Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 329–340 | Cite as

Misconceptions and realities about teaching online

  • Joan E. SieberEmail author


This article is intended to guide online course developers and teachers. A brief review of the literature on the misconceptions of beginning online teachers reveals that most accept the notion that putting one’s lecture notes online produces effective learning, or that technology will make education more convenient and cost-effective for all concerned. Effective online learning requires a high level of responsibility for learning on the part of students and a reduction of the teacher-student power differential. This, in turn, has major implications for faculty and course development, student selection criteria, the cost of instruction, and the outcomes of education. Effective online teaching focuses on processes of learning rather than outcomes, and is consistent with modern principles of learning that emphasize focusing on issues of high interest to learners, teaching students to use skills of active and effective learning, providing prompt feedback, and enabling students to establish learning goals and employ alternative paths to achieving those goals. Multiple ways of operationalizing these goals online are presented. Tips are offered concerning selection of students who are capable of benefiting from the online experience, developing curriculum that is user-friendly, using resources that stimulate good writing and critical thinking, and limiting class size to a manageable number.


online course development misconceptions new roles goals of online instruction 


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Copyright information

© Opragen Publications 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.HaywardUSA
  2. 2.California State UniversityUSA

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