Can’t believe it is over a year since my last post – so much for New Year resolutions! 2021 was clearly an interesting year for the sector as online and hybrid became the norm in universities and colleges. After literally decades of trying to persuade academic colleagues to engage more with technology but finding resistance and lots of excuses, with Covid lockdowns suddenly it had happened.
The big question for me during this time was, ‘how much will stick?’. As I write the jury is still out, however from what I am hearing I fear the answer may be ‘not a lot’. As someone who has always believed that technology and the digital landscape can mitigate many of the barriers to engaging with full time higher education by enabling a hybrid approach, the impression I get is that in the post Covid world hybrid will be ditched in favour of a choice between online and classroom.
So students and staff will once again be constrained by a binary choice of course delivery method. The student who is incapacitated but not unwell (e.g. a broken leg) will not be able to participate in a classroom delivered course. Students with caring responsibilities may no longer be able to enrol on classroom delivered courses. The ability to participate in learning via Teams or Zoom may once again be reserved for online delivery only. Flexible learning will once again become pretty much only available through online and distance learning.
I do hope I am wrong because it would be a real shame to lose the knowledge and experience academics, support staff, and institutional have built up during Covid.