Dr. Ian Edwards is a lecturer in biosciences at University College London. Because of the coronavirus pandemic he, like all other university lecturers, is delivering tuition online but he’s taken it to a new level and it’s caused irritation and perhaps dismay. He spent at least 10 minutes discussing animal and human physiology from behind the wheel of his car while driving.
He was taking part in a Q&A session last week in a video call on his laptop which he had placed on the passenger seat. One student said, “I couldn’t believe it. It was so distracting because all you could hear were road noises”. Another said, “I’m sorry they tell us that online learning won’t affect teaching quality, bullshit, you can’t teach your class from your car. This would never happen if we were face to face”. The universities are facing a backlash from students, some of whom are demanding a rebate because of poor quality teaching as it is all online plus the heavy restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic leaving them captive like zoo animals in their bedsits.
When he reached his destination he continued after parking his car. He apologised later saying that he had to deal with a sudden family emergency. The device he used was hands-free and he said that he had changed his laptop settings to avoid being distracted by people calling in to the online app.
He justified his behaviour by saying that he did not want to let down his family or his students. But in hindsight he admits that he should not have continued with the Q&A session and cancelled it.
The University administrators said that they don’t condone teaching while driving. They discussed it with Edwards who agreed that it won’t happen again but he was forced to do it because of difficult circumstances.
Note: this little story is on this website because the lecturer was delivering tuition on animal and human physiology!