OLC Community Steps Up to Guide Educators to an Immediate Online Reality


Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D., Interim Chief Executive Officer, Online Learning Consortium

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The new reality for many of us is starting the day with a review of the news reports on coronavirus. How much has the virus spread? What additional restrictions are we facing? When might this end? Only one week ago, my youngest child was still in school, preparing for spring break. Just this week the Governor of Kansas (where I live) announced that all K-12 schools would be closed for the remainder of this school year. It seems that everyone is preparing for learning to occur online in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

If there is a silver lining in all of this, it is how the education community has come together to offer help by sharing knowledge and best practices, as educators prepare to move to virtual learning. This is not an easy move, especially for those who have never taught in this format previously. I think we also realize that these urgently constructed experiences will not emulate the best of online learning. In fact, in many cases, instructors are relying heavily on web conferencing platforms to deliver the learning in a synchronous format. Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have available. 

OLC recognizes the need to focus on just the right resources to address the immediate situation. To accomplish this, we have created a website dedicated to the most pertinent collection of resources we can assemble. These resources include content contributed by our community networks. We continue to add more free webinars on the most in-demand topics, making the recordings available to all in support of educators around the world. These topics include Keeping Students Engaged in a Transition to Online Learning and How to Survive Your (Hurried) Switch to Online Delivery Using UDL

We will continue to add resources — webinars, research, guidelines, tools, tips, and tactics — to help all educators (K-12 and higher education), including staff and administrators, throughout the days, weeks and months ahead. This includes a special series of facilitated online discussions focused on instructional continuity practices, tools, and resources — watch for more on this very soon.

We do appreciate the support of our community during this time and want to hear from you. If there are additional topics that you would recommend we consider covering in our free webinars, please let us know by sending an email to leadership@onlinelearning-c.org.  

For a full list of resources and initiatives visit the OLC Emergency Preparedness Resources website.

Dr Jennifer Mathes

Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D
Interim Chief Executive Officer, Online Learning Consortium

Jennifer is responsible for the development of OLC’s long-range goals, strategies, plans and policies. She also provides leadership in researching and planning strategic initiatives, special projects and partnerships that align with OLC’s mission, vision and goals. Dr. Mathes has nearly 20 years of experience in both public and private higher education where she has served as a faculty member and an academic leader.

She holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she wrote her dissertation on “Predictors for Student Success in Online Education.” She also has earned a Master of Science degree in Business Education and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications from Illinois State University.

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