Many researchers responded to our Covid19 call for papers, blogs, and research projects. Please see the contributions of CEITR affiliates at this page.
We greatly appreciate all these wonderful contributions.
Social Distancing and its Implications for Conducting Research Related to COVID19
The first cases of coronavirus were recorded in China between November and December 2019. In a short span, COVID-19 has spread beyond the Chinese borders to more than 180 countries. Some of the most affected countries include Italy, the United States of America, and Spain. The increasing spread of COVID-19 has brought social, religious, economic, and business activities to a standstill. COVID-19 spreads by getting in contact with the infected person. In the bid to curb the spread of the diseases, institutions have had to adopt social distancing measures. Currently, there is no cure for COVID-19. Scientists, researchers, and medical personnel are working around the clock to find a treatment.
Social Distancing and its Implications for Conducting Research
Social distancing is a term that refers to actions taken to interrupt or minimize the spread of highly contagious diseases, such as COVID-19, by reducing contact between healthy and potentially infected individuals (Wilder-Smith & Freedman, 2020). Literature indicates that social distancing has proved to be a useful tool in handling pandemics. The measure helps to protect the vulnerable groups such as the elderly and decreases the peak magnitude of the disease, which might overwhelm the healthcare capacity. Most of the countries implement community-level social distancing (lockdown) when containment efforts such as contact tracing prove insufficient in slowing down the pandemic (Wilder-Smith & Freedman, 2020).
Despite the advantages, social distancing presents adverse effects when it comes to conducting research related to the coronavirus (Long, 2020). The implementation of community-level social distancing measures has seen many people confined to their homes as universities, research institutions, medical schools, and science labs are closed to reduce physical contact. The measure has reduced the number of human resources required to carry out the necessary research to come up with solutions to this pandemic (Long, 2020). Therefore, it calls for the relevant institutions to come up with alternative strategies, such as homeschooling, to continue with research related to the coronavirus.
Best Practices for Transitioning to Online Education
As most of the universities, medical schools, and medical research institutions have closed their doors to students, it is high time that they come up with effective online education strategies to continue with research (Barrett, 2010). Some of the best practices that would help the institutions transition to online education include building a learning management system, developing the relevant professionals, establishing student, and technology support services.
An LMS (Learning Management System) provides the necessary tools for building online courses and creating productive learning environments. Keengwe and Kidd (2010) indicate that institutions without an LMS in place should start by establishing one while those with one should ensure that they have adequate resources to support the system.
The next step would be to develop the professionals that will be using the system to teach online classes. The relevant institutions should ensure that their staffs undergo the necessary training to enable them to teach the online courses effectively (Keengwe & Kidd, 2010).
Alongside the LMS, the institutions should ensure that they have the students and technology support services in place (Barrett, 2010). As the instructors and the students are only going to interact on the platform, institutions should ensure that they are "staffed up" to cater for the student needs 24/7.
Most research centers and medical schools have been forced to close down due to the ravaging effects of COVID-19. Currently, the situation does not seem to improve as more coronavirus cases are being reported daily. Therefore, most of the institutions conducting research relating to the coronavirus have been forced to take their learning online.