All the shops have been moved indoors since COVID-19 in the headlines. The academic shop also had to make some serious amendments.
At the University of Calgary, a travel advisory is in effect for out-of-country travel. Summer-abroad programs to Europe had to be scrapped, and the graduate students and faculty are looking for alternative arrangements. With an air of uncertainty about the virus, the attendence in physical classrooms has been dwindling for a while (Or is it the almost-end of the semester fatigue?). These changing patterns are pushing for rethinking of the University setup.
Online course teaching is gradually gaining momentum, and as I mentioned in my older post, it does come with some promises for the future. I learnt and completed my degrees in a traditional classroom setup. And oh, I love the class participation activities (I admit, teacher’s pet activities in rare cases)! However, we are at a brink where digital platforms are powerful enough to create an effective classroom. And that is why we had a panel discussion at the Taylor Institute of Teaching and Learning on online teaching.
As far as the visits for conference and fieldwork are concerned, we are finally acknowledging the role of extraneous factors that affect research – even in humanities. Natural disasters, epidemics, bankruptcy and political problems across countries, were rarely considered as contingency. It is valuable to approach these contingencies as the lay of the land. I draw this thought from Kate Raworth’s “Donut Economics”, that we need to incorporate environment in our analyses, policies and larger decision-making.
And then to my impending question: how do educational structures/courses/modes of teaching look with environmental factors in consideration?