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To sync or async: Considerations for access in virtual learning

BY JAMES K. WINFIELD

The sudden shift to all-online teaching has led many educators to wonder if they should avoid synchronous instruction altogether.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the health and economy of the world. The higher-ed landscape has seen a significant impact, as instructors are overwhelmingly utilizing remote conferencing services and are charged to meet students where they are. The question is: “Are we truly meeting them where they are?”

First, let’s consider the students who have been abruptly uprooted from their traditional college experience and told that their only option is to do online learning. Enduring a transition like this can be daunting and unsettling. It is safe to assume that many students chose brick and mortar colleges with the expectation that they would only engage in face-to-face instruction.

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