September 3

It’s not so easy–online, remote, blended?


Online learning has been around for decades but has never been the mainstay. That is, until now.

The 2020 pandemic has produced waves of emergency remote learning from March, to undefined hybrids, to whole universities deciding to offer an entire semester online rather than risk in-person instruction. With spikes in outbreaks in the Autumn 2020 the whole cycle is being repeated.

Modern online learning in a form we would recognize today dates back around 25 years with pioneers such as Walden University, which began distance education long before online options.  The COVID crisis and the cycles of rushed adoption of online or remote learning have pushed the modality beyond the tipping point. The next five years will see a major shift to online learning.

As many institutions are discovering, shifting instruction online is not just copying the traditional face-to-face course materials into a learning management system. The CLAS approach used by Lone Tree Academics provides some help on what needs to be considered.

C or curriculum looks different for online. Content must be presented in a logical and explicit fashion. Learning activities for students must be clearly explained, logically sequenced, and aligned to the technology.

L or learning interaction–what we call Learningscapes (TM)–can not just be recorded lectures. An online course must be designed to ensure interaction throughout the course between students and instructors, among students, and with the course materials.

A or assessment of outcomes needs to reflect an intentionally graduated approach throughout the course. Taking a traditional course with two examinations into an online class will spell disaster. Very careful attention should be directed to the overall plan of assessment for the course and how it aligns with the course and unit objectives.

S, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), should not be neglected. At the very least, the faculty should conduct a retrospective of what went well and what needs improvement. Improvement of teaching and learning is best served with systematic approaches to examining how students performed in every learning touchpoint. End-of-course surveys are helpful but not a substitute for understanding the true dynamics of teaching and learning.

Our approach leverages good practices such as standards-based design from Quality Matters and many other models.

Interested? Contact us.

About the author 

Doug Gilbert

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It’s not so easy–online, remote, blended?

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