When Covid-19 pandemic started in spring 2020 I was not working at university or with teaching. But I’ve understand from my colleagues that the decision to move all lecturers from physical classroom in to digital platform was made very quickly and the shift was made in a hurry – which of course is understandable considering the situation at the moment. The definition – “Emergency Remote Teaching – ERT” (Hodges et. al, 2020) – is suitable to describe the shift at my university, I think.
Teachers just moved their face-to-face teaching to (new) digital environment without considering about their course design, assessments or their way of lecturing. I was not part of it and I understand that everyone did the best of the situation, so I’m not criticizing the procedure, but I do have thoughts about what we should have done – which always in easy to say afterwords.
We now have students who had their two last (at least!) semester in high school mostly at distance and then started study in university on program that was planned to run at campus, but became digital. So they haven’t been in school for two – two and a half years. Now the studies are back at campus and most of lecturers are kept in classrooms, only face-to-face method is used. Our students are future social workers and a lot of the work builds on create relations, discussion with others and cooperation, and I’ve been thinking if they will be missing some skills due not having interaction with other students and teachers or done tasks in e.g. conversations methodology — only online. Our students need to practice those skills and I think that meeting course mates and have discussions with each other in physical meeting is requirement for learning such social skills a social worker needs in daily work life. Of course you can learn it through digital education, if it’s designed for it and well thought of how to reach the goals. Which a “ERT” was not.
I think there’s resistance among my colleagues for hybrid solutions (here in mening classroom lecturers or other activities that student can participate in classroom or online at the same time) or even to find new ways or possibilities for that. I think we should at least consider that and investigate how that could be made. Students will have more flexibility and I think we can combine the best parts of online and physical teaching, but we maybe need to figure out new ways to do that. Hopefully there will be development of learning plattforms and other technologies that will facilitate blended learning and hybrid solutions!
According to van Ameijde et al. (2016) students need to feel secure, which can be reached in different ways. It’s important to look at both student factors, course factors and environment factors. They also find that collaborative team-based learning and interesting courses with flexibility, self-directed opportunities and interaction leads to more engaged students. I think it’s even more important in online or blended learning.
Vaughan et al (2013) writes about blended learning. I wonder how can I find ways to use blended learning to create good collaborative activities and tasks for students that mostly have their studies in classrooms? Like I write in my previous post – how kan we embrace students to collaboration and even wanting to learn for life, not just to get the credits and exam?!
Hodges, C., Moore, S., Lockee, B., Trust, T., & Bond, A. (2020). The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning. EDUCAUSE review.
Van Ameijde, J., Weller, M. & Cross, S. (2016) Designing for Student Retention: The ICEBERG model and key design tips. Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University. http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/learning-design/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/ICEBERG-booklet-compressed.pdf
Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Edmonton: AU Press. Chapter 1 “The Community of Inquiry Conceptual framework”