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Lunch Vox – caught in the moment

Last Thursday’s build-up to the postponement of Lunch Vox was intense. The first inkling, of something amiss, came in a Teams message from a colleague at 10.55am stating “A rumour has already started that we are about to go into lockdown. Any bets on when it starts?” Very quickly the rumour was confirmed and the snap-lockdown was to begin at 5pm that evening. Locally, ANU messaging was customised and by 1.51pm staff received a message from the Vice-Chancellor regarding “moving to remote study and work”. It was between 10.55am and 1.51pm that my attention was starkly drawn to the dual reality of COVID on the student experience.

In preparation for Lunch Vox #6 – The Remote Student Experience, eight remotely located students had worked with the Lunch Vox production team to help domestic teachers and students better understand their international experiences. The two-month preparation phase was instructive for all concerned, leaving those with their feet on Terra Australis often feeling despondent that we couldn’t do more to deliver on the promise of a world-class learning experience.

In making the decision to postpone the event, local factors tipped the balance and in some ways heightened the juxtaposition of domestic and global student experiences. As you watch the Zoom recording above I think you’ll be impressed by the considered understanding of the moment. Between the Chair, Dr Katerina Teaiwa, and her panellists they arrive at a shared understanding of a complex context; that despite anticipation, warranted an appropriate response. Key to the shared sentiment was communication across our entire community of learners – we can learn from each other if we listen to each other.

As expressed by Katerina, “Given folks in Canberra haven’t been in a lockdown for quite some time, I think it’s quite important for both students and staff to take the time this afternoon to get their heads around that, think about how it’s going to work and therefore increase the amount of compassion that we have for people who have been in this situation regularly over the last few months, if not more than a year, which constitutes many of our students.

Registrations for the re-scheduled Lunch Vox event are still open!

August 2021

Tim Grace is the Manager of the Education Communities and Environments team at the Centre for Learning and Teaching.