Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
S21 Changes beyond Covid-19
Tuesday, 14/Sept/2021:
3:15pm - 4:15pm

Session Chair: Ester Gimenez-Carbo

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Learning from Universities’ Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons For The New Normal

Beddoes, Kacey1; Danowitz, Andrew2

1San Jose State University, United States of America; 2Cal Poly, United States of America

The pandemic has negatively impacted many students’ ability to continue schooling, or to do so with the same level of success. What is not well understood is how universities’ responses to pandemic-induced changes helped or hindered students’ success during the spring 2020 transitions to online learning. To better understand campus closures and transitions to online and blended learning, this paper explores students’ perceptions of their universities’ handling of and responses to the pandemic and which actions and resources would better support their success in the new normal. It is important to understand the impacts of universities’ responses on students not only because some changes are likely here to stay, but also because pivots caused by pandemics may be required with increasing frequency in the future. The data came from an online survey conducted in the United States in spring and summer of 2020. The survey respondents were 669 undergraduate engineering students from 140 institutions. Student responses addressed several distinct groups of stakeholders with most related to individual instructors, followed by academic administrators, and counseling and disability service centres. Less prominent but still important themes related to other groups were also identified. Responses for each of these groups are presented in turn, and the paper concludes with recommendations for each group.

Pandemic and uncharted new normal: MOOCs, serious games and online learning communities to support hybrid classrooms

Giannatelli, Ada; Tomasini, Alessandra

Politecnico di Milano - METID

The innovation of teaching and learning practices gained momentum in bricks-and-mortar universities during the COVID-19 crisis, with higher education becoming more reliant on technology.

The Erasmus+ INSYSTED project devised a pedagogical framework ( that highlights the added value of MOOCs, serious games and online learning communities in an integrated, blended learning approach to foster soft and digital skills development and internationalisation. The booklet has a special focus on industrial and management engineering education.

The paper outlines the INSYSTED pedagogical framework and the participatory process based on actual university courses that led to it.

It will then outline the relevance of the INSYSTED pedagogical framework in the European context. To this end, the paper takes stock of current developments by integrating insights from a variety of sources in terms of research and grey literature, complemented with the outcomes of targeted contacts with teachers. In many universities the pandemic led to mixed-mode classrooms, with students participating in courses both in-person and joining remotely via videoconference; this resulted in an online extension of the physical classroom that blurs the boundaries between physical and online learning spaces.

After that, the paper will elaborate some key points of INSYSTED to give an account of available information, so that it feeds into operational instructions to operationalise the INSYSTED pedagogical framework.

The aim is to maximise the relevance of this approach and to make it meaningful to the current pandemic and to the uncharted “new normal”.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education – Are Blended Learning Formats the Way Forward?

Huth, Margaux1,2; Meyer, Bea3; Westphal, Lisa1,2; Fischer, Markus1,2; Cominola, Andrea1,2

1Chair of Smart Water Networks, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany; 2Einstein Center Digital Future, Berlin, Germany; 3e-learning team, ‎Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Higher education institutes all over the world have rapidly adopted emergency remote teaching in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This shift has been analysed by numerous publications and from various angles. The state-of-the-art literature spans from descriptive analyses, which provide overviews on which tools or Learning Management Systems (LMS) were most frequently used, to more complex analyses that focus on the perception of technology adoption. The pedagogical field is urgently trying to understand and leverage the advantages and mitigate the drawbacks of e-learning to transition to post-pandemic scenarios. An early consensual lesson learned seems to be that presence learning cannot be fully compensated with digital formats, thus hybrid/blended learning formats seem to be the way forward. Yet, comprehensive insights into whether European higher education institutes intend to permanently incorporate the didactic shift to more digital formats post-pandemic are currently missing. Here, we present a review of 42 publications on digital learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and derive hypotheses regarding the future implementation of blended learning formats. This literature review will serve as the methodological foundation for the pedagogical studies planned within the ide3a project ( We plan to complement this effort with a Europe-wide survey among higher education institutes to identify best practices in digital synchronous and asynchronous, as well as hybrid/blended learning formats for international and interdisciplinary settings. ide3a will then provide the environment for testing some of these formats, as well as hypotheses related to the identified best practices.

Perceptions of multimodal online instruction during national lockdown: Exploring the blended continuum

George, Frikkie1; Rzyankina, Ekaterina2

1Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa; 2Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa

In the context of a global pandemic, education at most universities in South Africa is undergoing rapid adaptation and transition to online, blended learning. Tertiary educators are expected to adapt to flexible schedules, changing pedagogical practices, and learning and work environments shaped by technology. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it increasingly important for institutions to migrate their traditional face-to-face (F2F) instruction methodology to fully online teaching and learning. Educators and institutions have urgently had to adapt to a ‘new normal’ that responds to the demands of the global crisis. A new approach is perhaps essential to address the learning needs and challenges of currently enrolled first-year students, who are obliged to study in varying environments yet still need to progress equally toward attaining a high-quality qualification.

This case study determines educators’ and students’ perceptions of multimodal online instruction and learning and the experience of first-year engineering students transitioning from F2F to online multimodal teaching and learning. The study, in this way, explored the efficacy of transition to online multimodal teaching and learning across the F2F-online continuum. The first-year University of Technology (UoT) engineering students were exposed to both face-to-face and online multimodal teaching and learning environments. The data collected were analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The findings indicate that the students performed better when exposed to multimodal online instruction than when exposed only to face-to-face classroom instruction. The study also found that the students and lecturers positively perceived online multimodal teaching and learning.

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