Digital Teaching: A Community of Practice

I am delighted to participate in one of the formal Community of Practice groups established by the School of Contemporary Teaching and Learning (SCTL) at St. Lawrence College. Digital Teaching Practices is a particularly fitting topic this year, and I feel I can say without fear of contradiction, that we have all learned a great deal during the last 12 months in terms of teaching in an online world.

Clearly online is here to stay; there was never any doubt of that even pre-pandemic. And as I have remarked to countless students (including my own two post-secondary daughters), the ability to pivot online successfully in a pandemic–love it or hate it–has allowed students to continue their education. Even a decade ago, this would not have been possible at this level of engagement and participation. This is not to say it has been a perfect transition. In fact quite the opposite. It has been a massive learning curve for students, faculty, and administrators alike. The lessons learned from this kind of forced pivot are numerous, and, I continue to believe, valuable.

We have been in a position of figuring it out as we go for 12 months. Support from our teams (and in particular our own in-house SCTL) has been phenomenal. And as we come to the end of the winter semester with spring definitely online but Fall 2021 projected to be back in classes, there’s a feeling of optimism.

The reality is though that online does have certain advantages too, particularly in terms of student flexibility. And now with the end of a pandemic hopefully in sight, it is time to start strategizing about what we could, should, or need to be doing in the future.

As part of that overall strategy, conversations around digital teaching practices….what works, what doesn’t, what is realistic, what is the balance between online and onsite (with multiple questions about different models and definitions such as online, hybrid, hyflex), what online assessment looks like…are taking place. I am happy to be part of this conversation.

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