‘It’s not going to be smooth:’ Professor on shift to online learning amid coronavirus

The coronavirus outbreak has forced many U.S. schools to move to close campuses and shift to online instruction. Universities and colleges across the nation are turning to tools like Zoom (ZM), Instructure’s (INST) Canvas, Cisco System’s (CSCO) WebEx and other platforms as online instruction becomes the new normal.

Technology and education professor at Teachers College at Columbia University, Dr. Lalitha Vasudevan, is one of the many educators who has made the switch to online coursework in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Vasudevan joined Yahoo Finance to discuss how the move to online instruction might play out.

“It’s not going to be smooth. And I think a lot of people are recognizing that what we need to do right now, first and foremost, is recognize that this bumpy time that we’re in is going to be bumpy for a while,” she said. 

“I think universities are doing a really good job, or they’re trying to, communicating … the need for really open communication that needs to be really clear about what is expected, what resources are available.” 

Vasudevan is also encouraged about the amount of peer resource sharing she is seeing within the academic community. However, Vasudevan points out that there are still many students who lack the resources to fully participate in online education. 

“I think that’s the thing that’s coming up, that a lot of people are coming up against. How do we continue to maintain quality of instruction while still attending to the many ways in which our students might be limited in the way that they can access the kinds of instruction that we’re able to offer,” she said.

Vasudevan believes that the first steps schools should take is to make sure that the approach is simplicity over sophistication.

“This is a reminder that what we need to do in this first hurdle is to just stay connected, to be clear and communicative with our students, with our colleagues, our institutions, and to do what we can to be supportive.”

Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.

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