With K-12 students across Ontario engaged in online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, experts in Brock University’s Faculty of Education have been gathering online teaching resources and recommendations for teachers and teacher candidates alike.
The sudden move to online platforms has many educators at all levels looking for appropriate tools and resources without the time it should usually take to develop online learning experiences.
“Online learning is comprised of a well thought out instructional design that is the result of weeks or months of planning and a comprehensive review of the learning goals and the available technology resources,” said Camille Rutherford, Associate Professor of Education and Brock’s Acting Vice-Provost, Strategic Partnerships and International. “At this time of crisis, educators should focus on the needs of their students and their learning goals when determining how to use technology to support remote learning.”
These needs go beyond the classroom, or virtual classroom, according to Nicholas Contant, an Educational Technologist in the Faculty. Contant has played a critical role in helping faculty and instructors move their classes online during the pandemic.
“The shift to alternative instruction is an important opportunity to practice student-centered design,” said Contant. “The impact from the COVID virus has possibly affected the mode in which students can learn, their routines, their access to information and of course their well-being.”
Contant recommends educators consider flexible learning options and factor in students’ new realities. These can include offering asynchronous online learning opportunities as a flexible option to accommodate students with slower internet speeds or different family schedules. This could be as simple as recording a voiceover for each slide in a slideshow.
To support the transition to online teaching, the Faculty’s Instructional Resource Centres (IRCs) are sharing resources for educators, teacher candidates and students.
As with the rest of the IRC collection, the IRC’s online teaching resources have been carefully curated by IRC staff.
“Resources are selected based on a number of criteria,” said Kim Pelchat, Manager, IRC. “Those criteria include the Ontario Ministry of Education K-12 recommended curriculum resources to support face-to-face and online learning for future ready students.”
Some of these are licensed resources offered for teacher candidates while others are available to all students and educators. The collections can be found on the IRC website.
Both IRC collections are being updated regularly by IRC staff and free provision of some resources by vendors is subject to change.
Rutherford, whose research interests include the use of technology in education, also recommends several resources for teachers and teacher candidates: