Teaching staff at University of Wollongong have raised concerns on how the transition to remote learning due will impact their teaching practices and outcomes.
Earlier this week, UOW said it would move to online teaching in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19.
NSW Secretary of the National Tertiary Education Union Micheal Thomson said university vice-chancellors across the state need to support casual teachers during the online transition.
“Casual teachers must be ensured full support and be adequately equipped with the appropriate materials during these unusual times,” he said.
“For years they have let off exploiting causals and now they are going to transfer the pain of Coronavirus and what it means, if they do not guarantee employment security for all staff.”
UOW Vice-Chancellor Prof. Paul Wellings announced a two-week lockdown, where all teaching staff will undergo training to undergo remote teaching, commencing March 23rd.
“This period will be used to work intensively with academics, including casual teaching staff, and professional services staff to transition all undergraduate and postgraduate programs to remote delivery,” Prof. Wellings said.
Despite the university commitment, not all staff are convinced this transition will be successful.
UOW casual art tutor India Mark is worried about how digital communications would replace practical learning.
“So far instruction has been pretty minimal,” she said.
“Over this break, I have to restructure my entire class outline for online use … which is going to be really difficult as my whole course is practical learning.”
Ms Mark and other practical tutors are also worried students will not receive adequate learning experiences and feel disconnected from their studies.
“I am even more concern about my students,” she said.
“They will not have the student experience of learning from each other in a physical environment and creating real connections…these are what enhance your whole university experience”.
UOW will restart with remote learning on 6 April.