Teaching Matters 2020 | Presentation Details | 2 December 20202 Dec 2020
Does digital connection endanger student connectedness? Considering teaching and learning connection idiosyncrasies within police tertiary education
- Kate Cashman, Policing and Emergency Management/Law, CALE
- Isabelle Bartkowiak-Théron, Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies, CALE
The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated new ways to teach and engage with tertiary students. This has certainly challenged, if not overhauled, the delivery of tertiary education. In the context of service teaching, or industry relationships, staff at UTAS have had to become creative in finding new ways of working; from smooth online-supported delivery, to awkward online ‘tinkering’ and bricolage. The public health-mandated need to depart from comfortable, known modes of face-to-face teaching and learning has had an undeniable impact on lecturers, students, and industry stakeholders. In this presentation, we analyse the experience of staff in the Policing and Emergency Management discipline, and that of police recruits and officers in transitioning to learning online.
We explore the challenges of online delivery of material to cohorts of students with a wide variety of backgrounds, learning profiles and tertiary education experiences. We argue that ‘connection’ and ‘connectedness’ have been impacted in new uncomfortable ways, especially when students become suddenly mobilised in the field. We also posit that the organisational and individual responses to what was an inconvenient but necessary context were undeniably admirable, yet marked with stoicism. We support our argument with examples of traditional curriculum delivery transferred to online learning; as well as student feedback on lessons, collected as part of the usual Tasmania Police education process.
The idiosyncrasies of teaching police officers, at the academy or in the field, have presented unique trials in terms of engagement, connectedness and translation of relationship dynamics in the fully online environment. At the macro-level, it has also presented staff with a further opportunity to 1) become creative in RE-connecting practitioners to the professionalisation-via-tertiary-education agenda, and 2) consider how to generalise these learnings to other industries.