Covid-19 and Short Term Memory Loss
By K16 Solutions in Blog | August 16, 2021
Blog Post by Dr. Rachel Waite
Covid-19 and Short Term Memory Loss
Using a painful experience to motivate innovation…or have you already forgotten?
No, this isn’t a scientific paper. It’s not a study of how Covid-19 literally affects memory, short-term or otherwise. It’s a reminder. I get why some have forgotten; forgetting is very much a defense mechanism. 2020 was an educational train-wreck; a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants, day-to-day hornets’ nest, things-change-until-they-change-again lesson in continuous classroom delivery interruption and adaptation. Instructors of all levels, from early childhood to higher ed were told, “our doors are closed, there will be no face-to-face delivery, we’re going online.” You, Ms. 11th grade French teacher, are going online. You, Mr. 1st grade teacher, are going online. And you, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Brick-and-Mortar, you already have an online classroom, but it’s mostly just a gradebook and a dropbox–you’re putting all your course material online for all of your students. Tomorrow. Go build your course.
This is not a drill
It’s no exaggeration, this literally was the reality for students and faculty in our country and all over the world. Educators lived it professionally, and if we’re parents, we watched it play out with our kids. It was painful and frightening and uncertain. It created a sense of panic, and it ultimately fell upon faculty to figure it out. If a faculty member already had access to an LMS, maybe they used it and maybe they didn’t. Maybe they just used certain elements of their LMS environment, or maybe they didn’t use it at all. Perhaps they’d already built a full-blown course if they were technically experienced and savvy and brave. But chances are, faculty members were given access to their school’s LMS with perfunctory training in how to navigate it for the purpose of teaching and facilitating learning in their online environment. But building our own course in the LMS? Don’t we have people for that?
A new paradigm for faculty-driven course creation
Smaller universities and colleges, high school districts, and elementary charter schools are not likely to have the army of instructional designers enjoyed by large higher ed institutions—they have to rely on their faculty. Even for larger institutions, bringing 21st Century education into the online environment on the scale it currently requires and will increasingly demand will have to involve faculty. A new paradigm for online course creation has to be made available to faculty, and what happened with Covid and the delivery of classroom instruction is just an acute example. Now that it’s more or less behind us, we’ve retreated back to what we previously knew: back into old processes for course creation, back into bureaucracy-laden, lengthy, multi-player course developments, and away from faculty-focused course creation. Because what do faculty know about building an online course? Well, they know their subject, and with Scaffold Designer in their toolbox, they don’t need more than that. Designer allows faculty to create structured courses–with proven methodologies to build Course and Enabling Objectives and align to content—without the kind of coding skills needed to build straight into the LMS.
Leaping toward innovation
In 2020, we scrambled and we resorted to early 2000’s communication modes of video lectures and homework-by-email. But really, we were presented with an opportunity to push into the next generation of online course development: faculty-focused course creation, with a guided means of assuring structure and adherence to quality and accreditation standards. The most painful part of learning from something painful is seeing and grasping at the opportunity and choosing to divorce ourselves from old processes and leap toward innovation. Scaffold Designer remakes course creation, and that is a foundation of online learning success.