From the usual registration woes in February 2020 to empty lecture halls, deserted campuses, hollowed out residences, Covid-19 ushered in digital learning and teaching with an unprecedented speed and breadth. It has impacted learning, teaching, student support and development like no other event in recent history. The alacrity with which it took place has not allowed much space for theorising, or thinking through its impacts.
Reflections on the qualitative experiences and on the learning design, as well as two national studies bare evidence in this regard: the Student Access and Use of Learning Materials (SAULM) report and the CHE-USAf-UFS Staff Experience of, and Perspectives, on Teaching and Learning and its Future (SEP-TLF) Survey.
ENGAGE #5 enabled us to hear from SAIDE’s Siyaphumelela project on their contributions towards the sector’s readiness in terms of having migrated towards hybrid, blended and digital modes of learning, teaching, development and support. Dr Alan Amory, Senior Programme Specialist: Learning Technologies, SAIDE, spoke on “Learning Design for a Digital University”; Dr Phumeza Kota-Nyati, Dean of Teaching and Learning, NMU, addressed the lived experience of students and staff; and Prof Francois Strydom, Senior Director and Dr Sonja Loots, Researcher at the Centre for Teaching and Learning, UFS fleshed out the outcomes of the SAULM study.