On Friday, 5 February more than 40 ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) conveners and education staff attended the Teaching and Learning Workshop.
The ANU Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT) team facilitated the session with Professor Katherine Daniell, with the aim of connecting, creating, and preparing for teaching in Semester 1, 2021.
The first theme for the workshop was care – care for self, care for colleagues, and care for students. CECS conveners were legendary in their efforts to be flexible, innovative, creative, and supportive in 2020, but the emotional energy and mental exertion involved inevitably took its toll on staff wellbeing.
Watch: CECS staff reflect on challenges and wellbeing in teaching during the challenging year that was 2020.
In the first session of the workshop we explored the supports available to staff when it all becomes too much, and the key takeaway was the importance of reaching out for help. It soon became clear that this groundwork of self-care is necessary in order to have the energy and equanimity to guide and support students as they face the challenges of hybrid teaching and learning in a global pandemic. To this end, staff responded to a series of scenarios which presented complex student situations relating to mental health, interpersonal conflict, and navigating online behaviours (see an example in the video below). While every student challenge is unique, the CECS staff demonstrated their capacity to handle complex situations with sensitivity.
The second theme for the workshop was engaging students in remote environments. Staff were presented with a series of diverse students for whom they had to determine assessment and teaching strategies apposite to that student’s learning. They were also tasked with designing remote assessment and remote labs for two fictional co-badged courses, responding to challenging questions like: how will you manage the hardware and software requirements of the lab? How will you encourage academic integrity? How will you foster the social capabilities of the student?
Watch: CECS teachers explore the ways they handled lab workshops, assessment design and working with large cohorts.
The innovations of 2020 illustrate just how creative and resilient CECS educators can be, and while the complexities of teaching remotely (in a caring fashion) will continue into 2021 and beyond, the CECS staff will brave it as a community, confident in the knowledge that they will support each other through every challenge.
If you are interested in exploring the ways in which you can support your diverse students and their wellbeing and engagement, we recommend you take a look at the following ANU Coffee Courses on offer from CLT:
ANU Thrive has also put together an Infographic PDF for support resources for academic staff.
Dr Kelly Frame is a Senior Education Designer in the Education Design (ED) team – one of three teams within the ANU Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT).
This post first appeared on the CLT blog Interact. You can also subscribe to the monthly CLT newsletter to stay up to date.