The short version: pretty much everyone went online; professors with the least online experience had to make the most adjustments, had the most to learn, and were most likely to just jump into giving lectures by videoconference. More: How Teaching Changed in the (Forced) Shift to Remote, Inside Higher Education.
Overview of emerging country-level response to providing educational continuity under COVID-19: Best practice in pedagogy for remote teaching
Tony McAleavy, Kristine Gorgen, Education Development Trust, 2020/04/23
There's a lot of good thinking in this report (26 page PDF) on best practices for emergency online learning during the pandemic. It draws a lot both from the Anderson-Garrison-Archer Communities of Inquiry (CoI) model, and especially the idea of teaching presence, and from what reserachers saw being done effectively in China to respond to the same crisis. "The Chinese project team advocated schools designing a blend of synchronous and asynchronous teaching and identified four essential technologically enabled pedagogical techniques that should be used in combination: live-streaming teaching (lecture format); online real-time interactive teaching; online self-regulated learning with real-time interactive Q&A; online cooperative learning guided by teachers." The report also stressed the utility of open educational resources to address learning content needs.
This is what online learning looks like to me. Members of the Mozilla Foundation are working together to define and support movement-building from home. These community calls are their forum. They document and make available their plans and outcomes on an open Google Doc, like this one. The structure and course of discussion are entered into the document ahead of time but it's a fluid process. As the meeting takes place more information, resources, etc., are added to the document, and it becomes a resource everyone can use. I went into this document following up on the section "How to practice community care online."
This is what online learning looks like to me. "In March, as COVID-19 swept across the globe, a team of academics from Wilfrid Laurier University put together a 'rapid response' collection of essays looking critically at the pandemic. Writing in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic: From Vulnerability to Solidarity serves as a 'snapshot' of a moment in time for scholars based in Canada when the world was changing quickly, and self-isolation orders and physical distancing measures were just beginning." The essays are open access, immediate, relevant, and timely. It creates informed discourse at the time it was needed, and opens this discourse to the wider public.
This is what online learning looks like to me. " Drawing inspiration from a list of sources on the history of epidemics (that ignored Canadian scholarship) recently posted by the Society for the Social History of Medicine, we have compiled the following resource guide to direct people to available sources (a mix of popular and scholarly materials) on the 1918–1919 influenza pandemic in Canada." It contains things like blog posts, a documentary, teaching resources (like this teaching kit), podcasts (like this), journal articles (like this), and much more. What would have been even better would have been had the books been open access, but instead they offered nothing more than an online order form.
This is what online learning looks like to me. "The 100 Day Writing Challenge is a free fiction writing course, by podcast. Each episode contains a 10 minute exercise, complete with timer, to help build your writing muscles, train you in different styles, and develop your confidence. There’s no homework, and you can complete the course at your own pace. The 100 Day Writing Challenge was made possible by the support of Arts Council England... you’ll find a list of episodes, with links to full audio transcripts, in case you prefer text." Author Tim Clare also developed the Couch to 80K Writing Boot Camp.
Unsurprisingly, the challenges here are much greater than those in wealthier companies. Moreover, as Tony Bates makes clear, there's a lot of variation - some countries have good internet access in cities, less so in rural areas, in others access to technology may vary between rich and poor, and so on. So his advice is "use the media that make most sense in your situation." And as he notes, in many countries "online learning will be a non-starter for all but the wealthiest, urban students." So, what to do? "Start by asking: who are your students and what access to technology do they already have?" Also, "it is better to reach 90% of students with a slightly less than perfect medium than to reach 50% with a more powerful medium. You are more likely to meet most students with a combination of media. Also the more media the better."
This isn't a bad report, and it has some good examples, but more detail about how to do all this would have been helpful. Also, it would have been more useful had it arrived two months ago. The authors argue, "There are four priorities for school systems: maintaining health and safety of students, staff, and the community; maximizing student learning and thriving; supporting teachers and staff; and establishing a sound operational and financial foundation. In each case, we believe that issues regarding equity—that is, ensuring that the needs of the most vulnerable are met—should be front and center, both during the closure and after students return to school." Probably the most useful bit is its account of the role of the school as a social support agency in many communities, up to and including feeding children who might not otherwise get enough.
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Copyright 2020 Stephen Downes Contact: email@example.comThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.