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Research and Innovation

Back to School: Preparing for Online Learning

Child learning online.
Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels.

Across the state and country, students and their parents are preparing for the return of the school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts at NC State offer tips to help ease the transition for parents and caregivers.

Parents and students are gearing up for the return of school – some face-to-face, and many through online instruction.

Through an initiative at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, NC State’s Mark Samberg has helped lead an effort to provide free classes to help teachers prepare for the online learning environment.

Samberg is director of technology programs at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation and teaching assistant professor in learning design and technology at the NC State College of Education. He teaches digital learning program development.

He offers tips for educators and parents preparing for online instruction in the fall semester:

  • Establish a routine and norms. Just like parents benefit from a morning work-from-home routine, students who are remote learning benefit from having some level of predictability and consistency in what they’re doing day to day.
  • Having access issues? Advocate. Samberg said families who are expected to be remote learning and don’t have Internet access should check with their school districts. Some are providing cellular hotspots or opening their parking lots for free Wi-Fi; most schools are providing options for families without Internet. Schools are encouraged to make activities available offline, Samberg also said. Many videos, documents, and assignments can be synchronized so that students can do them while offline. Students may also be able to join their class sessions on the telephone.