With locations closed during the Coronavirus epidemic, students aren’t the only ones experiencing a learning curve with online education. Many of your teachers are as new to online education as they are to online learning.
According to a new survey of university administrators by an association of digital learning organizations, 97% said they “used teachers with no online teaching experience for some of their courses”.
The study also found that “even experienced online instructors have to adapt on the fly.” In the rapid transition from campus to distance education in response to COVID-19, most teachers had about a week to prepare and keep online the rest of their Spring Semester courses.
Most locations remain closed at least until the end of the spring semester. Some schools have even announced that they will extend or partially close these closings in the summer and fall.
Over the weeks, schools go beyond emergency response to prepare for what lies ahead. This preparation includes the transition from teachers and distance emergency courses to fully online courses.
How is this kind of preparation? It begins by identifying best practices and relevant resources, providing opportunities to develop skills and collaborate with experienced online educators, and collecting and including feedback from students.
Best practices and relevant resources for online education
Online education has existed since the 1960s when a network was developed to provide communication and training for research projects of the United States Department of Defense. United States
In the decades that followed, the Internet and higher education have evolved in many ways to offer comprehensive courses and academic distance programs. The result is a growing collection of effective strategies and methods.
As colleges and universities prepare for the future, leaders draw on this history of experience and research, as well as experienced online education professionals, to understand how to teach effectively online.
Teachers have access to general resources such as a list of open access articles and websites provided by the American Educational Research Association.
They also have access to more specific resources developed by their institution. The University of South Florida faculty and student toolkit includes quick links to computer tools and support, course checklists, FAQ forums, and training tutorials.
In addition, several standards are now available to guide the development of online courses and programs. The objective of implementing one of these tools is to ensure the quality of the online learning experience.
The quality dashboard system of the e-learning consortium is an example that includes analyzes of course design and teaching practices, as well as digital tools and student support.