With the unexpected onset of a global health pandemic and a hurried transition to online teaching, we are caught in the crossfires of arguments for and against online instruction.

Although online courses provide access to higher education to students from diverse demographic backgrounds, the majority of colleges are opting for an in-person fall semester. In the following sections, we will examine, in light of the limitations of existing technology in online learning, why effective online instruction demands collaborative work of multi-disciplinary teams including instructors and other methodological experts.

Related content: Adapting to online learning in a pinch

Early in the spring semester, shortly before the onset of the pandemic, I attended a professional development workshop conducted for university instructors by educational technologists. During this workshop, a senior faculty raised a question: “How can online teaching ever be as effective as face-to-face classes? How do I understand whether my students get hold of things?”

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About the Author:

Priya Harindranathan is a Ph.D. candidate (graduating in summer 2020) at the School of Education and a research assistant at the Center for the Analytics of Learning and Teaching (C-ALT), Colorado State University (CSU). Her dissertation study focused on the use of learning analytics methods to inform the implemented learning designs. This work is expected to support instructors’ inquiry into student learning especially in unsupervised technology-enhanced platforms. Ms. Harindranathan is interested in analytics-driven research design which encourages instructors to consider the intelligent design of learning activities prior to the implementation of these activities. This may aid in data collection aimed at understanding students’ learning behaviors and the implementation of timely interventions to guide students towards self-regulated learning.


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