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Exploring Inequalities in the Social, Spatial and Material Practices of Teaching and Learning in Pandemic Times

Boys, J; (2021) Exploring Inequalities in the Social, Spatial and Material Practices of Teaching and Learning in Pandemic Times. Postdigital Science and Education 10.1007/s42438-021-00267-z. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

This article conceptualises higher education as a complex and dynamic set of entangled social, spatial and material practices — enacted, adapted and contested across spaces and technologies as these interact with diverse learners, teachers, curricula and contexts. Using modes of enquiry that start from this inherent complexity and intersecting these with contemporary disability and education studies, I ask how some of the normative social and spatial practices of higher education are being surfaced by the pandemic. Rather than framing Covid-19 as a massive shift from ‘normal’ (face-to-face) to ‘abnormal’ (virtual) delivery modes, I propose that its impact both continues and alters assumptions about what constitutes ‘proper’ university education, and both perpetuates and disrupts what is ‘noticed’, valued and supported in conventional teaching and learning processes. To do this, I will focus on two themes in current HE practices in the UK, as examples of what such an approach can open-up to view. This starts from the already existing tensions, complexities and contradictions as to what should constitute appropriate teacher and student behaviours and settings, and how this ‘normality’ is often being perceived as being lost because of the pandemic. By engaging with existing literature about longer-term patterns of inequalities in access and inclusion across physical and virtual HE learning environments, I hope to show some underlying problems in how student competency is being evidenced in virtual as compared to physical space and some ways the pandemic has exposed the unevenness of diverse student and staff relationships to space, time and technologies and the differential impacts on their educational experiences.

Type: Article
Title: Exploring Inequalities in the Social, Spatial and Material Practices of Teaching and Learning in Pandemic Times
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s42438-021-00267-z
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-021-00267-z
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett Sch of Const and Proj Mgt > Bartlett Real Estate Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10138458
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