As an adjunct professor, teaching three classes at two different colleges/universities, I monitored my email(s) closely. Both institutions moved towards online instruction to assist with keeping the virus off campus and ensuring the safety of our students. While I enjoyed the idea of a break from commuting to both campuses, I found myself concerned about this plan. As a full-time higher administrator and part-time professor, I’ve had my share of run ins with college students who were transparent about their socio-economic status with me. I learned really quickly when I began higher education NEVER to assume anything in regards to the access that a student may or may not have.
I moved forward with creating my lectures, recorded my voiceover online, and posted each to its respective Blackboard section. Within this first week of online instruction I began to receive emails. Here is one of the first received:
Unfortunately, I don’t have wifi at home… Can I handwrite my work and turn it in when we meet in a couple of weeks?
To assume that online instruction would be the answer for all students is irresponsible on the part of each higher education institution. It disregards student’s learning style, and assumes that all students have access to resources that may be out of reach. Other online publications dub this “online education’s moment to prove a positive experience in front of a big audience”. Except this audience will most likely consist of empty chairs as students who are unable to fully obtain access to this “moment” will watch it pass them by with consequence.