Teachers rise to challenges of online learning amid COVID-19


A NUMBER of educational institutions in Mackay have closed due to coronavirus but online learning facing numerous challenges.

The major barriers to mass conversion of conventional to distance learning will be ensuring equitable student access to technology and training teachers, parents and children in using an online learning environment, according to CQUniversity lecturer Corey Bloomfield.

Mr Bloomfield, who recently co-authored an article on distance education teachers' understanding of (and strategies for) student engagement said online students were difficult to observe and progress was more self-paced.

"Teachers may not be able to see if they are engaging and understanding by looking at their faces," Mr Bloomfield said.

"On the other hand, they can use online tools to introduce frequent 'check points' within lessons, where students are expected to respond in some way on their screen to check for participation and to help monitor progress.

"Teachers discussed multiple ways that technological tools allowed them to better monitor student progress and engagement, including online quizzes, programs which facilitate written comments and audio feedback, and student observation via web-cameras, with most reporting that students found these approaches engaging."

Mr Bloomfield said online technology and pedagogy were helping distance education teachers better monitor and support the behavioural, emotional, and cognitive engagement of their diverse students.

He said teachers agreed strong relationships with students and parents were necessary for effective engagement.

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