Experiences of an English Language Teacher

“Teaching Online”: Book Review

Teaching Online“, written by Nicky Hockly with Lindsay Clandfield, is part of the DELTA Teacher Development Series, which is published by DELTA Publishing.  When looking at the blurb at the back, the book is referred to as ‘a clear, accessible and reassuringly practical book’.  The book is split into three parts, appropriately named; Part A, Part B and (you’ve guessed it) Part C.

Part A introduces the reader to online teaching (also referred to blended learning), the opportunities available for teachers (as well as learners), current opinion of using technology to supplement traditional classes as well as an accompanied list of tools for teaching.  The book also recommends Course Site Tools and Activity Tools that could be used to assist in creating a dedicated space for an online course.  Particular areas of interest for Course Site Tools include;

  • VLE (Virtual Learning Environments)
  • Social Networking Sites
  • Wikis
  • Discussion Groups

The Activity Tools that suggested is organised to complement the Course Site Tools and it is best to illustrate this with a reference from the book.

“Teaching Online” (2010) by Hockly & Clandfield (pg. 21)

The book suggests websites for each of the Activity Tools (concordance sites, comic creator sites, etc).  The resources available from this book is so invaluable for teachers trying to create a web-presence for online classes.  Part A concludes with suggested Netiquette as well as best practice for teachers delivering online classes (meeting and greeting, establishing objectives, etc).

Part B shares ideas and lessons based upon a range of receptive and productive skills over five chapters; speaking and listening, reading and writing, etc.  All lessons shared in Part B (within the first chapter) encourage teachers to focus on communicative and engaging activities to get to know the students (The Starting Line).  There are 12 lessons, within the first chapter, that are shared and within this each lesson contains the technological tools required, the technique (or lesson plan), a suitable follow-up for face-to-face lessons and a comment about the above lesson suggestion.  The second chapter looks at Reading and Writing Online, using a variety of resources as suggested in Part A.  Within this chapter, there are 21 lessons shared and, as with the above suggestions, each lesson contains the tools required, the technique (or lesson plan), follow-up and comments.  The third chapter (Listening and Speaking Online) share a wealth of great links for listening material to assist with the speaking element of the lesson.  Within this chapter, as with the previous two, they follow the same format of lesson plan (tools, technique, etc) and there are 18 lessons.  The fourth chapter, known as Language and Evaluation Online, introduces the reader to engaging and collaborative tasks to assist with lessons which can have an online grammar or vocabulary focus and are followed by a choice of activities to assess or evaluate progress.  Within this chapter, there are 19 lessons shared in the book which, as you would expect, follow a similar format as suggested previously.  The final chapter in Part B looks at the ending of online courses, appropriately named The Finishing Line.  There are four suggested ideas within this chapter to assist with drawing a course to an end for both students and teachers.

Part C investigates suitable areas for teachers to develop professionally and personally with references to online tools.  It also introduces the concept of a Personal Learning Network (PLN).  The reader is provided with different areas of online profesional development; discussion groups, development courses, conferences, ePortfolios, etc.

This book is highly invaluable for any teacher or school that is considering offering an online element to complement a face-to-face course.  It is well written and the resources available for readers are incredibly beneficial for planned online lessons.  The authors have not lost sight that the human element is intergral for success with online teaching; “Good online teaching needs effective human mediation – and this is provided by the teacher, not by automatic ‘drag and drop’ activities” (Hockly and Clandfield, 2010).


  1. Lindsay

    Thanks Martin, just came across this now. Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Nicky

    Hi Martin, thanks for these comments on Lindsay and my book, and very pleased to hear you find it useful. If you yourself try out any of the online activities, do drop us a line to let us know how it goes!

  3. Hello Lindsay and Nicky. It is an honour having the authors comment on my blog, so thank you. I will be putting some of the suggestions in the book into practice and will let you both know how it goes.

  4. DavidD

    Thanks for this book review Martin. It's great to get an inside view from a teacher/student who is making use of it. I'll add this to my Christmas wish list!

  5. John


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