Book cover of "Online, Open, and Equitable Education: Lessons from Teaching and Learning during the Global Pandemic" Edited by Nancy Turner, Nick Baker, David J. Hornsby, Aline Germain-Rutherford, David Graham, and Brad Wuetherick

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Coming summer 2024

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The chapter, “Teaching the Pandemic: Building an Online Community and Knowledge through Multidisciplinarity Compassion and Conversation” by Sofie Lachapelle, Elizabeth Finnis, Colin DeMill, and T. Ryan Gregory, discusses the creation and delivery of a new multidisciplinary online course called UNIV*2020: Pandemics: Culture, Science, and Society. Launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, this course integrated expert panels from various disciplines and was available to students and alumni, fostering a broad and engaging educational community. The course structure facilitated the exploration of pandemic-related topics from multiple perspectives, enhancing the educational experience by linking diverse knowledge and practical, real-time issues. The authors reflect on the effectiveness of this model and its potential applicability to other complex societal issues, emphasizing the creation of a supportive and inclusive learning environment.

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Discussion Questions

  • How did the multidisciplinary approach of the course enhance the learning experience for students and alumni?
  • What challenges did the instructors face when quickly creating and implementing this new course, and how were these overcome?
  • How did the course format facilitate a sense of community and engagement among participants?
  • In what ways did alumni participation enrich the course, and what benefits did this bring to both students and alumni?
  • What lessons can be learned from this course model for adapting university education to address real-time global crises?
  • How might this course model be applied to other big-issue topics beyond pandemics, such as climate change or social justice issues?