Learning@Scale 2020 Webinar Series | MIT J-WEL

Learning@Scale 2020 Webinar Series

Photo: Jack Sem

Research and Remote Learning: What do we know? What should we learn?

Out of the 1.7 billion K-12 and higher education learners in schools around the world, in early April 91.3% were out of school or participating in remote learning. As the world faces ongoing months under the shadow of a pandemic, educators are navigating the pathway from an emergency pivot to more stable, planful forms of remote and blended learning.

Research has an important role in these new remote learning policy measures. Prior investigations can help us make better predictions about what practices might be effective or ineffective. At the same time though, dramatic changes in the world mean that prior work may not generalize well to uncertain times, and new investigations are needed to understand how learning at scale can meet the challenges of remote learning.

In this new webinar series, we bring together leaders from the ACM Learning@Scale community to address these challenges by highlighting and summarizing key findings about large-scale learning, and by pointing towards important design and research challenges for the future.

Week 1:
Equity and Excellence in K-12 Remote Learning: What does research tell us? What happened this spring? What can we plan for the fall?

Thursday, June 4, 2020
3:00 - 4:00 p.m. ET

Watch the recorded webinar here.

Prof. Justin Reich
Assistant Professor, Comparative Media Studies/Writing
Faculty Associate, Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society
Director, MIT Teaching Systems Lab

Webinar Details
Over the past two months, schools in the United States and around the world have conducted an emergency pivot to remote learning. Fragmentary sources of data are beginning to reveal what these practices really look like: state policies (see https://edarxiv.org/437e2), district policies, interviews with educators (see https://osf.io/2fjtc/), and journalistic reporting. To plan for the fall, we need to bring together the long history of research on distance and online learning with these more recent data and reports. In this webinar, we’ll discuss key relevant research, the emerging picture of remote learning, and strategies for planning during this summer for the challenges of the fall.

Week 2:
Emergency Transformation of a Public University to Remote Teaching and Learning

Thursday, 6/18/20
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. ET

Watch the recorded webinar here.

Prof. Pedro M. Ruiz
Associate Professor, Department of Information and Communications Engineering
Vice-chancellor for Strategy and Digital University
University of Murcia

Webinar Details
COVID-19 is representing a real challenge for traditional universities to be able to continue their teaching and learning activities remotely. I will address the case of University of Murcia, a mid-size public university of approximately 35,000 students and 2700 teachers. In particular, we'll describe the initiatives we developed and the lesson learned within the three main phases: emergency learning continuity, digital assessment, and preparations for next course.

Week 3:
Safe, Familiar, Student-Centric — An Emergency Guide to Remote Teaching for Novices

Tuesday, June 30, 2020
3:00 - 4:00 p.m. ET

Watch the recorded webinar here.

Dr. David Joyner
Executive Director of Online Education & OMSCS, College of Computing
Georgia Institute of Technology

Webinar Details
In this presentation, David Joyner, Executive Director of Georgia Tech's online MSCS program, takes novice remote instructors on a crash course to get ready to teach online for the first time. The presentation assumes instructors needing to make a rapid transition should follow three guiding principles: that they want to minimize the risk of high-profile failures, that they want to stick to as many familiar tools as possible, and that they want to err on the side of making things more convenient for students wherever possible. The guide takes new instructors through the three areas of online delivery: delivering content, delivering assessment, and delivering the classroom experience.

Week 4:
Effective, Secure, and Efficient Summative Assessment using a Computer-Based Testing Facility


Friday, July 17, 2020
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. ET

Watch the recorded webinar here

Prof. Craig Zilles
Associate Professor and Education Innovation Fellow
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Webinar Details
In this talk, we'll discuss an effective, secure, and efficient alternative to traditional pencil-and-paper exams that scales to even the largest courses.  At the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois, we've been running a Computer-Based Testing Facility (CBTF) for more than six years now and have been running at scale (e.g., 35+ courses, 75,000+ exams/semester) for the past couple years.  The CBTF is a proctored, "locked-down" computer lab that is operated as a service to courses.  The CBTF has changed how we teach, leading to improved student learning and enabling the introduction of more project and group work in large STEM classes, because graduate TAs are freed from routine proctoring and grading.

I'll discuss the basic operation of our CBTF and the key components that make it work.  I'll present findings on aggregate student behavior in the CBTF and data on increased learning gains and reduced failure rates in specific courses.  I'll discuss our mechanisms and policies for maintaining security, supporting testing accommodations, and minimizing faculty disruption.  Finally, I'll discuss the pieces of the CBTF strategy that we've used for our transition to online exams resulting from Covid-19.

Week 6:
Learning @ Scale 2020 Conference Program Preview


Wednesday, August 5, 2020
9:00 - 10:00 a.m. ET


Prof. Rene F. Kizilcec
Assistant Professor, Cornell Information Science
Director, Future of Learning Lab
Cornell University

Susan Rundell Singer
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Rollins College

Webinar Details
The ACM Learning at Scale conference this year features an exciting and timely program: five research paper sessions, two work-in-progress/demo sessions, a keynote speech by Katie Davis on “What My Little Pony Can Teach Us About Interest-Driven Learning”, and a fireside chat on “Ethics in Learning @ Scale” with Candace Thille (moderator), Ellen Wagner, Stephanie Teasley, Sidney D’Mello. This year’s conference also features eight workshops on topics ranging from designing inclusive learning environments to developing a chatbot. In this webinar we will preview parts of the program and talk about the role of learning at scale today. Please also see the L@S 2020 conference website: https://learningatscale.acm.org/las2020/