Morning Brief: Online Learning, Electric Cars, And Helping Student Caregivers

Good morning, L.A. It’s March 9.

For the past two years, school administrators at every grade level have scrambled to figure out online learning. Most students are back in classrooms, but some are demanding that online or hybrid options continue to be offered.

With that said, many experts believe schools can be taking a better and more deliberate approach when it comes to distance learning. 

My colleague Julia Barajas spoke with Dr. Sharla Berry, an assistant professor of educational leadership at Cal Lutheran University and the author of Creating Inclusive Online Communities: Practices That Support and Engage Diverse Students, about best practices.

To begin, Berry emphasized the importance of creating community online by making space for casual conversations before and after — and maybe even during — classes. 

“When a student feels that they are a part of … a supportive social group where they feel membership, trust and belonging, they are more likely to participate, and they tend to have better academic outcomes,” she said. “Their learning is stronger, their comprehension is deeper.”

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She also spoke about the need for instructors to be offered professional development to improve their comfort with technology, and to strategize ways to translate their in-person lessons to screens.

“There is a need for technical knowledge: what are students expecting when they use Zoom, or Blackboard or Canvas?,” she said. “It’s also important to have … an understanding of how to actually teach learners using technology. In particular, when I’m talking to STEM faculty, they want to know: How do I do an experiment at a distance? That looks very different than our humanities faculty, who are trying to do a poetry activity or a reading group.”

Read the entire interview here.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go … Help For Student Moms, Dads And Other Caregivers

A young boy is shown in a doorway between a caregiver and his mother as she drops him off. The boy wears yellow shorts and a white t-shirt and holds the hand of the caregiver. His back is to the camera.

Pasadena City College student Johanna Cabrera drops off her four year old son at the campus day care.

(Brian Feinzimer



Applying to, getting into and attending college is a lot. Of. Work. But for students who are parents, guardians and/or caregivers — who are responsible for other people’s lives, in addition to their own — the work is compounded many times over.

Tomorrow night, KPCC/LAist Higher Education Reporter Julia Barajas will lead a panel discussing strategies to support students who fall into these categories. Julia will be joined by Dr. Mike Muñoz, Superintendent/President of Long Beach City College; Paolo Velasco, Director of UCLA Bruin Resource Center; Zuleika Bravo, M.A. Higher Education & Org. Change ’22, B.A. Political Science & Latin American Studies, University of California Los Angeles; and Paty Lozano, a parenting student at Santa Monica College.

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