SUPPORTING UNIVERSITY TEACHERS THROUGH THE RAPID SHIFT FROM FACE-TO-FACE TO ENHANCED ONLINE TEACHING DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
University of Waikato (NEW ZEALAND)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a dramatic effect on teaching and learning, particularly in the tertiary sector. At the beginning of 2020, teaching staff at tertiary institutions have had to move towards emergency remote teaching (Hodges, Moore, Lockey, Trust, & Bond, 2020) where online delivery of course material, as well as online interaction with and between students, became the ‘new normal’.
Teachers at the University of Waikato, located in the North Island of New Zealand, are supported in their teaching by the Centre for Tertiary Teaching and Learning (CeTTL), a centralized teaching development unit. CeTTL provides guidance and support in pedagogy and the use of technology in teaching. This support is usually provided in a number of traditional ways, such as via workshops, one-on-one consultations, online ‘how-to’ guides, regular face-to-face events (including tailored workshops and symposia), and a postgraduate certificate in tertiary teaching and learning.
Within a very short timeframe since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, CeTTL has had to rapidly adapt to new ways of providing agile support to university teachers. Two of the ways in which this was achieved was through (a) daily online support sessions called ‘Ask Me Anything’ (AMA) sessions, and (b) short online chats or demonstrations of aspects of teaching practice, called Elevenses. Both initiatives were enabled via the video-conferencing tool, Zoom. Each twice-daily hourly AMA session was ‘staffed’ by a panel of at least three CeTTL staff, and teachers were invited to ‘drop in’ with urgent queries related to their teaching. The daily Elevenses sessions were presented over a period of one month by teachers and academic support staff and showcased quick ways of enhancing online teaching.
Description, Structure and Benefits of the AMA and Elevenses Sessions:
This presentation will firstly describe the nature of ongoing traditional ways in which CeTTL supports teachers in pedagogy and the use of technology in teaching. Secondly, the origin of the AMA and Elevenses initiatives, the typical structure and ‘rules of engagement’, as well as the benefits to all participating staff are outlined. Thirdly, we discuss valuable insights into the use of Zoom to facilitate synchronous online support for teachers. Finally, a number of challenges encountered during the implementation of the AMA and Elevenses initiatives are shared, together with suggested solutions.
Some of the benefits to teaching staff resulting from the AMA and Elevenses sessions include:
• Rapid upskilling of teachers’ knowledge, especially in relation to the use of technology in their teaching
• Maturity displayed in teachers’ queries, illustrating a shift from operational actions to pedagogical discussion (from ‘how’ to ‘why’) – in effect, a shift from emergency remote teaching to more rigorous online teaching (Manfuso, 2020)
• Growing confidence in the use of technology in teaching
• Co-creation of video resources, involving teachers, learning advisors and teaching developers
Keywords: Covid-19, pandemic teaching, emergency remote teaching support.