Beyond COVID Chaos: What Postsecondary Educators Learned from the Online Pivot

Terence Day, Okanagan College
Calvin King Lam Chung, Chinese University of Hong Kong
William E. Doolittle, University of Texas
Paul N. McDaniel, Kennesaw State University


The online pivot has opened many people’s eyes to new possibilities and challenges in the postpandemic world. This article describes what five geographers in three different countries learned from the experiment and assesses how the lessons can be carried forward. One of the big surprises for some of us was the extent to which students were open to different ways of learning during the 2020–2021 academic year. It is clear that some students wish to continue their programs either partially or completely online, although it is also clear that students continue to enjoy field work. The online pivot also showed us that assessment needs to be reexamined, student stress levels need to be lowered, and inequities among students need to be addressed. There are challenges associated with online education across international borders. From a faculty perspective, we have found that nobody needs to be isolated from research opportunities and collaboration, but there are also limits on what we can do. There are growing threats to academic freedom, and we need to move faculty away from precarious employment. Finally, some of us learned the importance of work–life balance.