Every Learner Everywhere

A Teaching Continuity Resources Collection: Learning From the Pandemic and Preparing for the Next Disruption

Users of Every Learner Everywhere’s comprehensive resource library can access a new “quick collection” of teaching continuity resources.

The Teaching Continuity collection includes 13 resources, including PDFs and videos. The individual items in the collection were developed in spring 2020 or later to support faculty responding to changes necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Like everything in the Every Learner Everywhere resource library, the collection is concerned with ensuring that digital learning in a variety of modalities is data informed and centers equity for Black, Latino, Indigenous, poverty-affected, and first-generation students. Most of the resources were developed by Every Learner’s network partners.

Patricia O’Sullivan, Content Manager for Every Learner Everywhere, says that even though the resources capture a moment in time that vaccines and medical treatments will hopefully put behind us, “we felt these teaching continuity resources, unfortunately, still have value in light of other academic disruptions. Those include disruptive climate events and natural disasters, the student mental health crisis, and other as-of-yet unknown societal disruptions.”

Highlights from the collection

O’Sullivan says the teaching continuity collection includes a mix of resources that are already among the most downloaded, as well as some overlooked gems. Archived webinar recordings, for example, contain valuable insights that might not be discovered by educators unless they were regular subscribers to the Every Learner YouTube channel.

Surveys with educators and students at different stages of the pandemic — and findings from those surveys — feature prominently in the collection. Most faculty, instructional designers, academic support, and academic leaders had questions in common about student access to technology, student engagement during a time of crisis, and creating accessible digital versions of their course materials.

The materials also highlight the experiences and expertise at community colleges and historically Black colleges and universities.

The series of Time For Class surveys conducted by Tyton Partners during the first year of the pandemic, in particular, “were a helpful temperature check,” says O’Sullivan. “It was a way to listen to what faculty and students were saying and what solutions were still needed.”

O’Sullivan highlights three takeaways from the collection has a whole:

  1. Digital learning is not a temporary fix in a crisis or an add-on to traditional teaching. It is central to higher education’s goals.
  2. The pandemic gave educators insights on the life experiences and learning challenges for the most vulnerable students and faculty.
  3. Academic disruption was not a singular event related to the pandemic. It will manifest in various ways for individuals and institutions moving forward.

Phases of teaching continuity

The resources in the collection were developed during the three phases of the pandemic — emergency, solutions, and reflection.

Emergency phase — Resources developed at the start of the pandemic helped institutions that were scrambling to move teaching and learning online. This includes surveys of faculty and students and a conversation with provosts about what issues they are having and how they are coping with the shutdown of their campuses.

Solutions phase — Resources developed during the next period responded to some of the common issues faculty experienced after the initial emergency move to virtual teaching. For example, the Assessments and Grading Toolkit was designed to help faculty assess the work of students who were going without in-class and synchronous testing for the first time. The Lab-Based Courses resource provides an overview of online lab products.

Reflection phase — Several resources reflect on and synthesize learning from the emergency shift to remote learning and the adoption of other learning modalities enabled by digital learning technology, including fully face to face and hybrid. For example, the Lessons Learned Toolkit is a call to NOT return to “normal” but to implement new practices that are equity centered and informed by data.

Elsewhere in the resource library

Every Learner Everywhere’s growing resources library is, at present, a collection of 96 PDFs and 119 videos. It supports faculty who seek help in designing and facilitating quality online instruction within inclusive digital learning environments. Topics include digital learning and courseware, effective teaching practices, implementing adaptive learning, and equity in higher education. The library can be searched by keyword or filtered by topic, discipline, role, institution types, and date.

It also includes two other quick collections of student care resources, and archives from REMOTE: The connected faculty summit 2022.

Why the teaching continuity resources collection is still relevant post-pandemic

O’Sullivan says the phases described during the pandemic above apply to other types of situations. She cites how campuses were closed recently due to wildfires in the western United States, flood damage in Kentucky, and the water infrastructure crisis in Jackson, Mississippi.

“These natural disasters are getting broader, and they’re affecting more people,” she says. “Administrators and faculty need to expect the unexpected at this point and assume that part of serving their students will involve emergency shifts to remote learning.”

Explore the teaching continuity resources

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