Distance Learning Update
It is my pleasure to announce that in an effort to make CE learning options more accessible, the AASECT board of directors has approved the following update to our requirements for mode of instruction: Synchronous online and in-person education will be considered equivalent to each other.
This policy will go into effect on January 1, 2022, seamlessly picking up from the special circumstances policy that was put in place in April 2020 to allow online synchronous learning to be equivalent to live learning until December 31, 2021.
As you know, distance learning can look many different ways. People and institutions have been innovating in this mode of education for two decades now. Methods of instruction and assessment vary widely, just as they do in traditional live classroom teaching. There are options for interactive work, lectures, creative presentations, and more. The necessity of adapting to distance learning due to the impact of the global COVID-19 crisis has inspired increased ingenuity over the past year. Today we see teachers educating students in subjects once deemed entirely unsuited to online or distance learning such as biology, nursing, dance, and drama, to name just a few. Crisis is the parent of invention in this case.
Feedback from AASECT approved Continuing Education providers and students who have chosen to pivot into online synchronous learning has been overwhelmingly positive. As PESC, I have heard from dozens of individuals who feel that they are finally able to access training and work towards their certification goals for the first time. Travel, of course, can be prohibitive for many reasons and thus the live class requirement seems to have been an accessibility barrier for more people than we might have imagined. Many AASECT Continuing Education Providers have also noted that they have seen increased attendance, increased completion rates, and generally excellent evaluations. This increased accessibility is a benefit to our field and is in line with our strategic plan.
I want to thank the board for their consideration and the membership for their patience as this issue has been discussed and debated over the past year.
Anyone who has questions about online synchronous learning is welcome to reach out to me.
Joli Hamilton, PhD, CSE AASECT
Professional Education Steering Committee Chair