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Extra skills needed when teaching online

Mae McSporran and Stuart Young
School of Computing and Information Technology
Unitec New Zealand
This poster outlines a range of skills that academic staff have to develop (Hofman, 2003) in order to teach in the new learning environment. Academic staff will need to move beyond their comfort zone to produce a successful online course, even courses produced using a virtual learning environment (VLE).

Computer skills

The development and implementation of new technologies has meant academic staff members have had to face the challenge of this new technology for fear of being left behind. Among the skills that it is necessary to develop are:

Pedagogical skills

Academic staff hopefully have good pedagogical skills for teaching in the classroom, however there are a number of attributes that are unique to the online learning environment. Among the skills that it is necessary to develop are:

Administration skills

The increased use of technology has resulted in an increased administration burden for academic staff. We need to practice time saving tips and tricks to counteract this increased workload. Among the skills that it is necessary to develop are:

Website design skills

An online course is a website and as such it should follow the rules of good web design if it is to be successful. Among the skills that it is necessary to develop are:


We have created a website that publishes a number of useful time-saving tips and tricks for creating a successful online course. The website seeks to encourage a community of practice and can be found at:

Screen picture from page titled Elements of a good webpage


Hofman, J. (2003). Be an Active and Participative Instructor. ASTD: Learning Circuits. [verified 14 Oct 2004]

Young, J.R. (2002) Online teaching redefines faculty members' schedules, duties, and relationships with students. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 31 May [verified 14 Oct 2004]

Shank, P. (2003). Making sense of online learning. Learning Peaks. [viewed 10 Jul 2004]

Authors: Mae McSporran can be contacted on
Stuart Young can be contacted on

Please cite as: McSporran, M & Young, S. (2004). Extra skills needed when teaching online. In R. Atkinson, C. McBeath, D. Jonas-Dwyer & R. Phillips (Eds), Beyond the comfort zone: Proceedings of the 21st ASCILITE Conference (p. 654). Perth, 5-8 December.

© Mae McSporran and Stuart Young
The authors assign to ASCILITE and educational non-profit institutions a non-exclusive licence to use this document for personal use and in courses of instruction provided that the article is used in full and this copyright statement is reproduced. The authors also grant a non-exclusive licence to ASCILITE to publish this document on the ASCILITE web site (including any mirror or archival sites that may be developed) and in printed form within the ASCILITE 2004 Conference Proceedings. Any other usage is prohibited without the express permission of the authors.

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