Key Focus/Theme: It is the worst—and the best—of times!
For many of us with affection for the machinery of conventional campus-based education, this is the worst of times. From Melbourne to Manchester, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the disruption of entire education ecosystems. Economies and businesses that have thrived on the education industry are in turmoil, and many may never recover. Vanguards of the campus-based learning experience from Cambridge to Yale, which have thrived on their age-old traditions and reputations of small-group teaching and the campus-based experience, announced that they are locking up and taking their learning and teaching operations online. As a result, almost overnight, students have had to get used to learning online, and their parents have had to become tutors, while they themselves worked from home. Questions and criticisms about the veracity of distance education, and if it is as effective and efficient as the conventional classroom-based face-to-face educational experience, do not matter anymore. How should we respond to the crises that education is facing in the wake of COVID-19?