When it comes to online teaching and learning, practicality is the first advantage that comes to mind - for both the teacher and the student. It is flexible and there is no travelling involved. The only requirement is an internet connection and a computer or mobile device. Recently, one of my students was in Turkey whilst I was spending some time in France. Changing countries did not affect our online lessons which we continued to have as usual.
However, there is much more to online lessons. If you learn with an experienced teacher ,who is computer literate, you will achieve the same goals as you would have done with face-to-face lessons and even more. In my opinion, online lessons can exceed face-to-face lessons when they are well planned and well delivered and when the students are willing to embrace the experience. As for the occasional technical problems such as a bad connection, a great teacher will find alternative solutions to keep teaching and learning going.
Online teachers have access to a wide variety of tools and up-to-date resources from the internet. So do classroom teachers, you may say. This is true but online teachers can use these tools simultaneously with their students which adds dynamic to their teaching. Conferencing softwares include powerful tools such as a screen sharing options and whiteboards. Lessons are more interactive than traditional ones and sustain the interest of the students without difficulty.
There are more advantages...Untidy folders disappear and are replaced by well organised paperless documents that are retrieved effortlessly - which avoids any waste of our precious teaching and learning time. Lesson objectives and lesson plans are shared in advance on a platform that can be accessed 24/7. Students can navigate in the virtual classroom whenever they need to. Feedback is more accurate and efficient as suggestions can be made on assignments in a very clear way. Students can also then accept these suggestions on their own or live with their teacher. This is a precious tool that allows the student to understand their mistakes rather than taking the corrections for granted. The teacher can have an insight that they could not have had before.
Accessibility and differentiation are areas that an online experience can seriously improve. Both teachers and students can work around any difficulties. For example, students with dyslexia can choose the best font for them and change the colour of their screen if they have visual stress. Voice-over also enables them to access written texts more easily.
Online teachers can also support their students easily via emails and can build vibrant learning communities where students can communicate and collaborate. I have created two Facebook groups for my students. One is exclusively for the students I teach. I post interesting and useful resources and they are also welcome to post any relevant articles and comments. I also have an online book club opened to any French learners.
The technological developments have made it possible to exceed face-to-face lessons both qualitatively and in terms of practicality.