Chat

Teaching in Two Worlds: Virtual and Face-to-Face

Thursday, September 30, 2 p.m. Eastern time
Click here for more information about this chat.

Note: No special equipment other than Internet access is needed to participate in any of our text-based chats.

 Teaching in Two Worlds: Virtual and Face-to-Face(09/30/2010) 
10:08
EdWeek Producer: Jennifer: 
Today's chat, "Teaching in Two Worlds: Virtual and Face-to-Face," sponsored by Carnegie Learning, is open for questions. Please start submitting them now.

The chat itself will begin at 2 p.m. Eastern time. Thanks for joining us.
Thursday September 30, 2010 10:08 EdWeek Producer: Jennifer
2:00
Michelle Davis: 
Hello and welcome to today's live chat "Teaching in Two Worlds: Virtual and Face-to-Face." As online learning begins to gain traction in K-12 education many teachers are finding themselves moving between the face-to-face classroom and the virtual one.

I'm Michelle Davis, senior writer for Education Week Digital Directions and I'll be moderating the chat. Today we'll talk to teacher Doug Horne who provides instruction to high school students in both the online world and a brick-and-mortar school. He's going to answer your questions about the unique skills teachers need for each environment and about the techniques that work well in both.

Doug, why don't you introduce yourself and talk a little bit about what you do.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:00 Michelle Davis
2:01
Doug Horne: 
Hi everyone. I have been a face-to-face teacher since 1992 and I've been teaching Engineering Principles through Virtual High School (VHS) for three years.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:01 Doug Horne
2:01
Doug Horne: 
I am a Technology Education teacher.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:01 Doug Horne
2:02
Doug Horne: 
Oh, sorry, I'm at the high school level.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:02 Doug Horne
2:02
Michelle Davis: 
Thanks Doug. So that means you teach some classes in your brick and mortar school and some classes through Virtual High School right? How many VHS classes do you teach? .
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:02 Michelle Davis
2:04
Doug Horne: 
I teach one class online and five classes in my brick-and-mortar school.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:04 Doug Horne
2:04
Michelle Davis: 
Thanks. Let's start with a great question from Phil about the role that an online teacher plays in the virtual classroom.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:04 Michelle Davis
2:05
[Comment From Phil FPhil F: ] 
Not having any experience with virtual Ed, I'd love to know what the experience is like. What do you actually do as the "teacher" in a virtual school?
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:05 Phil F
2:05
Doug Horne: 
I spend as much time (more really) with the online material than with face-to-face preparation.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:05 Doug Horne
2:05
Doug Horne: 
First, I have to make sure the pages are presentable. They need to look good, be easy to read & understand, and deliver the needed content.
Next, I have to monitor student progress and help them when questions arise. I “tweek” the curriculum constantly to make it more understandable to young people.
Finally, I have to record grades on paper (for myself) and in the VHS system for the students.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:05 Doug Horne
2:07
Michelle Davis: 
People like Virginia, whose question I'll go to next, often ask about teaching synchronously and asynchronously online.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:07 Michelle Davis
2:07
[Comment From VirginiaVirginia: ] 
What are the most interactive technology tools to use online so online students can collaborate in synchronous time? Could you describe the execution of the lesson?
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:07 Virginia
2:08
Doug Horne: 
Well, the absolute most synchronous technology would be "Distance Learning" which is a camera and microphones at "both ends" of the line.
more coming . . .
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:08 Doug Horne
2:09
Doug Horne: 
As far as Virtual High School (VHS) goes, I use a wiki to allow students to work in small groups. They still use it asynchronously most of the time, though, but they can schedule to be on at the same time.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:09 Doug Horne
2:10
Doug Horne: 
The students really have an amazing amount of autonomy in the online environment - more than they actually realize.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:10 Doug Horne
2:10
Michelle Davis: 
We've got a great question from Fatenah Issa about teacher training.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:10 Michelle Davis
2:10
[Comment From Fatenah IssaFatenah Issa: ] 
What are some different elements that should be included for training an instructor to teach virtually versus face-to-face? Obviously there has to be a tech training component but I've noticed that at times this is all that's available.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:10 Fatenah Issa
2:11
Doug Horne: 
Every online class (through VHS) has a "Water Cooler" are where students can chat among themselves. That is always a place where they could coordinate their schedules to meet at the same time.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:11 Doug Horne
2:12
Doug Horne: 
Virtual High School has a "NIM" class that is actually excellent. In it, prospective teachers learn how to migrate around in the various "rooms" - Dropbox, Quizzes, Grade area, Discussions Area, etc.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:12 Doug Horne
2:12
Doug Horne: 
more coming . . .
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:12 Doug Horne
2:13
Doug Horne: 
Some of the nitty gritty details come simply by trying them out (much like students). Including audio and video are excellent resources that I want to include even more than I have so far.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:13 Doug Horne
2:13
Doug Horne: 
Wiks tend to be a bit more of a challenge. more coming . . .
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:13 Doug Horne
2:14
Doug Horne: 
That is "Wikis". A Wiki is almost like another online environment inside the VHS online environment. I can control the places students (only my students) can gather and what they are to do in each "room".
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:14 Doug Horne
2:16
Michelle Davis: 
We've got a question from Stacey about discipline in the online environment. While Doug is working on his answer I'm going to do a quick poll, to see how many of our participants here are currently teaching online courses.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:16 Michelle Davis
2:16
Doug Horne: 
Some of the online "tools" take just a bit of experience to figure out. For instance, to delete something I might use a trash can icon or there might be a "delete" button.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:16 Doug Horne
2:16
[Comment From StaceyStacey: ] 
How can you discipline students for bad behavior in a virtual environment?
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:16 Stacey
2:16
Do you currently teach one or more online courses?
Yes
 ( 38% )
No
 ( 63% )

