Hope in Times of Trouble: An Academic Development Perspective of Learning and Teaching During a Crisis


Higher education experienced unprecedented disruption with the arrival of COVID-19. While the pandemic has dissipated to some extent, the lessons learned helps to consider responses to disruptive events in the future. This paper explores the reflections of two academic developers’ experiences from two diverse institutions, as they supported academic staff with the transition to remote learning and teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through shared displacement, isolation and reflections on our own learning processes, we identified a pattern that emerged in the way we engaged with teaching staff to assist with the rapid transition to online learning and teaching. Using Schön’s reflective model, we consider our actions during this disruptive time as well as the lessons gained. Within the South African context, the pandemic highlighted the hauntings of our unequal past, as our respective institutions ensured that access and success remained centred. While the challenges of rapidly transitioning learning online created a barrier, through our reflections of this experience, we were able to identify the three zones that we transitioned through. In this article we share the three transitionary zones of action, which we refer to as the Three T-zones of trauma, transition and transformation. Each accompanied by phases of learning, unlearning and relearning. We argue that the crises created the opportunity to innovate; to transform and consider new ways of being and doing. We reflect on our role as academic developers and the urgency to be flexible and prepared for continued disruptions and uncertainty in the learning and teaching environment.

Author Information
Xena Cupido, Cape Peninsula University Technology, South Africa
Subethra Pather, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2023
Stream: Higher education

This paper is part of the ECE2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Cupido X., & Pather S. (2023) Hope in Times of Trouble: An Academic Development Perspective of Learning and Teaching During a Crisis ISSN: 2188-1162 The European Conference on Education 2023: Official Conference Proceedings https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2188-1162.2023.41
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2188-1162.2023.41

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon