feel disconnected as there’s little to no face-to-face interaction or back-and-forth discussion. With that being said, this doesn’t have to be the case! Many online educators are finding ways to involve their students in more interactive work with personalized lessons. Here are 5 ways to connect with your online classes as an educator.
1. Educator Introduction
Starting your classes off with an educator introduction, whether it’s written or verbal, is a great way of starting a relationship with your students. This will show your students that although you’re there as a formal educator, you also have personality and interests that you may share with your students. This soft opening also can set the tone for the course in an easy, lighthearted way.
2. Student Introduction
Similar to that of an educator introduction, having student introductions can help build relationships between you, as an educator, and between other students. Creating these relationships will increase the likelihood that your students will work together and in turn, collaborate for success. Student introductions is the perfect opportunity to take key notes about each student which you can incorporate into your lessons, but more on that later.
3. Engaged Discussions
Having students partake in engaged discussions around class subjects can help create a sense of community and will promote critical discourse between student and teacher. This back and forth discussion is a great way to communicate to students where they’re able to respond rather than a one-way discussion.
4. Personalized Lessons
As mentioned in the student introduction section, leveraging the information you learn about your students gives you the ability to tailor your lessons to make them as relevant as possible. If you know that your students really enjoy music, have a lesson around the economics of the music industry. You’ll be amazed at how more involved your students are when you teach concepts based on their interests.
5. Out of Class Interactions
Finally, one of the most important things you can do to build relationships with your students as an educator is to interact with them outside of class. Taking the time to have one on one’s with them after class, checking in often to see how things are going, or sending an email wishing them happy holidays. All of these will help build meaningful relationships and can drastically increase your students' engagement with your class.
Creating a connection with your students has many great benefits including critical student-teacher discussion, a more engaged class, and the opportunity to become a mentor. While it may be easier to get in front of a camera and talk for an hour, it’s important to consider your students role in the class and how to give them the most opportunity to learn and connect.
Online teaching is in many ways similar to traditional education but lacks the fundamental face-to-face interaction that helps students connect and build relationships naturally. Taking a different approach when teaching an online class is essential to provide the most rewarding class possible. Although it may seem like a lot of extra work, you’ll likely be surprised at how rewarding (and fun) your classes become!