The last few weeks our world has a new master called COVID-19 – a new coronavirus disease, which was detected in China on 31 December 2019. 3.5 months later there are more than 150 000 confirmed cases in 141 countries.[i] At the end of January 2020 the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. On 11th March the World Health Organization (WHO) claimed COVID-19 a pandemic as in two weeks the number of countries that have diagnosed cases had tripled and the viral coronavirus strain have increased 13-fold.
What our governments learnt so far is that COVID -19 requires fast and strict actions to reduce the spread of the disease. These actions are aimed at saving health care resources to save more human lives. More and more countries are going under lockdown, which severely affects the economy, public services, educational system, social and cultural life.
Currently, the educational disruption due to the COVID-19 is one of the greatest concerns, as it is unprecedented, unexpected and a few were prepared for it. Many schools, universities, and other educational services providers had to close their physical facilities for an uncertain period of time. Luckily, we do not live in 14th century – the time of the Black Death that is often compared to COVID-19. We live in the era of new technologies, which can help us mitigate the effect of disruption and social isolation. While being isolated in quarantine, we can still work, study and participate in social life from our homes using different online solutions.
The educational institutions and providers can benefit from online teaching enabling continuation of learning, even if their students are not together in a physical classroom. The practice of distance education can be traced back in 1800s with the so called correspondence courses, in which the teacher and learner were at different locations and corresponded via post. 200 years later the idea is the same – distance teaching and learning provides access to education no matter your location, but thanks to new online technologies, it is moving beyond one-to-one communication. Nowadays there are solutions for one-to-many teaching which ensure social, collaborative, personalized, interactive and most importantly safe experience.
One of the best options for online substitute to traditional classroom training is the combination of Canvas LMS and VEDAMO Virtual Classroom. It not only covers all aspects of traditional interaction by integrating self-paced learning with live online instructor-led teaching, but also has the capacity to enhance the learner’s experience and make it more interactive and personalized.
Teaching organizations can use:
- Canvas LMS – to deliver self-paced courses with various types of learning materials, which their students will cover at their own convenience; assess their knowledge through quizzes and assignments; facilitate extended online discussions and group activities.
- VEDAMO Virtual Classroom – for web-conferencing instructor-led online teaching. The virtual classroom is a highly interactive space where students can interact and collaborate live online with their peers and teachers from any location.
We believe that online technologies can help us go through these though times. If you want to learn more how Canvas and VEDAMO can help your organization keep working online, contact our teams.
About the author: Dr. Veronica Racheva , Education Program Director , VEDAMO Virtual Classroom
Veronica is a PhD in Theory of Education. She graduated from the Doctoral School at the Institute of Education, University of London and has a specialization for a Virtual Teacher from the University of California, Irvine. Currently, she is a CEO of a Bulgarian K12 online academy, based on VEDAMO e-learning infrastructure. She is also a lecturer in E-learning at the Sofia University, researcher and author of scientific reports.