e-Learning teacher at Ashburton College, Nicky Lewis explains the importance of building relationships with the students she works with virtually and how she does this.
As a classroom teacher, one of the things that I found as being my strengths is being my relationships with my students. You have to focus more on the individual through the online course. And to get to know them, I get them to send me a photo, and a little bit about who they are. Right at the beginning I send them out a "this is me", and little bits about the fact that I come from Birmingham, what my likes and dislikes are, and then they will do that back in Google Docs. It gets them to work out how to use Google Docs, if they haven't, hopefully, pre-empt any problems in that department if they haven't already sorted stuff out, before we get into the throes of work. But it also is really important for me, trying to read who and what they're about, and trying to key into that a little bit, because it's very important that you get to know who those kids are as individuals quite quickly, that isn't necessarily getting to know how they work. It surprises me how strong a friendship, a relationship you get with the students, through an online situation.