Whitepaper: Disruption in and by Centres for Teaching and Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic Leading the Future of Higher Ed

Today the educational community as a whole faces a universal challenge: to ensure equitable and quality education as well as effective and efficient evaluation of student learning in hybrid, flexible or 100% distance modalities for their students. In addition, we must also plan for the post-COVID-19 pandemic era. Centres for Teaching and Learning play a pivotal function in addressing and overcoming this challenge.

This white paper illuminates how Centres for Teaching and Learning, and equivalent entities addressed and plan to address trends and issues in digital learning in the context of educational disruption caused by COVID-19. It begins by presenting an overview of the traditional role the CTLs and equivalent entities have played since their inception in educational institutions. It then describes how this role evolved into academic first responders in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper continues with a thorough discussion about the challenges the centres faced since the eruption of the pandemic in March 2020 and the ones they anticipate in the coming semesters. It also lists concrete examples of actions they took to face these challenges. In addition, it provides detailed information on one major action taken by all; that is, publicly sharing an abundance of resources to support faculty and students during the online transition. This discussion spotlights resources relevant to equity.

The last section of this paper shares lessons learned and recommendations from the centres to the centres in addition to commentaries by experts and researchers from the field with ideas and approaches geared to the current mandate of the centres to help them better face what is coming. The benefits from this white paper extend to educational institutions, faculty members, students and policy makers.

Read the white paper

This white paper was produced as a part of the research project of the International Observatory on the societal impacts of AI and digital technology (OBVIA) regarding the societal effects of A.I. systems and digital tools deployed to combat the spread of COVID-19 and funding by the Québec Research Funds (FRQ).

This white paper was produced by Nadia Naffi PhD, Université Laval, supported by Université Laval’s Chair in Educational Leadership in Innovative Pedagogical Practices in Digital Context – National Bank and Concordia University Research Chair in Maker Culture, with the participation of the researchers Ann-Louise Davidson PhD, Concordia University, Roger Kaufman PhD, Florida State University, Richard E (Dick) Clark PhD, University of Southern California, Brian Beatty PhD, San Francisco State University, Didier Paquelin PhD, Université Laval, the consultants Dawn M. Snyder PhD, Dawn Snyder Associates, and Guy Wallace, EPPIC Inc, and the research assistants Azeneth Patino, Université Laval, Edem Gbetoglo,Université Laval, Nathalie Duponsel, Concordia University, Céleste Savoie, Université Laval, Isabelle Fournel, Université Laval, and Ivan Ruby, Concordia University.

A heartfelt thank you to the guest authors who contributed to the white paper (in alphabetical order): Barbar Akle PhD, Lebanese American University,  Fawzi Baroud PhD, UNESCO & Notre Dame University, Tony Bates PhD, Ryerson University & Contact Nord, Chris Dede PhD, Harvard University, Julie Desjardins PhD, Université de Sherbrooke, Rula Diab PhD, Lebanese American University, Moira Fischbacher-Smith PhD, University of Glasgow, Aline Germain-Rutherford PhD, University of Ottawa, David Hornsby PhD, Carleton University, Jaymie Koroluk, Carleton University, Hubert Lalande, University of Ottawa, Patrick Lyons, Carleton University, Florian Meyer PhD, Université de Sherbrooke, Richard Pinet, University of Ottawa, Annie Pilote PhD, Université Laval, Dragana Polovina-Vukovic, Carleton University, Bart Rienties PhD, Open University, Roland van Oostveen PhD, Ontario Tech University, and Laura Winer PhD, McGill University.

And a special shout-out to the nineteen Centres for Teaching and Learning and equivalent teams from Canada, the USA, Lebanon, the UK and France for their time and the experiences they shared with our team.  All centres were handling very difficult challenges and yet found time to support this report.

To cite the whitepaper:

Naffi, N., Davidson, A.-L., Snyder, D. M., Kaufman, R., Clark, R. E., Patino, A., Gbetoglo, E., Duponsel, N., Savoie, C., Beatty, B., Wallace, G., Fournel, I., Ruby, I., & Paquelin, D., Akle, B., Baroud, F., Bates, T., Dede, C., Desjardins, …Winer, L.. (2020).  Whitepaper: Disruption in and by centres for teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic leading the future of Higher Ed. Observatoire international sur les impacts sociétaux de l’IA et du numérique (OBVIA). https://www.docdroid.com/L0khasC/whitepaper-disruption-in-and-by-centres-for-teaching-and-learning-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-leading-the-future-of-higher-ed-21-08-2020-pdf


The International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of AI and Digital Technology (OBVIA) is an open research network that brings together the expertise of more than 200 researchers in Humanities and Social Sciences, Health, and Science and Engineering. It is also an open space for discussion and reflection for all stakeholders in the development and use of AI and digital technology.

Centred around a critical interrogation of technological innovations, the Observatory’s mission is to address crucial issues and identify plausible solutions for the problems and opportunities stemming from the rise of AI and digital technology in Quebec and elsewhere in the world.

We want to help define the common good that should be pursued by these innovations, by producing knowledge or carrying out research-creation projects on their social impact and by calling on democratic institutions. Our work is part of a responsible innovation perspective.



Recent Articles

Contact us

Suscribing Newsletter

Receive our latest news, upcoming events, news from our collaborators and more! (French version only avalaible)

The International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of AI and Digital Technology is made possible by the support of the Fonds de recherche du Québec.