Coronavirus Has Traditional Colleges Across America Trying to Figure Out What’s The Best Way To Go Online
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Most colleges claim to have the means to deliver online classes but the truth is that they don’t all know how to do it. It took a pandemic outbreak in order for universities to do what they should have been doing for a long time now: Colleges and universities across the U.S. are trying to figure out the best way to go online.
It’s no longer a matter of should or shouldn’t. It is a question of how.
Because of the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, multiple colleges around the United States have been telling their students to not return to campus after the spring break.
Colleges tell their students “the classes will be taught virtually online” but the question is: Are all colleges around the country ready to go online?
Most of the colleges claim to have the means to deliver online classes, but truth is that they don’t know how to do it, even if think they do.
For some colleges and universities, making the transition from traditional, contact classes to virtual, online classes may not be so difficult because they already have an online, distance learning college infrastructure and technology set up, but for many other traditional colleges across America going online remains a mystery that for years they have refused to unveil. They have been so resistant to online education that they didn't even took the time to research what going online takes.
To some very conservative professors going online is simply receiving the essays via email, putting a few YouTube videos online and grading the students the same way they did for decades and -perhaps- simply sending the grades via email.
That’s not online college, That’s traditional college via internet.
In that sense conservatives educators are right. Internet education does not work.
Taking a college online is a whole different challenge.
Delivering classes online is effective, but not easy. An online college infrastructure requires a lot more than a zoom, an email, a PowerPoint, and YouTube accounts.
Universities with experienced online divisions like University of Texas Arlington or Southern New Hampshire University have been studying the art of online college class delivery for over a decade, but now some colleges want to put it together by the end of 2020 spring break with no technology investment, nor time to do invest in it.
Just to bring an example to the table; online students will need to enroll into classes from remote locations. How?
That will require a system that deals with enrollment. Not that schools don't have a system for it--most do--but they simply don't have it 100% online. Never thought of it.
Then we need to talk about the lectures. How are colleges going to ensure classes quality? With an iPhone camera and A YouTube account?
Delivering a good online college class requires -among other things- a studio, technology and a protocol to record the class, but, most importantly, professors who have been trained to attract and retain the student’s attention.
Then, how will the schools interact with the students?
LMS stands short for Learning Management System. Schools that teach online use it to deliver education courses, organize these courses (create them, change them, assign them to students, grade them, etc).
To choose an LMS took years to some schools, not for indecision but because they needed to learn, first, what the heck was that. Some Schools think they will learn it all before spring break.
Anyway, at least this global outbreak has a bright-side for the innovative education sector -but mostly- for the students.
It took a pandemic outbreak in order for universities to do what they should have been doing for a long time now: Colleges and universities across the U.S. are trying to figure out the best way to go online.
It’s no longer a matter of should or shouldn’t. It now became a matter of how to.
It will be interesting. The world -but mostly their own students- will be watching what the universities do.
They are watching online, of course, because of the coronavirus they can’t go back to campus.