Q&A: How Can I Recognize an Outstanding Online Instructor?

Q&A: How Can I Express My Appreciation for an Exceptional Online Teacher?

I have a fabulous teacher in the current class I am taking online. In fact, he responds to questions in most cases the day of. This is far superior to teachers that I've had for past classes. I'd really like to let people know how stand-out he is. Any suggestions?

Answer: Congratulations! It's always good to hear about good teachers. There are a range of things you can do. I've arranged them in order of the level of initiative you'd need to take.

  1. Most online schools have end-of-course evaluations. Make sure you complete these evaluations. Good colleges consider these when scheduling teachers, so this could help your good teacher get more work -- or a raise!
  2. Next, you can send your teacher an e-mail letting him know how much you appreciate his responsiveness. (I promise he doesn't hear this enough, and will appreciate it.)
  3. You can send a similar brief e-mail to your college, letting the administration know directly how good your instructor is. Some schools have student chat forums where students swap tips on classes; you could post a note there.
  4. Many schools give awards for the best instructor each year. I can't promise your school is one of them, but it is, you could nominate your superior instructor for one of these awards. Even a nomination for such an award is an honor for teachers.
  5. Looking beyond the boundaries of your college, an easy step is to use Rate My Professor. This will make your praise of your teacher public for anyone who visits the site. Finally, consider nominating your instructor for an award offered by an outside organization. There is no single award that is nationally recognized like baseball's MVP award, but there are emerging organizations working to raise the quality and profile of the profession.
  6. You can nominate him for Best Colleges Online's Online Teacher of the Year. You didn't mention what the course was about, but there are awards in different disciplines. If this is a college history course, for example, you could nominate your teacher for the Eugene Asher Award. Other disciplines give other awards.

Greg BeattyGreg Beatty has a PhD in English from the University of Iowa and over twenty years experience in higher education. He’s taught everything from standardized test prep courses and freshman orientation and composition courses on up to serving on doctoral committees. He’s taught in the traditional classroom, correspondence courses, online courses, and hybrid courses. He’s developed curriculum for several colleges (sometimes as sole author, sometimes working collaboratively), and served as a textbook manuscript reviewer for Longman. He’s won grants for course development, and awards for his teaching. Greg has mentored new teachers and co-taught workshops on teaching excellence. He’s also served on a range of committees and college advisory boards, and has served as an area chair for humanities.

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