Online learning can help weather the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic

With the WHO’s declaration of a global pandemic, and cases of COVID-19 rising daily in hundreds of countries around the world, “business as usual” is no longer an option for schools and higher education institutions. We understand this is a turbulent and scary time for everyone. We want you to know we are here to support you through the weeks and months ahead.

According to joint guidance issued days ago by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), UNICEF, and the WHO, schools in countries that have confirmed transmission of the virus have been urged to support students holistically and through strategies such as remote learning as the world copes with this emerging health crisis. As of March 11, 39 countries across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and South America had announced or implemented school and university closures. However, when a school closes its doors, that time is lost forever. For this reason, a growing number of school systems and universities have announced immediate plans to move to virtual instruction and online learning, allowing students to continue their studies without interruption while facilitating social distancing to control community spread of COVID-19.

The ability to transition from face-to-face courses to supporting faculty and learners at a distance can help schools and universities alleviate many of the concerns that come with extended closures. We acknowledge that the abrupt shift to an online learning approach may be a bewildering and even frightening experience for those involved. We hope you’ll check in frequently on our emergency resources page. It’s full of practical help, from getting your initial course content online in 5 minutes to effective use of virtual classrooms, all the way up to complete adoption playbooks for higher ed and K–12 schools.

In an article posted to his blog last week, author and online learning expert Tony Bates offers valuable reassurance for educators who are considering moving to an online approach for the duration of this health crisis. “The LMS is where the students should go first; envision your lectures not as the main or even only source of content in the course, but just one of several learning resources within a more complete online learning environment,” says Bates. “This is where online professionals can be of particular value in helping you design and create that overall online learning environment. The LMS is the online equivalent of your physical campus.”

D2L supports schools, colleges, universities, and companies all over the world. Most of the virtual schools in North America and many globally have trusted D2L for years, along with many of the largest online colleges and universities. Hear from University of ArizonaSouthern New Hampshire UniversityFanshawe College, and Pima Community College on their experience with the Brightspace platform.

Leaning on D2L’s 20+ years of experience in helping schools and higher education institutions shift fully online or to blended learning, we have built a strong understanding of what is necessary to make learning work outside the classroom for periods of time. We are committed to working closely with customers to develop tailored plans to cope with extended closures.

Despite school closures and the need for social distancing in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the Brightspace LMS platform offers teachers, parents, faculty, administrators, and learners of all ages the ability to continue to connect face-to-face. Learning and instruction can continue without interruption, facilitated by a platform that enables instruction, assessment, and feedback through virtual classrooms, video-based feedback and video assignments, annotations, and rubrics. For those students who may require additional support or motivation, Brightspace can keep individual learners on track with automated nudges and progress them through their learning with the automated release of content and assessments.

Furthermore, to support administrators, instructors, and learners in this time of need, and to help you get the most out of Brightspace products and features, we have hundreds of video tutorials available online, and our team is here to support you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

As the world navigates this unprecedented health crisis, educators and learners are learning to adapt and move forward. In the face of all this change, we are fully committed to helping schools, colleges and universities, teachers, faculty, and learners make the shift to online learning one of the easiest and simplest decisions during this very tumultuous time.

This work to move to a more online ready model will continue to add value to your students long after the pandemic recedes. It will make you that much more a part of the digital transformation of education.

If you are looking for guidance as you navigate this move to online learning, we’re here to help. Check the D2L blog frequently for additional resources. We’ll have webinars from D2L and partners, including Southern New Hampshire University and Gwinnett County Public Schools, who will share their experiences and lessons learned in shifting from face-to-face to classes online.

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