Have you ever stayed to watch the credits to a movie you really liked? Have you ever thought to yourself, “Man! There are so many people involved with this.”? I remember staying in my seat after X-Men 2 and being amazed at just how many people helped in creating the movie. It felt like I was there another 30 minutes! Well, just like your favorite movie, your online education has many more people than just the teacher (the obvious one that’s always up front) working to make sure your experience is a good one. Here are of few of those people:
TAs or Teacher’s Assistants. When I went to college I was given the chance to assist a professor in the work he did. I would go to classes with him, help him set up the technology, collect and pass out assignments. I did some grading and even helped him with his research. In this role I understood that for a higher education professor to truly do all that you think he or she does, they need some sort of help. One or more of your online classes may be large enough to have a teacher assistant who you can go to for questions on assignments. This can maximize your teacher’s time and not leave students hanging because he or she is too busy.
Guest Lecturers. Some teachers like to bring in different people that can help give students a wide range of exposure to real life market conditions and experiences. While your teacher is still your go to point for grades and class work, you should give some thought to the time a lecturer gives to the classroom. Many of these guests are unpaid, they mere come to give back and help a younger generation get a look at what’s really going on, instead of just having their head buried in a book for a couple years. Gratitude is near always appreciated by those who show up to share of their time and experience.
Librarians. It’s a wonderful thing to know a librarian. There are resources of untapped knowledge at your fingertips that you probably don’t even know about, but your librarian does. If your teacher doesn’t bring in the university librarian to help you see what’s available, take some time yourself to get to know one or more of them. You’ll be glad you did. Take to them a problem to solve and just watch them work. It’s a wonderful thing to watch a librarian work.
Administrators & Others. A good institution gives attention to helping professors improve their teaching ability. Depending on how your online education is set up, you may never see these people. You’d be more likely to notice a strange face in the back of the classroom than you would someone monitoring a digital one. These guys give feedback to the professors, help them make sure the class technology is running smoothly, bring structure to the whole system of online education, help the teachers process requests dealing with student academic performance, etc. It may be a thankless job at times, but not one that teachers can do without.
So just remember next time all of the cast & crew that go into making your online education experience a great one includes many more people than just the actors or teachers who present the curriculum.