Education Reimagined: It Can Be That Simple
Concurrent Session 3
When we hear the words "innovation" and "reimagine," we may feel pressured to do something groundbreaking. Actually, many of the best ways to support student success are simple, rooted in intentionality and sound pedagogy. In this session, we will collaboratively explore effective ways to support student success in online courses.
For so many of us, the pandemic expanded our world of online educational possibilities by introducing us to new theories, showcasing new technologies, and highlighting the importance of design. Between apps, widgets, programs and tech, there is almost too much to process, explore, and seamlessly integrate into a class while covering course material, meeting Learning Objectives. and supporting student success. As we reimagine and envision what online education can and will be in the future, we can reflect on some of the most effective and simplest ways to support student success. Anecdotally, those of us who have taught at the collegiate level the past few years know a lot. We know that student stress is high. We know they have significant financial and GPA pressures. We know that they have a variety of learning styles and many more are neurodiverse. We also know that, though they tend to be "tech savvy" as a generation, too much technology in an online course, if not properly introduced and explained, can cause more harm than good. Finally, we also know that intentionality, pedagogy, and simplicity can combine to enhance online tools and resources to craft supportive and empowering spaces in which all students can thrive. Though there is a lot we can discuss and explore in this session, we can summarize our intentional approach as ORC: Organize, Remind, and Connect. First, our course must be organized as a blueprint for success with modules, activities, and resources presented in a logical and systematic way. It also should incorporate a variety of modalities - written, visual, video and audio support to connect to different learning styles and preferences. Second, we must remind our students of where we are in the course, what is coming up, and how they can be successful. Weekly Monday Announcements are a great way to support success by highlighting the work for the week. Reminders can also be sent the morning an assignment is due to encourage completion. These are simple, intentional investments that can keep students engaged on track and doing well. Most importantly, these efforts help with our final goal, connection. We know from presence scholarship, instructional pedagogy, and online educational research that human connection is a pivotal component to student success. By intentionally prioritizing connection in simple, yet effective ways, we let our students know we see and hear them and that can empower them to take a more active role in their educational journey. Ultimately, regardless of all the technological advances, despite the specific curriculum presented, and with little regard to modality, intentionally supporting student success in simple, effective ways empowers them to be active learners, dreamers, and doers. Let’s celebrate what we are doing well, identify ways we can improve, and collaboratively envision simple and effective ways to support student success.