Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Responding to the Coronavirus Emergency with e-Learning


Athabasca University sent out a request to alumni for short articles on how study had changed their lives. So I quickly wrote "Responding to the Coronavirus Emergency with e-Learning", which has now been published. As part of my studies in distance education I looked at how e-learning could be used by Australian universities for international students. This included proposing online learning as an emergency measure in the event an international crisis prevented students getting to campus. Having considered the policy, tools and techniques for this, has proven useful in dealing with COVID-19.

Advocating elearning be ready in case of a crisis has been frustrating. Some academics were horrified by the idea of distance education, and did not believe my warnings in 2016 and 2017 that an international crisis could stop students getting to campus. Just three years later, with COVID19, some of the same people said this was a Black Swan Event, which could not have been anticipated, or prepared for. But at least, when faced with an existential threat to their teaching, and their lives, they were prepared to at last take action. 

ps: I am not Nostradamus, I expected a war in the South China Sea would keep students away, not a virus. Although I did teach students using the web for dealing with a pandemic.

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