Online teaching and learning can mean different things, depending on a multitude of factors. Prior to COVID-19, what came to mind was an individual student working their way through course material that they were accessing via the internet. Although there was an instructor assigned to the student, their interactions consisted of the handing in of assignments and the subsequent grading of assignments. The format would have been 100% asynchronous and students needed to be very disciplined and have strong work habits to be successful.
Today, my definition of online teaching and learning would include much more interaction between student and instructor, as well as student collaboration. The format would be more blended learning with both asynchronous and synchronous features. My shift in thinking came as a result of our move to remote learning last year. I was teaching a grade 5 class and because we were already using Google Classroom, it was not much of a transition for my students. I was surprised at how effective using Zoom to teach a whole class lesson could be. There were added benefits by posting office hours, where students were able to join into a meeting with me whenever they had a question or needed help with an assignment. It was really powerful to be able to work with a student one-on-one or in a small group during this time. For a multitude of reasons, some students who typically would not ask a lot of questions, felt comfortable joining into office hour Zoom meetings.