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Publication of the White Paper: Disruption in and by Centres for Teaching and Learning During the Covid-19 Pandemic Leading the Future of Higher Ed

August 22, 2020

Today the educational community as a whole faces a universal challenge: to ensure equitable and quality education as well as effective and efficient evaluation of student learning in hybrid, flexible or 100% distance modalities for their students. In addition, we must also plan for the post-COVID-19 pandemic era. Centres for Teaching and Learning play a pivotal function in addressing and overcoming this challenge.

This white paper illuminates how Centres for Teaching and Learning, and equivalent entities addressed and plan to address trends and issues in digital learning in the context of educational disruption caused by COVID-19. It begins by presenting an overview of the traditional role the CTLs and equivalent entities have played since their inception in educational institutions. It then describes how this role evolved into academic first responders in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper continues with a thorough discussion about the challenges the centres faced since the eruption of the pandemic in March 2020 and the ones they anticipate in the coming semesters. It also lists concrete examples of actions they took to face these challenges. In addition, it provides detailed information on one major action taken by all; that is, publicly sharing an abundance of resources to support faculty and students during the online transition. This discussion spotlights resources relevant to equity.

The last section of this paper shares lessons learned and recommendations from the centres to the centres in addition to commentaries by experts and researchers from the field with ideas and approaches geared to the current mandate of the centres to help them better face what is coming. The benefits from this white paper extend to educational institutions, faculty members, students and policy makers.

This white paper was produced as a part of the research project of the International Observatory on the societal impacts of AI and digital technology (OBVIA) regarding the societal effects of A.I. systems and digital tools deployed to combat the spread of COVID-19 and funding by the Québec Research Funds (FRQ), and supported by Université Laval’s Chair in Educational Leadership in Innovative Pedagogical Practices in Digital Context – National Bank and Concordia University Research Chair in Maker Culture.