I found the section on persona, in Char Booth’s book fascinating. She talks of balancing one’s teaching persona with that of your personality so that your teaching style is more genuine. It made me think of how that translates into online learning where one must rely upon the written word for the most part to present oneself.
There is a realness that is sometimes missing with virtual learning, a lack of immediacy. Recordings, either video or audio, allow participants a small glimpse into what sort of person that their instructor might be. Real time meetings make the person on the other end of the internet even more real, as you can hear them interact rather than just lecture. This is aided even more if the person enables video so that you can see the expressions on their face, their posture, or the way that they might talk with their hands.
How does an instructor construct a learning environment that ensures that realness? How does he or she create an online persona that is genuine to their real personality? Perhaps the answer to this depends upon each person, and how well each person works in an online world. Of course this does not only depend upon the instructor, it also depends upon the learner who is also a participant in this learning endeavor. I suppose this means that however much an instructor creates an environment that is conducive towards communication, if the learner does not want to participate then even the most careful planning may go astray. This in a way should not be looked upon as a failure as it is an opportunity to see what methods do not work and to improve upon them for the future.
Booth, C. (2011). Reflective teaching, effective learning. Chicago: 2011. Kindle edition.