1/ A thread about postsecondary education and remote delivery in the time of COVID-19 restrictions, especially in #Alberta. No agenda here, just being infomative (I hope). This has political overtones because #abpse is shaped by provincial policy, but it applies across Canada.
2/ In March, the COVID-19 crisis meant postsecondary institutions were faced with moving most courses to remote delivery to finish the term.

"Remote delivery" didn't mean the course became an online course. It only meant the term would be finished using electronic means where
3/ possible. It made sense: converting a course to being an online course generally takes more than a year. The principles can be quite different, and the role of the instructor/tutor can be different too. If an instructor is in the middle of a term and teaching 4 courses, they
4/ won't have time (even if they have expertise) to do a full conversion.

And time is a factor here.

Many instructors found the shift to remote delivery increased their marking time and their time devoted to working with student issues. Remote delivery requires students to be
5/ self-motivated and to take initiative. When you add the anxiety and effects of COVID-19 to the usual anxiety about grades, the time spent on student issues balloons.

The situation meant dealing with students in quarantine, students with limited or no reliable internet access,
6/ students who had been counting on physical library resources that were no longer available, students whose only access becane through their phones - and their data plans were insufficient for online course delivery.

It's easy to complain that some courses became nothing more
7/ than basic weekly asynchronous discussion forums.

Instructors with experience in online delivery may have had some advantage, if they had time and if they had taught those specific courses online. But that's not a given.

There wasn't time enough moving into Spring/Summer
8/ for a full revamp, even if (and this is where it gets political and @demetriosnAB might want to read) our postsecondary instiyutions hadn't been forced to terminate so many support personnel.

Most instructors are not trained to be online delivery experts. Even if they were,
9/ a few days isn't going to be enough time to develop a fully satisfying online course.

Now add these complications as we go forward: budget constraints, how sessional instructors are used, and intellectual property rights.

Many postsecondary institutions are looking at
10/ remote delivery in the fall - not all courses, but those that can be shifted. It still won't be equivalent to "online course" and here's why.

The institutions don't have the resources to develop online versions of so many courses at once. That work is done by distance
11/ education specialists in consultation with instructors and subject matter experts. It means application of pedagogical design, as well as consistent branding of materials etc. And the institutions lack the budgets, the personnel, and tge time to make that shift.

Can the
12/ instructors themselves do it?

Some might have the skills, but not as many as you might think.

And so many courses are taught by sessional instructors.

Sessionals are contract workers with expertise in their area. They have been used to cut costs at postsecondary
13/ institutions for years, and in some institutions they are the majority of the faculty.

They have zero job security. They are hired to teach to predetermined course outcomes. Because they are not contracted to develop materials, any material they develop is their own
14/ intellectual property.

When postsecondary institutions develop courses, they usually pay for that work in some way - whether it's a separate contract for sessional faculty or considered part of the workload for ongoing faculty. Then the university owns it.

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