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I remember my dad saying March comes in like a lion then goes out like a lamb. I think someone forgot to share those instructions with 2020.

I understand the difference between remote learning and online learning, but I didn’t realize there was an official term. Hodges et al. (2020) define emergency remote teaching as a sudden move to fully remote instruction during a crisis or emergency. Why is this important? Like most things, if you can name them, you can understand it. News articles, social media posts, and even friends and family comments indicate a negative online learning opinion. As an ID, I know the difference between online learning and ERT, but trying to explain that without the proper terminology is difficult, at best. Without question, the rapid shift to ERT significantly impacted the credibility of online learning (Zimmerman, 2020). However, correcting the misconceptions surrounding ERT vs. online learning may provide an accurate view of quality online education and create a new interest in distance learning and training as a viable option for the future (Samson, 2020).

The pandemic has also opened new areas for research and practice. COVID-19 may be the most extended time schools have closed, but we can be confident that hurricanes, floods, tornados, and similar events will result in future school closures (Johnson, 2019). Using the experiences and research from this crisis are creating new models for ERT; schools are developing continuity of instruction plans for a crisis scenario; IDs are taking a renewed interest in fields like design thinking, and educational technology is gaining greater acceptance.

I believe mobile learning (m-learning) will grow over the next few years. Many students did not have access to computers or experienced connectivity issues. Without a laptop, the student could not participate in a virtual classroom. However, many of these students had access to a smart device. If a course, module, or lesson were designed as an m-learning lesson, they could access and participate on a smart device. (One reason I’m a big fan of Canvas is that it can be accessed via the Canvas Student or Canvas Teacher app.) Professional development using short, m-learning modules would allow teachers to access lessons on their tablets or phone. Authoring solutions like Rise360 allow text, video, images, interactive elements, and assessments with easy-to-use accessibility tools. I also see the use of additional app-based tools increase in teaching and learning. We’re already experiencing the benefit of several tools in our class: Canvas apps, Zoom, and Slack. The challenge for IDs will be selecting the appropriate technology based on the course’s needs, not merely for the sake of adding a shiny, new technology tool.

We’re almost through 2020. Honestly, I’m ready for the lion to leave and hoping 2021 comes in like a lamb.

References

 Johnson, E. As Fires Rage, More Campuses Close. InsideHigherEd, October 29, 2019

Hodges, C., Moore, S., Lockee, B., Trust, T. and Bond, A. (2020), The difference between emergency remote teaching and online learning. EDUCAUSE Review

Samson, P.  (2020. The Coronavirus and Class Broadcasts. EDUCAUSE Review, March 3, 2020.

Zimmerman, J. (2020) Coronavirus and the Great Online-Learning Experiment. Chronicle of Higher Education. March 10, 2020.

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