The Covid-19 pandemic has required teachers to move their courses online with precipitate haste. The 'Educational Distancing' article in Distance Education 41(4) has discussed the predictable problems this will create in the effort to achieve a uniform high online standard. Similar periods of sudden change in DE approaches have occurred before, with accompanying losses of quality. These have caused the lessons learned by DE teachers and researchers over many years to be eclipsed and the field to be reinvented at a low level. The webinar presentation will give examples of this historical problem.
Since the 2020 article was written, a survey of 1,132 teachers by Bay View Analytics (Fall 2020) has shown that the pandemic has generated more positive attitudes towards online methods in a minority (47%), and that only 22% of the total sample has made substantial changes to its teaching. For 96% of the sample, online methods used during the pandemic have been limited to email, with a minority using other media - e.g., text messaging (42%) and the 'phone (39%). These findings support the conclusion above that sudden changes in DE approaches cause teachers who lack experience of online teaching to revert to a lower level of quality than the DE field has come to expect. The webinar will discuss ways for the field to prevent this from doing lasting damage to its reputation.