Jen shares her tips for teaching online during the COVID-19 lockdown
While the streets of New Zealand became eerily quiet as the country went into lockdown on 26 March 2020, behind the scenes at Wintec, staff had never been busier.
Wintec teaching and support staff were stepping up their preparations to deliver programmes online to students.
Some staff have extensive experience teaching online, others none at all. All were faced with a number of challenges as we all adjusted to our new normal - staying at home to battle Covid-19.
Jen Takuira has worked at Wintec for six months, teaching Human Resource Management and Applied Practice for Accounting at Wintec’s Centre for Business and Enterprise.
In Jen’s bubble, at home in Hamilton, are her husband, teenage son, sister-in-law and her 84-year-old Dad.
So far, it’s her dad who is has been the biggest challenge.
“Dad is very active and independent and likes to go out at least once a day. On the first day of lockdown he tried to get out of the house by saying he had to pay a bill at the Post Office. No Dad, nothing is open, you have to stay inside!” laughs Jen.
On a personal note, Jen is relishing the chance to get back to basics and get her home in order. She’s also pretty happy to relegate cooking duties to her son who she says is the family’s very own Master Chef.
While on lockdown, Jen is sticking to her usual routine. She gets up at 5.45am, completes her chores while everyone is still asleep and starts her teaching day at 8am.
Jen didn’t have much experience teaching online and was feeling anxious about how it would all work.
In her first online class, she says everything that could go wrong, did go wrong!
“The internet connection was dropping in and out so my students couldn’t hear me, and I couldn’t hear them. I changed to another device, audio was perfect and communication was going well, but I couldn't share my screen with students.
“The highlight was having a laugh with my students and the students telling me how to fix the problem. I believe this is called a flipped classroom!”
In less than a week, Jen has learnt how to operate technology more efficiently and is loving teaching online.
“The team Zoom training and videos and the support from my colleagues and managers have made this transition so much easier,” she says.
Her advice for others who are working from home is: keep to your normal routine, be prepared, check your digital devices, be kind to yourself when things don’t go to plan…and most importantly, enjoy!
“Being on lockdown has been a chance to appreciate what you have in terms of resources and getting to know your family all over again. This is truly a blessing in a way, because it is humbling the world,” Jen concludes.
Find out more about studying business programmes at Wintec Centre for Business and Enterprise.