How Lockdown Ready Is Your Institution?
Never before has the phrase “off to Uni” carried such a heavy sense of anxiety.
Students, families and lecturers are now preparing longer term for a new form of educational experience, one that will reshape lecture dynamics and how we learn.
One aspect of this uncertainty is how colleges and universities will manage in the event of a partial or major lockdowns. Current isolation across countless campuses is fast becoming the new normal and with it a need to examine how students can remote learn and connect to friends, family, peers and tutors.
One lesson we’ve all learnt in varying degrees is crisis preparedness and how we can function, communicate and work together successfully - and remotely. So the question remains – how ready are you and how robust will your response be in the event of a second lockdown or imminent, ongoing isolation? Whether a student or lecturer, we must keep asking that question.
Can faculty and students effectively communicate on and off campus?
It may seem obvious, but opening more communication streams between faculty and students will go a long way in reducing anxiety and enabling effective, efficient learning. Email and Phone calls can be slow & impersonal – embrace modern collaboration tools so everyone can chat and elevate to video wherever they may be, both for learning and socialising. Being locked away in a dorm week after week is not a pleasant experience, help foster more meaningful connections.
Are your remote classes interactive?
Suppose you are providing pre-recorded classes, or a mixed on-campus with remote, or worse still paper-based learning! Let’s address each of these…
Pre-recorded. Arguably the easy or lazy way out, we must think beyond the learning material, an effective learning experience must include interactivity – students need to be able to ask questions spontaneously or collaborate with their peers, explore and debate new ideas and challenges.
Mixed on-campus with remote. The restrictions mean less space in classes and perhaps who can be on-campus is split evenly. A fantastic way to continue with in-person learning but we should ensure those learning off-campus feel included and part of each class – whether you are in the dorm or the lecture theatre – everyone should feel included and have the ability to interact.
Paper-based. Let’s not get into this one; the previous points cover it off!
Can faculty staff collaborate effectively?
We shouldn’t forget teaching is a collaborative experience, teachers are always learning, and one of the significant contributors to this is collaborating with their peers. Sharing new ideas, concepts, and experiences are an integral part of faculty development, we don’t have to lose it. Make sure all faculty can collaborate in real-time, wherever they may be.
We shouldn’t forget personal development is as much a part of student life as academic learning. Many students will feel they are missing out, offering virtual spaces for networking and fun are invaluable in the new world we find ourselves in.
Now this isn't to say we should be forcing interactive video sessions to every faculty member and student at every opportunity we get. Video fatigue has quickly established itself as a pain point post-COVID. It is a fine balance and we should use our judgement on the most effective means for collaboration - the importance of having that flexibility is what is key.
If you are struggling to leverage modern tools to deliver remote collaboration, our audit and recommendations are free, so get in touch, prepare better, sleep soundly, and know you can connect together, anywhere.