The student experience of remote learning at ANU has no long-standing tradition. Prior to COVID-19, our students and staff were accustomed to course offerings embracing high quality, active learning through blended learning environments; having face-to-face components. Through our Vision for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, we preferenced our students’ connection to the campus which, by its distinctive nature, could exploit the power of physical and digital infrastructures. Once connected, ANU students could also actively engage in the University community to graduate with knowledge enough to improve the lives of people, the nation and the world. This is as it was…
Feedback on Student and Teacher Wellbeing and Remote Learning (SWiRL/TWiRL) gathered from our community in Semester 1, suggested the ‘vision’ had become an obscured version of reality. Thanks to the pandemic, the once vibrant physical campus was stripped of its character and in its place a virtual community required a new approach to learning and teaching partnerships: For students generally, the main concerns were future anxiety and online interactions. Supporting students to work through their anxiety about the post-COVID world could be achieved with evidence their association with the ANU brand makes graduates more resilient to crises.
Lately, from remote locations, students have weathered some intense environmental conditions. First Semester feedback indicated their appreciation of how teaching at ANU adapted to new modes of online teaching. But more recently, there has been some stated concern cast over the quality of Second Semester experiences. In accepting the reality of ‘remote learning’ staff and students have been confronting ‘isolation’ as a longer-term consequence of education at a distance. That being said, we know that many Universities have built solid reputations on virtual communities that thrive at a distance.
When eventually, we can put the current crisis behind us, what will we say we learnt about maintaining a determined teaching focus on the student experience? Through upheaval and disruption, what are the fundamentals that remain consistent? And as highlighted in the SWiRL/TWiRL report, what’s the emerging narrative that speaks to an ANU Education Rejuvenation? With so many questions in front of us, it’s time to engage with some of our local thought leaders (staff and students) on the topic of ‘student experiences’ in higher education at ANU.
The next Lunch Vox session is titled: Remote or Isolated: The Student Experience and your table reservation awaits.