By now most families have accepted that their students are doing most of their learning online. Covid-19 forced us all to quickly pivot to remote learning arrangements with little time to prepare or adapt.
Once the pandemic recedes, many students and teachers will be eager to return to classrooms and lecture halls when it’s safe to do so. But that shouldn’t spell the end of online learning according to Steven Mintz, Professor of History at The University of Texas at Austin.
“Let’s not think of online learning as a one-off or as a poor but necessary substitute for the face-to-face education we prefer,” Mintz recently wrote in Inside Education. “Let’s instead embrace this transition moment as an opportunity to move higher ed in a direction that can better serve today’s incredibly diverse, highly differentiated student body. Let’s consider this a great experiment and a challenge to our ingenuity and resourcefulness.”
He also notes that while undergrads may grouse about the quality of current online courses, “at least as many who work, commute or care for others appreciate online learning’s convenience and flexibility.”
For remote learning to be effective now and in a post-pandemic environment, Mintz has strived to address four key challenges in teaching his history lessons online: Isolation, engagement, rigor and quality.
Isolation is particularly tricky when students have come to expect regular interaction with fellow students and their instructors. Mintz has three ways for his students to avoid isolation: weekly breakout sessions to discuss and debate course material; messaging and chat tools to prompt interaction outside of class; and social interaction tools to facilitate group work and brainstorming.
At JazzJune, we have prioritized the importance of including a social component in online learning. Our platform will host a robust network for learners and leaders to share successes and challenges, make personal connections and ensure long-term engagement.
Nobody should feel alone in their learning journey.