How Educators are Utilizing Technology to Support Remote-Based Learning

Online learning is only growing in popularity among students favoring a more flexible and affordable educational experience. Just think: throughout the past decade, the amount of students enrolled in open online courses jumped from 300,000 in 2011 to 220 million in 2021. Not surprisingly, educational institutes are responding by offering more remote and hybrid classes to suit the needs and wishes of this ballooning student demographic.

In this blog, we’ll explore how utilizing the right technologies can help educators more effectively support remote-based learning.

Improve digital experience in remote learning

In a recent McKinsey study, about 20 percent of U.S. participants named “engaging in real-time conversations through a virtual medium” as their biggest online learning gripe. Another 18 percent said they struggled to get the technology to work.

Whether your educators are preparing a pre-recorded lecture or live streaming a class, it’s crucial to ensure the platform they’re using to transmit the lesson is easy to use and accessible. Before selecting a provider, consider how many people will be tuning into your lecture to ensure it has adequate bandwidth. Also ensure it offers the tools you need such as live chat, class analytics or multistreaming capabilities.

Platforms such as Zoom and Dacast support live pre-recorded sessions with the functionality to playback previous lectures and play them on nearly any device. Dacast’s analytics allows educators to track the location of viewers, the type of device they’re using and which browser they’re tuning in from.

Engage students online

It can be tough to captivate students’ attention during the best of times, and can be especially tricky for online educators. Yet, 92% of teachers say student engagement is a critical component for success.

We’ve talked already about the importance of choosing the right platform, and some such as Blackboard take student engagement further by analyzing which students are active participants, which are inactive and how deeply students engage with course content. It also provides educators with insights on how much time students spend on course content, and how long it takes them to turn in assignments.

Armed with this information, educators can reach out to students who seem to have tuned out to better understand the reasons behind their lack of participation or engagement.

Many streaming platforms also provide you with an attendance report, which you should review to identify students missing classes. This is another opportunity for outreach to determine what’s prompted their absence, whether it be disinterest or personal issues that require more flexibility.

Improve online testing

Not too long ago, educators would spend a significant amount of personal time working through stacks of hardcopy tests and assignments. Modern technologies have made this unnecessary, with new platforms available that grade tests and assess student performance in real time.

One option is SpeedExam, which allows educators to create and administer their own online exams. It includes cheating prevention software that flags suspicious activity, a live chat option and integrated email and text functionality. The latter allows you to send instructions ahead of the test and share results once it has been completed.  The testing platform also provides educators with a number of other details, including the number of students taking the test, the number of attempts made, location details and more.

Plenty of options are available for educators grading online papers as well. Platforms such as Crowdmark allow students to submit assignments from nearly any device, which are then graded online by instructors. One neat function about Crowdmark is that it allows students and teachers to collaborate in real time. For instance, if you have a question about a student’s line of reasoning, you can pose it and the student can respond immediately if they’re online. Scores are automatically calculated and sent to students immediately. Studies have found that Crowdmark gives teachers a 75 percent productivity gain when compared to traditional paper-based methods.

Simplifying financial aid and admissions processes

The enrollment process has never been more important, but prospective students evaluate schools differently. The problem of maintaining enrollment is exacerbated by the fact that students are transferring schools in growing numbers. Tech-savvy schools use analytics and technology to attract and retain students.

Here’s how using electronic signatures and digitizing the agreement process can help attract and retain applicants:

  • Personalization: Digital agreements provide students with a more customized and personalized experience. As a result, you can meet all of a student's expectations throughout the admissions and financial aid processes. 
  • Student experience: Appearing tech-savvy to students makes a significant impression on students. For example, 87% of students consider whether a school has the latest technology before enrolling.  
  • Speed: By streamlining your processes and systems, you will accelerate admissions and increase enrollment. According to the data, 66% of students accepted an offer while waiting to hear from another institution and 82% of these students would choose differently if their first schools had offered them earlier.

Learn more about how Docusign can help improve your digital education processes.