We have all been tracking the spread of COVID-19, and we’ve been speaking with our community of schools to learn about what impact this is having on them and their students, how they’re handling the disruption, and what they need moving forward. What we’re finding is that there are a range of needs for both students and educators—some of whom are struggling and others who are thriving. We would like to help all our students have a positive learning journey until this ends.

Over the past nine years, GOA has identified and trained educators in best practices for remote learning. There are a few key points that need to be understood.

  • First, online learning is all about connecting with others and fostering the relationships we have with our students and colleagues. Whether you’re designing for students or adults, keep the relationships central. You can create strong, healthy communities online. This becomes vital when students and teachers feel isolated or disconnected.
  • Second, you will not get through all the content you might in an on-campus environment. At first, this will feel like a loss, but you will see that this acknowledgement will open up exciting possibilities for what you ask of your students. Online learning is not about replication of what you are doing in on-campus settings. Rather, there is an opportunity to reimagine learning in new spaces. Educators may need support in learning how to teach online.
  • Third, assessments look different online. Instead of having students take a test or a quiz (although those can be used effectively as formative assessments and check-ins), have students demonstrate their learning in a way that requires real application of the material. Teachers will need to create new ways to summatively assess learning through culminating projects, peer-to-peer feedback, and teacher feedback.
  • Finally, balance is fundamental to keeping your online communities healthy. Teachers need to balance synchronous and asynchronous connections and collaboration, and students need to do some of this on their own.

(From our Executive Director Michael Nachbar's letter to the GOA community)


Articles from GOA's Insights Blog

Additional Resources

Online Courses

For Educators: Designing for Online Learning: Assessment

Designing for Online Learning: Assessment is a one-week course for educators interested in deepening their understanding of designing assessments for online settings. We have modified one of GOA’s most popular educator courses, Rethinking Assessment, to specifically emphasize assessment design in online spaces.

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For Students: When a Virus Goes Viral

This four-day online flex course uses the coronavirus outbreak as a case study. We will explore specific factors that contribute to epidemics and pandemics as well as some strategies for preventing these occurrences. We will then move to examine ways that countries, organizations, and individuals may respond, depending on their context. Free for GOA member schools. Starts March 31, 2020.

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For School Leaders: Roundtable Discussions

We'll be hosting some roundtables with school leaders already affected by coronavirus-related closures. We'll also talk to experts and leaders who have experience running remote teams and building community online.

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Need Additional Support?

The GOA Team is available for conversation about strategies for online learning during extended closures. Feel free to contact us. We'll get back to you right away.

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