In this presentation I will detail how in 2019, I designed a learning module for ANU computer project students so that it could quickly be converted from campus to online delivery, in an emergency. This contingency was then activated due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The same learning design can be used into the future for campus, blended and online students.

Like many who teach, I had to quickly move from the classroom to online learning in early 2020, due to COVID-19. However, as part of my studies in distance education from 2013 to 2017, I looked at how e-learning could be used by Australian universities for mixed classes of domestic and international students. This included planning to use online learning as an emergency measure in the event an international crisis which prevented students getting to campus. While I had not anticipated a pandemic, having considered the policy, tools and techniques for an emergency move online proved useful in dealing with COVID-19.

Advocating elearning be ready in case of a crisis has been frustrating. Some academics were horrified by the idea of distance education, and refused to consider an international crisis could stop students getting to campus. However, the pandemic was not, as some have claimed, a “Black Swan Event”, which could not have been anticipated, or prepared for. This was a crisis which was expected and is unlikely to be the last which keeps students from campus. Having seen they now have an online option, students will consider this the default for their education, just as they now do for many aspects of their lives. Australian universities need to adjust to this reality to remain viable.

See also: Responding to the Coronavirus Emergency with e-Learning:

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