Hybrid Learning - The New Normal
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Scott Nelson: From my experience, as far as Ohio State and higher ed, I think this was a huge win for us, My career over the last several years has been working with instructors who have been told, "Hey, you have to teach online, figure it out." And me having to really encourage them and show them what's possible. And the best part of my job is when that light bulb goes off, and that epiphany moment of, "I see how I can do this online. And it's not going to be the same experience as in-person, but it could actually be improved and better." And for them to actually rethink how they teach in general. And so, for years, it's been kind of a process getting them to buy in and see that opportunity. And then the pandemic has just forced them to say, "Well, we're going to have to figure this out."
I think for a lot of them, it was very challenging. It was very stressful, but at least they see the opportunity: "Oh, I guess I can do this--maybe not great at first, but there are ways and opportunities and the technology has come so far to help make it as easy as possible." So, ultimately I think it was a kind of like ripping a band-aid off, so to speak. and definitely, we had a sharp pain, but I'm so thankful that so many instructors who have told me for years that they could never teach online or their course could never be taught online have seen how and what can be done.
Rich Mavrogeanes: So, truth in advertising: I serve on the board of the Connecticut Commission of Educational Technology. What we've seen is an exposure of the digital divide. For those that have internet access--broadband--the experience has been great. You know we've arrived--or online learning has arrived--when Saturday Night Live is doing sketches about Zoom, and the new experience, and you see that now. So this is mainstream. It's never going back.
I think what's going to happen in the future is we're going to have a hybrid experience. We have customers that, for example, do clinical assessment skills training, where you've got multiple cameras looking at, let's say, medical mannequins, and the students are doing exercises on them. You need to actually have physical access to that. So, during the pandemic, they would come in, they'd have their masks, they would do their assessments. They could watch it online live, or it's recorded so they can view it later. But the classes are all online.
I think the other thing that that's happened, and we'll never go back, is the exposure of the weakest link. Particularly, our K-through-12 customers, have a lot of premise-based systems--some cloud, but a lot of premise-based because they're integrated with active directory and a whole bunch of security issues. This has exposed the weakness in their network. So when we talk about teachers, and perhaps even students being the heroes of education to a large degree, the IT staff has really stepped up and performed some miracles in a very short amount of time to get the the technology working online.
So again, my observation is, it's a changed world. There's the new normal is going to be hybrid. You're not just going back to school. You're also going to be participating online.
In-person or virtual? It's no longer one or the other, and schools and universities need to have clear strategies for delivering hybrid education to their students.
Penn's Christopher Martin, Ohio State's Justin Troyer, and Illinois-Champlain's Liam Moran discuss the array of video platforms in use for distance and hybrid learning environments in their higher education institutions today in this clip from Streaming Media East Connect 2021.