What will learning look like this fall? — excerpt and resources below are from Instructure’s Canvas CSM June 2020 Newsletter

Institutions across the world are preparing for the upcoming school year with the “new normal.” Educators have been sharing their successes, lessons learned, and new initiatives. Explore these resources on bringing the classroom environment online:

 

To provide the best learning environment while keeping everyone safe, WMU-Cooley Law School made the decision to continue teaching classes ONLINE for the Fall 2020 semester.

 

From DSC:
We at the WMU-Cooley Law School are working hard to enhance and expand our teaching toolboxes, so that we can pivot as necessary in the future. 

DanielChristian-EnhancingOurTeachingToolboxes.jpg

Whether we need to deliver our cognitive-science based, modern legal education via 100% online-based means, or whether it’s a blended/hybrid approach, or whether it’s 100% face-to-face again at some point in the future, we need to be ready for multiple methods and modes of teaching and learning. 

 

 

But I have to say, the work is hard. There are more and different kinds of people on the front lines of this Covid-19 situation than just the wonderful folks in healthcare. Many Instructional Designers (IDs), Information Technology (IT)-related staff, faculty members, and members of administration and are working overtime, all-the-time. It’s not easy. That said, I do believe that there will be some silver linings in this situation. Many faculty members are coming to appreciate the teaching and learning power of some of these tools — and will likely integrate several of these new tools/methods even if and when they return to our face-to-face-based classrooms.

 

4 in 10 U.S. teens say they haven’t done online learning since schools closed — from kqed.org by Anya Kamenetz

Excerpt:

With most schools closed nationwide because of the coronavirus pandemic, a national poll of young people ages 13 to 17 suggests distance learning has been far from a universal substitute.

 

From DSC:
If you are able to — whether as a business or as an individual — please consider finding ways to help level the playing field in our nation by providing computers and broadband connectivity. Our society doesn’t need yet another gap, especially when you have this type of thing going on.

Online-based learning — along with blended learning — is likely a solid component of our learning ecosystems from here on out — but it’s not a level playing field out there right now.

 

 

Reopening schools: A Getting Smart webinar recap — from gettingsmart.com by Getting Smart Staff

Reopening schools: A Getting Smart webinar recap -- from gettingsmart.com

“We must ensure that people who are furthest from educational justice have their learning needs met. You will then meet the needs of all learners.” – Kelly Niccolls

 

COVID-19 Intensifies Need to Tackle Digital Accessibility — from campustechnology.com by By Glenda Sims
More learning content than ever before has migrated online, bringing accessibility concerns to the forefront. Here’s how higher ed institutions are making progress toward equitable access.

Excerpt:

Accessibility lawsuits in education are not new. However, with colleges and universities undertaking their own digital transformations (moving more content and services online), lawsuits targeted at equitable access to physical facilities (like bathrooms) have logically expanded to digital offerings for students relying on assistive technologies to access them. The current COVID-19 crisis is likely to exacerbate this, as more learning content than ever before has migrated online in these unprecedented times. Persons with disabilities will demand nothing less than completely equitable access, particularly when it comes to their safety. While many higher ed institutions still have much to do for their accessibility initiatives, there have been many promising developments…

 

 

Flipped Learning Review -- May/June 2020

 

Flipped Learning Review — May | June 2020

Except from one of the articles entitled, “Preparing to switch between in-class and online learning — from flr.flglobal.org by Thomas Mennella

“I claim that Flipped Learning is the perfect bridge between face-to-face, on-ground instruction, and an online format. It excels in both worlds and makes transitioning between the two seamless. I am not over-reaching. I am not extrapolating. And I claim to be no expert. I simply showed you the data.”

 

The Post-Pandemic Outlook for Edtech — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpts:

For the edtech industry, the pandemic poses a paradox. Never before have schools and colleges so urgently needed digital tools and services to facilitate remote learning—and been less able to afford them.

