The Courage to Teach Well Online


  • Deana Meadows Raffo Middle Tennessee State University
  • Thomas Brinthaupt Middle Tennessee State University
  • Lawanna Fisher Middle Tennessee State University
  • Justin Gardner Middle Tennessee State University


Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach, online teaching, teacher identity, emotions in online teaching


This paper explores the principles at the heart of Parker Palmer’s seminal book on teaching with purpose and passion, The Courage to Teach, within the online environment. It reports the results of four faculty members from diverse disciplines who teach online and who have discussed, debated, and explored Palmer’s ideas in the context of online teaching. The paper argues that, as with traditional, face-to-face teaching, effective online teaching must address many of the same kinds of paradoxes originally described by Palmer. In particular, it focuses on ways in which identity and wholeness, fear and separation, and community present challenges that require courage in order to teach well online.