Odysseus University: Voyages and Returns in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education During a Global Crisis
Teaching and learning are always a series of voyages and returns.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, swaths of books about the pivot to online learning have emerged, many focused on practical classroom instruction as a much-needed kind of spiritual manna in a time comprised of uncertainty and abrupt shifts in normative praxes. These contributions capture a historical watershed moment where the voyage is key (e.g., Chan, Bista, and Allen, 2021; Jansen and Farmer-Phillips, 2021; Lemov, 2020; Reimers et al., 2020; Grays-Wiley, 2020).
This volume interprets these many practical offerings of potential teaching excellence as journeys grounded in temporal frameworks, especially the notions of moving forward or moving on. Such enumerations of cutting-edge pedagogy, in fact, also carry the idea of leaving behind, even a lopping off of older or defunct techniques or ideas—hence the word “cut”—just as they invoke a kind of daredevil willingness to push the boundaries of what has already been done, to travel to some uncharted territory, to some learning space or place not yet imagined—thus, the term “edge.”
But what if we double back on what we already know? What if we re-envision classroom innovation in terms of constant returns, corkscrews tracing our lived trajectories of moving out and abroad but also going home again? This motion-full vision also demands attention to the all-important pause—in the case of this proposed volume, linguistic and affective rumination on how our classroom choices on our journeys have or haven’t positively evolved our classrooms. Even more, a return-focused philosophy demands nixing unilaterally directional explanations for our pedagogy, for do we ever leave what we know fully behind? And do we never return to where we were before, uninfluenced by our voyages?
We believe that it is time to pause again. With many having moved to online teaching and learning in the earlier stages of the pandemic, and with many instructors propelling themselves through the winds of “new” teaching strategies that made sense in insensible times, many of us have returned to physical classrooms, ourselves, perhaps, embodiments of our online experiences—materially present but also driven by the opportunities provided via virtual spaces. The chapters included in this collection look to join the lessons from intensive online journeying in teaching and learning with our return to brick and mortar classrooms so that we may reflect on how our experiences have reshaped our pedagogical philosophies.
Some questions that writers may tend to include, but are not limited to, the following.
- What ideas about teaching do we bring with us when we return home?
- Once there, how do we implement our new ideas in once-familiar spaces?
- How have we, and our students, changed, and what seems the same?
- What will we take with us from these physical experiences when we move into virtual worlds again and again, likely with new variants effecting large populations of people and/or with many institutions of higher education implementing more online education opportunities to reach new students?
- How did prior knowledge inform online transformations in pedagogy, and similarly, how does what is now prior knowledge from virtual experiences assist in instructional choices as we return to face-to-face or blended classrooms?
- What are the lessons of feedback and assessment?
- How have community-engagement or internship experiences evolved?
- How have your students’ experiences operated in your classroom evolutions?
We have some select manuscripts that will already be included in this volume. However, we are seeking more to accompany this work. We are particularly interested in receiving submissions about teaching from programs and disciplines across the university. Abstracts of 300-500 words addressing how faculty of higher education have adjusted in times of both journeying and returning should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org by March 31, 2022. We are researching appropriate publishers for this project.