Consumer edtech, then, may be where the market is hottest moving forward. And experts say a new key audience has emerged in the sector: parents. Many have been thrust—begrudgingly—into the role of homeschool teacher, and they’re looking for ways to keep kids on track academically that don’t require them to spend hours brushing up on fractions.

“The new audience for edtech companies, whether they sell directly to consumers or not, is the parent. That’s a major and permanent change,” he explains. “Whether it’s needed all the time or not, it needs to be built in.” 

— Frank Catalano

Online Tutoring Services
It’s been a hot few years for companies that connect students with tutors who teach online. Between 2016 and 2019, online tutoring services raised more than $1.2 billion in venture capital.

 

From DSC:
After reading the following item from Jeremy Caplan’s most recent e-newsletter entitled, “Tiny Stuff I Love“…

Alfred = Saves me time on copying and pasting
If you copy and paste stuff frequently, get a clipboard manager. I use Alfred throughout every workday. It keeps the last 100+ things I’ve copied in a neat list so I can paste anything I’ve used recently into a browser, document, or wherever else.

This is super-handy when I’m copying and pasting things repeatedly from one place to another. Sometimes I’m moving a bunch of stuff from a document into an email. Or putting several links or notes into a Zoom chat window.

Lots of tools do something similar. I also like the Copied App, $8 on the Mac App store. It has a companion iPhone app.

 

…I instantly thought of how useful this type of tool would be for teachers, professors, and perhaps trainers as well — especially when grading!

From this page (emphasis DSC):

What Does a Clipboard Manager Do?
The default clipboard in Windows works well, but it’s quite basic. The biggest limitation is that it can only hold one item at a time. If you copy a piece of text, forget to use it, then copy an image later, the text will be gone. Another hassle is that you can’t view what you’ve copied without pasting it.

For anyone who copies and pastes all the time, these are big problems. Thankfully, this is where clipboard managers come in. They greatly expand the functionality of your clipboard by remembering dozens of entries, allowing you to pin frequently used snippets for easy access, and much more.

 

Afred 4 for the Mac

Alfred is a clipboard manager for the Mac

 

Readers of this blog might also be interested in some of the other tools that Jeremy mentions, including:

  • Toby = Save and share my browser tabs

Toby -- save and load sets of browser tabs

 
 

Fall Scenario #13: A HyFlex Model — from insidehighered.com by Edward Maloney and Joshua Kim

Excerpt:

In a HyFlex course, courses are delivered both in person and online at the same time by the same faculty member. Students can then choose for each and every class meeting whether to show up for class in person or to join it online. The underlying design ethos behind the HyFlex Model is flexibility and student choice.

To do it well, then, a lot of things need to line up, including the technology, the course design, the focus on pedagogy and the engagement of the students. Many schools that wish to scale the HyFlex Model across the curriculum for the fall semester will likely need to make a significant investment in classroom technology.

Also see the other scenarios from Kim and Maloney at:

15 fall scenarios for higher education this fall (i.e., the fall of 2020)

 

Problems planning for a Post-Pandemic Campus this fall — from bryanalexander.org by Bryan Alexander
How will campuses try to return to face-to-face education?  What does it mean now to plan for a Post-Pandemic Campus this fall?

Excerpt:

In April I published three scenarios for colleges and universities may approach the fall 2020 semester in the wake of COVID-19, based on different ways the pandemic might play out.  I followed that up with real world examples of each scenario, as different institutions subsequently issued announcements about their plans.  To recap, they are:

  1. COVID Fall: today’s “remote instruction” continues and develops for the rest of calendar 2020.
  2. Toggle Term: campuses are ready and able to switch between online and in-person instruction as circumstances change.
  3. Post-Pandemic Campus: colleges and universities return in the fall to the traditional face-to-face mode after COVID-19’s danger has ebbed to a certain level.

 

6 ways college might look different in the fall — from npr.com by Elissa Nadworny

Excerpt:

What will happen on college campuses in the fall? It’s a big question for families, students and the schools themselves.

