Do you have what it takes to teach online?

Want to become an online instructor?


This qualitative research study from online faculty members produced insight on online faculty burnout and strategies to identify the teaching strategies, attributes, and job satisfaction of online faculty.

In a nutshell, the research identified traits those looking to teach online or transition into online teaching.

What attributes do online faculty need?

According to the research results, successful online instructors have personal characteristics that are aligned with the demands of online teaching, ability to manage students’ behaviors, and knowledge in teaching styles that are appropriate to the diverse needs of online students. The characteristics of online instructors include:

  • Good organization skills.
  • Effective time management.
  • Positive work attitude and behavior.
  • Comfort in an online learning environment.
  • Technological competence.
  • Flexibility in dealing with students needs.

Alright so you have all these attributes. But can you deal with some of the challenges in teaching online classes?

Speaking of challenges, what are the biggest ones?

According to the research, the top challenges are:

  • Management of student’s behaviors; involves helping students understand how to address peers and professor in a professional, academic tone in all activities and correspondence in the classroom.
  • Innate limitations of online learning; faculty cannot meet learners face-to-face to explain concepts, lecture material, or answer questions in person.
  • Learning Online Technologies; new software/programs.
  • Management in responding to emails
  • Individualized teaching strategics; involve faculty using progressive teaching strategies that address various learning styles with significant, specific feedback to each learner that is unique to each learners needs.

In addition, another challenge is how much time an online classroom requires in in the preparation of instructional materials and evaluation of students’ performance rather than face-to-face instruction.

So challenges produce stress. What are the biggest stresses in online education?

Biggest stress and job burnout?

The challenges noted in the empirical research include:

  • Methods in managing online discussion boards.
  • Students’ behavior.
  • Inactive discussions.
  • Proper netiquette in classroom.
  • Ensuring quality participation.

Other elements:

  • The inability to handle the behavior of students who take for granted their online course requirements.
  • The demands of students for higher grades without making extra efforts.
  • Administrators who compromise quality education to attract and retain students.

Overall, there are a lot of stresses, and challenges to teaching online, but what about the good parts of teaching in a virtual space?

Motivation to be a faculty member?

  • The ability to cope with the challenges in an online learning environment.
  • Being able to balance familial roles and professional practice without getting physical stressed.
  • Online teaching provides professional and personal satisfaction.
  • Perceptions that the online environment offers a new perspective in teaching students.


Overall, faculty who can effectively manage challenging student behaviors, individualized feedback, the inherent challenges of online teaching, and time management seem to do best in an online environment. What are your thoughts about the stresses and challenges? Any that disagree with? Any that aren’t listed? What about motivations?