CQU: Online learning not just stop-gap for coronavirus
ONLINE learning will have the chance to prove it is more than just a stop-gap as leading distance education universities show how much can be achieved without face-to-face lectures.
CQUnivesity academic and online teaching specialist Dr Brendan Jacobs said COVID-19 had shown universities firmly focused on the future were able to provide workable and proven solutions for the present.
“While many employees have been encouraged to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, not all sectors of the community are equipped to do so,” Dr Jacobs said.
“Surprisingly, one sector which could reasonably have been expected to adapt to this challenge is higher education, but many of the most world’s most prestigious universities are closing their doors.
“The irony here is that online teaching is not an ad hoc practice but a rapidly growing sector of the higher education market with distinct and highly developed pedagogies that have been evolving for decades.
“The various universities which have embraced technology to address the needs of students in the online arena have traditionally done so to cater for students who are in remote locations or have schedules which are not conducive to traditional office hours.
“For these universities, the impact of COVID-19 has been mitigated by existing technologies specifically designed for online learning.”
Dr Jacobs said his role at CQUniversity Australia involved unit coordination and online teaching for a cohort of students spread across the country.
“Fortunately, this university has been innovating in this area for over 20 years,” he said.
“In fact it has offered distance education since 1974, so working from home using online technologies is business as usual.”