Q&A: Teacher Quality

A: The quality spans the spectrum, just like it does in every profession. You should focus on an accredited school, as the teachers in those programs are held to a much higher standard.

Generally speaking, there are two schools of thought here:

1) No one who could teach at Harvard would teach at an online-only school, which says all you need to know about quality.

2) Online classrooms allow for teachers to reach a bigger audience of students than ever before, thereby attracting excellent teachers.

As general proponents of the internet’s ability to connect and educate people, we believe strongly in the 2nd argument. Bands flock to MySpace (yes, still) to share their talents with as big an audience as possible, which can now appreciate music recorded in the garage. The same thing is happening with teaching – people with talent and information are able to reach a growing number of students – and of course this is all happening through elearning.

Online schools are also acutely aware of the concerns some potential students or parents might have about the quality of the education, and so they do their best to hire and retain experienced, highly qualified teachers. Many of the teachers come from teaching at more traditional schools, and all of them come with a wealth of experience and expertise and their fields of study.

The other benefit of the elearning format is that teachers are often accessible on a daily basis. While students who attend traditional schools may only be able to meet with teachers during class time and regularly scheduled office hours. Students at online schools have access to their teachers at all times and most schools require their teachers to respond to student inquiries within 24 hours.

This allows students the opportunity to assist in their own educational development. If something is unclear, they have the resources at their disposal to get the answer to the question in a timely manner.

Reviews of the quality of teachers, instructors and facilitators also reflect the kinds of learners participating in the programs. Students who tend to come prepared for class may provide a more candid assessment of the courses, as these students operate under the intended expectations of the lesson plans. Research wisely; sift and dissect through reviews with careful analysis.