Preparing Teachers to Move from 4 Walls to Cyberspace: Challenges and Solutions

  • Marlene Johnshoy University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
  • Frances Matos-Schultz University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Keywords: preparation, teacher, training, challenges


Teachers who are tasked with teaching online are faced with vastly different curricular demands and considerations from what they are used to in a traditional face-to-face environment. Teachers are expected to create and deliver courses with no experience and little or no support. Online teachers will encounter learners in online courses who have different expectations, different cultural perspectives, and different schedules and lifestyles when they are coming from around the world. In the push to move the classroom experience online, the fact that the delivery of face-to-face and online teaching are not the same is lost in most of these conversations. In response, the presenters developed an online professional development course where participants both experienced online learning as students and applied the lessons learned in transitioning their face-to-face courses online. For four years, CARLA at the University of Minnesota has received funding to develop an online STARTALK course that helps less commonly taught teachers start the transition to online teaching. In this session, presenters will explain the choice for the delivery format (experiential orientation), including a unique lab component—an online language lab designed to give teachers first-hand experience of the challenges faced by an online learner. In addition to showing examples of the tools and activity types used, the roles of the various instructors and participants, the presenters will identify the challenges and strengths of the course in various formats, the changes that were made, and feedback from participants. Even though the course discusses targets language teacher development, the concepts and best practices apply to any content area.

Related URL:

Author Biography

Marlene Johnshoy, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Marlene Johnshoy is the Online Education Program Director and Web Manager for the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) at the University of MN. A former Spanish instructor, she has given numerous workshops across the country on many aspects of web-based language teaching and learning, with a special interest in the professional development of online language teachers.