The year 2020 has turned out in a way none of us could have ever expected. The COVID-19 pandemic pulled UCT lecturers, tutors and professional and support staff rapidly into emergency remote teaching and highlighted the extent of the inequalities across our community. It’s been a rough time and academic and student identities have been under huge strain.
In this period of emergency remote teaching we have had to change where and how we teach. Students have had to face the harsh challenges of what it means to be a student during the current crisis. How we see ourselves is so interwoven with our classroom practices that emergency remote teaching has often shaken our confidence and sense of academic identity. We have survived, and at moments thrived, thanks to the hard work, resilience, ingenuity and compassion that many of us and our students have managed to master.
As we take stock of the new normal and how COVID-19 catapulted us into the future, we can be appreciative of lessons learned and how we can apply these in how we do things. The 2020 Teaching and Learning Conference (TLC2020) provides an opportunity to check in with UCT colleagues, hear about their experiences and those of their students, reflect on what we are becoming and consider ways to transform teaching and learning at UCT during, and well beyond, the pandemic. TLC2020, as our first online conference, will support a range of formal and informal interactions that reaffirm and grow our UCT teaching and learning community, highlight evidence led research in progress, and invite us to think together about the future of teaching and learning at UCT.
What is the conference theme?
The theme for TLC2020 is “Shifting academic identities”. The rollout of emergency remote teaching displaced academics from the classroom and decentred their role in teaching and learning. Many academics had to acquire new skills and overcome a variety of fears and misgivings about online delivery. The levels of support required by students in the context of emergency remote teaching have been much greater than in the usual face to face setting. Academics have responded to these needs in new and inventive ways. All of this has meant an enormous investment of time in teaching. Many academics have remarked that if research is also going to be delivered this level of engagement in teaching and learning is not sustainable. What is the meaning of these experiences for the ways that academics think of themselves, of their fields of expertise, of their relationship with their students and their role at the university? How could/should these experiences influence the manner in which we think about academic identity into the future? How do we shape academic identity in a post-COVID world?
We welcome proposals for presentations, conversations and workshops that highlight hopeful paths to changing academic and student identities and where we are heading during and beyond the current crisis. Our sub-themes are:
What does it mean to go online?
TLC2020 will use technologies that have become familiar to most UCT academics. Vula will provide the asynchronous hub, where you can review schedules, engage with discussions and peruse a variety of topical and thematic resources. Synchronous live sessions for keynote presentations, panel discussions and live workshops will mostly be held via Zoom. The conference programme will stretch across several days (17-23 September) to allow you to dip in and out of conference events and to minimise Zoom fatigue.
What kinds of events will the conference include?
The conference will comprise an assortment of events which differ in purpose, content type, duration and engagement. The events can be grouped into four categories:
How do I submit my proposal?
Word Count: Please send proposals of up to 300 words, outlining your thoughts and ideas.
Submission: Complete the online proposal form providing as much detail as possible. We are also open to considering event types and topics which are not listed in the call.
Enquiries: Please email CILT Events.
Submission deadline: 14:00 on Thursday, 3 September 2020. While the deadline for submission comes at short notice, we know that there are powerful reflections and research, compelling questions and ingenious innovations to share.
Associate Professor Lis Lange
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning
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COVID-19 is a global pandemic that caused President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a national disaster in South Africa on 15 March and implement a national lockdown from 26 March.
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Getting credible, evidence-based, accessible information and recommendations relating to COVID-19
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As the COVID-19 crisis drags on and evolves, civil society groups are responding to growing and diversifying needs – just when access to resources is becoming more insecure, writes UCT’s Prof Ralph Hamann.03 Jul 2020 - 6 min read Republished
The Covid-19 crisis has reinforced the global consequences of fragmented, inadequate and inequitable healthcare systems and the damage caused by hesitant and poorly communicated responses.24 Jun 2020 - >10 min read Opinion
Our scientists must not practise in isolation, but be encouraged to be creative and increase our knowledge of the needs of developing economies, write Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, vice-chancellor of UCT, and Professor Thokozani Majozi from the University of the Witwatersrand.09 Jun 2020 - 6 min read Republished
South Africa has been recognised globally for its success in flattening the curve, which came as a result of President Ramaphosa responding quickly to the crisis, writes Prof Alan Hirsch.28 Apr 2020 - 6 min read Republished
In an email to the UCT community, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said:
“COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, is a rapidly changing epidemic. [...] Information [...] will be updated as and when new information becomes available.”
We are continuing to monitor the situation and we will be updating the UCT community regularly – as and when there are further updates. If you are concerned or need more information, students can contact the Student Wellness Service on 021 650 5620 or 021 650 1271 (after hours), while staff can contact 021 650 5685.