When I mulled over what was painful or gainful from this episode of pandemic-Zoom-vs-face-to-face, I realized something particularly odd.
It wasn’t painful when I had to ensure my new laptop was fully enabled and ready for online teaching. It was just a requirement that came with getting a new laptop. I mean, I got a new laptop! Not a very efficient one, though. I had to get the keyboard changed right after Day 1 because the keys were jumping around (come and see me if you want to know the brand and model of the laptop).
It wasn’t painful when I had to convert every lesson online because guess what, so do my other colleagues. It was great to commiserate, fuss, but eventually produce stuff that we could use and be proud of.
Library colleagues faced new technologies and new tools with a mix of aplomb and hesitation. Videos were produced fast and furious. Colleagues who hesitated, received training and asked for more training. Some grumbled that they spent more time on a video then they ever did with developing a face-to-face session. Some received student feedback that it didn’t matter. Students just wanted a PDF they could read online or print. No need for the bells and whistles, thank you. But at the end of it, there were the videos, online learning activities and the incredible experience.
It wasn’t just about working-from-home, online platforms, the lack of a physical social network. It was also the educational reforms. With an interdisciplinary approach in university education, the librarians’ role as nodes and conduits became more obvious. Opportunities were lurking.
Yup, these are strange times. But not unexpected. The way we teach, how we engage students and academics, the bandwidth and time to do all these has to change anyway. And changed, it did.
Wong Kah Wei
Head, Learning Services and Innovation
National University of Singapore (NUS) Libraries
The Pandemic IL (Pain and Pride) Series, is a curation of stories in 300 words by instruction librarians as part of the Council of Chief Librarians (CCL) Committee on Information Literacy (CIL).
Released on a weekly basis, this multi-part story series highlights the pivot to online during the pandemic and demonstrates the resilience, tenacity, commitment and passion by instruction librarians to teach, educate and advocate not only information, media and digital literacy, but multi-literacies using various digital learning strategies. Enjoy.
Rajen Munoo Chair, CCL, Committee on Information Literacy