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Online Learning Rises in Response to COVID-19

As the world responds to the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, closed schools in some affected areas are turning to eLearning and web conferencing to maintain continuity in course delivery and/or studying. Vendors reported to be used for this purpose include the following:

  • Google Hangouts, Google Classroom, and Zoom Video Communications are being used in Hong Kong at the primary level. Dingtalk, a communication and collaboration app by Alibaba Group, has been widely adopted in China to stream instruction and facilitate assessment (CNN, The Jakarta Post, Bloomberg).
  • Zoom and VoiceThread (a cloud collaboration application) have been provided to NYU Shanghai faculty as they develop online versions of their courses (Inside Higher Ed).
  • Duke Kunshan University in Kunshan, China, is using Zoom, the Sakai learning management system, and the Coursera instructional platform to shift all in-person learning to online (Duke Today).

Our Take

If the outbreak continues to spread and necessitates a longer-term adoption of online learning, some questions to consider include:

  • What best-practice transition and training plans can schools put in place to manage the transition to online classes?
  • What barriers to internet access undermine the shift to online learning?
  • As Carlos Perrotta of Monash University asks, will the current increase in the adoption of eLearning delivery products result in a continued uptake of online education after the current public health concern resolves?
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