Enhancing Novice Educator Confidence to Teach Synchronously Online During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Educators’ perceptions of their teaching competence contribute to feelings of wellbeing and teaching effectiveness, which in turn impacts the quality of student learning. In the context of emergency remote online teaching brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, introductory workshops on educating using Zoom videoconferencing software were conducted at a large Australian university. The workshops sought to equip educators with the skills and confidence needed to make the transition to online teaching, thus reducing educator anxiety and improving their wellbeing. Attendees of the workshops were surveyed (104 responses) to understand what influenced educator confidence development, perceptions of successful online teaching approaches, and advice for new online educators. The Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework was used to analyse educators’ open-text responses. The study demonstrated that both professional development and practical experience increased novice online educator confidence and expertise in using videoconferencing software to engage learners. Educators required a foundational level of technological knowledge before they could develop a deeper understanding of how the technology could be used for pedagogical purposes. Short just-in-time workshops were identified as an influential factor in fostering initial confidence and expertise, which worked to reduce educator apprehension about using the technology, ultimately contributing to enhanced wellbeing and student outcomes.