Online teaching at a time of crisis

This post is just some brief reflections on this article on the Oslo University Faculty of Law’s initial experience in moving their teaching online at very short notice. Two things to note: firstly, that they managed a pivot to online teaching and to produce a research report within a couple of weeks! So the report on the students’ experiences will reflect the immediate reflections in-action of the students. Hence, we can see a concern with the missing sociability of on-campus education and with the practical challenges of managing childcare, family, space for study, connectivity, other technical issues, and so on. Sometimes, home is not a great learning environment

A couple of more interesting points was first, the student concern with the protection of the constructive alignment of the course. Where the online assessment activities as appropriate as those they would have had on-campus? Does this indicate a more generalised suspicion of or bias that, online teaching is going to be in deficit to ‘the real thing’? Secondly, the students seemed to place a lot of value on interaction with the direct teacher presence, through video chat. Is this a preference for interaction with another human, or viewing teaching as a performance?

The report sensibly acknowledged that it is a very early snapshot of student experiences and that students may become more critical in the future. However, I was surprised that there was little consideration of how to support the student community online and how supporting students into more asynchronous online learning may help with some of the more practical challenges they were facing.

2 thoughts on “Online teaching at a time of crisis”

  1. I think COVID-19 has clearly shown the weakness of our paper-and-presence-based system to teach, learn, and work.

    The lack of digitalization is now taking its toll on us and we can only hope that we’ll learn from this crisis.

  2. I think this varies a lot. Most of my teaching is online entirely and asynchronous, so we view presence in terms of active contributions to discussion boards, blogs, twitter and other platforms as well as accessing resources on the LMS. So no registers/ recording of attendance (although that does still happen in our on-campus teaching).


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