Thriving Through Disruption: COVID-19, Online Education, and Innovation

Thriving Through Disruption: COVID-19, Online Education, and Innovation

Paul Michalec, Lindsay Brunhofer, John A. O'Malley
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-7540-9.ch003
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Abstract

In this chapter, the authors will explore the ways COVID-19 initiated widespread reform in how faculty approach online teaching. The researchers will focus on how they addressed the shift from emergency remote teaching to faculty empowerment, centered on best practices in online learning. The change, like many campuses around the nation, happened quickly and with limited resources. A central argument of this chapter is that the pandemic created unexpected opportunities for collaboration and innovation across the divide between face-to-face and online instructional design. In tackling this challenge, the researchers were inspired by the community of inquiry framework. The framework is a social constructivist model describing the learning environment as the intersection of three key “presences”: teaching, social, and cognitive. Combining this framework with social-emotional learning theory suggests that online instructional designers consider the trinity of feeling, doing, and creating when designing and delivering faculty professional development.
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Background

The three authors represent three distinct roles and voices in the College: an online instructional designer, a faculty hired to teach in partnership with an OPM, and a faculty teaching primarily face-to-face classes. Examples of educational planning in times of crises show that creativity is important but often hard to foster when there is high-stakes pressure to quickly retool. Within the context of the College making the rapid transition to fully online education, the authors investigate the question: What is required in faculty professional development to move from survival instincts of “how to do” online instruction to the creative flourishing of “now, what can I try?”

In tackling this question, the researchers were inspired by the widely researched framework for designing learning experiences in online environments, the Community of Inquiry (CI) framework developed by Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (1999). The Community of Inquiry framework is a social constructivist model describing the learning environment as the intersection of three key “presences:” teaching, social, and cognitive. Combining CI with the authors’ shared experiences in leading reform in a time of rapid change, three operational frames resulted that instructional designers can consider when designing and delivering faculty professional development: feeling, doing, and creating. Later in this paper, after the authors provide context and historical background, the researchers will connect the Community of Inquiry framework to the three instructional frames of feeling, doing, and creating. What the researchers will present in this article is an intimate portrait of how three members of an academic community responded to the disruption in ways that were generative and life-giving.

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