Although it may seem like a long time ago, it’s been just a few weeks since universities were forced by the coronavirus crisis to move their activities online. Many discussions are currently taking place, especially on social media, on the effect of this sudden change on students, teachers and universities in general. New networks are being built and older ones are revived; most importantly, online learning experts are doing their best to pool resources that can be helpful for teachers in this emergency transition. I reflected on the newly found fame of online education and the impact the crisis has on Higher Education here, here and here. Now it’s time to focus our efforts on coming up with solutions that enable teachers and universities to offer quality online education in the near future. Ideally, instructional designers and educational technologists should be available to support teachers as they (re)design their courses.
What’s the problem? And how to fix it.
We easily forget that not all universities have resources to provide support for teaching online and unfortunately this is not likely to change soon. There is a lot of valuable expertise out there, but often supply and demand don’t match- either for geographical/ time zone reasons, or due to language barriers. Or sometimes it’s just about each of us living in our own filter bubbles and often being unaware of resources and ideas we could use that belong to other bubbles.
I am currently working on ideas to increase access to valuable knowledge and expertise on online teaching and learning. This could be very useful in the short term and it would also provide teachers with tools and resources they can use in the future to rethink their courses.
In order to design the right channel for providing accessible support I created a short survey to find out more about the needs of Higher Education teaching staff in terms of support for teaching online. If you are teaching at university, it would be great if you could fill in this short survey and share it with your network. It only takes 5 minutes and your contribution will help shed light on a topic that is becoming increasingly important. I would also welcome any comments in response to this article or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you are interested in the results, I would be happy to share them with you in the following weeks.