by MICHAEL SANKEY 

If institutions are concerned about how the threat of a pandemic shutdown of their campuses and the effect of this on our current semester of study and how much this is going to cost them, there is a want to be planning for way past the next six– eight weeks.

Now is the time to be providing our students with a sense of confidence, that we have their backs in this, particularly as they come to consider what they will study in Semester Two.  With all the doubt that is currently being prompted through different outlets, they will need to feel confident that they can successfully cope with their full study load online, otherwise the financial loses of this semester may pale into insignificance. So really, we have about six weeks to bring ourselves and them up-to-speed in teaching and learning online. This, of course, brings into sharp focus how we can use technology to enact our pedagogy, and this in a scalable way.

Probably the most important thing, in the short term, is that we must embracing the KISS principle in teaching (this takes on a whole new meaning now doesn’t it). The last thing our teachers and students need right now, particularly those who haven’t been using technology, is to be told to embrace all the new bells and whistles. The solution has to be “keep it suitably simple” and to use systems they are familiar with.

We do not have time to think about meta concepts like design thinking, or great user experience (UX) design, rather in the short-term it’s going to need to be crude, efficient and responsive. The great news is, we have some very smart people who have gone before us in this space, which gives me great confidence that we can do this. So much so that we do not have to reinvent the wheel.

Michael Sankey is Professor & Deputy Director in Learning Futures @ Griffith University. He is president of the Australian Council on Open, Distance and e-Learning and Director ACODE Learning Technologies Leadership Institute m.sankey@griffith.edu.au

His last story for CMM was “Needed Now: benchmarks for technology enhanced learning” (CMM March 1).


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