Editorial: Ireland’s Online Learning Call
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The editorial board of the Irish Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning (IJTEL) would like to use this opportunity to thank each and every one of you working through a very challenging time over the past twelve months of the pandemic. It is a significant event, a critical incident, that will take some time to document and reflect upon in future journal editions.
So many words have already been written about this past year that try to capture the disruption and change. However, to summarise even a scintilla of what has happened across Irish higher education is a slightly daunting prospect. We have seen various terms used to describe the rapid shift to teaching and learning online, such as milestone, pivot, emergency remote teaching. None of these fully encompass the myriad of ways that those of us working in education have had to become resilient, responsive and supportive of colleagues during this period.
Considering the response from members of the educational technology community within Ireland, one could argue that the term overwhelming is a good starting point. For a start, a tsunami of work ensued, that at times threatened to engulf individuals. Education ‘pivoted’ from a position where online was generally a supplementary or complementary activity to one where in an online mode, we became the campus. Systems and processes were hastily altered, modified or expanded far beyond anybody’s expectations. While some of those have creaked and groaned, we have managed to teach classes, run meetings and carry out assessments; run on-campus labs and social distanced teaching; in short, we have kept going. People have been inventive, innovative and extremely hard working. But above all else, they have been generous; generous with their time, their expertise and generous in spirit.
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