On the Perks and Perils of Teaching Online

Wittenborg Lecturer Nátalia Leal "Passionate" about Empowering Others

Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences has reopened all its campuses in the Netherlands and is restarting more activities on location. This week, we checked in with lecturer Natalia Leal who teaches Master in Business Management (MBM) modules on the advantages of lecturing online and what she looks forward to teaching in person again.

Leal, who holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Kent in the UK, was chief executive of the World Fair Trade Organisation. Aside from lecturing, she also acts as a public speaker and as a life career and executive coach. She describes herself as someone passionate about helping and empowering others in gaining control of their lives. "I am continuously searching for personal growth and ways of supporting others in making conscious decisions and effective plans towards a happy life."

Leal says what made her stay positive during the COVID-19 crisis was the nice early spring weather the Netherlands experienced this year. "… but also realising how lucky she was to have a nice place to work from and online friends she could reach out to.

"In the beginning I had to learn how to do webinars and was really spending a lot of time at my desk in front of my computer, as most other people I presume. I do enjoy dressing more casually, on those days when nobody is meant to see me!"

As a freelance worker she did not have to adjust to many changes workwise, but says that although online teaching did save her a lot of commuting time she missed face-to-face meetings. "Not being able to see people's reactions and adjust your communication accordingly. Most communication is non-verbal, so with sound only we miss a lot of cues."

"I cook more and use an app to help me exercise at home"

She tried to make use of her free time as well as possible under the semi-lockdown spanning more than two months in the Netherlands. "I tried to cook more often and talk with friends I had not been in contact with for a while. I also started using an app to help me exercise at home. One of the things I took for granted before was being able to take a walk whenever and wherever I chose to."

WUP 17/6/2020
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press