Saturday, July 04, 2020

Article: 12 things that have changed teaching for academics in higher education since COVID-19



By Peter Hanami


1.   Student Voice

The changes to how education has been delivered and the increased use of technology for the delivery of classes has meant that students have more reasons to observe, reflect and consider the outcomes they have been receiving from online learning and comparing it to face-to-face-learning. For example: what is better, what they dislike, and what they want to avoid. Students have shared their praise and dissatisfaction and will continue to exercise their rights and views as competition for their tuition fees increases.

2. Class Preparation

The time required to prepare for online classes is a lot more hours than for a face to face class particularly if it involves large student cohorts, a large teaching team, and multiple streams. From an educational design perspective, it is estimated to take up to 194 hours of preparation to make one hour of online content that is fun, interactive, engaging, and meets all the pedagogical rules plus conveys the content in a way that builds knowledge in a scaffolded way.

3. Student engagement

To be able to teach a live class for two hours online means that academics will have to become project managers, speaking professionals, and entertainers. They will need to develop a new range of skills to be able to build a team, develop a team, engage a team, and manage the individual learning of each of their learners. To do this they will have to develop a range of new tools for engaging their students, building trust online, and the skills for getting students to create content, share their knowledge, and participate.

4. Personal Branding

Academics will have to devise, create and build their personal brands to attract students to their classes. Their expertise, their research and their name will become even more important as they vie for a smaller number of positions. Students will begin to pick subjects based on the presentation skills of the presenters and the value that person can add to their knowledge base and study experience. The importance of a distinct brand image will have important implications for research funding, promotion and for professional identity.

5. Learning Analytics

With all the technology now in the classroom academics will become more aware and rely on learning analytics to inform and direct their teaching. For example: They will have to become more focused on how many students log in to the Learning Management System, how long they stay and what content they engage with. Academics will be compared against other academics in their faculties, on who uses and performs best on the LMS.

6. Technology skills

The need to upskill and get up to date with the technology that is being used to deliver online classes before, during and after will take up more time. Mobile phone apps, taking total full control of the Learning Management System to be able to maximize all the opportunities the technology has to engage students, participating on social media, communicating through forums, text messages, creating online polls and sharing calendars and being able to record, edit and upload videos from a mobile phone with subtitles will become as normal as typing an email.

7. Personalization of content

Online learning can reuse the same content over and over but as we know each time you teach it you must convert it, package it, and customize it for each cohort. For example: you may have to teach the same content to three different cohorts in a week. An undergraduate subject may be taught to business majors, engineering majors, and science majors. Each cohort has a different demographic makeup and therefore the personalization of the content to be able to make a connection with each student becomes more difficult. Academics deliver content whereas students buy an experience but it’s actually the same thing!

8. Peer to peer learning

Assessment has been typically focused on exams but students want more feedback more often and on more items. This is where academics must engage students to provide peer to peer feedback to be able to meet student needs for feedback. On top of this, there is a higher need for all academics to become more transparent and to allow their peers to enter their classrooms to observe their classes for feedback on how they can improve their delivery.

9. Team teaching

A two-hour Zoom lesson given in a standard lecture format with 100 PowerPoint slides does not cut it online, particularly if you have to teach twice on the same day. It is exhausting for the student and the academic. This is where team teaching will become more important for Zoom online delivery. Teachers need to keep their students engaged and there is no better way than by sharing the load and expanding the range of experiences.

10. Retention

As International student numbers have crumbled due to entry restrictions and the difficulties of converting paper-based classes to online quickly. Academics are now more than ever going to be more responsible for the retention of their students. They will have to become more involved in attracting, managing, and retaining their students.

11. Assessment

The nature of assessment, how it is used, and what it measures have changed. How students’ study, the future of work, and the impact of technology have all impacted assessment. Technology allows self-marking and instant feedback. Online learning demands that there is a lot of variety of content, activities, and therefore assessment types.

12. Time Management

One could say quite confidently that the role of an academic has changed during COVID-19. Online instruction is a new form of teaching and demands a whole range of professional skills which includes how to best manage time. How to plan your content, deliver, engage, invite participation, connect, build trust, share knowledge and assess learners now is magnified by time.