There’s a lot of uncertainty right now, but it at least seems possible that many colleges and universities will be teaching entirely online in the fall. How should profs prepare for that possibility?
Here is one suggestion: universities should collaborate to develop online resources for the highest enrollment intro courses. The idea isn’t to collaborate to develop a single shared MOOC that they’ll all use. Instead, the idea is just to collaborate to create a bunch of online resources, from which anyone teaching (say) intro calculus, or intro biology, or etc., can pick and choose.
I found this suggestion puzzling, I guess because I’m unsure what’s meant by “online resources” here. I mean, if we’re talking about stuff like mini-lectures on YouTube, or videos of animal behavior, or instructions for using R, or etc., those resources already exist online, right? Including pretty high-quality resources, right? When I contemplate possibly teaching an entire intro-level course online in the fall, “lack of online resources from which to pick and choose in order to build my own course” isn’t anywhere close to the top of my list of worries. (UPDATE: I should clarify that, for upper level courses, availability of online resources might be a comparatively bigger worry.) Honestly, I worry more about sorting through the many candidate online resources in order to identify the best resources.
But even that’s far from my biggest worry. My biggest worry by far is just keeping students engaged and staying on top of the course material, when they don’t have to attend an in-person class at the same time as everyone else. And it’s not at all clear to me that choosing the right online resources really addresses that. Though if I was teaching a course with a field component or wet labs (which I’m not), my biggest worry would be what to do about those.
Does this just show how little I know about what online resources are (or aren’t) out there? You tell me! Are you thinking yet about how you might teach online in the fall? And if so, what’s your biggest worry?