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.

Watch a six minute excerpt :

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.

Watch the full discussion on Tech for Good Canada’s YouTube playlist of Citizen Discussions on Technology and Society.

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.

Find out about our follow-up discussion on  Schools and Distance Learning during the Covid Pandemic ,held June 23, 2020 at 4 PM EDT.

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Kids & teens’ mental health & development at stake with Canadian schools adopting distance learning well

Kids & teens’ mental health & development at stake with Canadian schools adopting distance learning well

What’s at stake, if teacher unions remain opposed to synchronous learning and governments like the one in Ontario focus on the number of video sessions a teacher must hold each day, as a replacement for research-based efficient elearning techniques? Simply a cohort of students ‘ mental health and intellectual capabilities. And down the line, what is at stake are increased inequalities among youth and a loss of sovereignty for Canada, when private foreign online players persuade parents who can afford it to sign up to their online learning programs for their kids.