Over the last year, educators across the country have been adjusting to teaching online or in hybrid form due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before last spring, most college faculty had never taught online, and they are learning the skills the new learning format requires. Below, our colleagues in the Columbia University Schools of Social Work, Professional Studies, and Public Health, who have each worked on at least twenty online courses, share their thoughts, advice, and encouragement as we look forward to the spring semester.

Last Friday night, December 18, former Mississippi Governor William Winter died at the age of 97. An honorary cochair of the nationwide Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) process, he was a courageous and tireless advocate for racial and economic justice and a leader who inspired others to follow him. More importantly, he was a humble man who loved and respected others, irrespective of their racial or ethnic backgrounds.

This holiday season brings to a close an exceptionally difficult and wrenching year. As we gather with family and friends—whether in person, virtually, or in spirit—let us look together with hope to the new year now before us. From all of us at AAC&U, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

Many students with disabilities face challenges in the transition to online or hybrid learning, as they are removed from the structure of the physical classroom and must now rely solely on technology for their coursework. By creating supportive experiences that help all students in a manner best suited to their unique circumstances, universal design for learning (UDL) guidelines can bolster student motivation, change how they receive and perceive information, and improve their capacity to navigate, organize, and approach a learning task.

This discussion with President Barbara Gellman-Danley from the Higher Learning Commission is the fourth in a series of brief video interviews with leaders of the seven regional accrediting bodies in US higher education. To get an accreditor’s view of assessment, we asked each leader what they have been hearing and thinking about during the pandemic related to two critical areas: the campus climate toward assessment at their member institutions and what expectations the accreditors have for useful evidence of student learning.

A centerpiece of Guttman Community College's first-year experience learning model is the Ethnographies of Work (EOW) course, a required yearlong social science investigation of workplaces that helps students better understand and exercise agency around their future career paths. In a normal semester, our students would be found observing work throughout the city, ethnographically mapping workflow and power structures, talking to New Yorkers about their work experiences, and exploring possible careers. When COVID-19 ravaged through New York in March, we couldn't just take traditional fieldwork pedagogies and put them online. Instead, we needed to redesign our fieldwork experiences so that students could meet the learning outcomes in the virtual world in ways that are equitable, inclusive, and student-centered.