Integrate a holistic approach to content delivery
Millions of students around the globe are making a more permanent transition to online learning. The pandemic has disrupted traditional college social life, and it's taking a toll on efforts to bring schools back to face-to-face learning. Creating new social interaction standards is essential, as online learning is the default solution for many learning institutions during COVID-19.
As an educator, I want to support my learners in aspects that translate outside of traditional course studies; in ways that help students build resilience to manage the challenges of our modern landscape. We could all see possible scenarios concerning educators across the globe, and the consequences of bringing back face-to-face instruction before a thoughtful plan of action are rolled out. Here in the U.S., students returning to campus and seeing friends may be high on the list. Still, as we've seen with recent outbreaks of COVID-19 cases rising due to college socializing, AKA' partying,' there are serious consequences. Some institutions are taking a stance by penalizing students through suspensions, dismissals, and no-refunds on tuitions. These are all extreme measures for the extreme circumstance we are all facing and widen the inequality gap by ignoring the essential need for humans to connect.
Many resources support online learning, but having a support system that keeps students motivated and accountable is a niche that many online learning environments lack. The need for students and educators to have a network of voices and a presence that bridges the social interaction gap is essential. Building this bridge within the curriculum structure is vital and a way to establish human connections that support students beyond learning outcomes. This bridge within the curriculum structure supports people who have your best interests at heart and is one way to keep you on track for managing your academic goals.
Your network can be a classmate, a professor, a friend, or a relative. In a recent NPR article, "How to Make the Most of Online College This Fall," authors E. Nadworny and A. Nguyen note the importance of having an accountability partner to help you stay on top of work. Your accountability partner is "someone who helps make sure you're doing your work and celebrates your progress" and "may help you do better academically." Your accountability network is the support system that helps you work through the academic and emotional challenges and builds your resilience muscle. The authors state, students "don't have to talk about the class. [They] can just get to know each other!" For example, building in a space online to encourage connections, so others understand who you are as a whole person and not just as a student in the class is lacking in e-Learning platforms.
At Click Learning by Design, we strive to create solutions that support learners and educators through thoughtful consideration of each component that impacts learning objectives by designing an online environment using a holistic approach to content delivery. We are exploring solutions that are being implemented and would appreciate any feedback. We intend to integrate new standards of social interaction to improve the e-learning landscape.
Nadworny, E., & Nguyen, A. (2020, September 14). How To Make The Most Of Online College This Fall. Retrieved September 16, 2020, from https://www.npr.org/2020/09/11/911933161/how-to-make-the-most-of-online-college-this-fall