Lesson 3 of 7
In Progress

What are the challenges of being present in your online teaching?

There are two main reasons why educators are challenged by the idea of being with their online students: 

  1. We don’t know what it looks like. Educators have spent years, often decades, as ‘students’ in physical classrooms. We have all experienced wonderful teachers and terrible ones. Our experiences shape our teaching persona and style, which led Dan C. Lortie to coin the term ‘apprenticeship of observation’ in his 1975 book, Schoolteacher: A Sociological Study. We don’t currently have this same depth and breadth of online class experience to draw on, to help us know how to teach online.
  2. Online learning environments are uncomfortable. Whether you are teaching in a Learning Management System, Zoom, or both, you’ll recognise that these spaces are not warm, inviting, or pleasant. Whereas in a physical classroom we can arrange comfortable seating, display colourful bulletin boards, or use familiar furnishings to help us teach such as a whiteboard, lectern, projector, and screen, we don’t have any of these tried-and-true elements in online learning spaces. What we have are confusing, distracting, sterile spaces that do little to encourage the joy of discovery.


Lortie, D. C. (1975). Schoolteacher: A Sociological Study. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


What challenges have you experienced when teaching online?

Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.