Online learning provides opportunities for creative interaction with effective use of technologies.
When New Zealand went into lockdown in 2020, classroom learning moved online. Vijay Kumar investigated the challenges faced by tourism students and teaching staff in the remote learning environment.
Survey results indicated that majority of students appreciated and acknowledged that their teachers adapted the teaching material and assessment activities suitable for an online environment. However, students indicated frustration that they were forced into the remote delivery when they had chosen face-to-face delivery of teaching.
Vijay also conducted semi-structured interviews with the teaching staff. While they immediately adapted to online delivery, they found it challenging to maintain students’ engagement online, especially for students in classes at lower levels. Staff also reported that it would be useful to have some guidelines or norms around online learning, for example that students' cameras must be turned on.
Despite the challenges, the lecturers agreed that there is an opportunity to embed digital learning along with face-to-face delivery. They could be creative in developing interactive resources to foster student engagement, for example virtual tour guiding in the Otago Museum. Vijay has identified that staff would benefit from more professional development in using online tools, and adopting bi-modal pedagogical approaches in future iterations of courses and programmes.