Matthew Rascoff, the new vice provost for digital education at Stanford University, will be the first to tell you that digital education and the type of online learning associated with the pandemic are not the same thing.
“In the field, we don’t call it online education,” he says. “We invented this term, emergency remote teaching, specifically to prevent the backlash that we anticipated when people came back to campus and were like, ‘Eh, that was kind of a lackluster experience, and we don't want more of that.’ ”
On this episode of School’s In, Rascoff joins Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) Dean Dan Schwartz and Senior Lecturer Denise Pope to discuss the future of digital education and how well-designed technologies take a learner’s needs into account from the start.
As learning resumes on college campuses, Rascoff stresses the importance of differentiating between true digital education and improvised remote learning. “We should be careful in our terms so that we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” The bathwater in this scenario, he says, includes Zoom fatigue and the stress of trying to work, learn and care for children at home all while worrying about a global pandemic. And what’s the baby? Flexibility, and some of the new strategies developed during the pandemic to help students engage in learning online.
“We have a moment of opportunity right now to distill some of the lessons learned,” he says.
Dormitory life at a residential university may be formative for students, but the majority of undergraduates in America don't experience college that way. “I think it's important for us to figure out how we design for that new majority.”
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