Online Teaching is often seen as a poor cousin to in-person teaching; perceived limitations to engagement and the reduction of the teacher to a talking-head can be seen as a potential detraction. In practice, this is not so; or is that just wishful thinking by hard-pressed educators frantically adjusting to new demands caused by the pandemic? Given time, familiarity encourages experimentation and growth, that whilst limited by the computing technology of teacher and learner, pedagogy in practice can expand and seek a new equilibrium. But with time at a premium, educators are left ‘scrambling’ for solutions, engaged in scattershot approaches and methods. All this done in a genuine desire, however misguided the attempt(s), to continue, if not maintain quality in their own pedagogy. Nonetheless, to teach effectively in this new environment, certain assumptions – both conscious and unconscious – are being presumed by educators in these online classrooms. These include learner motivation and engagement, underpinned by attention (i.e. active listening); teaching focus that corresponds to institutional goals; and content mediated by means of delivery, among others. By interrogating the three main assumptions of learner motivation/engagement, teacher-adaptability, and exploitation of content, we can increase our knowledge base as we delve deeper into what exactly is being taught, how that is carried across to learners and if meaningful teaching is taking place. Strategic implementation of certain pedagogies can serve to increase the depth of reach; though unless caution and restraint are observed, then the reaction from positive acceptance can become positive avoidance for both learners and educators. Borrowing from different fields, including new theories and pedagogies in a variety of subjects, this presentation will re-examine the role of the educator and content in addressing these competing challenges while complementing and supplementing current understanding in this new modality of online teaching.
Dr Karen Tan is a visiting lecturer with the Winchester School of Art in which she teaches modules on academic studies for three separate masters programmes. Karen has taught in Singapore, China and in the UK. After gaining her PhD in English Literature from the University of Southampton in 2017 Karen has continued to teach at Southampton University with the Academic Centre for International Students (ACIS) and since 2019 she has taught face-to-face and online with the Winchester School of Art; she also runs writing workshops for research students at the university.
Dr Peter Brugger lectures online with the Winchester School of Art in collaborative partnership with Dalian Polytechnic University. After gaining his PhD in Digital Archaeology from the University of Southampton in 2018 he has taught Academic English face-to-face with the Academic Centre for international students (ACIS) department at Southampton University and since 2020 online on the collaborative course between the Winchester School of Art and Dalian Polytechnic University.