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We’re all concerned with how to make the transition from emergency remote teaching to high-quality online education?
It’s the elephant in the room. And there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Everyone talks about these times as “unprecedented” and for online education, this is truly a seismic moment.
We’ve been shaken by what we’ve been through. And there’s plenty of uncertainty about what lies ahead. The world we’re facing contains enormous helpings of both peril and opportunity—which makes for a time that’s both exciting and terrifying!
What’s so perilous? Certainly, concerns for the safety of our faculty and students tops the list. Stakes feel much higher when the wrong decision could literally mean life or death.
But there’s also serious risk—the reputation of online education is at stake.
On one hand, voices are citing recent days as prima facie evidence that online education simply cannot compete with face-to-face instruction. “The world’s experiment with online teaching is making more apparent and salient the superior value proposition of immersive, four-year residential programs,” stated a recent article in the Harvard Business Review.
Part of the argument is whether or not students can get the same social experience if they aren’t present on-campus (they might have missed advice about moving the quad online, too.) But it’s also arguing that student learning and success is only really available on-campus.
Students are filing class-action lawsuits and saying that “they’re not getting the caliber of education they were promised,” and “the quality of instruction is far below the classroom experience.” Among students who are not suing, as many as one-third are deferring enrollment this fall.
Policymakers are also facing decisions where the quality of online education is the central question. If the default assumption is that online learning is inferior, it’s likely that such a bias will find its way into new legislation—becoming permanent for years to come.
Has there ever been a riskier time for those of us whose careers are devoted to online learning?
On the other hand, since the advent of online education there’s probably never been a better opportunity for positive change than right now.
One of my favorite quotes is, “The doors of history turn on small hinges.” That’s the type of moment we find ourselves in. It’s a moment of punctuated equilibrium in the evolution of online education. There’s never been a better time to spread the understanding of what high-quality online education looks like, never a better time to put our best foot forward and reinforce the value and definition of well-designed courses—beyond merely Zoom-enabled synchronous discussions.
Part of that means correcting misconceptions. I was delighted that OLC and others addressed this back in March. (Just one of the reasons to be a fan of OLC.)
I’m serious about my enthusiasm. I love the OLC audience. I’ve never seen a more innovative group of educators teaching and learning from each other. And when they come to OLC looking for examples, reinforcement, techniques, tools, and technology, they find them!
What About Teaching Skills Courses Online?
Performance-based courses can be some of the trickiest to move online. But they certainly aren’t impossible. (This is what my company, GoReact, does.)
So, when I hear comments like “building a robot or learning ballet requires the coming together of an instructor and fellow students at a common time,” it makes me crazy. The Internet doesn’t need to be a barrier to effectively teaching skills-based courses like teacher education, communication, foreign language training, performing arts, and more.
“Must See” at OLC
My first time at OLC was in 2015 when GoReact was fortunate enough to participate in the OLC: ET4OL Teacher Tank (a Shark-Tank-themed pitch session for emerging education technology companies). OLC has been a highlight for me every year since.
This year, I’m very honored that GoReact gets to introduce Martin Weller’s OLC keynote address, 25 Years of Ed Tech—or Why Understanding Some History Is Useful in the Pandemic.
I’m eager to hear his insights as he discusses the relevance of the history of ed tech to the impact of the pandemic on Higher Ed. A historical perspective provides so much context for where we are, and what comes next. The session will be on Monday, June 22 from 1:15 pm–2:15 pm ET. More info about this session.
Another “must-see” will be the coffee talk discussion hosted by GoReact. We borrowed the title for this conversation, Digital Transformation Is Now Risk Mitigation, from an HBR piece. This session will center around five “must-haves” for quality online learning and will be led by Wing Butler—VP of Sales at GoReact. The discussion will take place on Tuesday, June 23 from 10:45 am–11:15 am ET and will be followed by a Q & A session. More info about this session.
Time to Lean In
To the extent that we can all dig deep and lean in now, we can use this moment to make huge strides in the quality of online education and in the reputation of how online education is seen by stakeholders, from policymakers to admins, to students and parents. And most of all, we can improve the education experience for learners.
At this year’s OLC Innovate event, all of us at GoReact are especially looking forward to virtually interacting and connecting with our colleagues and friends in the online learning community. Our team is excited to be a part of this historic event and play a small role in creating a new world of online learning with all of you.
GoReact is the #1 video tool for skills-based assignments and assessments. Educators at more than 600 colleges and universities worldwide rely on GoReact to record students performing demonstrable skills and give live or delayed coaching securely in the cloud. Over 9 million student videos have been submitted on the platform for feedback from instructors. GoReact is also the creator of The Teacher Education Podcast. To learn more, visit us at goreact.com.
Registration for OLC Innovate 2020 Virtual is open.
Registration for the virtual conference includes live-stream and on-demand recordings of nearly 300 sessions, including keynotes, featured sessions, education sessions, and industry showcases. The program also includes four targeted summits – HBCU, Research, Community College and the Leadership Network. There will also be opportunities to connect with peers through virtual social and networking activities including happy hours, game socials, guided meditation sessions, and networking coffee breaks.