Like many of the participants in the Licensure program who are terrified of online learning, in a likewise manner I approached my role as a hybrid online instructor with great trepidation (well, actually terror). Up until this point in my career, all of my work with teachers has been up close and personal (otherwise known in the 20th Century as face-to-face learning). All of a sudden I was expected to teach my dearly beloved reading courses in a hybrid format.
After talking this potential new turn of events over with my wife for many hours, and wanting very much to jump ship, I decided to give it a try and put my knowledge and understanding about reading instruction into the hybrid online format. The learning curve to adjust to all the complexities of the Moodle format was certainly steep, but with tremendous support, patience and understanding of my klutziness from the licensure technical staff (i.e. David Greenberg), I began to understand the demands of online learning. I found that I could not transfer my face-to-face courses into the hybrid format in a 1:1 manner, but instead I had to think carefully about what was not only important about reading instruction, but which chunk of it would best transfer to hybrid learning.
At first I was very confused and concerned about the quality of the online learning and I found that my online teaching was in some ways very different, and this caused me to stop and reflect on what I was doing. After literally hundreds of hours of trial and error work, I began to get it. I began to see that while I wasn’t teaching exactly like I did face-to-face, I was nonetheless teaching important material, but in a different manner that was still a reflection of who I am as an instructor.
Now that I have taught two courses and processed the feedback that I have been given by my students, and through my close scrutiny of student work, I have been led to the conclusion that the hybrid format can work; it just doesn’t look anything like I expected at first. I have now arrived at a new place in my career where I can brag that I am an online instructor and I can do this all in good conscience because I know in my heart and mind that what participants are taking away from their electronic and face-to-face experiences will make a significant and positive impact on the lives of their students. And after all, isn’t that why we are all in this business together?