Thursday September 30, 2010 2:16 
2:17
Doug Horne: 
Discipline - I actually haven't run into this as a problem yet (yet!). If a student were to get out of line I can talk to them provately in their "Private Topic" area.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:17 Doug Horne
2:17
Doug Horne: 
If things get really bad I shoot an email to their Site Coordinator at their school. That person can sit down and talk to them.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:17 Doug Horne
2:18
Michelle Davis: 
What about cheating? I find people are concerned that it's easier to cheat in an online environment?
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:18 Michelle Davis
2:18
Doug Horne: 
Site Coordinators are especially helpful when I don't hear from a student for a week. They can check up on the student for me.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:18 Doug Horne
2:19
Doug Horne: 
Cheating can't be entirely eliminated, of course, but I can tell if they have gotten answers from someone else - they always get the exact same wrong answers for the exact same questions.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:19 Doug Horne
2:19
Doug Horne: 
Agin, I speak with them privately in the Private Topic area.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:19 Doug Horne
2:20
Michelle Davis: 
Ruth poses an interesting question and one I hadn't thought about before.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:20 Michelle Davis
2:20
[Comment From RuthRuth: ] 
Do you see any difference in attention span among students who take virtual or face-to-face classes?
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:20 Ruth
2:20
Doug Horne: 
Students doing this "extra" online work are usually fairly motivated and really want to learn. They don't want to simply get the answer, they want to understand it.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:20 Doug Horne
2:21
Doug Horne: 
Attention Span - Hmmm . . . the biggest problem I see with students online is their tendency to procrastinate. This can be deadly. Once they fall behind it is very hard to catch up.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:21 Doug Horne
2:21
Michelle Davis: 
Online teachers often tell me they feel they know their virtual students better than those that they see every day in class. Stacey wonders if this is really true.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:21 Michelle Davis
2:21
Doug Horne: 
Because they have a whole week to complete their assignments, even a short attention span can handle this because they can take it in small doses.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:21 Doug Horne
2:21
[Comment From StaceyStacey: ] 
Can students really feel "connected" with a virtual teacher like they do with a live teacher?
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:21 Stacey
2:23
Doug Horne: 
Stacy - it is true. I "talk" to my students every day online but see my face-to-face students every other day and only in the large group setting. It is much more intimate online. You really speak directly to each student.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:23 Doug Horne
2:24
Doug Horne: 
Yes, I think students do feel connected to each other and to the teacher online. The lessons we have in VHS force students to talk among themselves and critique each other's work.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:24 Doug Horne
2:24
Doug Horne: 
This helps them to focus on their own learning as well as make for a nice personal experience.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:24 Doug Horne
2:25
Doug Horne: 
Incidentally, I have a student in Alaska and one in Oklahoma right now. The rest are on the east coast.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:25 Doug Horne
2:25
Michelle Davis: 
Teri Burns has a follow-up on the cheating question.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:25 Michelle Davis
2:25
[Comment From Teri BurnsTeri Burns: ] 
we always get the pushback of "how do we know the student is really the one doing the work?" What assurances can we provide funders that they're getting they're monies worth?
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:25 Teri Burns
2:25
Doug Horne: 
The distance really doesn't matter. They get to know each other as if they were next door.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:25 Doug Horne
2:26
Doug Horne: 
Obviously the students could "pull a fast one" on me but so there really is no guarantee it is their work. The load is heavy enough, though, that nobody else would want to do it for them. ;-)
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:26 Doug Horne
2:27
Doug Horne: 
By the way, kudos for great questions, people.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:27 Doug Horne
2:27
Doug Horne: 
Online teaching isn't for everyone at this point, but I believe it will get easier and easier so anyone can do it in the near future.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:27 Doug Horne
2:28
Michelle Davis: 
Students (and sometimes new virtual teachers) often think an online course may be easier than the face to face version. Abigail Jackson has a question on this.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:28 Michelle Davis
2:28
[Comment From Abigail Jackson, GAVSAbigail Jackson, GAVS: ] 
Many students seem to underestimate the demands of an online class. Students are often shocked to learn that I very conservatively recommend working a minimum of 5-7 hours a week on my online course. Where do they get this expectation that online courses are easier and how can I help them to better manage their time online?
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:28 Abigail Jackson, GAVS
2:29
Doug Horne: 
Some online courses (like that through Brigham Young University - BYU) are simply correspondence courses over the internet.
More coming . . .
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:29 Doug Horne
2:30
Doug Horne: 
The BYU model is, in my opinion, terrible. The students are COMPLETELY separated from each other and the teacher. The learning is COMPLETELY on their shoulders since there is no communication between people.
more coming . . .
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:30 Doug Horne
2:31
Michelle Davis: 
While Doug is adding to his answer, I'm going to take another poll.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:31 Michelle Davis
2:31
Doug Horne: 
When the BYU model is used, you have an entire semester to "hit the books" at the time of your choosing, but with the better format through VHS (in my opinion) students receive weekly assignments which forces them to keep with it on a regular basis.
more . . .
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:31 Doug Horne
2:31
What type of online courses does your school offer to students?
Advanced courses
 ( 38% )
Credit recovery
 ( 6% )
Electives
 ( 13% )
All of the above
 ( 38% )
My school offers no online courses
 ( 6% )

