One of the opportunities afforded by the current pandemic as it impacts higher education is that the variety of responses from those working in colleges and universities reveal some of the seams that are more typically held tightly invisible during more normal times. A case in point is provided by the discussion described in a piece from Inside Higher Education titled Can active learning co-exist with physically distanced classrooms?
The discussion involves those teaching courses that use active learning techniques struggling to find ways to adapt such teaching on campuses of institutions where the leadership has threatened to open the campus in the midst of the pandemic. The piece is divided between ideas for active teaching while social distancing and ideas for using online tools and techniques as an alternative or additional element in these campus based classes.
The discussion reveals just how little thought has been given to instruction by institutional leaders as they plan to re-open. Instead of asking how to achieve the best conditions for learning while protecting the health of students and faculty, other institutional concerns seem to dominate decision-making. From the tone and substance of the article, it appears that leaders have given little thought to online instruction and perhaps even less thought to on campus instruction.
An opportunity to work together to advance learning under new circumstances seems to be unrealized. What might we do to change that?