On this week’s episode of Quicksilver: The eLearning Alchemist, Daniel Litwin, the Voice of B2B, fills in for Clint Clarkson to do a quick analysis of how schools around the globe are implementing elearning solutions during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s clearly a time of crisis for the world, and as more large buildings and businesses close their doors, the demand for online learning and retaining structure in our education system has become a top priority.
Before we get into the response from educators, how set-up were institutions for a large scale transition to online learning?
A survey of chief online officers, released by Quality Matters & Eduventures this week, sheds some light on that. Conducted in spring of 2019, the survey showed 70% of respondents didn’t have any training for students on how to study online. Though some regional private schools fared better when breaking down the data, closer to 50% do have that online studying training, regional public schools were the ones least supported.
Educators were slightly better prepared, the survey found. Six in 10 online learning administrators say their campuses require professors to train before teaching online.
The survey also showed that most college professors produce their own online courses without additional instructional design infrastructure. One of the authors, Ronald Legon, executive director emeritus of Quality Matters, said it best. Quote, “I don’t think there’s a pipeline that could respond,” Legon said. “That’s a real problem if you’re trying to do this at scale.”
Unfortunately, didn’t have a choice but to respond quickly and at scale. What are some examples of institutions launching online learning platforms?
Two of the largest states in the US have had varied experiences The Bay Area is experiencing a mixed bag of responses, due to some of the issues highlighted earlier. Some teachers have been able to ramp up videoconferencing solutions and online lesson plans, others don’t have the infrastructure and are sending emails with sporadic assignments and activities to keep busy.
Districts like Santa Clara Unified have launched an efficient elearning opertion, creating digital instruction for middle and high schoolers and a scheduling system that logs teacher and student attendance.
San Fransciso schools are still struggling to make technology meet their students needs, waiting for an 8000 chromebooks shipment they can distribute to students.
Other districts like Hayward Unified in the Bay Area are experimenting with elementary students to make online instruction still light-hearted and fun, making a digital spirit week with days like Make a TikTok Video Tuesday and Stay in Your PJs Friday.
Texas has been dealing with many of the same challenges, and rolling out solutions of their own.
Dallas ISD has already put together an online with At Home Learning Guidelines in English and Spanish, including online coursework and resource recommendations.
Gov. Abbott has also suspended all federal testing requirements for the 2019-2020 school year, changing the final stretch of instruction for many subjects, which spent a lot of time on preparing for state-wide examination.
It seems institutions across the globe are dealing with the same challenges and looking for similar solutions.
We still need to ask–where are the biggest roadblocks for elearning at scale for primary, secondary and collegiate education?
  1. Digital equity
  2. Resources for student and teacher training
  3. Expectation setting for all parties involved, including parents
  4. Independent learning design
  5. Emotional cost of social distancing

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