Reshaping academic ways of being and doing
Keywords:the impact of change, moving past the crisis, contradictions and conflicts, instructional and people outcomes
After a critical review of the impact of change on people’s lives, we report on an empirical study highlighting three major aspects of academic life that the pandemic affected, providing supporting examples. The method used is first textual analysis for the critical review based on what the literature identifies as difficulties brought about by change (CBIA, 2022; Senge, 1990). The empirical study is of a qualitative nature (Creswell, & Poth, 2018) based on the analysis of observations in a personal journal, and aims at uncovering academic concerns during the pandemic. The findings will be valuable to academics to reshape their ‘new normal’. Results include for the theoretical part of the literature review the fact that change impacts people and one cannot come back to prior positioning. Several findings from the analysis of the observational notes are centered around three main areas. The first issue was due to the short time span for new implementations and hence no time for foresight. This encompasses consequences of trial and error, more administrative control, and uncertainty of outcomes with contradictory discourses been held. Added to that there was a human cost that far exceeded what would normally be the case. For instance academic colleagues quitting or retiring early, unevenness in support provided, isolation in some cases compared to overabundance of support in others, perhaps even favoritism. The third major observation pointed to consequences on the instructional context. In this case, a number of positive outcomes were noted. More effort was placed on student engagement and learning, and it was all made visible. More activities were devised based on gaming strategies, and serious work was made more motivating. A better feel for knowledge integration was possible due to on-line learning for students who put some effort into it. Some observations however led to drawing conflicting conclusions. Finally, we discuss new future pathways. For instance, it is important to develop self-regulation in students and resilience for all concerned. There also appears to be a need to provide active support to everyone on an on-going basis as we move past the crisis.