How COVID-19 Changed University Life

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It’s been almost two years since COVID-19 caused us to dramatically assess our normal academic practices and go online.

In the best case scenario, teaching was interrupted for a few weeks to restart. In extreme cases, courses and tutorials had to be posted a few hours after the scheduled courses. For a while, Twitter was teeming with stories of war on the frontlines. A quick search for #learningandteaching gives us insight into late nights, blurry eyes, and tired eardrums.

Higher education can learn positive lessons from the pandemic. Credit:Wayne taylor

As an instructional designer, operating in the third space (with academic and professional degrees), this has been an incredible change to see from the inside out. Week after week, my colleagues and I worked closely with academics on aspects of learning design that we never thought were possible on such a scale in such a short time.

There has been incredible kindness within the learning and teaching community. People opened up their subject / course designs and shared their hopes and uncertainties for their teaching practice. Advice on teaching Zoom / Microsoft Teams / other video platform classes has been regularly provided on social media. Free webinars and support training have been offered around the world. Stories of teaching sessions were shared, both successful and unsuccessful.

The best part was sharing a very vulnerable face of academics. In the tough competitive world, this side is often encouraged to stay hidden. However, perhaps the susceptibility of life itself has allowed us to show our exhausted, smiling, hungry, lost and honest faces.

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Children vomited on laptops; partners brought food and drink, and could sometimes do chicken dancing in the background; a few people broke down during Zoom classes because they lost loved ones, attracting empathy and arousing emotions; some people have been seen in their pajamas; the discussion of death and illness has been lifted from the taboo; pets regularly made an appearance, sometimes as a cameo, other times as the main participant; blatant racism has been denounced; internalized racism has been reflected; and empathy and sympathy were offered. COVID-19 has also exposed injustices and inequalities within and sometimes due to our education systems.

There were some of us who wanted to keep talking about their high productivity. These individuals were universally regarded as the offspring of evil and will not be discussed here.

Many thanks to all of the amazing education technologists, curriculum designers, online teaching advisors, pedagogical consultants, and other third-space academics who literally held the hands of the teaching staff and led them through a tunnel. rather blind.


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