By Jessy Polzer, Michael Atkinson, Sarah Polhill, and Richard Mee |
With the worldwide outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19), life is asking a lot of almost everyone right now. Even more than usual.
As we speak, teachers across the world are scrambling to move their instruction online. Students are concerned about meeting educational and professional requirements. Stress levels are high. Uncertainty nags at our thoughts as we try to accomplish daily tasks like learning and working.
So what are educators supposed to do? And what should we do to help you? Let’s start by putting one foot in front of the other.
MVP is the Key
We are going to borrow a word from the corporate world and own it for ourselves: Minimum Viable Product (MVP). What is the minimum you need to put online to get the real work done? This might sound like a cop out, but it’s the first step we can take to adapt in a crisis.
“Don’t judge online teaching by what you see in the next few weeks. Great online learning takes time, and the teaching and learning experiences will continue to improve over time.”
-Katie Bradford (COO, Construct SLC)
At Construct, we design online learning through the use of learner-focused instructional design, custom software development, in-house design and production, and personalized project management. But let’s establish a basic truth in this situation. We’re not designing online learning . . . we’re getting learning online. And that’s okay. Today the world needs learning online, and they need it now. They will likely need online learning in the coming months, but that is a conversation that is yet to come.
What’s going to be MVP for learning online? We can start here.
1) Being Human Comes First
We’re all getting knocked down on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs a bit. As educators, we already understand that fear and scarce resources changes the brain and our priorities. What we can really do right now is prioritize connection and let the content take a back seat.
- Connect with your students. This might look a little different online. You can send regular emails, remind them of upcoming assignments, and utilize online resources like video, email, and messaging to answer their questions and stay in contact.
- Education Elements has tips for helping educators become more flexible while shifting to teaching online.
- Do what you need to do to take care of your mental health and wellbeing; mindfulness and self care might be good places to start
2) You Know More Than You Think
You’re already an expert when it comes to what you teach. Even if you wouldn’t call yourself that, you are at least ten steps ahead of your students. There are easy ways to get the knowledge in your head straight onto the online platform. Bonus? A lot of these methods facilitate rich connection.
- Zoom, a video call platform, offers a series of simple tutorials
- The Online Learning Consortium provides a free webinar with tips and tricks for teaching with zoom or other video platforms
- Instructure has resources including Tools for Online Learning When the Classroom Closes
3) Keep it Simple
When we can’t rely on “business as usual,” it’s even more important to provide students with a clear and simple path forward. The best way to help students feel supported and confident in an online environment is to set a repetitive course structure.
Over the coming days and weeks we will add additional resources here on our website, including examples of how to do some of these things. If you need to talk we’ll listen, just send a message and we’ll be in touch. We are here to help.
Difficult times really can make us better. In the long run, this experience will likely make online learning better for you and your learners. While we don’t have every answer about what the future is going to look like, we hope we can give you some knowledge to hold onto during this time of change.
Head of Learning, Construct (Salt Lake City)
Chief Learning Officer, Construct
Learning Designer, Construct
Head of Learning, Construct (Cape Town)