In the spring of 2020, COVID-19 abruptly shut 1.37 billion students out of the classroom globally. Universities were left scrambling to find last-minute remote learning solutions. The results were decidedly mixed and left many students and teachers frustrated.
Now, with a bit more time to prepare, instructors and course designers can take a more thoughtful approach to their remote-learning plans. There are more instructional resources out there now than there were pre-pandemic, and they have the information educators need to intentionally create courses that keep students engaged through active, collaborative learning. The future is still uncertain, but we have a better grip on how to move forward: by creating the best remote learning courses possible.
We’ve compiled a list of the best articles on the web that address surviving and thriving in this new remote learning landscape. Use this list of resources to strengthen your remote learning programs and encourage happier, more involved students.
Get Started with Remote Learning
For many educators with years of classroom teaching experience, making the switch to remote learning feels like starting over at zero. It can be challenging to know where to start.
These articles will help you convert classroom materials into materials that can be used online and will help you get into the right mind-set to teach remotely:
- How to Pivot to Online Learning in the Event of a Campus Shut Down (Eduflow): A quick guide to some of the most pivotal issues instructors face when adapting their courses from in-person to online.
- Distance Learning: A Gently Curated Collection of Resources for Teachers (Cult of Pedagogy): It’s impossible to be a good educator if you’re internally panicking. This extensive four-part guide delves into both the emotional and practical hurdles of remote teaching.
- How to Convert a Face-to-Face Class to Online/Remote Learning (Luke Hobson): Technical advice from an experienced instructional designer at MIT on how to build a remote learning curriculum.
- How to Quickly Adapt to Teaching Online (Harvard Business Publishing: Education): Part 1 of these FAQs tackles essential questions ranging from the best use of class time to how to set up your office for teaching from home. Part 2 focuses on supporting student engagement.
- Getting the next phase of remote learning right in higher education (McKinsey): A big-picture look at how higher-ed institutions can create remote learning experiences that still deliver the value of in-person learning.
- Moving Online Now: How to keep teaching during coronavirus (The Chronicle of Higher Education): A special collection of curated articles on converting classes to remote learning and becoming a better online teacher. We especially liked the section on “Misperceptions about online learning.”
Remote Teaching Tools
Successful remote learning requires educators to select the right learning tools and use them effectively. Use the following articles to build out your online teaching tool stack:
- Zoom for Education: Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions (Zoom blog): In our new learning landscape, Zoom has become a crucial communication tool. This post answers common questions about Zoom’s top online learning features.
- Why You Shouldn’t Try to Replicate Your Classroom Teaching Online (The Chronicle of Higher Education): Students learn differently online than in the classroom. This newsletter explains the differences and how to adapt your teaching style with software to keep students engaged.
- 7 Guidelines for Setting Up Clear Online Lessons (Edutopia): Simple ways to use technology to set up reliable and clear lesson plans.
- Remote Testing (Community Pepperdine): An internal resource from Pepperdine University, with best practices on setting up remote exams.
- Ziatdinov’s List of Free Software (Prof. Rushan Ziatdinov): An extensive list of free teaching software, from screen recorders to tools for teaching advanced math and science classes.
- How to Create a Collaborative Online Learning Environment (Owl Labs): A list of the most important tools you’ll need to create a collaborative remote learning setup.
- Educate From Anywhere: How to Use Trello As A Teacher (Trello blog): With so many moving pieces online, staying organized is more important than ever. Here’s a tutorial on using Trello to manage lesson plans and more.
Remote Course Design
Students learn differently online. Instructional designers and teachers must reassess their current course designs to ensure that they still work in an online setting. Here are some pedagogical resources for designing or adapting to remote learning courses:
- Tips for Designing an Online Learning Experience Using the 5 Es Instructional Model (Catlin Tucker): Tucker is a best-selling author, teacher, and expert in blended learning. This article covers how to use Roger Bybee’s 5 Es instructional model to build an online learning experience.
- Asynchronous vs. Synchronous: How to Design for Each Type of Learning (Catlin Tucker): Another brilliant article from Tucker; this one is about the best teaching activities for asynchronous and synchronous learning experiences.
- Engaging Learners in Online Environments Utilizing Universal Design for Learning Principles (eLearn Magazine): Universal Design for Learning is an instructional design framework for meeting diverse learners' needs. This article delves into how to apply UD to online environments.
