Presentation Title

Virtual Learning Experiences: Raising the Bar for Educators During a Global Pandemic

Start

10-2-2020 10:00 AM

End

10-2-2020 11:00 AM

Short Description

The purpose of this presentation is to share experiences of successfully planning and delivering a 3-day virtual doctoral experience in the midst of a global pandemic. During this presentation, we will share post-conference survey results as well as the strategies, tools, and overall design of the virtual event. We will engage with the audience to discuss factors that made this event successful, as indicated by preliminary data, as well as challenges and opportunities of these types of events to meet the needs of their audiences.

Abstract

The Covid pandemic has forced us to review, re-envision, and implement differently many educational practices that have previously been taken for granted. In this presentation we share experiences of pivoting a major event, the traditionally On-site Summer Institute for doctoral students.

The Summer Institute is a required residential event where doctoral students come to campus and meet with peers, faculty, and dissertation chairs to collaboratively work towards development and completion of their dissertation. In the context of COVID-19, and with less than 3 months to plan and prepare, the 3-day doctoral residential event was transitioned from the traditional on-site campus-based experience to an online experience. According to Simonson’s (1999) equivalency theory, distance learning experiences should be equivalent, rather than identical, to the traditional on-site experience to meet the same outcomes considering the unique affordances and limitations of each setting, including tools and technologies available. Strategies and experiences for the event were re-designed according to characteristics of the online setting to meet the intended outcomes. Preliminary data indicated that students (N = 225) and faculty (N = 114) were highly engaged and perceived the virtual experience as more beneficial than the on-site experience. We argue that the virtual event, not only met the outcomes, but perhaps exceeded the expectations with astounding results as shown by the unprecedented response rate of 86%, 95% of deliverables submitted, and 75% of students absolutely wanting a virtual experience next year. This presentation will challenge the audience in the discussion of strategies to transfer the knowledge that made this virtual event successful to other online learning events for professional development.

Simonson, M. (1999). Equivalency theory and distance education. TechTrends, 43(5), 5-8.

Format

Concurrent Session

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Oct 2nd, 10:00 AM Oct 2nd, 11:00 AM

Virtual Learning Experiences: Raising the Bar for Educators During a Global Pandemic

The Covid pandemic has forced us to review, re-envision, and implement differently many educational practices that have previously been taken for granted. In this presentation we share experiences of pivoting a major event, the traditionally On-site Summer Institute for doctoral students.

The Summer Institute is a required residential event where doctoral students come to campus and meet with peers, faculty, and dissertation chairs to collaboratively work towards development and completion of their dissertation. In the context of COVID-19, and with less than 3 months to plan and prepare, the 3-day doctoral residential event was transitioned from the traditional on-site campus-based experience to an online experience. According to Simonson’s (1999) equivalency theory, distance learning experiences should be equivalent, rather than identical, to the traditional on-site experience to meet the same outcomes considering the unique affordances and limitations of each setting, including tools and technologies available. Strategies and experiences for the event were re-designed according to characteristics of the online setting to meet the intended outcomes. Preliminary data indicated that students (N = 225) and faculty (N = 114) were highly engaged and perceived the virtual experience as more beneficial than the on-site experience. We argue that the virtual event, not only met the outcomes, but perhaps exceeded the expectations with astounding results as shown by the unprecedented response rate of 86%, 95% of deliverables submitted, and 75% of students absolutely wanting a virtual experience next year. This presentation will challenge the audience in the discussion of strategies to transfer the knowledge that made this virtual event successful to other online learning events for professional development.

Simonson, M. (1999). Equivalency theory and distance education. TechTrends, 43(5), 5-8.