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Have We Learned Everything the Pandemic Has to Teach Us?

For Those Who Teach

Have We Learned Everything the Pandemic Has to Teach Us?

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I know two faculty members who are top-of-the-line teachers. I’ve seen them teach and interviewed students in their courses. They are two of the best. Even so, both struggled mightily with online teaching during the pandemic. “For me,” one of them reported, “online teaching demands everything I do poorly and nothing that I do well.” The other one noted, “My students put up with some of the worst teaching I’ve ever done. I owe each and every one of them an apology.”

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1 Comment

  1. Douglas McKee August 12, 2021

    This article raises a lot of really great questions, and I just wanted to point out an article (that I wrote with several colleagues) that tries to answer some of them. Using data on 7 intermediate-level economics courses taught at four different institutions, we compared standardized assessment outcomes in Spring 2020 with those in the same courses in a previous semester. We found huge variation in the differences across courses with students in some courses performing about the same as when the course was entirely in-person and big declines in performance for other courses. We found that students did better online when they had instructors with more experience teaching online and when their courses incorporated substantial peer-to-peer interaction. We also found that gaps between students that existed pre-pandemic (e.g., by gender or race) did not get exacerbated by the pandemic. Here’s the full paper published in Economics Letters FYI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econlet.2021.109812

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