- Pedagogy and Course Design Need to Change. Here’s How. (Inside Higher Ed): The world is changing fast, and course design needs to catch up with the new normal. This article lays out the major trends in pedagogy right now, along with the takeaways for educators and course designers.
- What Your Pre-COVID Course Design Was Missing (Harvard Business Publishing): Reorganization due to remote learning is the ideal time to start incorporating more collaborative and cooperative learning elements into your course design. This article offers some concrete suggestions on how to do that.
Remote Collaborative Learning Strategies
Students crave collaborative learning experiences, where they can learn with and from their peers. Community is a major selling point for traditional university education, and it’s something students are sorely missing right now. These articles are bursting with strategies for keeping students engaged with collaborative learning techniques:
- How student collaboration can supercharge learning in your online course (Eduflow): Studies show that students learn more when they work together. This article lays out the case and shows how educators can incorporate collaboration into their online classrooms.
- Collaborative Learning Online And In The Socially Distanced Classroom (Oxford University Press): This article focuses explicitly on how collaborative learning can bolster online language learning.
- 7 Online Collaborative Learning Strategies to Keep Students Engaged While At Home (Eduflow): Some of our favorite learning strategies, and how to make them work online.
- Boost Student Engagement by Rethinking Your Online Discussion Board (Eduflow): Discussion boards are a great way to encourage active participation and collaboration. This article explains how to leverage discussion boards in an online classroom.
- How to Write Discussion Questions that Actually Spark Discussions (Eduflow): To encourage active discussion, you need to ask the right questions. Here is our guide to crafting great discussion board prompts
- Collaborative Online Continuing Education: Professional Development Through Learning Communities (Edutopia): Students aren’t the only ones who benefit from collaborative learning. This article shows how teachers can form remote learning communities to share resources and support.
- Improving Student Collaboration in Remote and Hybrid Learning (John Spencer): A mammoth article full of big-picture ideas and specific techniques for encouraging collaborative learning online.
- Moving Classes Online Is Hard. Online Discussion Can Help (Inside Hired Ed): Although the title mentions online discussion, the article itself focuses on various strategies to cultivate student collaboration.
The adjustment from in-person to remote learning has been difficult for students and educators alike. These resources will help you to create a more supportive online learning experience so that nobody gets left behind:
- Creating a Kinder Campus During COVID-19 (Inside Higher Ed): As we all struggle with an uncertain landscape, kindness toward coworkers, parents, and students is more important than ever.
- How to Support New Online Students (Luke Hobson): Hobson offers some concrete ideas for how educators can create course elements that make students feel connected and supported.
- Create Better Student Support Structures for Remote Learning (EdTech Magazine): Remote students often receive the least university support when, ironically, they need the most. This article addresses how universities can better support these learners.
- Inclusive Approaches to Support Student Assignments During Times of Disruption (Brown University): This is a comprehensive guide for helping students succeed during a time of upheaval. This article addresses several different types of assignments and offers ways to adjust them for successful remote learning.
The Future of Remote Learning
What comes after COVID-19? These articles speculate on how our global experiment with remote learning will change higher ed forever:
- Why Peer Learning is the Future of Remote Learning (Eduflow): As remote learning grows in prominence, peer learning techniques are becoming more critical than ever. Here’s why you should embrace them.
- How COVID-19 will change online learning forever (Eduflow): We asked top IDs how they think COVID-19 will permanently change the way we look at online learning.
- What the Shift to Virtual Learning Could Mean for the Future of Higher Ed (Harvard Business Review): HBR has its finger on the pulse of industry-wide change. This article tackles how this temporary movement toward virtual learning will have long-term repercussions on higher ed.
- Coronavirus: How should US higher education plan for an uncertain future? (McKinsey): This article discusses various scenarios for how the COVID-19 epidemic will play out over the long term and what potential repercussions it will have on the U.S. higher-ed industry.
- Looking Back, Moving Forward: Preparing for the Unknown (EdTech Magazine): How can educators prepare for a future full of change? This article has some optimistic suggestions.
Know of More Instructional Resources to Add? Let Us Know
The trend toward online learning is here to stay, and the current global remote-learning experiment will play a massive role in how online learning evolves, moving forward. Doing the work now will save you time later. Educators who work to create the best remote-learning experiences now are doing a service both to their students and themselves.
We will update this list continuously. Do you know of other relevant articles we should include? Let us know, so we can add them to our list and share the most relevant list of resources with our readers!