Time of the Great Digital Upheaval

It is mid-March 2020, in a week that has seen most institutions in Canada, the US and much of the world change how they teach, how they communicate and how they gather. Institutions are announcing the cancelling of in-person classes, the moving of classes to remote and online delivery, the closure or restriction of access to campus, cancelling or making optional course evaluations, sending staff home to work remotely as kids are also home from school, 

Questions of access equity, including internet access and how to assess fairly in the midst of work and home disruptions in so many of our lives. Self are self-isolating to protect family members, others have returned from travel and self-isolate to protect their community. Kids in many jurisdictions are home from school and non-essential travel is curtailed, community events, concerts, sports (including NBA, NHL, Football season in Italy) and more are closed, paused or moved online. The Berliner Philharmoniker concerts are now only digital. Coffee meetups with friends are now FaceTime’s, Zoom meetings and Google Hangouts. 

Some institutions are already cancelling spring and summer courses, and some have already cancelled current classes, though most are trying to move remotely. Professional organizations are approving 75% hour completions as completions for practicums.

Work, Higher education, and life are disrupted, reprioritized.

And in the midst of it, we are seeing each other as human. As family members with partners, kids, cats and dogs. As team members in figuring out our options. As people frustrated and grieving lost opportunities and moments, and some grieving those we have lost to the virus. A massive rewriting of daily life, and of the roles and ways we interact.

How we teach, how we learn, how we assess…what does a good early ending look like when we don’t have the usual milestones? What does mentoring look like when we can no longer hand over a book? What is fair for the students? What is credible and will look reasonable later to our peers and to anyone reviewing this year.

We will redefine what it means. Each time we chose what makes sense, what is honest, what makes sense, what is needed. Each time we see the human in the learner, in the peer and in the educator. We are all in extraordinary times, let us be extraordinarily considerate and remember what will matter most is what we learn about the world from each other’s choices. Let them be good ones.

For resources on teaching: keepteaching.ca

For peace of mind, remember this does feel and is new and yet the birds are still returning to their summer grounds.

Birds returning

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