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Town Hall Series – COVID-19 and the Academic Job (Apr 22)

CAUT Webinar highlights concerns with remote teaching

The rushed transition to remote teaching is raising concerns about privacy, academic freedom, and intellectual property. In the second series of webinars organized by CAUT, experts discussed the implications of the temporary transition to virtual instruction.

“Intellectual property and fair dealing have a different implication online. When I share a graph in class it is not the same thing as sharing the same graph in a short video on YouTube,” notes Pierre Trudel, law professor at the University of Montreal.

Sam Trosow, law professor at Western University, expressed concern that on-line platforms provided by universities and colleges allow all content to be recorded and tracked

“I am not in control and I am forced to use a tool that I chose not to use and that has the capability to track what I am doing,” said Trosow “I have huge concerns now that there are copies of what we do online, and this could turn into a real threat to academic freedom.”

George Veletsianos, Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology and professor in the School of Education and Technology at Royal Roads University, speculated about what is likely to happen in the fall semester.

“Will the semester be in-person? Will it start late? Will there be smaller classes? Will only the labs be in-person? Will we have to convert those classes with 200 or 300 into smaller classes because of social distancing? In all those scenarios, there is no easy decision and there are a number of issues like equity that faculty associations need to engage,” noted Veletsianos.

Maxime Paquet, psychology professor at the University of Montreal, noted that remote teaching requires additional time and places added stress on faculty.

“We will need proper resources and we also need to go one step at the time,” he said.

All presenters agreed that the current situation has highlighted the essential social dimension of education.

“In fact, I am convinced that out of this we will rediscover the importance of physical presence in many circumstances,” concluded Pierre Trudel.

View the videos:

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