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Perspectives in Education ; 41(1):137-154, 2023.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-20244159


Before the COVID-19 pandemic, technology-enhanced learning and its relation to student engagement, and the necessity of good student-staff relationships for creating a successful education environment were evident. The COVID-19 pandemic forced higher education to adapt to a challenging technology-led learning environment that demanded, inter alia, high levels of flexibility and human-centredness. Valuable lessons were learned that highlighted new perspectives on curriculum design and delivery in a normalised, technology-driven environment. Against the background of COVID-19-related literature on teaching and learning, the authors reflect on their insights regarding curriculum design and delivery of two quantitative skills modules during the COVID-19 pandemic, and its impact on further curriculum planning. The focus of the article is on the intentional flexibility built into curriculum offerings during 2020-2022. The study reviewed flexibility on three levels, namely student, facilitator (staff) and delivery levels, through a multi-method research methodology. Quantitative data related to the academic performance of 2 949 students enrolled for the two quantitative skills modules from 2020 to 2022. Qualitative data related to themes through thematic analysis of student and facilitator surveys, focusgroup discussions and semi-structured interviews. The improved student academic performance reported by the study could be attributed to, amongst other factors, 1) flexibility of the selected delivery option, 2) positive staff and student experiences and engagement, and 3) intentional inclusion of activities promoting student-staff relationships. The good academic results obtained during the pandemic led to important curriculum decisions for a normalised future for these modules, which will be built on flexibility and human-centredness. Among these decisions is to continue presenting the modules in an online environment, even though traditional face-to-face teaching options are available.