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SimpliTeach - interview with Dr. Liz Hardy on online teaching

Tonight our guest is Dr. Liz Hardy, the founder of SimpliTeach.com. Liz helps online teachers overcome what she calls the Big Hairy Beasts of the job. She believes the secret is to work smarter rather than harder, and she shares many ways of doing just that. We have conducted an interview with Liz.





Your mantra is “helping teachers work smarter rather than harder”. How did that come about?

Online teachers are often dealing with much bigger classes than in face-to-face teaching. The higher student numbers mean there’s a lot more work to grade, and a never-ending flood of student emails to answer.

If you don’t have some solid strategies in place for handling these challenges, pretty soon you’re completely swamped. It feels like you’re being swept away in a tidal wave of work that’s much more powerful than you are!

So it’s my mission to help online teachers deal with overwhelm and overwork, and find smart ways to get those endless, crashing waves of work back under control.


Why is this important?

Many online teachers react to their massive workloads by putting in more hours. But that’s really dangerous. If you keep on working harder rather than strategically, you end up grading papers every weekend. You’re still up at midnight, answering student emails.

Pretty soon, you’re burned out and looking through the want ads.
That’s a shame, because online teaching is a really rewarding job when you approach it the right way.


Where did you learn the strategies you share at SimpliTeach.com?

I’ve been teaching online myself for 10 years. I have a range of qualifications, so I’ve taught in several areas, from Communication & Writing, to Business and Project Management. And because I’ve helped over 5,000 online students at all levels, from beginners to grad students, I’ve had a thorough grounding in the challenges of teaching online (believe me)!

During my years at the e-learning coalface, I’ve found there were several key challenges that just kept on showing up. The other online teachers I spoke to were having the same issues, too. I could see there was a need to offer some practical ways to simplify online teaching, and make it easier to get great results.


So what kinds of resources do you offer for online teachers at SimpliTeach.com?

I tackle the Big Hairy Beasts of online teaching, one at a time, with these solutions:

1. Simple online teaching hacks
Sometimes you don’t need to change your whole approach – you just need to tweak some of your current methods. So I offer quick fixes for common teaching problems on the SimpliTeach Blog.

2. Professional development
Too many professional development courses take up a lot of time and leave teachers with no new skills. I offer short, laser-focused, super practical teacher training courses that actually work.

3. Free resources
I have a page full of free resources that online teachers can download and use right away. These offer fast, actionable ways for getting better results without doing more work!

What about your latest service, Colleague Connect? Can you tell us about that?

Sure! Colleague Connect was born after I noticed I was talking to a lot of online teachers who felt they didn’t get much support. The problem with online teaching is that you’re often working on your own. That means it’s hard to get the kind of support you find in a face to face teaching environment. So and it’s easy to feel isolated.

I fiercely believe that online teachers deserve regular support from someone who’s been there – and someone they can trust to give useful and practical advice on their various challenges.

Too many times, when something goes wrong, online teachers have no-one to ask for advice or confide in. I thought it was time someone stepped up, and offered that kind of help!

So I offer a package where I check in with online teachers three times a month to see how they’re doing, and what they need help with.

Talking to someone else who ‘gets’ the professional challenges involved can really help – and also stop you from shouting at a student, or resigning in frustration.
I think of it as a sanity and career saving service!

You’re also an Education Writer, is that right?

That’s right! I publish new articles on online teaching on my blog at SimpliTeach.com and also publish regularly with eLearning Industry, the biggest online education community with a readership of 660,000+.

I also work as a freelance Education Writer, and create blog posts and online content for educational businesses and blogs.


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