Online learning as a modality of teaching and learning has been thrust upon education and can no longer be considered an emerging reality. It is here.

The COVID-19 virus disruption has completely changed the way education operates. Until now, in many organizations across the country and globe, online courses and programs have been managed as a separate entity. The current reality has shifted education and distance learning into an integral part of the education system.

We have come to realize that education is education, regardless of the modality. However, the calm after the initial chaos should bring a concern about understanding the functionality and benefits of each modality for each discipline and how it impacts student outcomes.

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Following the initial shock of this rapid transformation, it becomes important for educational leaders to turn to the variables that impact student success in online learning. The voices of instructional designers whose expertise in online learning and course design will be better understood.

The online modality can present in different formats, synchronous and asynchronous, as well as a combination of the two. As instructors make the transition to online, it is an opportunity for them to reassess their syllabi and teaching plans to better meet student needs, and emphasize a more student-centered approach.

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About the Author:

Dr. Judith Altschuler Cahn is the Director of the Department of Online Education and Support at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York.