K-12 Summit - Part 2: Quality Characteristics Of K-12 Online Learning
Concurrent Session 6
Even prior to COVID-19’s introduction of nearly every student and school to some degree of online teaching and learning, the world of online learning has exploded with roughly 6 million of the country’s 56 million K–12 students having taken at least one online or virtual class over the last 20 years. Most K–12 teachers start with a learning management system (LMS) to manage their online classroom space (for example, Canvas, Blackboard, Google Classroom, or Schoology) and have also integrated technology into their coursework. Even more of us have added remote synchronous instruction using a host of web-conferencing tools during the pandemic. This session will focus on taking our unique knowledge base of what has worked and what we need additional support and training to reimagine in the digital sphere when asking key questions about online quality in the new normal. It is certainly very possible for K-12 educators to capitalize on the distance learning revolution and extend what works in the post-Pandemic world.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 6 million students in the United States took at least one distance education course annually, a number that will continue to rise now that nearly every student and family has experienced distance learning--some positively and some less-than-positively. Taking the time to migrate courses and grade-levels from a traditional classroom format to an online or blended format ideally takes more time than teachers have been afforded. However, fundamental considerations of course quality are universal to digital learning and areas we can reflect upon with our new and recent experience.
Course quality includes considerations such as how students and faculty actively engage in online instruction, faculty response to student inquiries in a timely manner, establishing a timely process for giving students feedback and grades, and use of a Learning Management System (LMS) and web conferencing tools for synchronous or asynchronous instruction and instructor communication. To maximize the success of online learning, teachers must practice proactive course management strategies and establish patterns of course activities This session considers some of the most fundamental considerations of course quality and where K-12 teachers may wish to invest time in order to feel greater satisfaction and confidence in their virtual teaching experience. The future is likely to include greater levels of hybrid or blended learning environments for K-12 students. Thus, even if remote instruction is minimized for your grade-level or subject, we must prepare for potential course interruptions and use of virtual learning as a bridge between weather-related closures and related breaks in normal school operation. Matters of course quality can help educators to capitalize on the extensive experience in distance learning we have gained since 2020 and determine how to best extend what we see working at individual schools and classrooms for the post-Pandemic world.