August 10, 2020

Online student behavior a focus for teachers, parents this fall

Note to Journalists: A photo of Nancy Marchand-Martella and a stock photo are available on Google Drive.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Teachers and parents caught off guard earlier this year by the explosion of online learning in the face of COVID-19 must be ready to work together to support students for the fall semester.

So says Purdue University education leader Nancy Marchand-Martella, who has studied support systems for students and at-risk learners.

“Teachers need to ensure they have a social presence,” she said. “Going online in some capacity needs to include reaching out and touching base with students and constantly checking in to immediately answer emailed questions.”

Even at the university level, the best online classes are those that have a high degree of social presence where the student interacts with the professor and even other students.

“At any level, social interaction helps students feel like they are a part of the class and someone cares about them,” said Marchand-Martella, the Suzi and Dale Gallagher Dean of Purdue’s College of Education.

martella-online Nancy Marchand-Martella. (Purdue University) Download image

Online learning remains a large part of school for students across the country as a result of the pandemic. Some schools are opting for virtual education only through the fall semester. Others are doing a hybrid model, mixing virtual and in-person classes. Still others are solely in-person.

Marchand-Martella said it will be even more important to have one or more parents or guardians in the home reinforcing what is being taught in a virtual environment. Someone should check the homework and provide corrective feedback to the student.

“This school year will be one of those where it does takes a village,” she said. “You need the teacher, but you need the parents or even an older sibling helping their younger brothers and sisters with some of the online lessons and homework if help is needed.”

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Writer, Media contact: Brian Huchel, bhuchel@purdue.edu. Working remotely but will provide immediate response.

Source: Nancy Marchand-Martella, nmarchand-martella@purdue.edu. In addition to phone interviews, the dean is available for interviews via Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Webex.

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