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.
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?”
We can dismiss this question as resistance from a senior faculty with less experience in online education. It is true that online learning platforms are underutilized in terms of pedagogic implementations by the majority of faculty. Such platforms are used mostly to distribute study materials and/or assign grades to students. However, not all instructors who seem resistant to the idea of online teaching are Luddites. Let us not shy away from addressing the concerns of such instructors.