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Distance learning in post-pandemic times [Part 1]

In 2020, a new term appeared in the field of education - Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT). 

It was formulated by 5 professors from different universities - Charles Hodges, Stephanie Moore, Barb Lockee, Torrey Trust, and Aaron Bond. After that, they released an article in EDUCAUSE explaining this new trend and explaining the difference between ERT and traditional online learning, which has been forced to adapt to the situation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to them, the development of a classic course takes about six months. Then comes the enrollment of students. Enrolled students take the course and share their experiences. Teachers make changes to their lessons based on feedback and personal experience.

As opposed to classics, emergency remote teaching is built along the way, and feedback from students plays no role, since the program is based on "one-time", synchronous video sessions.

School administrators supported this approach by offering a temporary solution. It was supposed to be just like school, only with video conferencing instead.

The paper also explained that ERT could be a way to learn during a crisis. Like during times of social instability, when the Taliban in Afghanistan revived, they tried to educate girls through the radio and record information on DVDs.

ERT proved to be less effective in practice than well-designed online courses or face-to-face training. ERT is a more spontaneous and creative method, as instructors are able to adapt their offline programs on the go. That being said, ERT was still better than nothing in that situation. 

So, it turns out that traditional online education is a more thoughtful design that works, since all the nuances of an online class are taken into account during the development.

Thus, the logical thing to do is to move from ERT to an effective online learning system, abandoning ERT as a less effective option. 

Most of the surveyed students didn't really like the ERT format either. Nevertheless, this method still benefited high school students. Their results were more positive than those of younger students.

Challenges of online education

In case you are pursuing a master's degree or taking advanced training in your field, a video conference is a convenient method to study. 

A format like this is suitable if there are a few students who are motivated to learn. A smaller group of people makes it easier to have discussions and communicate in a Socratic-dialogue manner. A process in which special questions are formulated during the course of a conversation, which contribute to the work of thinking, concentration of attention, and a proper assessment of the current situation.

It is believed that under such conditions, the ERT course will practically not differ from the classical online training program.

To increase efficiency here, you can use asynchronous discussion boards or video tools.

But there is another important factor. The way ERT has been implemented potentially traumatized those teachers who have taught during this time. As the pioneers of the method, they had to solve very small specific problems in order to keep the situation afloat.

A teacher who makes an online course must have a set of skills that not everyone has.

That is, when working on a new program, make sure at each stage that the content is presented in an accessible way and is understandable to you. 

Creating training centers based on universities might be a good way to train teachers and help them develop their programs.

For the course to succeed, the creator of the course needs to think like a student. After all, a successful teacher is one who has successful students. This should start with the lesson plan and lecture notes. 

The second important step is establishing contact and trust. If there is trust, people won't be bothered too much by the shooting's flaws. 

Next, we will discuss why situational leadership is important, how to use video production methods to improve student interaction, and how to replace ERT for kindergarten and elementary schools.

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