Nine weeks into the semester and the universe threw down the gauntlet.
To be fair, anyone with an awareness of global affairs saw the signs as first China, then Europe fell victim to the pandemic virus. In fact, I did an inquiry project into COVID-19 in my communications class because it seemed super relevant for the nursing students, and because I wanted to quell some of the conspiracies, and because well, the whole concept of finding credible source material and applying academic evidence to evolving practices falls under the course curriculum, and because I always do a short inquiry project to walk students through the research process before I let them loose on their own.
So we saw it coming. I talked to students about what would happen if–it still felt like an if–Canada ended up closing schools like in Europe, and how there was no need to panic as we could still manage online if necessary.
And here we are.
Big credit to the SLC leadership team who gave us all a week to switch to online emergency delivery. Because it’s not the same. I consider myself well-versed in hybrid and online options, and often use them within the context of a class, but switching an entire delivery to online is a whole different beast.
The first hybrid course I developed (2013?) took me forever. I love it, the planning, the creative process of transferring material to an online delivery effectively and while continuing to engage students. But there is no question that it takes more time, and a different mind set. We don’t have the luxury of time right now. We are just getting it done, and I’m so impressed with the dedication of everyone – staff, management, faculty, and students – to get through to the end of the semester.
Of course I have thoughts. Thoughts about digital pedagogy (always an interest of mine), about Pedagogy of Kindness (which is the way I started this past academic year), about how classrooms are not just classrooms, but are communities as well (and I am thinking of how to continue that community when the semester ends because some students will still need that), and about the innovative, inspired Communities of Practice that we have always had at the college, but which have deepened and expanded in ways I never imagined in the last three weeks.
Thoughts about working from home, the perks and drawbacks. My new officemate, the dog, is quite happy.
Stay safe, all.