Race Update 4 – EDI concerns during Covid-19

by | Mar 20, 2020 | Race Update | 0 comments

No one has answers to the ongoing Covid-19 situation but this blog suggests some questions that we might ask ourselves and invites your feedback too re History in Higher Education. Are there ways to identify, address and mitigate any unintended negative effects of pedagogic change associated with Covid 19 that fall disproportionately on ‘protected groups’?

The big question in the long-term: “What might a post-pandemic Higher Education system look like?”

There has been much twitter conversation around the difficulties of online learning, both on the pressure on staff to deliver immediately and on students to radically switch to this new mode. Many have been sharing how particular groups, working-class students, BME groups, disabled students – all those with existing barriers to an equal opportunity to learn will be faced with countless more barriers.

For one, (I) not having a quiet space to work – having a desk or even not sharing a room with siblings is a privilege many students won’t have. (II). Going home to families and being disconnected from all your social support groups. We know differences of opinion are rife between families at the best of times, how can these students maintain solidarity with their peers in isolation. (III). Coping with the mental and physical impact of this pandemic.

Plenty of studies have shown that disadvantaged groups suffer in this already unequal system of learning (see previous Race Updates) and how can we mitigate even a margin of this?

I don’t have many answers but I think it’s still worthwhile to ask the questions.

So here are some resources that might prove useful. Please respond to this blog and I’ll keep adding and updating as appropriate :-

Here is an RHS thread on online databases that students can make use of (highlights include JSTOR, Muse, BL): https://twitter.com/RoyalHistSoc/status/1240594068708737025

And for parents who are now faced with home-schooling: https://www.theedublogger.com/teaching-online-school-closures/

There are museums that are doing virtual gallery tours: https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/virtual-travel-experiences-vr-museums-galleries-national-parks-coronavirus-lockdown-a9409776.html

We could do something like: https://twitter.com/museumhour/status/1239827121926742016 #MuseumHour where those in the industry get together (online) for an hour every week to discuss all things museums. Maybe a #HistoryHour?

http://theprofessorisin.com/ has a very lively Facebook page with mainly US-based updates.

Whilst we are not expecting students (and ourselves) to continue business as usual, EDI questions should be asked even if we don’t have the answers…

Please feel free to email me at pastandpresentfellow@royalhistsoc.org with and questions or comments.

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