What are the qualities that help instructors succeed when teaching online? That was the focus of a lively discussion at the 14th annual Sloan-C International Conference on Online Learning Nov. 6.

Presenter Bill Phillips of the University of Central Florida discussed findings from his research on the topic. Not surprisingly, he said, successful online instructors share many of the same characteristics that successful teachers in traditional classrooms exhibit--but they also spend a lot of time establishing a persona of approachability and ensuring students' comfort in the course.

Online instructors face a number of challenges that traditional, face-to-face teachers don't have,

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