Change the world


Ever wondered how the transition to online teaching has been going? Our campus academics share with us their experiences and how they quickly had to adapt, re-strategise their traditional ways of teaching. But more importantly, this era has recovered an added appreciation of our different environments. Dr Bianca Currie, a lecture in the school of Natural Resource Management, shares her journey.

Moving online has required flexibility and adaptation to a new way of teaching and learning.  It also requires empathy from both students and teachers. “My journey as a lecturer began with assessing my teaching and learning materials and reworking them for self-guided learning and online delivery.

I have had to quickly learn new software and an entirely different set of skills for teaching online. By using traditional and old ways and new technologies, I have managed to make learning resources accessible to as many as I can.  I recognised that my students come from a variety of backgrounds and find themselves in a diversity of different situations, some find it easy to work online, have technology, great connectivity and a conducive workspace.  Others find themselves without connectivity, limited access to technology and a workspace not conducive to online learning”, shares Dr Currie.

The Covid-19 recovery plan for the 2nd year Nature Conservation students allowed Bianca to re-look the differing situations of her students in order for her to offer maximum flexibility.  The academic plan allows the students to work through the material and assignments in their own time.  The class had to move from a summative assessment model to a continuous assessment model where students work through learning outcomes and are formatively assessed throughout the course with no traditional summative examination. Within this model, the summative assessment will take place through the examination of a portfolio which is a collection of a range of work completed and assessed during the semester and which will be moderated.

“Without eeing my students twice a week in the classroom, other means of communication were needed.  We are now using a diversity of mediums to communicate with each other, which includes WhatsApp, email, Teams and Skype. The primary means by which I make learning material accessible to my students is through our university Moodle site and I facilitate two online contact sessions a week using Teams.  The online contact sessions, although data heavy, have been welcomed by the students.  They tell me they take comfort in seeing my face and hearing my voice and the voices of their fellow students”.

As a lecturer, Dr Currie shares how she now, through this change of environment, has noticed a change in the student/lecturer relationship.  “I have become far more empathetic of my students’ personal situations.  I have become more familiar with my students’ personal lives and struggles and feel the students are more attentive and appreciative of my teaching.  They have made me feel valued again.  We have become far more understanding and empathetic of each other as we walk hand in hand across this rocky road”.

Dr Bianca Currie
Director: Sustainability Research Unit
Deputy-Director: IRL REHABS
Lecturer: School of Natural Resource Management

Contact information
Bianca Currie