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World, interrupted: Online learning in the time of a pandemic

, , University of Johannesburg, South Africa

EdMedia + Innovate Learning, in Online, The Netherlands ISBN 978-1-939797-50-6 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


This position paper considers the views and opinions of a cohort of educators at a variety of levels –primary and secondary schools, Higher Education Institutions, as well as corporate training - busy with an online programme on ICTs in education when the pandemic led to the immediate lockdown of schools. We document the process of lockdown in a developing context and how it impacted on the lives of these participants as they dealt first-hand with the realities of teaching during a pandemic. Using direct quotations from discussion forums in the online module, as well as structured journal entries by the participants, we highlight both good and bad practices, stories of struggle and success, as well as accounts of uncertainty and hope. The notion of anticipatory anxiety as a result of social lockdown restrictions during this time will also be covered in terms of its impact on mental health and wellbeing, with special reference to the neuroscience that underpins this phenomenon. Strategies for management of this autonomic activation to build resilience and coping skills will also be discussed, as well as the need to address issues of cognitive dissonance and fatigue caused by increased online interactions. As we approach a gradual return to the “old normal” (which some of us believe we should not do) while still watching the approaching tsunami of COVID-19 peak, these important issues will become more relevant as we surf the waves that are still to come.


Lautenbach, G. & Randell, N. (2020). World, interrupted: Online learning in the time of a pandemic. In Proceedings of EdMedia + Innovate Learning (pp. 65-72). Online, The Netherlands: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved June 19, 2021 from .