ONLINE DESIGN EDUCATION – UNCOVERING THE PEDAGOGICAL DIGITAL DIVIDE IN THE PANDEMIC ERA
The COVID-19 pandemic imposed a series of parameters that characterized a global self-isolation that dramatically altered daily life around the world. A core component of the “new normal” is the rapid adoption of Internet usage in daily life, from basic communications and entertainment to purchasing of goods and services. This had a dramatic impact on educational institutions as instructors and students alike had to quickly develop curricula, assessments, and delivery methods that would adequately teach students. While a great deal of effort and documentation has been put forth in ameliorating the potential digital divide students have in accessing this content, the online shift caused by the pandemic has uncovered an uncomfortable reality in education – that many educators are not adequately able to navigate this online-saturated ecosystem. This paper is not a condemnation of these educators, it is an outline of the situation that is quietly occurring in academic institutions everywhere and presents several procedures that have been put in place to address this pedagogical digital divide. While these have not all been effective, this paper presents a few prospective options that may better acclimatize these educators to not only operate, but thrive, within the paradigm of online education. Though mentorship, digital translation, and delivery adaptation, the authors contend that the digital divide faced by educators is not a pandemic but an opportunity to recalibrate their pedagogy.