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Dear Colleagues:

As information and events unfold related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we at CAEL have been thinking about all of you, our members and friends. It’s becoming clear that, at least for the next few months, life will not be “business as usual,” so we have been thinking of ways to more flexibly support you and the working adult learners we all care about. 

Some campuses are closing down and going online for the rest of the spring, which puts a focus on the 18-22-year-old postsecondary population. We certainly need to keep them and their families safe. But working adult learners continue to face job and family obligations. Often, they are already studying in online programs, and they require even more agile learning-to-career pathways in this uncertain time, making our collaboration more urgent than ever. That’s why we are working to ensure you’ll have additional ways to access our services if face-to-face engagement is impractical. Below are more details. 

The CAEL Conference: Although the 2020 CAEL conference is in November, we will be opening the registration process in the coming months, as is typical of a conference registration process. Like all of you, we hope that by November we are well past the worst of COVID-19. 

However, as nothing about this virus has been predictable, we also are planning for a virtual conference as an alternative. We will hold a conference in the manner that is best suited to your health and safety so that you can continue to network and share knowledge with one another, even if from a distance. We will confirm the form of the conference later this year, but for now, we want you to know that we are planning ahead. 

Engagements and Technical Assistance: CAEL can be flexible with much of our onsite support. Some or all of this work, potentially, may be conducted remotely and/or online. We can also delay some portions of this work until late spring or summer. To discuss available options, please reach out to your CAEL contact or Beth Doyle at bdoyle@cael.org.

Professional Development: CAEL has created online versions of many of our professional development offerings and is continuing to refine and build more valuable content online. If you have a face-to-face session scheduled with us in the near future that you would like to postpone or replace with an online engagement, please reach out to your CAEL contact or Beth Doyle at bdoyle@cael.org to discuss your options. 

We are also rolling out a number of new professional development offerings in 2020 and will be using an “online first” strategy for accessibility and affordability. When normal travel patterns resume, we will, of course, accommodate your wish for a face-to-face offering.

Help is Available Now: In conjunction with our partner, iDesign, we are pleased to let you know about new tools and resources available to you free of charge. 

  • A new e-book, The iDEA Book: Educational Research and Practical Examples for Distinctive Course Design is available here
  • In response to faculty needs during this time, iDesign will launch a new Digital Teaching track to its LX Pathways offerings on March 23 and will offer free course access for at least the next six months. This brief, focused, competency-based certificate program, designed by digital teaching and learning experts, will address how to:
    • Recognize and debunk myths around online learning,
    • Support peer-to-peer interaction and collaboration in asynchronous spaces,
    • Communicate expectations and feedback clearly to students with diverse needs and access to resources, and
    • Form meaningful connections with learners in spite of—or perhaps because of—the physical distance.

If there is anything I, or another member of the CAEL organization, can do to support you, please don’t hesitate to reach out. It’s important that even at a distance, we maintain a strong community.

Stay safe and healthy,

Marie
President
The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning