“After decades of procrastination, higher education has finally been spurred, by the necessity of the COVID-19 pandemic, to enter the 21st century and offer online courses tailored to the needs of the synergistic digital economy for non-traditional students across a spectrum of ages and career stages.
However, we worry that the forced migration to online education could end up as a threat to further progress unless change-resistant nostalgia for the historic model is replaced by a strategic response geared toward and welcoming future evolution.”
(From: The 60-year curriculum: A strategic response to a crisis. See: “The future of higher education” below.)
In other words, we can do it, we just proved it, so let’s keep on doing what we have learned we can do for our students!!
The future of higher education
Many have embraced the challenge of pivoting to remote working and teaching as an opportunity. We have shown how nimble we can be – it has forced us to adapt, and take risks. Everything we’ve learned is going to be useful for the future. Now is not the time to stop the learning curve, especially if we envision a future that is more accessible and flexible. CETL and the Camosun Teaching and Learning Council both met recently to reflect on lessons learned from the Covid pivot, and to look forward to what may be possible going forward. Themes that emerged were: “spirit of exploration, importance of quality teaching for learning, learning from each other, accessibility/flexibility, and the importance of connection.” Read more here
Additional resources on the future of higher education:
Conflicted thoughts about September Nexus: Camosun’s Student Voice
Beth Cougler Blom is a learning designer/teacher/facilitator/consultant who has worked in post-secondary education, as well as the government and community organizations, most notably for me with BCcampus and Royal Roads, for over 20 years.
If you are looking for strategies around designing and facilitating learning, check out her new book, “Design to Engage: “a “how to” book that will help you become an effective designer and facilitator of learning events. You will:
- learn about facilitation roles and responsibilities
- discover what good learning experiences look like
- plan for and design effective learning events using practical, straightforward design strategies
- raise your awareness about how to create inclusive, comfortable environments.”
I am looking forward to reading her book myself soon, and recommend you find out more at Beth Cougler Blom’s website!
Seems a bit lazy, but I thought this was definitely worth the re-post (or re-blog, whatever you call it – let’s call it sharing!)
In this week’s Digital Detox post (if you don’t know about the Digital Detox, check it out), Dr. Brenna Clarke Grey talks about e-proctoring in a post aptly called E-proctoring Sucks, So Why Won’t It Go Away?
The thing I appreciate the most about her post is her comment that while she does think cheating is a problem, she thinks “it’s largely a structural problem, not an individual one,” which I completely agree with. Automatically assuming students are going to cheat online and forcing them into invasive proctoring solutions is not addressing the larger issue(s) – we need to examine why students cheat (and yes, there are many, many reasons) and think about our institutional role in pushing them there.
So, I encourage you to check out Dr. Clarke Grey’s post, and join in on the discussion!
Digital Detox #3: E-proctoring Sucks, So Why Won’t It Go Away?
So, right now I am co-facilitating the Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) Fundamentals course at Camosun. And this first week our participants had a full plate of orienting themselves to the online FLO environment, learning how to make video introductions, learning about their co-participants, AND engaging in a couple of lively discussions around online community.
I thought I would take a moment to share a summary/synthesis of the conversation in the Defining Online Community discussion, which was one of their activities this week, as well as add a few additional optional resources you may want to explore.
Some common ideas that leapt out at me in the discussions around what online community is:
- Participation and interaction
- Supportiveness, comfort, safety, trust
- Co-operation, contributing, and sharing (shared knowledge space)
- Co-creation and collaboration
- Growing circle of knowledge/building of knowledge (peer to peer learning)
- Common interest, purpose, working together to meet common goals
- Inclusiveness and belonging, connection
- Diversity of people coming together to build knowledge (not bound by geography/fewer borders)
- Mix of learning and social
Certainly, like any community, online community is about all these things. The question then becomes how do we create an online community with/for our learners that helps them balance the benefits of an online learning community with the pitfalls of being too connected (leading to exhaustion and stress), or feeling isolate and disconnected, or just having too many choices you don’t know where to turn.
I don’t have easy answers to this. Some participants talked about starting small – both with the amount of technology you use, and also with the kinds of activities you integrate (i.e., a lot of online group work can lead to stress, both from an exhausted by being online all the time perspective, and a trust perspective if you are thrown too soon into a large group project.) I am always happy to talk more about strategies, and have developed some that I present in my Creating Community Online workshop. If anyone would like more information about this workshop, drop me an email (email@example.com).
To close this summary/synthesis, I would like to give you some optional readings on online community specific to the online classroom space.
I hope you all have a great long weekend!
Looking for resources for your students with tips for learning online? Wondering where to send students to find support at Camosun College? We have some resources for you!
First, check out a collection of links for students on our Tutorials site.
Here you will find links to the Student Learning Success Guides put together by Camosun’s Learning Skills which includes tips for remote learning, stress management, and time management. Also, a link to Online Learning at Camosun College, which contains information about what kind of technologies students should have, and how to access it.
In addition, if you are wondering how students can access Office 365, the link for this is on this page as well as the link to Student Technical Support. You will also find direct links to Student Affairs and the Centre for Accessible Learning at Camosun.
If there are other links you would like us to include on this page, email Emily Schudel.
Looking for resources specific to learning online? Check out Kwantlen College’s open textbook Learning to Learn Online, or eCampus Ontario’s identically named Learning to Learn Online which was co-written by students, for students!
And finally, more for you as online instructors, also from eCampus Ontario, a chapter from their open textbook Remote Teaching: A Practical Guide with Tools, Tips, and Techniques called Helping Students Become Effective Online Learners with some strategies you can try yourself.