News today that Trinity College are to move all lectures to on-line delivery (see "Trinity cancels lectures in bid to limit coronavirus threat" seems like a very sensible move given the threat of the Covid 19 spreading to Staff and Students. Other Colleges have yet to follow suit - I feel that it is inevitable that lecture theatres will have to close, and a question placed over other large gatherings such exams and graduations. Already, both ourselves (NCI) and DCU have cancelled Graduation ceremonies due to be held next week.
So - will transferring all classes to an on-line virtual classroom work? We are only four weeks away from the end of the academic year - should we do it?
For me I think I could cope quite well as approximately 25% of my teaching is done on-line already - so I am familiar with the technology. Some content and class dynamics will need adjustment, but as we are well in to the second half of the semester - this should not be a huge workload. I find that transferring a lecture which involves simply reading slides (already a major bad teaching strategy), to reading them online will not work and will definitely not engage students. Anyone who thinks that delivering a class on-line is the same as in a lecture theatre has not thought this through. Many Faculty who have never delivered a class on-line (the vast majority of Faculty in my view), will naturally be concerned about how this works and the effect it will have students' learning. It is better than no classes, and in most cases Colleges will have to make do with what they've got - I'm certain that students will be understanding if this all happens. These are difficult times, and we in the Education sector have to do our bit in the fight against this virus.
Please note: Views expressed in this blog post are entirely my own personal views, and not those of NCI or any other academic institution.