End of year reflections

As the end of the 2020-2021 school year in the Northern Hemisphere is either already here or is imminent for many students, let’s reflect on some of the things we have learned after another disrupted year of remote or blended learning.

In-person teaching doesn’t automatically translate to online delivery. However, online learning can be highly effective, if it’s done well, but it can be time-consuming and tricky to get just right! A report, entitled Assessment During a Crisis from the US-based National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), based on the experiences of over 800 (mainly US) educators who were teaching in Spring 2020, shares a practical list of dos and don’ts for online learning going forward.

Technology is a great enabler, and learning can, literally, take place anywhere, but remote learning has highlighted huge inequalities between students and in some cases their education has suffered, as this United Nations report attests.

Students need mental health support like never before and we, as educators, need to be constantly aware of all the other pressures on their lives which are likely to impact their studies. A range of literature and resources highlights the need to take care of students’ well being first and foremost, from this article which reinforces the ‘Maslow before Bloom’ approach to this list of practical tips for students from the UK’s National Union of Students.

Ensuring academic integrity is challenging in a remote setting, and for some essay mills and homework help providers this has provided a worrying opportunity to exploit vulnerable students at a hugely stressful time, as highlighted by the UK’s Quality Assurance Agency in this article.

Above all, we’d like to acknowledge the positive resolve and resilience of both educators and students that have made this year a success in spite of everything!

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