Given the skepticism expressed by many students, administrators who oversee online learning share a surprisingly sunny perspective of how well your institution handled the pivot for distance learning this spring, according to new survey data.

The Change overview of online education (Chloe) report, released today, is the fifth in a series of annual studies of online learning by quality issues and Eduventures. This report, however, focuses specifically on the pivot distance learning that occurred last spring. The report includes responses from 308 agents online public head of two and four years, private and non-profit institutions.

Numerous recent studies have reflected spring semester the student dissatisfaction with distance learning experienced. But 78 percent of respondents leading online CHLOE the report said pivot to distance learning at their institution was wholly or largely successful in keeping students on track academically.

did come easily, however, "very challenging" 19 percent describes the steps to carry out the pivot as "quick and easy", while 44 percent believe that "difficult" and 36 percent

the average institution moved more than 500 courses to distance learning between February and April 2020. This affected more deeply pivot 50 percent of faculty members, 51 percent of undergraduates and 27 percent of graduate students in US institutions that line managers polled by the estimated groups not previously had taught or experienced a course completely line.

As expected, institutions most experienced online were more likely to describe the transition to teaching as smooth and successful distance. With institutions employing on average only three full-time instructional designers, resources and time for online courses this spring movement were very limited. More than two thirds of reporting institutions (69 percent) said they provide financial or additional staff resources to support this transition. This support includes the acquisition of new technologies such as videoconferencing tools, training of teachers and laptops for students. Few resources were dedicated to ensuring online accessibility for students with disabilities.

"Everything became its head in the spring," said Richard Garrett, director of research Eduventures' and co-leader of the project CHLOE. Experienced teachers in limited line faced intense pressure to quickly convert courses face to face distance learning. "Nobody is pretending that the design equivalent and care and attention was taken to build these classes would normally be taken to design a high-quality course," Garrett said.

While most leaders described their spring line pivot for distance learning as a success, most also it recognizes that a lot of improvements could be made to their distance learning courses. Many respondents felt that their distance courses fell short in terms of student participation compared to courses entirely online, said Ron Legon, executive director emeritus of quality is important and co-leader of the CHLOE project.

In contrast, a small minority felt his distance learning courses were superior to their online courses in terms of student participation. These respondents were mostly at community colleges "may have a lot of experience online, but feel they do not have enough resources to build quality courses," said Legon. As universities to improve their courses remotely through time, the distinction between the remote control and fully online courses "will blur," creating a range of different approaches, Legon said.

While many universities have announced plans to return to face-to-face instruction this fall, many agents leading online reported that their plans for the institution to continue development and investment in programs remote which they took place in the spring. This finding suggests a discrepancy between public plans to reopen and continue to face instruction side and "what's going on behind the scenes" as schools prepare for a likely fall largely remote participation learning, Legon said .

More than 80 percent of officers learning, said they are planning to continue making improvements to the courses offered remotely in the spring, with 35 percent said they intend to convert these distance learning courses entirely online. Only 4 percent of respondents indicated that their priority is to return to instruction in person as soon as possible.

"Distance learning is not the same as online. We know that, "said Jennifer Mathes, CEO of the Consortium of online learning. "Preparing a course for a remote environment does not take advantage of the best practices that need to be implemented in order to provide students with an effective learning environment."

Universities need to go beyond the quick steps that were taken earlier this year to distance classes, and ensure that teachers are adequately prepared, Mathes said. A lot of institutions recognize that they have to do better in the fall, he said. "They're putting a lot of effort in developing quality programs and ensure that teachers are prepared to teach in an online environment. This means that the power not only understand how to use the tool, but they are learning to be more effective in teaching in this mode ".

If the experience of distance learning positively change attitudes towards online learning is likely to vary, said Mathes. "I think students and teachers who see online learning more favorable after the switch spring are most likely had good support from their institutions. With proper communication, training and tools for the next academic year still it has the potential to be much more successful than last spring for students and teachers. "

As institutions look forward and plan for continued or expanded distance education, online leaders are focusing on providing more training for teachers and training in online learning, investment in tools and technologies, and establishing minimum expectations for teacher-student interaction.

"While major online agents recognize the specific challenges, most convey a very positive image of learning as a result of the pandemic crisis. Many of them also optimistic about the future of the online learning, which should ensure the online community that some benefit will come from your hard work in these perilous times, "said Legon.

Most line leaders were optimistic about the long-term impact of the spring semester in attitudes towards online learning among teachers and staff. He was asked to project demand for online learning in the near future, 64 percent of respondents forecast higher demand among students in online classes.

Few institutions management companies resorted to online programs to assist in their turn distance learning, but many users OPM said they are interested in expanding their relationship in the future. No OPMS users expressed little interest in working with OPMS at this time, but Garrett thinks that could change. Many institutions are realizing where they have gaps in the online experience and can more seriously consider outsourcing to a partner in the future, he said.

"There were some schools that said that this experience has made me think more seriously about working with OPM along the way," Garrett said. "It's definitely stressed that online is increasingly important in the landscape of higher education."

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