Thursday September 30, 2010 2:31 
2:32
Doug Horne: 
The regular interaction without a teacher looking over their shoulder is a real maturity booster.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:32 Doug Horne
2:33
What type of online courses does your school offer to students?
Advanced
 ( 13% )
Credit recovery
 ( 0% )
Electives
 ( 19% )
All of the above
 ( 50% )
None
 ( 19% )

Thursday September 30, 2010 2:33 
2:35
Michelle Davis: 
Some online teachers say they spend more time on their online courses. That's what Lana wants to know.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:35 Michelle Davis
2:35
[Comment From Lana MelnikLana Melnik: ] 
Doug, do you feel you have a bigger work load for an online class as opposed to a live onsite class? Do students have 24-7 access to you (the teacher) with their questions and requests for help/clarification?
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:35 Lana Melnik
2:36
Doug Horne: 
Lana - yes, I spend much more time working on my VHS material. If I totaled up the hours with VHS it would equal or surpass all of my other classes combined.
more . . .
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:36 Doug Horne
2:37
Doug Horne: 
I do not contact students outside of the VHS environment. It doesn't seem right for me to try to call a student at home or even to email them (it is too personal, at least for me).
more . . .
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:37 Doug Horne
2:38
Doug Horne: 
Again, whenever I have a real need to check up on a student I will email their Site Coordinator at their school. That person will then track them down and have a face-to-face chat with whatever is needed.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:38 Doug Horne
2:39
Doug Horne: 
Students are pretty much the same online as they are face-to-face. The quality of their work is fairly set internally, I think.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:39 Doug Horne
2:40
Doug Horne: 
Specifically, I am teaching (face-to-face) Building Design, Electronics, How Things Work, and Jewelry at the high school level.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:40 Doug Horne
2:41
Doug Horne: 
I have taught printing, Media Communications, Movie Production, Yearbook, and Forensics (like CSI).
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:41 Doug Horne
2:41
Doug Horne: 
Final exams are all online for my class.
more . . .
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:41 Doug Horne
2:42
Michelle Davis: 
Doug a lot of participants want to know how many students you typically have in your online classes.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:42 Michelle Davis
2:42
Doug Horne: 
I have a large project that starts in week six and ends in week 15 (the end of the class). They work in small groups to design a community shelter and the "final" is to analyze each other's work and recap what they have done.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:42 Doug Horne
2:43
Doug Horne: 
Ah - I can have as many 0as 25 students but that usually whittles down to about 20.
more . . .
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:43 Doug Horne
2:43
Doug Horne: 
There are always a few students who find that other priorities in their lives get in the way so they have to drop the class.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:43 Doug Horne
2:44
Michelle Davis: 
What about struggling students? Online credit recovery courses is a growing area, but Alex wants to know what you do in your VHS classes?
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:44 Michelle Davis
2:44
[Comment From AlexAlex: ] 
How do you reach out to struggling online students?
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:44 Alex
2:44
Doug Horne: 
