How can digital technology be integrated into the design of a hub in a way that supports the teaching and learning process within the current emergency remote teaching context?
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s director general, Audrey Azoulay, said in a recent statement (“Coronavirus Update,” 2020), “While temporary school closures as a result of health and other crises are not new, unfortunately, the global scale and speed of the current educational disruption is unparalleled and, if prolonged, could threaten the right to education” (para. 1). What she’s referring to is the approximately 400 million students who are currently not attending classes due to this novel virus.
To ensure continuity in students’ learning some governments are looking to find a solution in online education initiatives. For many online education researchers and practitioners, the COVID-19 crisis is being considered as a unique opportunity to support both students and institutions by filling the gap left by conventional (face-to-face) education. What educators, students, and institutions involved in these “emergency” online education initiatives should keep in mind is that these new measures are, on the whole, untested, and in some cases, they are not applied consistently across educational institutions. In addition, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are not always adequate. Finally, the initiatives can only really be implemented effectively if students (and educators) across the board have reliable access to the technology and resources needed for online delivery (Vlachopoulos, 2020).
Given the circumstances, relying on online education as a solution to ensure continuity of learning in areas impacted by COVID-19 may well prove to be overly optimistic. Especially in countries that take a more conservative approach to the recognition and accreditation of online education, the failure of this experiment may lead to the misconception that online learning is ultimately an ineffective learning model. In turn, this may cripple the progress of less traditional ways of teaching and learning. To avoid this eventuality, it is important to support teachers for the smooth and effective implementation of online education.
This project focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals: