The Shifts to Online Learning: Think Piece: Assumptions, Implications and Possibilities for Quality Education in Teacher Education
With the advent of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which has spread to the majority of countries across the world, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a global pandemic on 11 March 2020. Governments all over the world, including in southern Africa, introduced measures such as the banning of large gatherings, closure of borders, schools and institutions of higher learning to curb the spread of COVID-19. To ensure ongoing teaching and learning, institutions of higher learning made resolutions to transition to remote/online teaching and learning. While online education has long preceded the pandemic, the spiraling of COVID-19 all over the world resulted in the upscaling of online teaching and learning in higher education institutions. Mandatory online teaching and learning was a relatively new practice to most lecturers and students in southern Africa. Drawing on two case stories from Botswana and Namibia, this paper offers a think piece on the shifts to online learning, considering assumptions, implications and possibilities for quality learning in teacher education, through a reflection by teacher educators of environment and sustainability courses. The assumptions in online learning were that students and teacher educators had the capacity and infrastructure for remote/online teaching and learning. This paper thus opens up opportunities for institutions of higher learning to scale up their Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure and support for both students and teacher educators for online teaching and learning which have the potential to improve on quality education during times of crisis.
Keywords: Online teaching and learning, ICT infrastructure, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), quality education
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