Coronavirus Outbreak: 11 Strategies for Improving Education Accessibility Through Virtual Learning


Coronavirus Outbreak: 11 Strategies for Improving Education Accessibility Through Virtual Learning
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

3/31/2020

The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting America’s educational system. Schools all across the country have shut down and children are forced to stay at home with their parents for their own safety. According to education experts, the coronavirus pandemic is likely to affect children’s academic progress, social life, and safety. 

Over 30,000 K-12 schools across the country are being closed down because of coronavirus. With no end of the pandemic in sight, academic experts are proposing new strategies to ensure the crisis does not stifle students’ academic development. One of the proposed measures is virtual learning.

How can education institutions improve access to education through virtual learning? 
Here are 11 strategies that they can use:

Start Simple and Acknowledge Challenges

Sudden changes in the learning program mean new challenges for educators. Institutions should prepare teachers well for the virtual learning environment. Providing educators with the basic tools required to teach online and helping them with the challenges that they come across will help to overcome the initial problems of virtual teaching.

Ensure Digital Equity

If a shutdown is imminent in your district, find out how well-prepared teachers and students are for online learning. Determine whether there are enough devices for teachers and students to use. Educators may already have computers that they can use to teach, but not all students may have access to a computer at home. Address this situation beforehand by ensuring the lessons can be accessed through mobile devices or students are given laptops for use.

Manage Expectations of Both Educators and Parents

Virtual learning comes with various challenges, which parents and teachers should be aware of. Institutions should educate teachers and parents on what to expect with the new learning arrangement. This is important to ensure that none of the parties feel that they are not giving or getting the most out of what is expected.

Encourage Students to Embrace eLearning Technology

Students, especially those in elementary classes, may not be too enthusiastic about learning online from home. Both teachers and parents need to play their part in encouraging students to embrace eLearning technology. Parents should provide the necessary tools (computers, Wi-Fi, mobile devices, etc.) that will enable children to access technology.

Plan Your Online Lessons

Not all educators are well-versed with eLearning technologies. Organize a crash course for your educators to teach them the basics of the software and tools that they will use for virtual teaching. Teachers should also plan their online lessons and test-drive the software solutions to ensure everything is working as expected.

Establish and Stick to Teaching Schedules

With virtual learning, there is always the temptation of postponing studying until a more “convenient” time. However, procrastination is the quickest road to never studying. Encourage teachers and students to stick to a timetable. Teachers need to hold the virtual class at a particular time as agreed with the students.

Provide a Robust Learning Environment

Virtual learning is more than watching lecture notes on a computer. Use advanced software to provide a robust learning experience for your students. For instance, with some E-Learning software, students can log in and interact with each other in real-time through video calls and instant messengers.

Encourage Students to Learn Independently

Virtual learning comes with the challenge of discipline. Most students are not used to studying at home on their own. Encourage parents to designate special study areas for their children at home. Students should also be encouraged to follow a virtual learning routine to build self-study habits.

Determine the Tools You’ll Need

Discuss with your head of technology to determine the tools that students and teachers will need. For example, teachers can get their lectures transcribed by a transcription services company and get the soft copy distributed to students. To save time, hire a qualified academic transcription company to help you.

Find Ways to Deal with the Emotional Toll

E-Learning can take an emotional toll on both teachers and students. Find ways to help them to deal with the new realities. Devise strategies to make learning fun for students. Educators can adopt a fun approach to virtual teaching and encourage participation by students to help them deal with the emotional toll of the pandemic.

Pack Your Bags

With the Covid-19 pandemic ranging on, it’s not definite when things will return back to normal. Therefore, pack your bags and make sure you have everything you will need to teach or learn from home. Teachers can bring their school computers home or move their lesson notes to the cloud.

The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted learning and life as we know it. As the virus rages on, it is time for educational institutions to set up contingency measures to ensure uninterrupted learning for students. 

The above are 11 strategies that you can use to improve education accessibility at your institution through virtual learning.  

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc an Orange County, California based company that has been providing accurate and affordable transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed success at GMR for almost ten years now and has helped the company grow. Within two years of Beth managing GMR Transcription, it had doubled in sales and was named one of the OC Business Journal’s fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she likes spending time with her husband and two kids.