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Online learning and inclusion

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Sunday, 17 May 2020, 13:54

The current situation means that online learning is being discussed more than previously.  This article https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/may/04/i-cant-get-motivated-the-students-struggling-with-online-learning is one of many that refers to the issues.

One issue that is mentioned is that some disadvantaged students may not have good computer equipment and/or a good internet connection that they need in order to study effectively.  This is presumably a useful reminder that the newest technologies might not be the most appropriate ones.

There is also the slightly surprising comment that "(s)ocial mobility experts are warning that the shift to online learning could severely hold back some students, including those from poorer backgrounds, care leavers, students with caring responsibilities and those with disabilities."  It seems that in many cases online study may be the realistic alternative for students who are from poorer backgrounds as they can combine study with work.  Those with caring responsibilities may have (and need) more flexibility about when they care and when they study.  In terms of disability, online learning seems the best option for many disabilities (eg severe social anxiety or physical disabilities that restrict movement).

Weller's mention of the importance of icebreakers for online learning seems important and the Open University's induction courses, early face to face tutorials (in normal times) and Forum activities seem important.

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