December 11, 2020
This semester was definitely one of a kind. As a student body we experimented with remote learning and the vast technological expanses the world has made. To me, this year was my technological awakening. I was always skeptical about online classes and online Writing Centre appointments, until the pandemic forced us to find human connection through our screens.
I feel extremely blessed that this technological awakening of mine was led by the Writing Centre. As a team of tutors, we were led by Ms. Emily Keery through workshops on Zoom, Moodle and MS Teams. By the end of our workshops, I found my confidence in navigating through the online platforms. When official appointments began, I found students struggling with technology as well. Most of my sessions were spent navigating through Moodle or Zoom helping students get used to this ‘new normal’. Once they figured out the online platforms, they felt comfortable in the semester too. The students felt ready to take on this semester and so did I.
As an Embedded Tutor during this online semester, I noticed that my weekly meetings spread throughout the semester with some regular students; this built our routines. It was something both of us looked forward to during the week. We were able to gradually work towards our goals while not missing out on human connection during these unprecedented times. One of these students met with me every Monday morning and she would finish her appointment 5 min earlier in order to pray over my week. Even though she was struggling with technology, she was considerate and appreciative. This job helped me get through this semester. Not only was I practicing Active Listening but so were the students. It kept reminding me of the people beyond the screen. It saw me through tough days as it reassured me we were all in this together.
When I found myself getting comfortable in the online space, I realised that my pedagogy had to change. We had training on Bloom’s Taxonomy this semester that really helped me figure out the changes I needed to make to my sessions. I even got to create and review educational Quick Start Guides throughout the semester. As we belong to a generation of social media and instant gratification, videos needed to be shorter and explanations needed to be clearer. This job really prepped me for what seems like the future of education.
This future needs humans to be increasingly techno savvy, and also be extremely humane. This semester taught me how to navigate this balance between being comfortable with technology but also seeing the person behind the screen. It was my technological awakening and a pedagogical revolution.