Sustaining Education Under a Crisis

As all of you are aware, with the recent changes forced on our lifestyle and everyday activities, education was one of those fields in an urgent need to adapt to these changes. Although online teaching is not an uncommon term in our lives, the sudden and total shift to online teaching is definitely a first.

With the rise of the threat and the importance of social distancing, schools and universities had to shut down in an effort to slow the rapid spread of the pandemic. In the amidst of it all, several education institutions were not ready for this transition: not equipped with the technical support to run 5000 or more courses online at the same time; not prepared to shift lab courses into virtual screens; and not used to make older generation professors to deliver course content on a screen instead of board and a pen. All of these factors and others imposed more challenges on the administrations to keep the same quality of teaching despite all the sudden changes.

Although this did seem to be a hectic journey for education, things seem to be going well now. With a lot of glitches at the start of the journey, online teaching experience seem to be improving day by day. This improvement was derived by the new fact imposed on all of us, and aided by the tools and online platforms and technical support teams making it all happen.

In some universities as Illinois and Stanford, who already were heavily invested in MOOC, and online courses, the transition was easier. Instead of shifting the whole course content to fit online teaching, faculty members utilized the online courses to deliver their content without the need for much adjustment.  Of course, there is still a substantial percentage of courses that need to be shifted to online courses now, however, the inclusion of technology as part of the education system under normal circumstances has definitely helped some schools to adjust easier and faster to the sudden shift to online teaching. This might change the new era of education, raising some important questions on how well technology is integrated into our education systems, and how much are we behind in catching up with the latest innovations in teaching?

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