If I had to list one thing that has come out of this COVID-19 experience, I would have to point out the generation of some new terms. A few new ones that I've heard recently include:

  • Zoom-Bombing: When an unwanted person or hacker disrupts your Zoom video call inappropriately.
  • Mask Envy: When a mask used to protect yourself from COVID-19 is also used as a fashion statement and someone else is jealous of the mask you're wearing.

And now in our business one that is now more important than ever: 

  • Academic Continuity: When an institution puts a plan in place to continue teaching during uncertain times of interruption (ie. a hurricane or in our case, COVID-19). 

"Emergency Remote Teaching" or "ERT" has also surfaced among these newer terms. But what is the difference between ERT and eLearning? 

Watch this short 4-minute video below to learn the main differences between these two things. 

Don't want to watch the video? Read the video summary below to learn the differences. 

 

Video Summary:

I recommend checking out Educause's article to take a deeper dive into learning more about ERT, but to sum it up, here is an overview of some of the important differences between ERT and eLearning: 

1. The Amount of Time it Takes to Develop it

eLearning typically takes a while, if not months, to develop a course. But remember, the first letter in "ERT" stands for emergency. Emergency remote teaching has to be done very quickly and not a lot of time goes into its preparation. 

2. The Development Staff 

Often, when online eLearning courses are done well and developed properly, there is input from professional instructional designers who help the faculty members to create a very engaging course, has multi-media built-in to it, and offers a rich learning experience for the students.

However, with ERT, there's typically not enough instructional design staff to go around and support every class moving online. With this, most instructors, who do not have a background in designing online classes, have to put their courses online and quickly, often causing a disconnect between the students and the course work. 

3. The Pacing Differences

A typical online or eLearning class is oftentimes considered "asynchronous." This means that students can do the course work at any time. The course may still be within a 9-week term, but there is greater flexibility as to when the work can be completed.

Whereas, in this ERT system that was adopted, faculty members who were used to a typical synchronous or "time-based scheduled," stuck with that while transitioning their students to online courses. However, this type of method can make it more difficult for a student to navigate as the struggles of child care, home-life, and not having the right tools to continue the course work while quarantined come up. 

 

However, throughout both ERT and eLearning, the intention of providing high-quality education should always remain the same. 

What do you think are some of the other major differences between emergency remote teaching and eLearning? Let us know in the comments!

If your institution needs assistance identifying at-risk students due to technology access or goodness of fit matters, need to get started quickly with automated online proctoring to prompt academic integrity, or need help authenticating learners during online course work, let us help! 

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