Could Colleges Teach Everyone Online This Fall?
It is quite possible at some point this fall that colleges will need to teach everyone online. But colleges face will different issues than they did this spring. Colleges must offer more course sections and courses to accommodate them. . I’d like to share some issues and thoughts as to how colleges might teach everyone online this fall.
Small classes are less difficult to support online, as long as the meeting platform can be used for the duration of the class.
Students who have worked at home have noticed that some packages, like the free version of Zoom, have their limitations. The provider limits the size of the group as well as the duration of the meeting. A college that teaches 180-minute classes over one, two or three sessions each week will need to choose something better. The technology will need to offer a better audio and video package.
Colleges would pass on the costs of upgrading technology to the consumers, the students and their parents.
It is possible that a college could charge less tuition for online instruction. But price increases are still likely. Colleges that plan to offer an online and an on-campus version of the same class will have to teach each version differently. Neither parents nor students will find recorded lectures and online multiple choice exams to be acceptable substitutes for an on-campus class.
Introductory (100-200 level) courses would receive high priority for the course catalog.
Calculus, Economics, Political Science and Psychology lecture-based classes, among others, can be taught online. So can small freshman seminars and expository writing. Other course offerings need to be prioritized based on demand, and if they fulfill degree requirements. No college would risk losing their accreditation from an educational or professional body. Faculty who teach advanced courses and electives could be asked to teach introductory courses. Continuing students would likely have fewer electives to choose from. However, popular, but easy large-lecture courses with light workloads could be offered online. College administrators consider past enrollments when planning course offerings for upcoming semesters or quarters. These are among the school’s most profitable courses.
You might see courses with “flipped lectures.”
Students watch a pre-recorded lecture on their own time, then work through assignments with a teaching assistant. The teaching assistant could be a college senior, first-year grad student, or a PhD candidate who has completed all of their classes.
Colleges may collaborate to offer a larger selection of courses.
They already collaborate for study aboard, student exchanges, career fairs, and more. The Big Ten schools share online library resources and career fairs. Twelve selective liberal arts colleges co-manage a residential academic program. Courses in need of students at one school could become open online to students at the others.
How can students prepare before they go to a college that will teach everyone online?
Graduating high school seniors and rising seniors-to-be should consider taking at least one summer college course online, if they can. Online college courses are more demanding than online high school courses. The expectations of the college instructors who will grade your work will be higher. They will also be less accessible than your high school teachers. Some professors will rely more on teaching assistants or tutors. They might never get to know your name.
College students need to work independently and help each other.. They also need to be respectful of the faculty, even when they are frustrated. Their professors are trying to adjust their teaching styles to teach everyone online.
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Listen to my talk, College Is A Learning AND Living Community, hosted by Dr. Cynthia Colon from Destination YOUniversity on Voice of America Radio!
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