The Importance Of Online Learning For Professors

We know the many reasons why online courses appeal to students—from the flexible hours to the affordability, they are a great alternative to traditional classes. But why do professors choose to teach online?

It turns out that teaching online is just as beneficial to professors as taking the classes is to students. Here are a few reasons why teaching online is becoming more popular with professors:

They can teach what they want. At traditional universities, it can be difficult for educators to teach classes that they are passionate about, due to the lack of interest from local students. However, since online education is able to be offered to a much larger student pool with greater student diversity across multiple time zones, professors find it easier to teach specialized classes in which they have a true interest.

The teaching process is streamlined. In online classes, professors can see exactly when students hand in assignments and see who is participating via the online chat room. This makes grading easier and less complicated than when teaching in person.

Better student interaction. Contrary to what some may believe, majority of instructors report that they feel a greater connection with their online students than with their in-class ones. In an online environment, more students are likely to speak their mind online, and feel more comfortable sharing their views from behind the safety of their computer screen.

One word: flexibility. Professors are as busy with other responsibilities just like students. Teaching an online class enables teachers to post teaching materials at any time of the day, giving them extra time to conduct research, take care of their families, etc

Teaching an online class can be a wonderful experience, and the professors who choose to do so are empowered to give their students valuable information and interaction experiences that they would not have in an on-campus setting. We appreciate our wide array of online professors, and hope that you get the chance to sign up for an online class to experience their greatness personally!

Professors and students, feel free to talk about your online class experiences in the comment section below!


I like Jennifer's blog posting. As an accounting professor who teaches some online courses through UMASS Dartmouth, I can related to the points made in the posting. This format does allow us to try out some new courses. I taught Special Topics: Fraud Examination last Spring through our online program and hope to do it again next spring. Although our course offerings have to be approved and go through a quality review process, we do have the ability to offer some new things and appeal to a wider audience as UMASS Online has a reach world wide. I like the fact that this format allows me to capture so much information - especially documenting student activity and all in a digital format. In my online business internship courses, I capture student journals, essays, quizzes, emails related to the course, all announcements, etc. in our system called myCourses (Blackboard). As a CPA - I love audit trails - love to see complete documentation and the online format has allowed me to do an excellent job with that. Also, the online tools - including homework systems like McGraw-Hill's Connect and Pearson's myAccounting lab have allowed me to partner with some high quality content provders who are at the leading edge of providing interactive and rich online experiences for our students. In my Accounting Information Systems course, I have recorded mini lectures - 10-15 minutes in length that help clarify instructions and procedures for accounting practice sets and projects. In my traditional face-to-face courses, I repeat this lectures over and over but once recorded, my online students can watch them on Youtube over and over!

In the summer, I offer a few online courses - Personal Finance, AIS, and the internship course. The flexibility is a great advantage - especially in summer. I am able to live and work in three locations - often going from my home in Swansea, MA to a vacation home on Cape Cod, to my office in Dartmouth, MA and even on an overnight to my in-laws home in Maine. I can keep on working on the courses, answering emails, moderating discussions, and grading assignments at all those locations. That helps with the quality of my life in the summer - being able to work at many locations while satisfying the needs of my students. I can also plan work at different times of the day - early morning is when I am most productive but I can also schedule a chat session in the evening when some students are available after their work day is over.

I have been teaching for over 30 years - and with four children of my own to put through college, I have often taught in the summer to make some extra money. For the past several years, being able to take some great course onto the online format has energized my career, offered me more options and I believe (and sincerely hope) has made it possible for me to impact the education and careers of a large number of business students.

Professor Michael P. Griffin, CPA, CMA, ChFC
UMASS Dartmouth
Charlton College of Business

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