A snowman with a black scarf and straw hat.

Redefining Snow Days: What It Means Post-School Closures

Author: Samantha Goldman; info@ciddl.org

With winter storm warnings and threats of high winds and thunder across the nation, students, both young and young at heart, are awaiting the “schools are closed” message. And, while some may get a traditional snow day tomorrow, several are finding out that in a post-school closure world, it may be a thing of the past. And yet, while faculty are more equipped now to move their curriculum online with little notice, the question remains: is this truly what online learning is?

Considerations for Teaching Online

As with any other course subject, teaching effectively online requires skills and knowledge that vary from in-person education. While some aspects remain the same, such as the need to connect with students and understand the subject matter, many are different. Among other things, teachers must be able to deliver content via the digital world, manage students and their adult learning partners, and maintain student engagement. 

Considerations for teaching online are just as imperative for k-12 institutions as they are for teacher preparation programs and institutions of higher education. Key aspects of preparing teachers to teach in the online setting include (1) having evidence-based courses on the subject, (2) having an awareness of accessibility, learner connectedness, and individualization, (3) having an understanding of active learning, and (4) valuing and making use of real-time assessments. Additionally, aligning programs, courses, and curricula to the standards for quality online teaching available through the Aurora Institute is vital to creating and implementing successful online teaching programs.

Resource for Online Teaching

For many, the experiences of emergency shifts to online learning were overwhelming. And, as institutions continue to make emergency shifts to the digital environment without added training and professional development, the perception of this type of teaching and learning will remain the same. With that said, there are several resources teachers and faculty can utilize to improve their practice and learn more about teaching virtually. 

  1. The CIDDL and CEEDAR Collaborative Affinity Group: CIDDL and CEEDAR held a multi-session affinity group where we discussed, shared, and learned about issues and best practices for teaching and preparing teachers to teach online. While the affinity group has ended, you can view the recordings, resources, and associated blog posts through the CIDDL website. 
  2. The Aurora Institute and its Standards: The Aurora Institute’s mission is to shift models of public education through innovation. Among their resources are standards for Quality Online Teaching, Quality Online Programs, and Quality Online Courses.
  3. Check out resources for your specific Learning Management System (LMS). Canvas, Blackboard, Schoology, etc., have resources to learn more about their features and functions. Additionally, CIDDL has various resources to help you learn more about the LMS. 
  4. ISTE has specific courses for developing and designing quality online programs and courses.
  5. Edweek continues to update its content on the conversation around remote and virtual learning.  

Join the Conversation!

Did you know that CIDDL has a community space SPECIFICALLY for discussing teaching in the online and hybrid environment? We have a poll to see how universities react to the inclement weather, and the conversation is heating up! Join us and share your thoughts.