To the UCI School of Education Community,
These are exceptional times that have required all of us to take swift action and make drastic changes to our professional and personal lives to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Our first priority remains the health and well-being of our dynamic community of students, faculty, staff, community partners, donors, and friends. As always, I hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy.
While navigating a situation that remains fluid and uncertain, education can be an important stabilizing force for society. I am proud of the resilient community we have built together. The road ahead may have bumps, but I am confident we will continue to make significant advances in our shared goals.
UCI, along with universities and K12 schools across the nation, is transitioning to a remote learning mode from now through at least the end of the Spring quarter. Classes, assignments, projects and exams will be conducted and administered in new ways. The breadth of resources assembled in such a short period of time, across the country, has defied any precedent.
As we make this shift, we must work to ensure that students are receiving the same high-quality instruction they would have under normal circumstances. Research from our faculty shows that students may not be equally predisposed to engage in online learning. Younger students, academically underprepared students, and students from underrepresented minority groups have been found to struggle the most in online environments.
To address this national challenge, the School of Education launched an Online Learning Research Center (OLRC), designed to provide evidence-based resources for educators, students and researchers to improve achievement and equity in online learning. The Center is led by Professors Mark Warschauer and Di Xu , both experts in the field of online learning, and is the culmination of decades of research.
The School of Education is currently leading a study — supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation — that is providing insight into the value of college and creating tools that other universities can utilize to better understand their own students. The project research team is tracking UCI undergraduates longitudinally for two years, capturing students’ moods, behaviors, and attitudes inside and outside the classroom. During the week of March 16, we administered a survey designed to identify and understand UCI undergraduates' needs and concerns toward the coronavirus. As with other components of this vast project, we hope that what we learn via this survey is useful to other colleges and their students. We will be sharing our findings shortly.
The ramifications of this global pandemic will be multifaceted, and will cause us to redefine 21st century education. It is my hope that this public health crisis spurs creativity and directs resources to improve higher education, ideas I shared in a New York Times op-ed.
The School of Education, and entire UCI campus, are here to serve the Orange County community and country with best practices for professors, K12 teachers, and students. We hope that this webpage will serve as a helpful resource to you and your students. Please check back regularly for updates.
Dean and Professor
UCI School of Education
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