Social Work Education in the time of a Pandemic (SWEP)

Dear Colleagues,

In the last couple of months universities across the world have experienced the forced acceleration of online teaching and home learning. The ability of both universities, academics and students to respond to the unique challenges of social and physical isolation provides many inspirational examples of solidarity. As European based academics, Chaitali and I are also caught up in this dramatic pedological shift. We have experienced the current ‘breakthroughs’ in online teaching and the opportunities to work and learn from home, as well as the personal and family pressures and ‘breakdowns’ as the result of new teaching and learning practices and expectations.

Universities are resonant in proclaiming their success. However, we question at what cost has this transformation been achieved and we are presented with many questions? Will teaching and learning at home be pushed further, after the pandemic crisis? How can we keep up with the pressure to acquire the digital skills essential for teaching in this dynamic culture? How do we and our students feel after a one hour Zoom lecture with 100 participants? How has this new culture of communication impacted on our scholarship and collegiality? How do we feel about working from home, or have we mixed feelings?

Personal insights regarding the impact of such dramatic changes to our work, study and personal life balance , as well as critical questions regarding the pedagogical and research consequences, are only just emerging from the crisis. How will these thoughts and feeling influence future decisions about career, family and personal goals? Or will they be forgotten about after lockdown?

Now is perhaps a good time for educators, students and practitioners to reflect upon and give recognition to these feelings, thoughts and even actions. To start the process my colleague, Chaitali Das gives a candid account of her current situation, and how she perceives her opportunities and the risks. Please feel free to add your comments, pictures and experiences to this blog and take time to read the blog postings of others.

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Janet Carter Anand, University of Eastern Finland and Chaitali Das, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences

Janet Carter Anand and Chaitali Das