Transition to Virtual Learning with Webex
As schools around the world are forced to cancel classes or move to virtual instruction, the immediate need is the ability to conduct distance or remote learning. There are so many options out there for teachers for remote learning, it’s difficult to choose “how” to maintain a connected education environment.
I’m an adjunct instructor for our regional community college, a school teacher in the Howe School District in Oklahoma, and education technology advocate for Cisco. In these roles, I’ve had the opportunity to use the complete set of Webex tools to teach classes, conduct office hours, work with parents, and keep projects going within and beyond live class meetings. Truly, Webex has helped me maintain courses and content, no matter the disruption.
Many schools like ours have been leveraging the Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan for Education offer to enhance content delivery and to help students continue their educational process with as little disruption as possible. Any school, university, college or K-12 institution can take advantage of this opportunity. It’s a great way to begin the journey toward remote/distance learning, to increase their school’s current capacity, or to enhance students’ experience with connected education.
As an individual teacher, you can get started with this opportunity by just creating a free account.
Connected Education Takes Learning Beyond the Classroom
Distance and remote learning are designed to augment and, when necessary, replace physical attendance with virtual attendance for students. But connected education is also designed to extend the learning process beyond “live” class time by combining synchronous and asynchronous instruction into a single platform. With Webex, teachers have the ability to deliver instruction while students can attend the class via video from their smartphone, tablet or computer (which, BTW, can be recorded and made available automatically with closed-caption and complete transcripts). Additionally, they can work together in small groups or on individual projects, and teachers can monitor/track progress whether they are local or remote.
On any given day, I could be lecturing to students physically in class and have a few join remotely. During the class, I might be giving notes on the Webex Board while students in the room (here or “out-there”) co-annotate via the Webex app on their iPad. This is all recorded so we can all refer to it later. After class, I could have video chats or messaging sessions with students or parents, or the students could be messaging one another while doing homework. I’ve been teaching over video for nearly two decades and using Webex for the past 9 years. So, it doesn’t matter if my students are out for a sick day or taken away from school for any number of personal or extracurricular activities.
This opportunity also allows us to have greater peer collaboration; improves the overall student experience with any time, anywhere instruction; and provides opportunities to expand the curriculum. It allows for equity of content regardless of geography or resources.
What We Do Now Can Change the Course of Learning
Of course, in our current situation, both instruction and learning must be completely remote – at least for the next several months. But this process can really be seamless and possibly just as enriching as learning in the physical classroom.
There are many ways in which we can help teachers, students, faculty and even parents stay engaged in learning before, during and after class. Webex can assist by:
- Bringing students to teachers
- Increasing access to experts and specialized curriculum
- Enabling more interactive learning in the classroom
- Building bridges between faculty members, students, and parent/guardians
- Encouraging student-to-student collaboration
There are some great resources that Cisco has aligned for on-demand and live help to faculty members, students, and parents here at the transition to virtual learning site.
Some additional resources are listed below, and I’d like to also offer myself as a resource. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about getting a connected learning experience started. Stay safe and healthy.
- Webex Adoption Toolkit for K12
- Webex Adoption Toolkit for Higher Education
- Faculty & Students Guide to Webex
- Quick Start Guide to Webex for Faculty
- Live Online Classes for Webex Meetings
- Recorded Online Classes for Webex Meetings