I have been thinking about teaching on-line for a couple of years. I was put off at first as I thought it would a lonely existence...I can see now that this is far from the truth! I hadn't realised how many other like minded folk and support communities there are out there... My reasons for giving on-line teaching a go are varied. First I live up the side of a (small) mountain with one neighbour, far from any school I am qualified to work at, (my school is 60 km from my house.) Apart from being tiring and costly, this journey three times a week doesn't do anything for my carbon footprint! Secondly, I work in a part state/part private secondary school in Spain ( I am British). Disillusioned, frustrated, tearing my hear out, I don't need to go on...I find little time to teach how I would like to teach and allow my students to learn how I would like them to learn as I am forced to push exam after exam down their throats as they sit at single desks in depressing, sterile classrooms... Unable to sit down at the teacher's desk and "lecture" my students I am seen as being slightly odd! I may be exaggerating a little, but not much! I want my students to have more control of their own learning and the freedom to be creative, hopefully on-line teaching will give me and my students this opportunity! Last but not least, I have two young children and the greater flexibility of on-line teaching is a huge bonus! No more missed school concerts, and who knows I may even get to Glastonbury as fixed term times and holidays no longer exist...
I would think about using this tool for my students to introduce themselves to each other before meeting in the virtual classroom. I would get them to use any media they chose to tell us a bit about themselves.... Background, Why they are doing the course, Something we might find interesting about them etc... This way I may be able to get an idea of their digital literacy as well as getting to know a bit about them.