The New Normal in Higher Education challenges universities & colleges on privacy & quality of learning

by | Jun 19, 2020

As Covid pushed universities and colleges to teach online, preserving privacy & quality of learning are new questions at these bricks and mortar institutions.

Over 80 individuals — professors, parents, Ed Tech entrepreneurs, students and administrators —connected online Wednesday June 10 for an hour and a half long eDiscussion held by Tech for Good Canada on “The New Normal in Higher Education in times of Covid-19” at 12:30 PM EDT.

After introducing the four expert speakers (presented here) and presenting the results of a Tech for Good Canada May survey of undergraduates in Canada during Covid-19, the discussion opened with how Ryerson university and Centennial College ( both in Toronto) had abruptly switched to online teaching.

Gary Hepburn and Yasmin Razack presented their institutions’ approaches, with the sucesses and the difficulties they faced.

We then moved on to discuss privacy issues with distance learning software with Ann Cavoukian. Software contracts between universities and colleges and companies like Blackboard, D2L, Google, Microsoft and Moodle should be scrutinized, she said, to ensure they are offering the same privacy standards students have had in traditional learning from these institutions.

Ron Srigley, a writer and philosophy professor at Humber College and Laurentian emphasized he had no clear understanding of the privacy conditions he was agreeing to from Blackboard. He also reminded us, with a ground level view, of the cheating that is facilitated in online learning.

Gary Hepburn and Yasmin Razack both weighed in on the alternative methods to exams that needed to be explored to avoid cheating while evaluating students’ learning.

We also spoke about adapting teaching to disciplines requiring manipulation, like film studies and culinary arts.

The one hour and a half discussion flew by, as challenges are so many in these times when meeting in person seems to be limited in the future.

The Q&A and chats were quite active, with very informed questions and comments, that we will upload soon.

Follow up Survey of Undergrads in Canada :

Tech for Good Canada has launched a follow up survey of Canadian undergraduates to assess their experience of studying over the summer of 2020 during Covid-19, here.

Upcoming Education & eLearning eDiscussion :

Join us Tuesday, June 23 rd at 4 PM EDT for another lively eDiscussion with experts including high school teachers and elearning researchers to discuss how secondary schools in Canada are moving to integrate distance learning.

Register ahead of time to join us for What’s Up with Schools and Distance Learning in Canada , June 23, at 4 PM EDT.

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Research Project with Ontario Tech Faculty of Education to Explore How Youth Can Develop Activism on Social Media

Research Project with Ontario Tech Faculty of Education to Explore How Youth Can Develop Activism on Social Media

Project will look at how youth can use social media for sharing and engaging in activism that promote emotional and social wellness. We at Tech for Good Canada, like many others, focus on digital citizenship that protects children when it comes to social media use. Teaching resources that deal with protecting their mental health, their privacy, handling cyberbullying, preventing risky behaviours such as sexting, and deciphering fake news abound online. These are all important issues to combat. However, youth do need to understand how they can use social media to enhance their sense of empowerment, civic enyagement, and pro-social behaviours, as these tools are largely designed for short, frivolous, even sensational communication.