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May 21, 2018

Online Instructors: Advice, Support, Understanding

BYU-Idaho online instructors share how they have helped students succeed through online courses

Advice, support, and understanding.

These are some services online instructors provide PathwayConnect students. BYU-Idaho online instructors sacrifice much of their time and talents to help their students succeed.

Here are some examples of how online instructors provided these supportive attributes to their online students:

1. Provide Comfort and Advice

If students feel that they have a good relationship with their instructor, they may reach out to their instructors for advice. Celeste Knight — a life skills and intro to algebra and personal finance instructor — shared an experience she had with a student.

Celeste Knight with her family.

“One semester I had a student that was a new convert to the Church. This woman was the only member of the Church in her family, and her husband and sons were not supportive of her choice. She came to me for advice. I encouraged her the best I could and suggested she turn to her local church leaders for further support. We continue to stay in touch and I hope the day comes that her family situation will improve.”

What Celeste did may not seem life-changing, but it was what her student needed at the time. Students that find themselves in need of advice regarding a grade or situation in life are encouraged to contact their instructors. They are ready and willing to offer help where they can.

2. Help Students in Need

Helping students understand their assignments and encouraging them to keep doing their best are just two ways online instructors offer support. Lynn Durtschi, an online instructor coach, shared his experience of helping a student in need.

Lynn Durtschi

“I had a student who was having technical issues turning in several assignments. I tried helping her through emails and discussion boards, but we just couldn’t figure out how to make things work. I ended up calling her one Saturday. We spent almost two hours speaking and here is the twist: we were not able to fix her problem. However, she stayed in the class and appreciated the extra help. She finished the class and did very well. In fact, she was one of the ‘glue’ students who got others involved and helped the class have a better overall experience.”

While the support an online instructor may give will be for various circumstances, instructors are always willing to help their students understand the course and not give up.

3. Understand Difficulties

Students often struggle with time management, medical issues, or other various trials  that prevent them from excelling in their courses. Instructors understand this and can often help in those situations. PathwayConnect English 106 instructor Tamara Copley shares her experience of helping a student through an online course.

Tamara Copley with her husband and two children.

“One of my students struggled with serious medical issues, family conflict, and work problems. She came to me at the beginning of the semester asking for help, and updated me every time she struggled to get her work done. I worked with her so that, despite her many trials, she could have a good experience and succeed in the course.”

Because her student was quick to inform her of her difficulties, Tamara could work with her to complete her coursework on time. When a student finds themselves in a challenging situation, they should contact their instructor as soon as possible.

This allows enough time for the instructor to work with the student’s circumstances and find the best path for them to succeed. Instructors are more than willing to help their students in any way they can.

Going Above and Beyond for the Students

Rachel Huber, a BYU-Idaho online instructor for PathwayConnect and online instructor manager at BYU-Idaho, said, “Many students don’t realize how instructors want to connect with them and help them, how much they pray for them and how much they care. The student might not even understand how they could be important to someone they’ve never met, but they really are.”

Online instructors go above and beyond for their students, and your online instructors are willing do the same for you. Reach out to them and express your concerns or struggles. They will help any student who needs it.


Learn more about PathwayConnect courses and gatherings at byupathway.lds.org.

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