Transitions: Online teaching – Not all fun and games!

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, I knew that the demand for online classes was about to increase dramatically. Teaching online would be—and is—the one way to continue to offer the courses that students want and need without losing rigor or instructor presence. How can I be so sure of this?  Because I have been a dedicated online instructor with TCC Connect for more than two years. I have seen the quality of online instruction ramp up in an amazing way in the short time that I have been with TCC Connect.

When I was first hired as an online instructor, I was immersed immediately into the world of online instruction.  I was teaching a full load of courses already in a face-to-face environment and now had a new set of online courses to get up and running.  My co-workers provided invaluable assistance, and I had a successful semester.  I have been updating, creating and re-creating my courses ever since.

Online instructors spend countless hours converting face-to-face course material into online content. The goal is to remain interesting, relevant and maintain rigor while engaging the students and encouraging interactive learning. This can be difficult to do and I, along with my peers at TCC Connect, are constantly looking for new ways to engage our students. Some of the things we have included in our online classrooms include podcasts, video lectures, video postcards and updates, online lab sessions, virtual exam prep and more. Instructors attend conferences not only in their field of study, but also in online teaching and learning, so that we can remain ahead of the online curve. TCC Connect was recently honored as one of the top online colleges in the nation by, a designation of which we are very proud.

I, along with many of my TCC Connect peers, am participating in the Blackboard Mentor program, which is designed as a peer-to-peer mentor program for instructors moving from face-to-face to online classrooms. If instructors have a question or need advice on a particular app, they have a list of experienced online instructors that they are able to contact for assistance. All of the instructors at TCC Connect here to help, and I am confident that if the situation were reversed, face-to-face instructors would step up to help us as well.

We truly are “one college,” and this crisis has clearly illustrated that principle. TCC will emerge from the COVID-19 lock down a stronger college across the board. Our value lies in our faculty, our staff and our students. We all have stepped up to the challenge of moving online and are succeeding in small ways every day.

An Instructor of macroeconomics and microeconomics at TCC Connect, Angela Thurman is developing a podcast about economics called “eCOWnomics.”  “COW” is a nod to Fort Worth or CowTown!  In my off hours, she enjoys spending time at her family ranch, riding horses and traveling anywhere and everywhere!