Monday, March 9, 2020

Coronavirus May Increase Exposure to Online Learning

My daughter’s fiancé is a middle school teacher at a private school in New Jersey.  He was telling me recently about the school’s plans for dealing with a coronavirus outbreak:  online learning.  Come to find out, online learning is the go-to contingency plan in multiple contexts.

In California, K-12 schools and colleges are “repurposing” their existing online teaching programs to accommodate F2F students who may choose or be forced to stay home.  Some schools, especially at the college level, are anticipating increased enrollment in online classes.  Others, especially K-12, are considering allowing students to do independent study at a distance, with online teacher support.  New Jersey Department of Education has determined that, in case of corona-related closures, online learning will count toward minimum hours of classroom instruction.

In states where their governors declared a state of emergency, universities in the state have shut down classes until at least April.  The University of Washington will hold remaining classes and final exams for the spring semester remotely.  Stanford University is also closed to F2F classes, and will finish out the winter quarter remotely. 

Chinese campuses of US universities are not holding classes since the Lunar New Year, and have moved their classes online.  NYU Shanghai moved around 300 classes online.  The university I am affiliated with (University of Utah) has moved all classes at its Asian campus in South Korea (except lab classes) to online status until April 6, and will reconsider next steps after that date.

Emergency responders are being trained about the coronavirus through online courses by the World Health Organization and others.

Educational and other institutions are using online town halls and other virtual communication methods to keep their constituencies informed about the situation, without risking any germ transmission through F2F contact.

This is all a good thing.  Don’t get me wrong – the corona virus is NOT a good thing.  But it IS good that curricula and techniques to facilitate online learning are readily available, as is fast internet access in many locations.  For instructors who are not familiar with providing their subject matter online, this will be a quick introduction to the possibilities and may help them overcome any hesitation they originally had to incorporate online technology into their regular curricula.  And, perhaps more importantly, because the availability and nature of online learning is driven by demand, more students will find out about online learning and perhaps look to incorporate it into their future studies.

Dear readers, stay healthy by washing your hands often and not touching your face.  The Singapore Health Minister shares the simple steps each of us can take to protect ourselves and others from coronavirus in this video.   

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Many schools across the US have shut down for the next two weeks. Unfortunately, not all are participating in online learning programs. Our school is fortunate enough to have a budget to outfit each child with their own Chrome book for the next few weeks. For those who are looking to help keep your kids active- Here is a website that lists free school at home resources.