Online Education

How to Improve the Virtual Learning Experience

 

Christy Johnson shares a post from her company blog on how to make virtual learning a better experience for students.

In this panel, experts from Stanford and from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco discussed: 

  • Experimenting with synchronous and asynchronous classroom environments, flipped classrooms, and different online tools
  • Helping students meet, network, collaborate, complete meaningful activities, and learn from one another
  • Thinking creatively about using technology and designing online learning specifically for an online setting
  • Staying positive and using what we’re learning now to improve education in the long run
  • Working with and listening to students

Themes that Emerged During a Full Term of Online Instruction in Spring 2020

John Mitchell, a Professor of Computer Science at Stanford, and Maxwell Bigman, a PhD student at Stanford’s GSE, conducted a survey of the online experiences of Stanford’s CS program and revealed those results in a paper, “Teaching Online in 2020: Experiments, Empathy, Discovery.” At Stanford, and so many other universities, Mitchell said, everyone did what they could to adapt to circumstances in the emergency shift to online instruction. It was a seat-of-the-pants-effort. Most faculty spent several times as long as they normally would have to prepare and teach their courses.

 

Key points include:

  • Reducing Zoom fatigue and facilitating student collaboration
  • Comparisons with the massive online open course environment
  • Using technology to measure and maintain attention

 

Read the full article, Enhancing the Virtual Learning Experience: Lessons from Stanford’s Transforming Learning Accelerator, on ArtemisConnection.com.

 

A View on the Growth of Online Education

 

Marcia Nuffer shares an article that highlights the pros and cons of learning online.

Online learning can be, and should be, as addictive as the other technologies we use.

We are addicted to technology.  Multiple studies say we check our phones between 50 and 80 times a day. Millennials up to 150 times.  Sure, 90% of that is probably checking the time, using social media, and taking selfies.  But a good part of that time is also used to look something up that we want to know.  Add in the time when we’re doing the same on our computers and, in many ways, you can say we already learn online all day.  

But in the workplace, when it comes to what we typically call online learning – the courses, modules, webinars, videos, and of course Zoom sessions available to us to do our jobs better, we turn to it much less frequently.  

What is keeping us from being hooked on online learning?

Well, of course, there are lots of reasons.  We are busy and it’s hard to break from work to “do learning.”  The right content is hard to find.  When we do find it, it is often not specific enough for our particular need.  We are not confident that the time investment will be worth it.  In fact, in research that a colleague and I conducted at a professional services firm, we found that employees primarily use two criteria to decide where to go for help:  Is it fast? Is it the best expertise?

And they do not have confidence that online learning will deliver on either of these.

 

Key points in this article include:

  • Supply and demand
  • Interpersonal topics
  • Technological innovation

 

Read the full article, Online Learning Addiction, on Blueshor.com.

 

Exploring the Potential for a New Era in Higher Education 

 

Eric Hiller takes a look at the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education and discusses the pros and cons of online learning. 

 

“With the advent of our unfriendly visitor from Wuhan, the COVID-19 virus, a lot of things have changed. Higher education has been particularly hard hit. I could not find a complete list of colleges and universities in the USA that were closed, but one can get a pretty good qualitative sense of the effect, for example:

  • Unesco shows an excellent map of school closures. Many countries have shut down schools nationwide! ‘According to UNESCO monitoring, over 100 countries have implemented nationwide closures, impacting over half of the world’s student population.’ Only the USA, Canada, Brazil, Russia, and Indonesia seem to have localized closures, although some countries do have universities open. 
  • Anecdotally, some of the most prestigious Ivy Leaguers, such as Harvard and Princeton have closed campuses, and other powerful state schools, such UC Berkeley, have campus technically open, but all instruction is online.
  • Local lists of closed colleges and universities overflow.
  • The dire state of higher ed and short-term effect of COVID-19

The short-term effect of the Chinese CoronaVirus on colleges could be devastating, i.e. this could be the coop de grace that forces schools on the bubble into the grave.” 

 

The article explores:

  • The four basic tools used for learning
  • Where the online model doesn’t work
  • Why COVID-19 is a long-term higher ed forcing function

 

Read the full article/release, Eric Hiller Examines Covid 19 Effect on Higher Education, on The Express Wire.