Questions to be Answered

Throughout the workshop, attendees generated questions about the future of distance education. These questions were solicited using an online feedback form and in a closing session. In particular, they identified two categories that the physics community needs to investigate in order to move ahead: understanding both the promises and risks of distance education and online learning, and considering how to provide participatory learning experiences online.

Understanding the promises and risks of DE/OL

  • What are best practices in online physics and astronomy education? What is the evidence that these are best practices?
  • What are good learning outcomes in DE/OL?
  • How do we emphasize the need for face-to-face support in quality education?
  • What are the risks in DE/OL?
  • How do we address the possible replacement of regular faculty with adjuncts or the possible elimination of physics departments?
  • How do we investigate the impact of future technologies?
  • How do we provide accessibility for all in DE/OL, including ADA compliance?
  • What is the potential impact of changes to introductory classes on future physicists (i.e., the future physics majors)?
  • How do we protect the intellectual ownership of what we do as teachers?

Providing participatory learning experiences in DE/OL

  • In a flipped classroom, how do we import the participatory activities that happen in the classroom to an online venue?
  • How do we make hands-on labs part of DE/OL?
  • How do we include group work in DE/OL?
  • How do we build community in DE/OL?
  • Do DE/OL classes promote the kind of learning we know is lacking in lecture-only classes, but which takes place in interactive, face-to-face classes?