Higher Ed in the News: 4/20/2020

Photo by Max Böttinger on Unsplash.

This week on Higher Ed in the News, the lasting impact of mandatory remote courses and the importance of training for online instruction.

You can read previous editions of this series here and here.


How the Pandemic Will Shape the Future of Education

According to Emily Levine and Mathew Rascoff in a piece for Inside Higher Ed, the shift to online-only instruction can lead to advancement in scaling learning outcomes and assessing student work. Schools are only now starting to maximize the value of their investment in platforms such as Canvas, which may suit them well down the road even after campuses open up. Regarding student assessment, “ungrading” techniques have become widespread and show schools that it may be helpful to assess which classes are better suited for pass/fail.

Two schools highlighted for their effort to prepare for post-pandemic life are Northeastern University and Stanford University. Through the formation of a “task force” at Northeastern to “reimagine the university” and “recovery team” at Stanford to restore “campus back to a new normal,” these universities are proactively preparing for the eventual return to campus-based instruction.


Training Teachers for Online Instruction

Among the myriad challenges created by the move to remote learning, the importance of properly preparing faculty for online instruction can be easy to overlook. As Ed Tech Magazine’s Micah Castelo writes, acclimating teachers to this new learning landscape requires a strong commitment to professional development where instructors have support from team members, access to e-learning resources, and an ever-expanding “understanding of how to conduct classes in a virtual environment.”

To help instructors maintain strong lines of communication and be able to lean on their support system, CNDLS is leading professional development webinars on remote learning as well as maintaining a website of resources and ideas for remote teaching. Castelo recommends a few resources that are good for keeping up with the latest, including the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and education nonprofits like Common Sense that provide a “plethora of free remote learning resources for educators.”  

CNDLS also offers information and training on Canvas, Panopto, and other technologies that may be important for improving instruction in future courses.