What weeks ago seemed unthinkable is now a reality for many professors: take all your courses online, suddenly and indefinitely, due to COVID-19. And while technical and other practical challenges abound for instructors in all fields, those in the humanities face some particular ones: creating virtual classroom environments that foster the deep and often intimate discussions that promote trust and learning.
Humanists and instructional design experts don’t underestimate this task, as research suggests that training and having time to plan are crucial to leading successful online humanities courses. Time to plan is, of course, off the table in sudden coronavirus-related campus closures. Most humanities professors likely do not have ideal training: according to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ most recent survey of humanities departments, 70 percent were not offering a single online course as of 2017. Technical and instructional design support will be helpful but may be limited during this time due to a variety of factors, including demand.
Despite these daunting conditions, but with their choices being few, professors are, by many accounts, forging ahead -- step by step.
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