Comprehensive software reviews to make better IT decisions
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).
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?
Student retention, already a major concern at higher education institutions, is an even greater concern as students are unable to learn in person and on campus.
Some major LMS conference cancellations or online alternatives have been announced in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, though not all have canceled.
Plans to require four online high school credits in Ontario, Canada, have changed: the required credits have been reduced to two and made opt-outable.
Instructure has responded to pushback from both users and investors about their proposed sale to a private equity firm.
This is the third maintenance release since Sakai 19 was released in spring 2019. Thanks to its open-source community, Sakai is continuously providing fixes, security updates, and improvements to its users.
Pearson released the results of its Global Learning Survey. This is the first time that Pearson has undertaken such a study to capture the opinions of 11,000 learners across 19 countries. The study uncovered eight key trends indicating a shift to life-long, learner driven education.
Following on the heels of Blackboard Ally accessibility integrating with D2L, D2L announced a strategic partnership with Aria, a service for blind and low-vision people.
Moodle, an open-source Education LMS, released an update on Sept. 9, that removes the ability to share courses on moodle.net as well as removing the community finder block. This is in anticipation of the relaunch of moodle.net in November 2019.
Sakai has recently launched its 2019 version, which includes many new features that target areas like communication and collaboration tools and facilitate content creation and delivery.