WFU professor studying challenges families faced with remote learning

Distance learning from home on video conference call stock photo

With the start of fall classes just weeks away, a Wake Forest University professor is examining challenges families faced with remote learning.

Titled “Parental Engagement: Navigating Online Learning During COVID-19,” the study was recently approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and is “an effort to understand parental experiences with the transition to online learning in North Carolina,” said Danielle Parker Moore, an assistant professor of education and executive director of The Wake Forest Freedom School.

While Parker Moore will examine families of all races, her expertise revolves around minorities.

Danielle Parker Moore

Danielle Parker Moore

“I’m trying to find out some of the challenges that families faced and how they managed transitioning to e-learning so I can engage the literature and the research,” Parker Moore said. “There are a lot of factors to consider. For example, people are working multiple jobs, having to take care of sick family members, households may not have Internet or computer access, etc.”

Assisting Parker Moore with data collection are two Wake Forest undergraduate students who are participating in the Office of Civic and Community Engagement’s (OCCE) summer research program, which involves other undergraduates and about a dozen faculty members studying the impact of COVID-19 on the Winston-Salem community.

Parker Moore and her students are examining the transition to online education and digital access for families in Forsyth County. She was inspired to study the issue after reading an article in local media that said a month after Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools students began learning remotely, as many as 5,000 students had not logged on or engaged with their teachers at least once.

She and her research assistants are now recruiting study participants, using social media and other forms of communication to invite them.

“This is such a new area for us because none of us has been through this, but the loss of learning and the loss of socialization are going to have long-term effects.” Danielle Parker Moore, director of The Wake Forest Freedom School

“The Freedom School’s purpose is to prevent summer reading loss, which is important because there’s ample data proving that summer reading loss can be detrimental over the years,” Parker Moore said. “My study aims to speak with parents to identify challenges and barriers that they and their children faced with online learning.”

Parker Moore acknowledged being “very concerned about the health and safety of teachers, students and families.” She also cited concern about the mental health of young people, both in k-12 and at the collegiate level, as state officials and college and university leaders decide what to do about the upcoming fall semester.

“I’m really grateful that the Institutional Review Board approved my study, which will afford me the opportunity to learn from families about their experiences with online learning in hopes that we can develop solutions to better support families,” Parker Moore said. “I’m also grateful for the support of my colleague Betina Wilkinson, whose research focuses, in part, on Latino families and the challenges they face.”

To interview Parker Moore, please contact media@nullwfu.edu.

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