Whenever a situation occurs that keeps students from their physical classrooms, online learning gets more attention. In this case, the emergency is COVID-19, and it’s motivating some to examine their online learning strategy, but it may as easily be a natural disaster or even a snow day.

Though more college students are enrolling in online courses than ever before, online learning offerings are still the minority at most institutions and the majority of teachers are unprepared to teach online. This leaves a large swathe of students vulnerable in an emergency.

Related content: Transitioning to online learning in higher education

Adapting to online learning in a pinch

Every educational institution should have a strategy for academic emergencies that is widely shared widely with faculty, staff, and students. This strategy should include a teaching continuity plan aimed at helping everyone adapt to remote or online learning and teaching if school stays in session campus shuts down.

Now, I’m no stranger to online education and I strongly believe that great online learning requires purposeful, iterative design coupled with training and practice. So can we expect teachers to adapt and facilitate effective learning in a pinch?

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About the Author:

As VP of Higher Education Strategy for Canvas by Instructure, Jared Stein and team uncover new ways that technology can improve teaching and learning — often in collaboration with colleges and universities. Jared works to help teachers design effective blended and online learning so that all students can have great experiences in education.


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