Changing the narrative on COVID-19: Shifting mindsets and teaching practices in higher education

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Policy Futures in Education

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In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, universities around the world urgently suspended face-to-face classes halted practicum field experiences, mandated temporary closures of campuses, and directed faculty to convert face-to-face courses to a hybrid format, all with very little time to prepare. This crisis created unsettled feelings. Varied perceptions along with a narrative of uncertainty, panic, fear, doubt, and dread emerged. Faculty were expected to provide effective learning opportunities and continuous learning experiences with little to no disruption. However, the processes involved in making this happen are elusive and complex. Five faculty from a higher education institution in the United Arab Emirates explored challenges and mechanisms, especially through the process of reflective vignettes. In order to collect and analyze data, collaborative autoethnography was employed as it is a fitting and timely research design and methodology. Collaborative autoethnography is a self-reflection alternative research approach that researchers use during global pandemics. Each vignette offers a first-hand account and experience. The five vignettes highlight tangible solutions and offer salient recommendations that may make the end result of this process smoother and the outcomes more favorable for both faculty and students. Ultimately, the faculty implemented a mindset for the moment and reflexively transformed how they engaged in teaching and learning. Consequently, the faculty moved past negative rhetoric and perception of fear, panic, and chaos, and as such, they changed the narrative on COVID-19.


SAGE Publications




Collaborative autoethnography, COVID-19, hybrid teaching and learning, remodeled pedagogical practices, United Arab Emirates

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Open Access