I work in a centre for teaching and learning and there is rapid pressure, as lecturers worked/scrambled to get their course online.

Teaching has changed and everyone ( students/ staff/ admin and more) are shifting in the dance and learning new steps.

For teaching staff  some are familiar with what teaching on-line means, others are new to it and have  anxiety.

They can find themselves stumbling to follow rapid fire instructions on how to work a new technology (click here/ click there/ go there/ follow the drop down menu/ then upload/easy!).

It is easy  to think a dump of content-heavy text  (aka a “lecture”)  makes for on-line teaching,  but that doesn’t wash. Courses need much more in the way of design – aka as the sparkly stuff.

Nifty  technologies are promoted, engaging  tools are employed. Creativity abounds in impressive and wonderful ways.

Plus there  is everywhere loads of support for staff to revamp their programmes and also for students to keep them happily studying and outcomes achieved.

But there is one key element that needs to be incorporated in the shift to on-line teaching.

Kindness to yourself and for students.

In the race  it can be  easy to forget that  not every student has a room, a desk, a quiet space, good Internet or even a job/financial security.

Teachers may be juggling home schooling, intermittent Internet, a sudden change in how they teach and assess  (think online exams).

Many in the dance are separated from friends/family/community and some from their  countries.

In a funny way everyone is at once both more and less connected than ever before  in this changeable, changing world.

There’s a lot going on. A lot to manage.

So I say, the best online teaching tool is kindness.

Dr Airdre Grant is a lecturer in academic practice at Southern Cross University         


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