Skip to Content - Skip to Navigation

Hibsman Presents Paper on Lurking and Spying

Dr. Tim Hibsman, English Department, presented his paper, Lurking & Spying—As Valuable Online Teaching Tools, at the Teaching Professor Technology Conference in Atlanta, GA, on October 6, 2013.

Lurking & Spying—As Valuable Online Teaching Tools

Tim Hibsman, Ed.D. Indiana University, Pennsylvania thibsman@iup.edu

How can a teacher in an online environment foster a positive teaching environment without blatant interaction with the student?

This session focused on several teaching techniques and concepts:

  • Watching "minutes accessed" to see if the student is putting the time in.
  • Watching how many times a student logs into the website.
  • Keeping track of how many discussion posts and the quality of each post.
  • Setting group activities and watching the progress without engaging every member. Occasionally, throwing a "Psst..." or hint to team-leads and members to make sure they are on the right track.
  • Before students present their project, the faculty gets a quick look and adds suggestions for the benefit of the entire class.
  • During I-meetings or Skype presentations, sending notes to participants to ask certain questions without notifying the entire group.

Often the best teacher needs to stand back and be a coach, sherpa, or mentor instead presenting an in-your-face type of teaching style.

How can a teacher in an online environment foster a positive teaching environment without blatant interaction with the students? How do you know they are actually working and participating prior to the assignment being turned in? This session will focus on several teaching techniques and concepts that help teachers to monitor students’ progress and encourage, as well as, guide them through out the online course. Often the best teacher needs to stand back and be a coach, sherpa, or mentor instead presenting an in-your-face type of teaching style. 2

Top Ten List for Online Lurking

1. Omnipresent in online environment.

2. No blatant, in-your-face teaching interaction which may alienate shy students.

3. Private interaction to avoid any embarrassment to the student.

4. Personal interaction (one-on-one time) between student and instructor without the rest of the class observing.

5. Students can focus on assignments knowing they are on the right track because of the knowledge that the instructor is keeping track of their progress.

6. A gentle, subtle “nudge” can be given to a student to encourage participation.

7. A helpful hint or suggestion can be given to one or more students to help them on completing projects.

8. Instructor has an overall “feel” of the class. If instructions are not being perceived correctly by a student or group the professor can quickly engage to avoid an incorrect final project submission.

9. Monitoring individual student performance in different areas and at different times of the instructional process.

10. Monitoring class performance in different areas and at different times of the course.

  • English Department
  • Leonard Hall, Room 110
    421 North Walk
    Indiana, PA 15705-1094
  • Phone: 724-357-2261
  • Fax: 724-357-2265
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.