9/16, Deirdre Kelshaw: “Digital Practices and Applications in a Covid-19 Culture”

In “Digital Practices and Applications in a Covid-19 Culture,” Christina Romero-Ivanova, Michael Shaughnessy, Laura Otto, Emily Taylo and Emma Watson address student and professor reflections on digital learning practices during the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in Spring 2020 when the pandemic began. The paper focuses on challenges faced by both professors and students during this time, ultimately coming to the conclusion that teachers, instructors and students need to be prepared for various major disruptions and to be able to utilize and even reinvent their ways of teaching and learning.

To show the challenges and advantages of technology used for teaching during the pandemic, students were asked to reflect on different softwares— these platforms being Zoom, Google Docs and Flipgrid. Based on the various comments, students primarily had positive experiences with each of these platforms. While many sites were new to students, they had to learn how to use each one which proved to be challenging. However, it seems that each student interviewed had an overall positive experience with each software. I find this interesting, because so many people I know from Lehigh did not have positive experiences with these platforms. Many found themselves with suffering grades due to distractions at home or on their devices. Additionally, there are many students who do not have access to certain useful technologies such as computers or stable WiFi, resulting in the inability to do classwork. While the students featured in this paper had positive experiences, I do not believe that they are representative of the experiences faced by all students.

The paper also goes on to talk about the challenges and experiences of professors during this time. I found this paper to be very interesting, especially because I watched my father, a professor, reinvent his entire class on such short notice when the pandemic began. I saw firsthand how difficult it was to do, while also experiencing and adapting to changes in my own classes as well. In terms of challenges, faculty needed to learn entirely new software— which, understandably, proved to be a steep learning curve— invoking frustration and exasperation. Instructors were put in such a difficult position, being asked to employ an entirely new approach to teaching a class that had been taught in person for years. It only heightened my respect for professors and the work they do. They were definitely essential in getting through this pandemic successfully.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this paper as it was very relatable to read about the challenges that came with education during the beginning of the pandemic. How would a paper like this with numerous student reflections differ in a less affluent area? This paper was written out of the University of Washington, right in downtown Seattle. What were the experiences like for students and teachers in more rural areas? Or, how did experiences differ for high school students and teachers? I’d like to know as I only experienced this change as a college student.

4 thoughts on “9/16, Deirdre Kelshaw: “Digital Practices and Applications in a Covid-19 Culture”

  1. I found your response very interesting considering you got to see your father transition (with no warning) to teaching online. While this was certainly difficult from a student’s perspective, I can only imagine what it was like for teachers/professors. Regarding another point you made about students not enjoying these platforms due to distraction, I wonder how this issue could be combatted. I know there are certain interfaces such as “respondus” (I am not sure the proper spelling) that shut down all other browsers than the one you are supposed to be on, but this wouldn’t eliminate distractions all together as most students (in our environment) have more than one device they can use. This is definitely an issue in the online learning realm and I am curious what perhaps your father did to combat these issues.

  2. Although I did not read this article, you made the main points very clear and it seems like a very intriguing read. You make a good point about how students in different areas might have had different experiences than the ones highlighted in this paper. I am also interested in the experiences of students in schools that are more hands-on (ex tech schools, cooking school, esthetician school, etc). How were their experiences different over internet teaching platforms than those in a more standard textbook curriculum?

  3. Your summary of this article was insightful. It’s interesting that many students had such positive experiences with those platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic because I also know people from Lehigh who did not have positive experiences. Personally, I definitely had to shift how I consumed my educational materials and how I engaged in classroom settings, which was not always easy or positive. Ultimately, I adjusted to online school, but there were moments of frustration and confusion along the way. One thing I wanted to note is that the people I interacted with during the switch to online school were very understanding and warm. I am fortunate enough that my professors and peers were patient and adaptable as we were immersed in a foreign learning environment. Therefore, I think it is important to think about the people you are interacting with on technology platforms because they will definitely alter your perception of your experience.

  4. I agree that online learning experiences were not always be positive. Personally, I think the form discouraged some students to actively speak up, especially when some people lived in different time zones. For the breakout room, some classes had random group discussion with random students. I experienced a room that nobody wanted to share their opinions and every one was just muted. That’s so awkward, especially when the professor entered the room. I can definitely sure that this situation would not happen if people sit in the classroom to have discussion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *