North America

Let’s stop confusing what just happened with true online learning

Submitted by dene.mullen on Thu, 10/06/2021 - 00:01
Article type
Article

To be clear, what we’ve all just been through with “online learning” is not online learning at all. It is emergency-use online learning (EUOL). We should be careful to call it what it is. Pretending that what we’ve experienced is online learning is akin to pretending the burger you just ate was filet mignon. Well, they’re both meat.

Standfirst
During the pandemic, decades of research and practice were tossed aside in a matter of days, says Ali Carr-Chellman
Teaser
During the pandemic, decades of research and practice were tossed aside in a matter of days, says Ali Carr-Chellman

Never forget: your course is not only yours

Submitted by dene.mullen on Tue, 08/06/2021 - 00:01
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Article

Let’s start with a question for instructional designers and faculty members: when you last designed a course, how much time did you spend thinking about the role that each element in that course plays in shaping your college or university?

Standfirst
Too much of our instructional design undershoots the potential of higher education to improve not only individual lives but also the public good, says Robin DeRosa
Teaser
Too much of our instructional design undershoots the potential of higher education to improve not only individual lives but also the public good, says Robin DeRosa

More screen time: using instructor-featured video to create connection online

Submitted by miranda.prynne on Fri, 04/06/2021 - 09:00
Article type
Article

One of the key changes faced by students and educators alike in the shift to online teaching has been a decrease in social presence. Yet numerous studies have demonstrated the importance of social presence in education. The benefits include increased student satisfaction, participation and engagement with material, and a greater likelihood of students feeling comfortable in a course and confident in approaching their instructor. More social presence has been shown to reduce challenges inherent in online education such as interpersonal disconnection and isolation.

Standfirst
Aaron Smith explains why instructor-featured videos are such a powerful tool for keeping remote-learning students grounded and for providing a sense of human connection when teaching online, based on his research
Teaser
Aaron Smith explains why instructor-featured videos are such a powerful tool for keeping remote-learning students grounded and for providing a sense of human connection, based on his research

Flexibility is key if we want students to connect with their studies

Submitted by dene.mullen on Fri, 28/05/2021 - 01:01
Article type
Article

The pandemic has been responsible for a great many things, including the exposure of something endemic in higher education: learner variability. This is not new. Institutes of higher education have long ignored or paid lip service to the fact that students come from multiple ethnic and cultural backgrounds, that they have differing needs, abilities, disabilities and constraints.

Standfirst
Universal design for learning not only embraces diversity, it also uses it as the basis for providing choice in how students learn – and succeed, says Lillian Nave
Teaser
Universal design for learning not only embraces diversity, it also uses it as the basis for providing choice in how students learn – and succeed, says Lillian Nave

Should lecturers be trained to deal with shortening attention spans?

Submitted by dene.mullen on Wed, 26/05/2021 - 01:01
Article type
Article

There’s a non-trivial element of entertainment involved in the act − or art − of teaching. If you think back to your favourite teachers over the years, whether from school or university, I would wager that they found a way to convey their own interest and investment in their subject matter in a way that captured and held your attention.

Standfirst
Would my life be easier if I had received explicit guidance in how to deliver content in TikTok-length pieces? asks Katie Davis
Teaser
Would my life be easier if I had received explicit guidance in how to deliver content in TikTok-length pieces? asks Katie Davis

This model is the future of diversity in higher education

Submitted by dene.mullen on Tue, 25/05/2021 - 01:01
Article type
Article

Back on a cool March morning, I went through my usual pandemic ritual of logging into Zoom, when an urgent message came in from a small group of students in my health justice class – an online class I developed mid-pandemic.

Standfirst
Coming together for support is the only way forward – and the Council of Coalitions is the model for inter-group organising we desperately need, says Pardis Mahdavi
Teaser
Coming together for support is the only way forward – and the Council of Coalitions is the model for inter-group organising we desperately need, says Pardis Mahdavi

The trials of teaching a ‘new’ script in a virtual world

Submitted by dene.mullen on Mon, 24/05/2021 - 01:01
Article type
Article

Imagine you’re 18 years old and you’re just beginning to learn how to read and write in a language you’ve never heard or spoken before. Not only that, but you have to learn it remotely, sitting online in front of a machine with a keyboard that, most likely, doesn’t have the letters of the language you’re about to learn. You’d be forgiven for asking yourself why you’re learning this language. And why you’re learning these strange-looking scripts.

Standfirst
Teaching non-Roman scripts online throws up great challenges, but we must preserve the world’s linguistic resources, say Rana Raddawi, Jingjing Ji and Ronit Alexander
Teaser
Teaching non-Roman scripts online throws up great challenges, but we must preserve the world’s linguistic resources, say Rana Raddawi, Jingjing Ji and Ronit Alexander

The sector’s mental health workers need help too

Submitted by dene.mullen on Fri, 21/05/2021 - 01:01
Article type
Article

Two things changed the direction of my personal and professional life in my early twenties: during my senior year in college, I survived a violent sexual assault, and three months after graduation I experienced homelessness. My family was not equipped to support me with either because they were struggling financially and had strong opinions regarding my queer identity. I was forced to navigate the sexual assault trauma on my own while still trying to earn my degree.

Standfirst
More assistance must be offered to help students survive, let alone thrive – and the same goes for student crisis interventionists like me, says Lula Torres
Teaser
More assistance must be offered to help students survive, let alone thrive – and the same goes for student crisis interventionists like me, says Lula Torres

Beware the futility of higher education’s wellness theatre

Submitted by dene.mullen on Thu, 20/05/2021 - 01:01
Article type
Article

Throughout the pandemic, students, staff and instructors alike have received countless emails addressing the collective exhaustion of teaching, learning and working online. Often, these emails contain directives such as “don’t forget to practise self-care”, or “go for a walk” or − my particular favourite − an email sent on a Wednesday that gently advised “don’t check emails on Wednesdays”.

Standfirst
Surface-level emphasis on self-care without discussing systemic problems in HE runs the risk of gaslighting students who face very real barriers, says Fiona Rawle
Teaser
Surface-level emphasis on self-care without discussing systemic problems in HE runs the risk of gaslighting students who face very real barriers, says Fiona Rawle

Expectation and compassion: two sides of the coin for successful learning outcomes

Submitted by miranda.prynne on Tue, 18/05/2021 - 14:00
Article type
Article

Effective teaching requires both expectation and compassion. At first glance, these components might appear mutually exclusive, but they are not. Successful outcomes require both.

In any learning environment, expectation and compassion are more mutually reliant than mutually exclusive. The literature on teaching and learning shows that high expectations result in better gains for students. But online teaching has highlighted that students lead varied, complex lives behind their cameras, and that meeting study requirements can be stressful, so they also need care and support.

Standfirst
Celia Ann Evans explains how instructors can balance compassion with high expectations to guide students to better learning gains
Teaser
Celia Ann Evans explains how instructors can balance compassion with high expectations to guide students to better learning gains