Can Distance Learning Work?

Not an official update

The above is the official logo that will indicate that the content comes from the president and is reliable. The following is not official at all, and is just the experience of one CUNY instructor who has found herself in a dystopian reality in which all physical classes are cancelled for the rest of the spring semester. On top of this, my regular job working as a teleprompter at CBS ended abruptly yesterday due to two employees testing positive for the corona virus.

Today, March 12th, I have been creating announcements for my students, going to the gym (which was quite full), and attending two online workshops for Blackboard Collaborate. All CUNY colleges are suspending classes from March 12th until March 18th while instructors prepare for distance learning. The e-learning department at BMCC held a workshop attended by hundreds on Wednesday March 11th, and between 40-50 instructors have logged in for each of the online workshops organized by Dr. Carlos Aguasaco, who teaches a class on Latin superheroes!

For topics that involve a lot of reading and writing, like English, the online platform has a lot of potential. The interactive video conferences, in which all participants can share images, presentations and interactive whiteboards, as well as take part in small group and large group chats, and have side conversations in the text sidebar, initially seem fun. I hope my students turn up next week, and I will be sure to update here.

What do you think about distance learning? What is it most useful for, and what can it not replace?

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