The open education teaching model embodies the quasi-separation of teaching and learning. The students use a variety of cooperative learning methods to study knowledge and skills through sharing and mutual assistance. However, this new teaching model of obtaining teaching resources and carrying out the teaching process through interaction between tutors and students across different spaces and time means that tutors easily develop a sense of loneliness.
Attendance can be sparse in traditional classroom teaching, and I always felt an overwhelming sense of loneliness during online teaching. Both the teaching requirements and the well developed network made me feel that the distance between the students and myself was widening all the time. I cannot help but repeatedly ask myself,“Are RTVU tutors doomed to feel lonely?”I wanted to get rid of this feeling and find the original purpose of teaching, enjoying it and achieving a sense of success, so I started to reexamine the open education teaching model and made up my mind to adapt to it.
For tutors, the major characteristics of the open education teaching model compared to the traditional teaching model, is the reduction of face-to-face teaching, the diversification of teaching methods, and teaching resources construction.Tutors should not seek to fulfill the needs of the students just from the perspective of face-to-face teaching. Instead, we should find our own roles among diverse teaching models and get a sense of satisfaction, thus eliminating the sense of loneliness in teaching.
In fact, tutors within the open education teaching model are not alone, since they rely not only on teaching materials, but also on a vast network of online teaching resources to support teaching. As a grass-roots RTVU tutor, I am not fighting a lonely battle. Instead I am part of a huge system of open education teaching. I can access all kinds of resources and services provided by the platform of the China Central Radio and TV University (CCRTVU) and the provincial RTVUs, so I can clearly find the focuses of teaching from all kinds of teaching information and arrange the teaching accordingly. These teaching resources include not only curriculum structures and knowledge systems, but also extensive supplements for the entire curriculum system. The teaching resources system is scientific and reasonable, helping me to complete my teaching tasks and use the teaching content to complete interactions between the tutors and students. With the support of the many tutors, a sense of satisfaction has replaced my sense of loneliness. The online teaching platform is a platform for me to interact with other tutors, both physically and spiritually.
The teaching methods we use are based on mutual assistance and interactions between online and offline teaching. The open education teaching model is a learner based teaching model, in which learners seek their own value and improve their skills through individual and collaborative learning. When I was conducting offline teaching, I had more face-to-face communication with my students, which helped me to guide them in mastering learning methods and key study points. In group learning, the sense of loneliness was eliminated and I learnt to share and gradually improved myself. During my teaching practice, the rich and colorful teaching activities tested the knowledge of the students and made me feel more satisfied. These teaching activities have greatly helped me realize my value as an RTVU tutor.
In online teaching, I rely on the RTVU platform, QQ, and other methods to carry out real-time and non-real-time interactions with the students. Their replies, complete with emojis and pictures, prove that interactive teaching is still very much human-based. It shortens the distance between tutors and students, increased the students’study skills. The tutors and students have made common progress through the mutual exchanges.
The complementary nature of online and offline teaching eliminated my loneliness, as well as that of the students. During every holiday, the students would send me good wishes. When the students graduate with scholarships at a higher level RTVU, or are named Anhui Outstanding Graduates, I feel happiness and a sense of pride.
Open education tutors are not alone, even though it sometimes seems that we are fighting a lonely battle. However, there are powerful forces supporting our teaching. We are not alone either spiritually or physically. You must revisit the original intention of becoming a tutor, uphold the concept of open education throughout the teaching process, highlight the characteristics of distance education, and display the advantages of RTVU tutors; only then can you escape the loneliness of online teaching.
By Liang Hong,Anhui Bozhou RTVU