The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery, Mark Van Doren
As the coronavirus spreads, higher education institutions are facing a major challenge: how can they continue to offer instruction if face to face classes and lectures are closed? An increasing number are moving classes online as a short-term solution. Moreover, as students want to be actively engaged in their own learning, universities are proposing new forms of teaching and learning. Distance education and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) using pre-recorded material have been a very popular solution to this challenge, but there is another specific type of distance learning: synchronous courses, in which face-to-face and remote students receive instruction together in real time.
On this regard, Eurydice interviewed Senior Lecturer Sophie Queuniet from Columbia University. Her professional experience has been mainly focused on the teaching of French as a foreign language. She co-authored the French Online project with Chris Jones at Carnegie Mellon University, which received the 2007 Access to Language Education Award for best publicly available on-line instructional language materials. She also just finished writing the Intermediate level of French Online with colleagues at Carnegie Mellon and the Français interactif team of University of Texas at Austin (UTA). It was piloted at UTA in Spring 2020.
Sophie now uses a 100 % online synchronous approach. She started this practice on 9 March when Columbia University closed down because of the pandemic.
Interview questions consist of the following topics
- What are the advantages of 100 % online synchronous learning? Why would you recommend it?
- What are the disadvantages?
- Do you think students are able to develop a sense of community through online synchronous communication?
- How do you keep students’ motivation?
- How do you set the stage for successful interaction?
- What are the essential things to be a better online teacher?
- How do you organize your lessons from a practical point of view?
- How do you ensure not running cyber security risks?
- Many faculties are switching very quickly to online learning following the covid19 outbreak. Do you think this will mark a point of no return for the future?
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Authors: Anna Maria Volpe and David Crosier