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BE VOCAL: Characteristics of Successful Online Instructors

Journal of Interactive Online Learning Volume 9, Number 3, ISSN 1541-4914


While classroom teaching and management strategies are well documented, the online learning environment presents different challenges and benefits. Teaching in an online environment requires a special set of teaching skills since many of the strategies and tactics associated with best teaching practices are somewhat constrained by the primarily text-based environment. The VOCAL approach summarizes the key characteristics that a master instructor utilizes to be effective in an online environment. VOCAL is an acronym for Visible, Organized, Compassionate, Analytical and Leader-by-example. The ability of the teacher to effectively infuse these characteristics into their instructional practice–to BE VOCAL–will promote a supportive, challenging, constructive, rigorous and effective instructional environment. Instructors who practice a VOCAL approach will have more productive learning environments, fewer management problems and more positive learning experiences with their students.


Savery, J.R. (2010). BE VOCAL: Characteristics of Successful Online Instructors. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 9(3), 141-152. Retrieved April 24, 2019 from .

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