With struggling students, I spend extra time monitoring their progress and communicate with them more regularly than with the others.
more . . .
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:44 Doug Horne
2:45
Doug Horne: 
While my lessons seem to be pretty clear to most students, I find that some need extra help understanding how to work math formulas. I give them extra pointers and examples to help make better sense.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:45 Doug Horne
2:46
Michelle Davis: 
Thanks Doug. Tracy has a good question about which type of teaching you like more.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:46 Michelle Davis
2:46
[Comment From Tracy BrahoTracy Braho: ] 
Which teaching do you prefer-one type over the other? Which type seems more rewarding to you?
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:46 Tracy Braho
2:47
Doug Horne: 
Face-to-face is definitely more rewarding. I get that ah-ha moment with students which is always exciting. Online, the emotion doesn't come through as clearly.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:47 Doug Horne
2:48
Michelle Davis: 
Doug, we have a lot of questions from people who want to know if you design the courses yourself. Can you talk a bit about the way VHS is set up?
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:48 Michelle Davis
2:48
Doug Horne: 
Regarding change for the better - I am always impressed by what students produce online.
more . . .
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:48 Doug Horne
2:49
Doug Horne: 
Students don't want to look bad in the eyes of their peers and a fair amount of material (at least in my class) is shared. They really strive to give me their best, regardless of their individual levels.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:49 Doug Horne
2:50
Doug Horne: 
I hope that come out right - "bluebirds" vs "robins"?
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:50 Doug Horne
2:50
Doug Horne: 
I actually haven't added any online components to my face-to-face classes.
more . . .
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:50 Doug Horne
2:51
Doug Horne: 
Being face-to-face, if I want students in small groups I can just move them. Individually, I just give them that assignment. etc.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:51 Doug Horne
2:52
Doug Horne: 
The online format is D2L - Desire 2 Learn. VHS used to use Blackboard, a bit like Moodle.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:52 Doug Horne
2:53
Doug Horne: 
D2L is more responsive and transfers date more accurately than Blackboard.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:53 Doug Horne
2:53
Michelle Davis: 
Alex has a question about parent interaction.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:53 Michelle Davis
2:53
[Comment From AlexAlex: ] 
How do you incorporate teacher-parent interaction online?
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:53 Alex
2:53
Doug Horne: 
With Blackboard, every single page had to be submitted and then edited three times before I could get it to look right online. With D2L it looks pretty good right from the start.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:53 Doug Horne
2:54
Michelle Davis: 
While Doug is answering I'm going to ask one last poll question.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:54 Michelle Davis
2:54
Doug Horne: 
So far I have had NO parent interaction. It is an interesting question and one I hope to dodge because I feel like my load it heavy enough without having to coordinate with parents, too. :-0
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:54 Doug Horne
2:54
What is the most important skill an online teacher needs?
Communication skills
 ( 67% )
Technology skills
 ( 4% )
Organizational Skills
 ( 29% )
Other
 ( 0% )

