How has Covid taken away reflective spaces and expanded the remit of what we as academic developers are called on to do? In this episode of the Common Room, three academic development leaders, Claire Gordon (LSE), Mary Wright (Brown University), and Peter Bryant (University of Sydney) discuss the educational changes and challenges in their respective institutions as a result of the Covid pandemic.
Last September, I decided to take to Twitter and express a degree of frustration, I think, about the nature of the work world that we were encountering at the moment. I wrote: “Covid has taken away reflective spaces and expanded the remit of what we as academics are called on to do, #thereactivechalk face.” That just was a spur-of-the-moment tweet, but it’s given rise to a whole area of reflection and dialogue and conversation with colleagues inside our university, and across the sector about what is the reactive chalkface, and how is our work as academic developers, and as education experts, being affected by the Covid pandemic.
So let us explore this in greater detail with my guests, Mary Wright, Associate Provost, Teaching and Learning, and Executive Director of the Sheridan Centre for Teaching and Learning at Brown University, and Peter Bryant, Associate Dean of Education and an Associate Professor of Business Education at the University of Sydney Business School.
I realised that teaching online courses is like vegetarian cooking. You can't just take meat out and substitute tofu in; you really need to reconceptualise what that dish is like.
Mary Wright (quoting an analogy by a Brown faculty member)
do we want to go back to where we were in 2019 and treat 2020, and now what looks clearly like 2021, to be an aberration?
how … have [you] tried to retain your scholarly, critical identity in the midst of this pandemic when … we're having to react very quickly, … and there sometimes doesn't seem that much space to engage in a slower, more scholarly manner.
Disclaimer: This post is opinion-based and does not reflect the views of the London School of Economics and Political Science or any of its constituent departments and divisions.
Host: Claire Gordon (LSE)
Guests: Mary Wright (Brown University), and Peter Bryant (University of Sydney)
Producer: Chris Doughty
Soundtrack: Nap All Day, Sleep All Night, Party Never Courtesy of Fintan Stack
We are grateful to all those who collaborated with us to make this podcast a reality.