- The accessibility of real-time data can be extremely beneficial in online learning, with educators often having an immediate perspective on how students are faring through the use of a learning management system platform, according to Ed Tech: Focus on Higher Ed.
- Instructors can see how students did on an introductory exam quickly, offering actionable insight about where attention should be paid, and there are also opportunities available for those wanting more assistance and guidance in using LMS platforms and blended learning — with California State University Channel Islands, for example, giving instructors an online PD opportunity largely focused on tech skills needed to use the school’s LMS.
- Advocates of online learning stressed it was very important to be able to personalize online learning experiences, with Jill Leafstedt, executive director of CSUCI’s Teaching & Learning Innovations team, saying students might drift from online learning if “the human connection” is not maintained.
Offering accessible means for faculty to develop their skills and familiarity with online learning and LMS platforms could help to assuage the concerns many faculty reported in a recent survey. Instructors said they were concerned that online learning could lead to negative student outcomes, additionally expressing anxiety that there would not be enough support on staff to help educators who were unfamiliar with online learning navigate the details. Students in a separate survey actually spoke about the desire to have in-person or face-to-face interaction as a part of their online learning experience, which supports the assertion that the success of online learning may be dependent on establishing and maintaining a human connection between students and educators, and between students and their peers.
Administrators overseeing online institutions, or leaders of colleges and universities looking to expand their online learning options, can work to build community between students by utilizing numerous tech tools to engender more dialog and camaraderie in the digital space. However, similar to the challenges administrators face with properly educating instructors, the school has to work to ensure that students have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with what might be unfamiliar platforms.