By Kim Johnson, ICUDDR
I was reading an article today about why a professor was going to miss teaching on zoom : https://www.chronicle.com/article/why-i-will-miss-zoom-teaching?cid=gen_sign_in (It might make you register and sign in, but the newsletter is free). One of the things he mentions is how easy it has been to get experts from all over the world to present to his classes. I have had a similar experience. Thanks to those of you that have spoken to my class and brought them a broader view of how things work in other parts of the world.
It got me thinking about some comments some of you have made to me over the course of the past couple years as well as some of the responses to our survey both in 2018 and 2020. You are looking for opportunities to do exchanges and teach in each other’s programs. I have been thinking about how we can facilitate that and wondering what the bureaucratic burden would be. In pre-COVID days, it seemed that the cost of transport and housing might be prohibitive, but now I am thinking that faculty exchange in online courses should not be so difficult to organize.
In the United States we have courtesy appointments that are used mostly for conducting research rather than teaching. Generally, we use them to make data sharing and joint analysis easier. It seems like we could use a structure like that to co-teach courses for or with each other. Why should teaching be different from research? I would be curious to know your thoughts on this and whether there is such a structure in your universities. Are there processes that would facilitate faculty having a “courtesy”, meaning unfunded, post at another university?
If the bureaucratic processes are not excessive, I think ICUDDR could facilitate faculty exchange for virtual teaching. I imagine it as co-teaching courses where we pair faculty in two universities and they teach one course together each semester, maybe splitting it up so that a course is co-taught in one university in one semester and the same team co-teaches a course at the other university the next semester. Is this a crazy idea? Does anyone want to pilot an exchange? I think this could be a way to improve our teaching skills and to bring the experience of different countries to each of our classrooms. Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in trying it out.