As a growing list of colleges and universities reverse course from their previous plans and opt for a fully-remote, online learning approach instead, the risk that many will approach the transition focused more on mere survival than success is growing every day.
Granted, no institution should be expected to assemble a comprehensive online learning infrastructure overnight. Most of the schools that began investing in online education before COVID-19 envisioned it as at least a five- to 10-year project. The pioneers in online learning have been innovating for decades and still have not perfected every aspect of it. However, there are some initial steps in the right direction that schools can take as they work to design and refine their online learning infrastructure.
First among these is to prioritize consistency. Students and instructors alike need a consistent user experience, whether they’re learning or teaching online. It might seem like an obvious suggestion in an age where engineering marvels like smartphones and streaming services have trained most of us to expect seamless, intuitive experiences from our technology. But it’s an area where many institutions struggle to make the leap from the siloed, department-by-department approach of yesteryear.