The Covid pandemic has forced students and staff to adapt to distance teaching and learning to a much higher degree than before. In the autumn we can hopefully return to campus, but the digital solutions are here to stay.
Digitalization as such doesn’t solve all problems, but it can be used as a support in developing equal and accessible education. The possibility to take part in courses between the Åbo and Vasa campuses, and the possibility to Zoom in from home when you are ill, should still be available after the pandemic is over. We at the Student Union have gathered our thoughts about the digitalization of education in five main points, that we believe should be a priority to make studying easier.
1) All course materials should be available in digital form.
2) Support services like study psychologist and study advisor should be available online if needed.
3) The information that is now available in Peppi and on studiehandboken.abo.fi should be integrated. Students should only need to “log into ÅAU” to find relevant day to day information. Now it’s unclear what is listed on the intra page, the e-mail or some other platform.
4) Digitalization should be a support form for teaching and learning, no one should be forced to study only from home. Pedagogical aspects need to come before technical ones. The solutions also need to be adapted for students with special needs. A special needs educator with expertise in higher education should be consulted when the digital solutions are planned.
5) Equal possibilities to study. The university cannot assume that all students have their own computers with internet connections, or the possibility to study from home. Computer classes are still needed in the future.