What We Do in the Shadows: Cultivating Teaching and Learning Relationships in Online Tutorials
Effective online teaching involves multiple skills of managing technology, course content, student communications and behaviours, time, and one’s own feelings. Effective collaboration between two or more staff members requires sharing of responsibilities and skills to produce a learning environment that goes beyond what one teacher could achieve alone. Students benefit from the quality of instruction, and staff interaction facilitates reflective practice leading to greater development of professional skill. Research has called for more exploration of team teaching from the perspective of the educators. There is a process of learning, communication and respect required behind the tutorial scene, especially when staff work together for the first time. This session illuminates the critical incidents and learning experiences of three staff members - two faculty members and a teaching assistant, who team taught for the first time together on a large (500+ students) online undergraduate, research methods course during 2020. Our online tutorial attendances ranged from 20 to 150 students per session. We reflected on our experiences of collaborative online teaching over the year and shared our stories with each other. As this is a relational ethical process in the context of a collaborative reflective process, we practiced relational ethics based on respect and only what we all agree to share will be included in any outputs. We chose to guide our shared collaborative reflections and celebrations through the lens of appreciative inquiry (AI). Based on the five principles of AI, we constructed positive and supportive conceptions of our experiences and open positive possibilities for ongoing relationships in our collaborative online team teaching. Reflective discussion led to new insights and strengthening of course design and delivery. Important outcomes from this study included the development of our online teaching identities along with skills and strategies necessary for effective collaboration in online team teaching.