A lot of what happens depends on factors outside the control of individual schools: Will there be more testing? Contact tracing? Enough physical space for distancing? Will the coronavirus have a second wave? Will any given state allow campuses to reopen?

For all of these questions, it’s really too early to know the answers. But one thing is clear: Life, and learning for the nation’s 20 million students in higher education, will be different.

“I don’t think there’s any scenario under which it’s business as usual on American college campuses in the fall,” says Nicholas Christakis, a sociologist and physician at Yale University.

 

If law schools can’t offer in-person classes this fall, what will they do instead? — from abajournal.com by Stephanie Francis Ward

 

From DSC:
Here’s an idea that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time now. It’s not necessarily a new idea, but the seed got planted in me by a former colleague, Quin Schultze (which I blogged about in January of 2018). I’m calling it, “My Learning Journal.The purpose of this device is to promote your metacognition  — helping you put things into your own words and helping you identify your knowledge gaps.

I realize that such a learning strategy/tool could take some time to complete. But it could pay off — big time! Give it a try for a few weeks and see what you think.

And, with a shout-out to Mr. James McGrath, the President of the WMU-Cooley Law School, the article listed below explains the benefits of taking the time for such reflection:

Reflective learning – reflection as a strategic study technique — from open.edu

Excerpts:

Rather than thinking of reflection as yet another task to be added to your ‘to do’ list or squeezed into a busy study schedule, view it as something to practice at any stage. The emphasis is on being a reflective learner rather than doing reflective learning. 

Developing a habit of reflective learning will help you to:

  • evaluate your own progress
  • monitor and manage your own performance
  • self-motivate
  • keep focus on your learning goals
  • think differently about how you can achieve your goals by evaluating your study techniques, learning strategies and whether these best fit your current needs, identifying your skills development needs or gaps in knowledge
  • think about and overcome what may be blocking your learning by using a different approach, or setting more pragmatic (realistic/achievable) goals
  • support and enrich your professional practice ensuring that you are better placed to respond to and manage new, unexpected and complex situations – a key requirement at Master’s level.

From DSC:
Pastors, trainers, K-12 educators, student teachers, coaches, musical teachers, and others: Perhaps a slightly modified version of this tool might be beneficial to those with whom you work as well…?

And for educators and trainers, perhaps we should use such a tool to think about our own teaching and training methods — and what we are (or aren’t) learning ourselves.

Addendum on 5/14/20:

Perhaps someone will build a bot for this type of thing, which prompts us to reflect upon these things. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about or something like Woebot, which Jeremy Caplan mentioned here.

 

Dawn of the Age of Digital Learning [Moe & Rajendran]

Dawn of the Age of Digital Learning — from medium.com by Michael Moe and Vignesh Rajendran
An Acceleration of Trends That Have Been Building for Years

Excerpts:

Some of these new online learners will sink. Some will crawl out of the pool and never go back in. But we believe most will get the hang of it, like it, and will no longer be confined to the shore. Effectively, the genie is not going back in the bottle… digital learning has come of age. We have a B.C. (Before Coronavirus) world transitioning to A.D. (After Disease).

The Coronavirus has brought forth the Dawn of the Age of Digital Learning — a time for builders to create the platforms, tools, and technology to propel society forward.

We now believe Digital Learning will reach 11% of the education market by 2026, representing a ~$1 Trillion market and a 30% CAGR, close to double the rate of growth projected in Before Covid-19

 

From DSC:
So many of the things in this article reminded me of the things, developments, trends, needs, and possibilities that I have been tracking for years in this vision of a next-generation, global learning platform that I have entitled:

We need a next gen learning platform -- I call this vision Learning from the Living Class Room

My guess is that the large, primarily online institutions/organizations will come out of this ordeal in much better shape than the majority of the traditional institutions of higher education. It won’t matter what faculty members at liberal arts institutions think about online learning. And as much as some faculty members won’t like to see or hear about it, students will no longer need for such faculty members to be sold on it. Students will come to realize that it was under those faculty members watch that their own enormous gorillas of debt were created. And they are beginning to witness and hear that it’s taking (or will take) older family members decades to pay down their debt.

