Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Lake: As Schools Shift to Virtual Learning, Educators Worry That Online Instruction Is Inequitable. But No Learning at All Is Worse

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

I took part in an online panel on Tuesday and the general tenor of the questions and comments was that online learning is inequitable. Concerns were raised about the exploitation of adjuncts, the need for accessible resources, and how we support those without internet access. This seems to be almost the unanimous response from the educator community; I'm hearing these concerns over and over. And they are valid concerns, and our failure to address them properly over the last 25 years is reprehensible.

But my concern today is that constant expression of these concerns will freeze well-meaning people into inaction. Things like this: "Washington's higher-poverty districts are simply closing. With no plan. In large part, this seems to be in response to the conundrum over requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act." And that's exactly the wrong thing. Instead of voicing complaints, we should be responding like Heather Ross does regarding academic integrity: when we raise a concern, calmly describe how to address it. And do so in a way that allows everyone to be able to address the concern, not just those with resources.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jul 22, 2024 09:05 a.m.

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