The Online Learning Consortium (OLC), Quality Matters (QM), University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), and WCET (the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies) represent diverse perspectives from across the field of online learning. In this capacity, the four organizations have the ability to mobilize around topics and concerns relevant to our collective memberships.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) provides an opportunity to explore academic continuity plans for institutions who do not have them and test the viability of their work for those with plans in place. The leaders of OLC, QM, UPCEA, and WCET wish to take a moment to thank our members who have been working extremely hard to implement plans, acquire technical support, support faculty, and prepare students for any eventuality.
For those institutions without academic continuity plans we believe work should begin immediately. While the current conditions present a unique opportunity to position the delivery of instruction online as a key component in any continuity discussion, make no mistake, these conditions are not ideal for the development of quality online learning experiences. Online learning requires intentional instructional design as well as an exploration of the learning modality and pedagogy that must be aligned to a larger institutional strategy with intentionality, and collaboratively operationalized by various stakeholder groups within and across organizations.
We support institutional leaders that are considering the delivery of instruction via online technologies and are cautiously optimistic that once Coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns abate that those same leaders will more deeply engage with online learning pedagogy, strategy, and quality assurance practices reflective of the needs of those engaged in teaching and learning online.
Dissemination of Information
OLC, QM, UPCEA and WCET all understand that it may be difficult to assess and act on information, especially in rapidly changing conditions such as the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We encourage individuals to monitor information and updates provided by the CDC, as well as to abide by their guidelines. The CDC has created a special Coronavirus (COVID-19) page which can be found here and the just issued “interim guidance” for higher education administrators that is a must read.
Further, our organizations are hosting or supporting dissemination of information via:
- (WCET) 1:1 Interviews
- Gerrit T. Bakker, Senior Director, Public Health Preparedness, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. Gerrit and Megan Raymond (WCET) discuss general preparedness, current progression and warnings across the United States, and strategies for messaging students, staff, and faculty.
- Pat James, a consultant and a Facilitator with @ONE Course (a service of the California Community Colleges Office of the Chancellor) who has vast experience dealing with continued instruction during natural disasters and emergencies. Pat and Megan Raymond talk about California’s experience with disasters, moving courses online, financial implications, and compliance concerns
- (UPCEA) Emergency Contingency Planning in Professional, Continuing, and Online (PCO) Operations: Preparing for Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disruption Member Chat – March 5, 2020 at 1-2pm ET
- (OLC) Making the Shift to Online Learning: Emergency Preparedness & Instructional Continuity – March 6, 2020 at 1-2pm ET
- (OLC) Using Live, Online Sessions to Support Continuity of Instruction – March 9, 2010 at 2-3pm ET
Beyond webinars, chats, and interviews, we also support the following sources of information:
- OLC’s Continuity Planning and Emergency Preparedness Resources
- UPCEA’s Curated List of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources
Continuity of Our Operations
Each organization remains vigilant, staying current with Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and updates. Currently, all events and activities hosted by the organizations listed here are proceeding as planned. Please visit the event websites for more specific information.
- UPCEA 2020 Annual Conference (March 18-20, Boston, MA)
- OLC Innovate 2020 (March 31-April 3, Chicago, IL)
- Quality Matters Regional Conference West (April 2-3. Fullerton, CA)
- WCET + UMGC 2020 Summit (April 15-16, Largo, MD)
- Quality Matters Regional Conference East (April 23-24, New York, NY)
Undoubtedly in situations as fluid as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak you may have questions that have not been addressed in the resources above. Please contact us with any questions that you may have about academic continuity planning and online operations – we’re here to help.
Online Learning Consortium (OLC) @OLCToday