September 22, 2020 at 2:08 pm
The MUT’s position on online learning
There is currently a lot of discussion related to online teaching and learning, with the MUT being quoted as being in favour or against by various stakeholders without specifying the exact details. In view of this, the MUT would like to clarify its position on the matter by explaining the difference in terms currently being used.
Online teaching and learning: this is a generic term for any type of remote learning where the educator and the students are not in the same classroom but their contact is through any online means. This includes live lessons of any type, recorded lessons of any type, videos, resources, through email and everything in between. As everyone knows, the MUT since March took a proactive role in relation to the smooth shift towards online teaching. The measures taken during this period, which included a total shift towards remote teaching, were necessary in view of the pandemic. The MUT is therefore not against online learning in principle, with some exceptions and conditions as per below.
Online live lesson: This type of online lesson is live and exclusively online, with both educator and students meeting through one of the online meeting platforms whether with video, audio only or in conjunction with some form of visible presentation. The MUT is not against, especially if schools have to close physically to safeguard the safety of all concerned. In this respect the MUT has been pushing for new specialised online teaching services by dedicated educators and/or entities, especially since all current practices affect the conditions of work of all educators and any new conditions and/or roles and/or services need to be agreed upon separately.
Live streaming of classroom lessons: In this type of online lesson the educator is expected to have both students physically in front of him/her and students listening/watching the lesson online. The MUT is against this type of online lesson, sometimes called P-R (physical-remote), as there are many issues. These include serious pedagogic issues, control of two different classes at the same time and also many issues related to privacy.
Hybrid: this term is used in a variety of ways. If it means to have a mix of online and physical learning opportunities at different times and/or by different educators, the MUT is not totally against depending on the format adopted by employers (it would depend on the system being proposed). If, on the other hand, it refers to the live streaming of classroom lessons, please see above.
In conclusion, the MUT is aware that online teaching and learning is a new experience for many educators, students, employers and parents. Educators have done their best to adapt to the situation, asking for help from their employer and the Union if need be. One thing is clear though – whatever system is adopted, one needs to safeguard the health and safety of educators, students and society. As always, the MUT thanks all educators for their constant support.