Conference to promote research on COVID-19 lifestyle, learning difficulties and student adaptations
What will the world of higher education look like after the COVID-19 pandemic? Are we always going to rely on online learning, virtual communication and social distancing? How will our capacity for empathy continue to increase or decrease?
Dr Andrew R. Smith, who teaches in the Department of Communications, Journalism and Media in Edinboro, will be one of four keynote speakers on these topics and more at the international conference. “Rethinking higher education for a post-pandemic worldÂ»- a partnership between several universities and institutes in Morocco. The title of his lecture is “Wellness and Online Learning in a Pandemic: Harmonization as a Communication Practice”.
The conference, which was held virtually on June 24-25 for higher education administrators, professors and students, is an opportunity for practitioners, researchers and education stakeholders to share the results of research and evidence relating to the problem of learning during the COVID-19 crisis.
Adjunct professor at Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco, Smith was senior Fulbright researcher there in 1998-1999 and Fulbright specialist on communication, culture and conflict in 2011. He is also a member of the Research Group on Language, Culture and Society at the Center for Doctoral Studies and has conducted fieldwork and offered seminars in Morocco during the summer months for over 20 years.
In the spring semester of 2021, students graduating from Smith’s Communication Methods course conducted research on student experiences with ‘e-learning and wellness during the pandemic’ through in-depth interviews. with graduate peers in Edinboro and elsewhere. The emphasis was on personal and professional relationships, changes in orientation over time and space, and overall physical, emotional and mental health.
âThe in-depth interviews were based on those categories that define their well-being and their ability to learn and learn online on a full schedule,â said Smith, who led the master of arts degree program. in communication. for two decades. “We focused on relationships and this notion of harmonization – not just empathy, but maintaining attention, thinking in terms of others, and faculty and students find it difficult to be in sync with each other. distance.”
Edinburgh graduate students who participated in the research project include Dominick DiRienzo, Kimberly Firestine, Melissa Giardini, Jessica Gray, Mia Harvey, Aulden Knight, Macala Leigey, Abigale Shick, Nathan Steis, Darian Switzer, Hannah Taylor, and Ashley Troutman. The 12 students will be introduced as co-authors of Smith’s opening speech.
According to the conference website, this academic event is a platform to discuss the many issues surrounding emergency distance education and its implications for teaching and learning processes. Participants and contributors will address themes and sub-themes, particularly those that offer stimulating perspectives on post-pandemic higher education.
âWhat can we learn from this? So many things or our ordinary lives have been turned upside down by the pandemic, âSmith said. âAnd a lot of our usual ways of interacting with people have been radically transformed. What did this reveal? ”
At Edinboro, Smith teaches courses in Intercultural Communication, Conflict Management, Human Language and Conduct, Freedom of Expression, and has supervised more than 30 master’s theses. He also co-supervises doctoral theses under the aegis of the Moroccan-American Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchanges based in Rabat.
Smith joins Dr Hassan Radoine, director of programming at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University; Dr Youssef Yacoubi, of Seton Hall University in New Jersey; and Dr. Devin Thornburg, Adelphia University in New York as keynote speakers.
The first annual conference is organized by the SCALEC Research Laboratory of Moulay Ismail University in Meknes, Morocco – in collaboration with International Education of Students in Morocco, Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences of Mohammed V University, and the University Ibn Zohr, Agadir, Morocco.