Swiftly Switching Project-Based Learning to the Online Environment
Due to the global Covid-19 pandemic our foundation year in Education and Childhood studies has, for the most part, taken place online this year. The course usually involves four units taught over the whole year giving students a foundation in academic practice, a theoretical basis in education studies, and in childhood studies, as well as our project-based EdLab unit which provides a space for students to engage in educational innovation and creation as practitioners. This unit has evolved over a number of years to provide a closely supported and student-centred curriculum, which provides a set of challenges, which grow in scope over the year, offering an opportunity for our students to develop their facilitator/educator. However, this year this has had to be taught in a condensed manner online. This case study will explore the differences in outcomes between this, and the previously taught course, through considering staff perspectives, student engagement and student responses to the unit. It will argue for the need to ensure students continue to receive opportunities for slower, ongoing engagement with subjects and practices, in order to develop their confidence and skills through opportunities for reflection, conceptualisation and experimentation. It is argued that these opportunities are lacking in a condensed and online format, and that the benefits of project-based pedagogy suffer in this context.
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