Thinking about what needs to happen next.

I’m currently working on a piece about digital leadership in learning and teaching, as part of a wider series. I’ve been thinking about the digital word salad that we have all become more familiar with because of this past year; flexible, blended, online, synchronous, asynchronous, hybrid, hyflex. And the models! How many models have we seen developed or adapted. It feels that we have spent a lot of energy trying to define and describe what is happening. I sometimes wonder how many of these models and descriptions are illusory… I have talked about edtech unicorns in the past, but of course those unicorns are not just technologies, they might also be the ideas we surround digital with. (Maybe I should do something on Edtech Unicorns for my inaugural at Keele?) 

The piece I am working on at the moment asks me to consider digital leadership and strategy Post-Covid. I’ve spent a few days thinking about that. And I came up with a list of things that I think need to be said: 

  • Back in March, it wasn’t a pivot, it was an emergency, and some coped better than others, but I didn’t hear about any complete failures when it came to students having access to learning? 
  • The institutions that coped well had leadership teams that both understood what digital could do, and understood that solutions had to involve lecturers, support staff and students. It wasn’t just a single individual, or even a single team, it was wider than that. 
  • Technology was key, but pedagogical practices is what got students through the year. (A good example was the flexible approaches to assessment, not the implementation of “digital proctoring”) 
  • But the most important thing I want to think about is “there is no post-Covid” or at least, we need to prepare as if Covid will be with us on and off for several years. 

So what needs to be captured, what worked, what needs to be in place, what does a digital education strategy look like that is flexible and able to cope with being physically present, or online? Maybe it’s as simple as Scott Robison at Portland State University says?

“All courses are online courses; it’s just a matter of how often you meet face to face” 

I’d welcome other people’s thoughts. What do we need to keep? What needs to change? Above all, I think we need to be careful what unicorns we chase! 


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