Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Teaching online

I have a love/hate relationship with teaching online. I love the freedom of being able to teach during the summer and still being able to travel, of not being tied to a schedule that may or may not fit when I wish to write. I like how well constructed questions can help students develop the capacity to utilize writing as a method of inquiry. I love to patiently be able to reflect on what students write, and give students  the space to grow without my being the center of the pedagogical experience.

But, I miss them!! It is hard to feel like I can truly connect to them, especially students that I have not had before. I try, I reach out, but I am a disembodied authority, not the same sometimes goofy and irreverent, at other times deadly serious self. I feel less myself, and so wonder how many of them feel less themselves. I dislike not feeling teachable movements in front of live students,  looking into their eyes and knowing when to push, and went to shut up.

At the end of the day, I miss them. Perhaps the perspective of a middle age fossil resistant to the nature of post modern, post physically situated relationships. If so, so be it. I will do my best to connect, but I hope to always miss the presence of my students when I teach online; I think it speaks to the importance of the university as a humanizing, physical, community centered institution.

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