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Workshop Description

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How do you see yourself as a teacher?

In this exploratory workshop, you will have the chance to examine your ideas and assumptions about effective teaching. Molly Flanagan (Faculty Development) and Jenny Michael (Online Education) lead a discussion on a teacher’s possible roles in an online class and how those roles can shape students’ interactions and experiences.

(Workshop date: Spring 2012)

Related Resources

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We strongly recommend that you take a few moments to complete the Teaching Philosophy exercise, described below. The workshop participants all did this exercise as homework, and you will get more out of the workshop, if you do this before you watch.

Teaching Philosophy Exercise

Please spend no more than 15 minutes (in both thinking and creating) on this task:

  • Questions to consider: How do you understand the process of teaching? What is your role as a teacher?
  • Your task is to produce an image or visual metaphor that illustrates your answer to these questions.

What Sort of Teacher Are You?

As an online instructor, you may play a variety of roles in your class, depending on your goals, your students’ needs, and the particular context (e.g., level of your students, demands of the subject matter, point in the semester, required or elective class, etc.)





  • Sees teacher's role as primary
  • Transmits expertise/knowledge to students
  • Corrects & critiques students (individually/ collectively)
  • Frequently posts in-depth comments/explanations
  • Answers all student questions


  • Sees teacher's role as integral but not primary
  • Learns alongside students
  • Comments on students' discussion posts and work from non-authoritative stance
  • Contributes own ideas to discussion
  • Asks questions to understand students' intentions


  • Sees teacher's role as more peripheral
  • Guides students to learn from each other
  • Favors peer critiques
  • Highlights & synthesizes key comments students
  • Redirects student questions to the class
  • Comments less frequently and holds back at times

Credits: Molly Flanagan (Faculty Development) & Bill Bankhead (Academy Resource Center)

All these teaching roles and practices can be appropriate and effective in an online class, but keep in mind that the role you assume can have a powerful effect on your students' learning experience.

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