There’s plenty of evidence that higher education is relieved to have its emergency pivot to online learning safely behind it. But a repeat performance of remote instruction in the fall will be happening partially at some institutions, and full scale at others. That means taking a look at the lessons learned in the spring is in order.

Chronicle survey — conducted in May for “Online 2.0: Managing a Large-Scale Move to Online Learning,” a new special report that explores how institutions can take remote learning to the next level — provides a look at some of those lessons through the eyes of faculty members and academic administrators. In particular they were asked to identify, in a free-response question, the most important or significant lesson they learned from their experiences in the spring.

Comments from faculty members painted a picture of professors who learned that teaching remotely without proper training is tough, and engaging students online is even tougher. Indeed, many declared that — as they thought — face-to-face instruction was superior. They also wrote about the shortcomings of Zoom and the eye-opening window they had into the lack of internet access that their students faced.

Among the responses from academic administrators — whose titles included provost, dean, and department chair — were revelations that the faculty weren’t as tech savvy as administrators thought they would be. Administrators also wrote about the importance of communicating frequently with professors and providing them with the support they need to succeed while online teaching.

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