Monday, March 1

Meditation on asynchronous college education

Thirty percent. This is the minimum threshold of synchronous teaching, that is to say live, that is expected of me as a college teacher for this session. Note, this is 30% more than the last session since no lessons have been required to be given in this way since the start of the pandemic.

At the risk of going against a notion that is close to my heart, that of professional autonomy, I will risk asking the following question: requiring a college teacher to offer 30% of its courses synchronously enough?

A year ago now, when the teachers were doing their job normally, would it have been acceptable for one of them, on the pretext that he had uploaded videos, to stay at his desk for 70%? of his classes rather than being present in class with his students? If the answer is ‘no’ and the same duties and responsibilities that were incumbent on teachers before the crisis still prevail today, I think there is reason to be concerned about what may well be the manifestation of a crisis. derives from a fundamental concept: the act of teaching.

The act of teaching refers to something much larger, more complex, more human and, I would dare say, nobler than putting simple recordings online. There is, it seems to me, a difference between asynchronous and synchronous teaching which is as profound as that which exists between face-to-face versus distance education.

However, distance education is not desirable. This is a solution that will hopefully be temporary and limited to a temporary crisis. Distance learning harms the relational component of teaching, contributes to the demotivation of students, contributes to student disengagement and dehumanizes our relationships … Could this also be exactly what is at work and which distinguishes teaching? synchronous asynchronous teaching?

Living environment

Distance education will kill CEGEP. Our institution is much more than a course schedule. It is a living environment, a place where students and teachers discuss social issues, mutually enrich each other and participate together in fueling the vitality of an environment.

The more distance courses there are, the more difficult it will be to defend the merits of the library, places of socialization such as the student café or the sports center, the more we will be in trouble to maintain a rich and diverse student life. through our sports teams, extracurricular and extracurricular activities … Taking a stand on the issue of distance education is, by the same token, taking a stand about the future of the CEGEP as an institution and a place of sharing, of discoveries.

For almost a year now, CEGEP, as a living environment, has been on the verge of death. Two things were saved, namely the class schedule and the dynamic relationship between teachers and students. It is precisely these last ramparts which fall with asynchronous teaching.

The course schedule is unique: it helps to ensure that the student is available during the week to follow his lessons, thus committing him to take on the identity of a student rather than that of a worker. Breaking this structure promotes the possibility for a student to become a full-time worker, thus increasing the pressure to relegate his role as a student to a lower status.

The teacher-student relationship, even virtual, is the most precious asset we have left to defend the relevance of the educational institution that is the CEGEP. For many students, being able to interact with their teachers or other students during their lessons is one of the only meaningful social relationships outside of their immediate family that they can have during the pandemic. As social interactions wither, anxiety and depression take hold in all strata of society, our relationships become dehumanized, everything should be done to foster human relationships within our courts. If we take into account the societal context in which we are immersed, synchronous teaching could well be the last remedy, the last antidote, although imperfect, against the complete dehumanization of our relationships.

We have, as teachers, especially in this troubled time, a moral duty to support young people. It consists of enriching their lives, boosting their learning, building bridges with them. In the current context, in order to promote the survival of our institution but, above all, the development and development of students, it seems necessary to me to reflect on the effects of the various modes of teaching.

While waiting for more evidence from science and for the benefit of all, would it be wise for us to stick to what is closest to our mandate: synchronous teaching?

Leave a Reply

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