Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard Addresses Virtual Learning
For the greater part of this year, a tiny, submicroscopic, infectious agent has moved with deadly stealth, impacting our physical and mental health, social structure, economy and educational systems.
Educating during the pandemic of COVID-19 has had an unprecedented effect in the 21st century. As an example, since the spring of 2020, because of its lethal wake, the coronavirus has forced a change in how we learn and teach, impacting not only students and teachers, but entire families. Public and private, Pre-K through college, COVID-19 has presented herculean challenges to how we educate.
That topic has been recently, virtually explored by VuTech, a minority owned business that promotes panels of experts to examine issues that impact our lives.
Wilberforce University president, Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard, has been a featured, VuTech panelist twice, most recently Wednesday, August 26th. He assured the Zoom audience that even though our world has been upended by COVID-19, creativity and innovation will re-craft the future of education. Human beings, he said, are adaptable, and remote learning will be a bigger part of what it means to work and live in a virtual environment. That was how the university made the decision to open the fall semester, virtually.
“Our students are really fluent in virtual environments, they do all of their living virtually. All of what happens on social media, their use of social media devices, they know this world well.” – Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard, 22nd president, Wilberforce University –
Viruses feed off human behavior –and, in the case of COVID-19, how closely we align ourselves with recommendations from public health officials can determine whether there will be a universal, complete return to learning communities as we knew them.
The Wilberforce University community has also approached another test of durability, connecting the digital divide that exists for the student population. Undergraduate, postgraduate and adult education students will be provided with laptops and hot spots, and faculty will be trained to embrace the tool of virtual teaching.
Dr. Pinkard ignores negative opinions about remote learning. Because of the coronavirus’ impact, education has to maintain a continuum of academic study. He says it actually creates excitement in the university’s 165 year old history.
“This pandemic is ever changing and our response must be ever changing as well.”
Hosted by VuTech president, Dr. Guileine Kraft, the panel included, Osubi Craig, from the University of Florida, Dr. Laura Daugherty, The Catholic University of America, Naima Hopkins Vinson, Prince George’s County (Maryland) School District, and mental health expert, Dr. Vernessa Bowles, Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N. Carolina) School District.
The link to the one hour, fifteen minute discussion can be found on the Wilberforce University Facebook page.