Published: 14 August 2020
Akua Sackey is a lecturer in Business Management at the University of Sunderland in London. In this article, she talks about her research into how digital technology is helping universities adapt to life under lockdown.
“Education is using technology now more than ever. Lectures have diversified their teaching methodology to face the need of the pandemic.
Before COVID-19, a lot of people thought digital technology would change education. Although the pandemic has affected the student journey, it’s also given us the chance to use new and inventive tools.
Online learning has been an important part of reducing the spread of the virus. Although many see these changes as temporary, they could have a lasting effect on higher education. For one thing, if social distancing continues, lecturers will have to teach at least partly online for a while.
The move to digital learning has brought up some challenges though, including inequality between students. Not everyone has access to the same resources and time. Despite this, universities have started investing in technology that anyone can access. Tools like video conferencing software give students an interactive learning environment to help with their studies.
One way a lot of institutions have begun to teach is through hybrid learning - the combination of online and face-to-face education. How easily universities adapt to working online has, in some ways, been about how much they’d already invested in digital technology before the pandemic. Some higher education institutions had to adapt more quickly than others.
Another challenge with online learning is that students can sometimes feel that they learn better in face-to-face classes. In a similar way, there are some lecturers who had to learn new skills and quickly adapt to the situation.
How we’ll be teaching a year from now, once the worst of the pandemic is over, isn’t known. But what we can hope for is that we use the lessons we’ve learnt in this crisis to become more creative, adaptable and innovative.
Face-to-face teaching isn’t likely to go away any time soon. But how we use technology to improve and grow is likely to play a huge part in university education in the future.”
Akua Sackey teaches on the BA (Hons) Business and Management and BA (Hons) Business Management and Entrepreneurship (Top-Up) courses at the University of Sunderland in London. You can find out more about Akua on her profile page, or visit the business course pages if you’re thinking about studying with us.