Both Patty Meritt and John Kelley are teachers who also teach lessons in online classes. They came today to teach the rest of us about what the benefits and challenges are of teaching students over the internet.
The online class that Patty Meritt discussed was her UAF Child Development class, ECE F245. John Kelley discussed his teaching of a UAF Marine Science class, MSL111 entitled "The Oceans".

The amount of classes available online through the University of Alaska Fairbanks has grown significantly over the past few years. The technology is one thing, but it is quite another challenge to set up the types of processes and procedures that can create a quality learning environment for eager students is disparate places.

The most important part of the process is to have teachers who are familiar with the technology, but also are able to communicate clearly with students without being face to face with them. In some ways it makes the class easier, but in some other ways it is much more challenging for both students and teachers.

They do not have to be in the same place with the students, but they still have to communicate the same ideas and require the same types of assignments. Also, dealing with any technical issues or re-sending information also can take a fair bit of time and effort.

The students have greater flexibility, but they must also have a greater sense of self-discipline and self-motivation to complete the courses. There are a great many resources available to the students, which Patty and John demostrated on their computer wall display, but it still comes down to how much the student is willing to work.

Patty and John demostrated a great deal of patience and know-how in their presentation to us. It is clear how much they must care for their students to be willing to put up not only a teacher's normal level of stress, but also the added complexity of computers and electronic messaging required for such tasks.