Commentary: Online teaching doesn’t have to suck for students or educators

SINGAPORE: Every week I read about another university in the United States forced to abandon in-person instruction due to a sudden rise in coronavirus cases: UNC-Chapel Hill, Notre Dame, James Madison.

This sudden change of direction has taken a toll on students, who are now restricted to remote instruction and self-isolation after moving to campus only weeks before.

It has also impacted faculty members, now forced to redesign their modules in the midst of the semester.

Here in Singapore, I have been planning for online teaching since May, when the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences made the controversial decision to offer nearly every course online this semester.

STARTING EARLY

The decision was unpopular with many colleagues, including me. After all, nearly everyone prefers face-to-face instruction.

READ: Commentary: How ready are Singapore universities to start the new term as COVID-19 rages on?

READ: Commentary: Home-based

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Why Central Planning In Higher Education Doesn’t Work

In an excellent policy brief for the Niskanen Center, Robert Orr explains that the high cost of health care in the United States is a function of the relatively low number of new doctors that our higher-education system produces every year. The shortage of physicians is no accident. Instead, it is the result of deliberate pressure by the federal government and other bodies to reduce the supply of medical school graduates in response to a perceived “physician surplus.”

The episode and its disastrous consequences are a reminder of how using the heavy hand of government to steer various sectors of the economy usually creates more problems than it solves. This is especially true in higher education, where political interventions with the aim of achieving specific economic outcomes continue.

Between 1980 and 2005, Orr writes, “a series of ill-judged

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Education Department’s child abuse outreach during Covid doesn’t go far enough, experts say | Us World News

(CNN) — The US Department of Education’s muted response to concerns about unreported child abuse in the age of virtual learning is fueling new distress among family welfare experts and advocates.

The Education Department declined to tell CNN on the record what steps have been taken to help teachers or other members of school communities spot signs of child abuse through a webcam during virtual teaching. Instead, a department spokesperson pointed to a series of online resources created by local and state education agencies that they help to make public.

That lack of federal guidance has set off alarm bells for experts.

“Clearly just posting resources on a website is not enough,” said Maureen Kenny Winick, a Florida International University professor whose expertise includes child maltreatment.

“Sometimes accessing what you need takes many clicks and teachers may have more immediate concerns about academics and distance learning right now.”

The concern

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Education Department’s child abuse outreach during Covid doesn’t go far enough, experts say

The US Department of Education’s muted response to concerns about unreported child abuse in the age of virtual learning is fueling new distress among family welfare experts and advocates.



Betsy DeVos wearing glasses and looking at the camera


© Alex Wong/Getty Images


The Education Department declined to tell CNN on the record what steps have been taken to help teachers or other members of school communities spot signs of child abuse through a webcam during virtual teaching. Instead, a department spokesperson pointed to a series of online resources created by local and state education agencies that they help to make public.

That lack of federal guidance has set off alarm bells for experts.

“Clearly just posting resources on a website is not enough,” said Maureen Kenny Winick, a Florida International University professor whose expertise includes child maltreatment.

“Sometimes accessing what you need takes many clicks and teachers may have more immediate concerns about academics and distance learning right

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University entrance: The ‘taboo’ about who doesn’t go

John-Russell BarnesImage copyright
Samuel George

Image caption

John-Russell Barnes says many of his friends in Hastings remain uncertain about going to university

John-Russell Barnes has three part-time jobs to help support his mother and sisters. But that’s not what makes the 18-year-old from Hastings unusual.

He’s a white working-class boy who is going to university.

More than half a million new students will be heading off to start at universities across the UK this term, with record numbers set to enter despite all the Covid complications.

But white males from low-income families are the “least likely” group to be going, according to the most recent figures from the Department for Education.

Left behind

Among state school youngsters not on free school meals, 45% go on to higher education by the age of 19. Those more disadvantaged students, eligible for free school meals, have a lower entry rate of 26%.

But for

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Opinion | What Trump doesn’t understand about U.S. history

Trump knows practically nothing about American history, cares even less and displays his ignorance breezily. He is amazed to learn that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. (“A lot of people don’t know that.”) He asked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” Nothing makes the case for overhauling our teaching of basic U.S. history and civics like the 45th president.

Trump describes history as a saga of heroes and villains, good vs. evil, pure and simple. The United States is the embodiment of good, “the most exceptional nation in the history of the world,” he said last week, whatever that means. Studying history is supposed to instill love of country. But today, he warns, the good and the love are under attack from evil radical leftists, “aided and abetted by liberal politicians” including, of course, Joe Biden. American history, in short, instructs us to

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