Exploring online learning as an avenue for equity and decolonial praxis amid the COVID crisis

Exploring online learning as an avenue for equity and decolonial praxis amid the COVID crisis: re-imagining Africa-UK connections and international development curricula

School:  Social and Political Science

Team Members: Sam Spiegel, Nelson Oppong, George Karekwaivanane, Jean-Benoit Falisse


The COVID19 pandemic has dramatically reconfigured all facets of education globally, generating complex challenges for inclusivity, diversity, equity and decolonization of international development post-graduate programmes. There is growing recognition that the pandemic needs to be an impetus for radical change, requiring critical thinking on ways to widen participation and new approaches to curricula on international development, decolonial praxis and inequality.

This PTAS project will facilitate explorations among faculty, tutors and students in the University of Edinburgh’s Centre of African Studies to examine experiences on aspects of inclusivity and equality in teaching and learning, exploring challenges students face in development and humanitarianism-oriented courses amid the pandemic; it will also explore creative and new pedagogic possibilities associated with ‘moving online’. The project will do this through original analysis of experiences emerging from curricula changes in post-graduate courses, including longstanding online courses and courses that recently ‘became’ online/hybrid amid the COVID19 crisis.

Offering insight on experiences expressed by international students and UK students, tutors and faculty, case studies will explore how curricula interrelate with practitioner experiences in humanitarianism and development work, including through the Displacement and Development course (exploring issues faced by populations disproportionately affected by COVID19 crises) and other courses focused in African contexts. This project will also examine what it means to think about online education in relation to ‘work placement’ and ‘practice’-oriented projects, exploring linkages between students and faculty members learning ‘inside’ the virtual classroom (including critical theories and decolonial epistemologies) and wider communities of learning and practice.