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When Brandman University added our first fully online courses about ten years ago, the university experienced—somewhat surprisingly—a strong positive reaction from students, resulting in more and more courses going online. Just before the pandemic struck, the university’s courses were 85 percent online. To get first-hand perspectives on why some students prefer learning in an online environment, I asked twenty-four Brandman students and alumni how it benefitted them. Their answers support my own experiences that online learning, when done well, can increase access for some students, enhance educational quality, and support interpersonal connections with faculty and classmates.

In a year of crisis moments, election day 2020 is now only four weeks away. This high-stakes election is converging with a global pandemic, heightened awareness of social injustice, and financial tumult. With declining enrollments, frozen salaries, and migrations to online learning, the truth is that the 2020 election is damned inconvenient for educators. But, with apologies, I am asking overwhelmed institutional leaders, faculty, and staff to do whatever it takes to prioritize student political learning and participation in democracy for the following few weeks, despite the competing demands on your time. It’s not too late to act.

Now that many colleges and universities have published solidarity and commitment statements in response to Black Lives Matter and calls for the eradication of structural racism, what’s next? Institutional racism is perpetuated on college campuses when colleges and universities hire and promote people to positions without having them address their own understanding of systems of oppression and consider what actions they will take to dismantle these systems. The recent hiring freezes that many institutions have implemented due to COVID-19 make this an opportune time for campuses to pause and begin reimagining hiring practices and interview protocols.

For the most part, the same principles that apply to assessments designed for use in-class also apply to assessments designed for the online environment. The most important consideration in any assessment design is validity, which is not a property of the assessment itself but instead describes the adequacy or appropriateness of interpretations and uses of assessment results. I explore three considerations about validity that faculty and assessment professionals should keep in mind as they design curricula, assignments, and assessments in their new teaching environments.

For too long, academics like us—white authors with safe and stable work in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia—have been allowed to remain complacent in privileged positions. As higher education works to dismantle oppressive structures and develop equitable practices in writing and publishing (as in every arena), we see new possibilities for writing within and beyond “traditional” (mostly Western, mostly white) genres that can move us closer to creating more just and more authentic institutions and educational practices.

At the start of most semesters, students arrive on their community college campuses motivated to succeed. This fall, however, many students arrived at college virtually, exacerbating the emotional fatigue and isolation they had likely experienced due to COVID-19. While colleges can’t solve all of the problems their students encounter, they can encourage students to build the relationships with faculty, staff, and other students that are essential to their success. In countless student focus groups that the Center for Community College Student Engagement conducted over nearly twenty years, students have consistently maintained that even if they thought about dropping out, a relationship with someone else on campus—an  instructor, a staff member, another student—gave them the encouragement, guidance, or support they needed to keep going.

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