Thursday September 30, 2010 2:54 
2:56
Doug Horne: 
What an interesting survey question. If someone isn't a good communicator perhaps they shouldn't be a teacher. ;-)
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:56 Doug Horne
2:56
Michelle Davis: 
We've got a great question from a colleague of yours about increasing online participation.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:56 Michelle Davis
2:56
[Comment From Scott GotreauScott Gotreau: ] 
As a VHS teacher (formerly a brick & mortar teacher), I have encountered difficulty with getting students to ask for help or visiting during office hours (much like the brick & mortar classroom). Any suggestions for how to increase participation in the online classroom?
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:56 Scott Gotreau
2:57
Doug Horne: 
Participation in my class is REQUIRED. Sorry about the caps.
They have to communicate with me regularly (for credit) and with each other (also for credit).
more . . .
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:57 Doug Horne
2:58
Doug Horne: 
By assigning points for dialog it gets the ball rolling and it makes students much more willing to pose a question. I also compliment them for posing their "good questions". :-)
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:58 Doug Horne
2:59
Doug Horne: 
Nothing like positive feed back to inicrease the comfort level.
Thursday September 30, 2010 2:59 Doug Horne
3:00
Michelle Davis: 
That's all the time we have. This has been a great discussion. I especially want to thank Doug for his insightful responses and for taking the time to share his experiences with us. And I want to thank everyone who submitted such fabulous questions! Thanks for participating.
Thursday September 30, 2010 3:00 Michelle Davis
3:00
EdWeek Producer: Jennifer: 
And thanks to Michelle for moderating today's chat, sponsored by Carnegie Learning.

A printable transcript of this chat will be available within 24 hours on this same page. For more upcoming Education Week chats, visit www.edweek.org/go/chats.
Thursday September 30, 2010 3:00 EdWeek Producer: Jennifer
3:01
Doug Horne: 
Lana - I do have students who perform very well online. I don't know how that compares with their face-to-face classes, though.
Thursday September 30, 2010 3:01 Doug Horne
3:01
Doug Horne: 
Thank you everyone.
Thursday September 30, 2010 3:01 Doug Horne
3:01
 

 
 
 

Live Chat: Teaching in Two Worlds: Virtual and Face-to-Face

Thursday, September 30, 2 p.m. Eastern time


A growing number of teachers are balancing workloads from both virtual schools and brick-and-mortar classrooms. Moving back and forth between teaching virtual and face-to-face courses can present a challenge for educators juggling different teaching methods. But many who do both say they are able to incorporate strategies they’ve learned from teaching online into their face-to-face interactions with success.

Guests:
Douglas J. Horne, a design and technology education instructor at Essex High School in Essex Junction, Vt., and an online teacher for the Maynard, Mass.-based Virtual High School Global Consortium.
Michelle R. Davis, senior writer, Education Week Digital Directions moderated this chat.

Related Stories:

  • Schools Factor E-Courses Into the Daily Learning Mix (April 23, 2010)
  • You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login | Register
    Ground Rules for Posting
    We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
    All comments are public.
    The Fine Print

    All questions are screened by an edweek.org editor prior to posting. A question is not displayed until the moderator poses it to the guest(s). Due to the volume of questions received, we cannot guarantee that all questions will be answered, or answered in the order of submission. Guests and hosts may decline to answer any questions. Concise questions are strongly encouraged.

    Please be sure to include your name when posting your question.

    Edweek.org's Live Chat is an open forum where readers can participate in a give- and-take discussion with a variety of guests. Edweek.org reserves the right to condense or edit questions for clarity, but editing is kept to a minimum. Transcripts may also be reproduced in some form in our print edition. We do not correct errors in spelling, punctuation, etc. In addition, we remove statements that have the potential to be libelous or to slander someone. Please read our privacy policy and user agreement if you have questions.

    —Chat Editors

    Most Popular Stories

    Viewed

    Emailed

    Recommended

    Commented