So, I think that the market will decide the fate of many traditional institutions of higher education. Lifelong learners will vote with their feet — and fingers actually, by typing in a new URL — and simply move to the SNHU’s, ASU’s, UMass Online’s, WGU’s, and Liberty University’s of the world. After 5-10 years of investments in online learning, there will likely be some pretty amazing learning experiences out there.

 
 

How the research on learning can drive change — from gettingsmart.com by Chris Sturgis

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

#2 Learning results from the interplay of cognition, emotion, and motivation.
The brain does not clearly separate cognitive from emotional functioning so that optimal learning environments will engage both. It’s important that students feel safe if learning is to be optimized. When we are afraid, our amygdala becomes activated making it harder to learn. Do students feel valued? Relationships matter in creating a culture of inclusivity and belonging. Are schools designed so that teachers and professors have the opportunity to build strong relationships with students? Do students feel that the school and teachers want them to be successful? Do they have chances to receive feedback and revise or do grading practices simply judge them?

 

From DSC:
Two instances — plus a simmering question — instantly stand out in my mind when I read the above paragraph.

First instance:
It was years ago and I was working at a Fortune 500 company outside of Chicago. I was given the chance to learn how to program in one of the divisions of this company. I was in a conference room with my brand new boss. I had asked him a question about a piece of code, which clearly must have let him know I had some serious misunderstandings.

But instead of being patient, he grew increasingly frustrated at my lack of understanding. The madder he got, the worse my learning became. My focus shifted from processing the expected syntax of the code — and the content/instruction overall that he was trying to relay — to almost completely being concerned with his anger. My processing shut down and things deteriorated from there.

Second instance:
My mom was a classical piano teacher for decades. Though she was often loved by her students, she could be very tough, strong, and forceful. (This was true of several of my siblings’ music teachers as well.) Most of the time, she developed wonderful, strong relationships with the vast majority of her students, many of which came back to our house around Christmastime / New Year’s to visit with her (even long after “graduating”).

I mention that as background to a different context…when I observed my mom trying to teach one of my nieces how to do a math problem in the kitchen of our old house. Again, the teacher in this case kept getting increasingly frustrated, while the student kept shrinking back into their shell…trying to deflect the increasingly hot anger coming at them. The cognitive processing stopped. The amount of actual learning taking place quickly declined. I finally intervened to say that they should come back to this topic later on.

(The counselors/therapists out there would probably rightly connect these two scenarios for what was happening in my mind (i.e., not wanting to deal with the other person’s growing anger). But this applies to many more of us than just me, I’m afraid.)

A simmering question involving law schools and a common teaching method:
In law schools, one of the long-standing teaching methods is the Socratic Method.

Depending upon the professor and their teaching style, one student could be under intense pressure to address the facts, rules, the legal principles of a case, and much more. They often have to stand up in front of the class.

In those instances, I wonder how much capacity to actually process information gets instantly reduced within many of the students’ brains when they get the spotlight shown on them? Do the more introverted and/or less confident students start to sweat? Do their fear levels and heart rates increase? With the issue of having other students attempting to learn from this grilling aside, I wonder what happens to the amygdalas of the students that were called upon?

You can probably tell that I’m not a big fan of the Socratic Method IF it begins to involve too much emotion…too much anger or fear. Not good. The amount of learning taking place can be significantly impacted.

A professor, teacher, or trainer can’t know all of the underlying background, psychology, personality differences, emotional makeup, and experiences of each learner. But getting back to the article, I appreciate what the author was saying about the importance of establishing a SAFE learning environment. The more fear, anger, and a sense of being threatened or scared are involved, the less learning/processing can occur.

 

Healthy looks different on every body...and learning looks different with every mind.

 

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