With COVID-19 there has been a significant push for online education. Still universities and schools report that many students, as well as teachers, struggle. Online is for many a temporary solution, that is used doing the existing old type of education available online, but is in most cases not utilizing the opportunities and additional benefits possible.
We need to find ways to better utilize online media and also how to overcome the weaknesses seen. This is regarding both the need from a student as well as a teacher perspective. So far, online solutions do not seem to generate significant cost and scale advantages, even if they in many cases are possible to predict. With a better working online education we should be able to inease quality at the same time as becoming more cost efficient.
Do you agree with the statements above? How significant is this issue and what is the reason for that online is not meeting the needs?
We should here focus on trying to understand the nature of the problem, so please try to avoid to discussing concrete solutions, even if it is difficult. Potential solutions will be discussed in the next step of the process.
6 thoughts on “Fully utilizing online education”
I definitely agree. But I think it is about “just doing it”, and gradually developing the e-learning that will be good, and used. A constant struggle so to speak. Or?
We need to recognize that regardless of what happens with Covid-19 and prospective vaccines, some shift to online tools is here to stay due to this scale of this shock. Universities will of course try to reestablish the primacy of face-to-face education but we as an international community need to prepare for a hybrid in the long-run, and equip our participating educators with skills to delivery quality in that context.
In the context of EIT we speak a lot about interdisciplinarity and how it is important to prepare students to work in environments where people with different skills can perform together in harmony, communicate openly with one another, improve upon each other’s ideas, prevent problems before they occur, and learn the right lessons from past projects. New online education approaches have been deployed recently (mostly due to COVID-19) promote mere passage of knowledge, is this transition to Zoom-teaching only helping or in this case most probably preventing the development of abilities to work in teams for students? How online education resources can be used and leveraged to provide even more efficient learning, provide better student engagement, and better collaboration between students? This issue in my view remains unsolved…
What are the real benefits of online education? In which situations? To achieve what? In EIT (and especially in EIT Digital), a specific angle was taken: online education as a a vehicle to foster – and take full advantage – of pedagogical cooperation within teachers communities. Isn’t online an excellent way to share teaching practices, pedagogical resources and courses? to distribute them in eventually huge teachers / universities networks across Europe? to foster students e-collaboration across Europe?
With now the development of the European Universities Alliances (1 third of the universities in the EU are now part of such Alliances, see for instance: https://educalliance.eu/), online education is a key instrument to foster the necessary pedagogical cooperation and offer students a unique experience in a ‘virtual campus’. Online education has then a new name: virtual mobility. Efforts in this area can take advantage of developments done in the context of Covid-19, but is gives them a new meaning and ambition.
Even prior to COVID-19, online education was increasing it’s presence (eg I did my master’s degree fully online with a blend of Zoom live sessions for each course, plus a platform to review and submit asynchronous videos and content). However, now it’s moving from an option to a necessity in most cases, at least to some extent, so I think addressing the points brought up here is worthwhile. A big weakness of online education, I think, can be lack of meaningful connection but there are tools that can help with this; it would be useful to explore in greater detail what combination of formats, tools and support best enables learning outcomes to be achieved and for the same intangible benefits of an in-person experience to be achieved to the greatest extent possible within an online setting.
Given the comments above there does not seem to be need for a specific focus on online education, but rather that all activities incorporate the need for online components. Either being fully online or blended formats and making sure online parts are one key output of the projects securing that material may be reused and also securing knowledge sharing regarding pedagogy and teaching methodology and formats.