I spent the best part of Monday preparing, planning and rehearsing for the QAA online workshop on Maintaining quality in an online learning environment I am participating in.
An article I write was published in University Business this week. Regular readers of the blog will realise that this was a reworked (and polished) version of a blog post I published a few weeks back.
Throughout the pandemic, universities have done their utmost to make sure continuity of learning has been maintained as much as possible, and the pace at which the sector has moved is amazing. But now that the initial period of response is coming to a close, and universities are starting to look at more long-term options, a consideration of online pedagogy and strategy will be important.
On Tuesday I had another article published, this time in The PIE News.
As coronavirus turns the traditional university experience upside down, changing the ways we design and deliver teaching, are contact hours still a valuable mark of quality?
I spent most of the day in my Senior TEL Group meeting where we discussed the group’s current challenges and what potentially kind of support from Jisc they need. Issues that did arise included workload planning, curriculum scheduling and timetabling.
On Wednesday, UUK published the results of a survey on how universities will deliver teaching and learning this autumn.
97% of universities surveyed confirmed that they will provide in-person teaching at the start of term this year, with 78 universities (87%), also stating that they will offer in-person social opportunities to students, including outside events and sporting activities, all in line with government and public health guidance.
Thursday I did two online presentations, one was part of a QAA workshop on Maintaining quality in an online learning environment in which we will look at some of the key quality assurance issues that universities will face in the new academic year.
This session will include an update on COVID-19 before moving to a focus on the pedagogy of online teaching and learning and how this underpins quality. We will discuss key messages from a range of sources regarding maintaining quality in an online environment, before hearing applied examples from providers.
I also ran a session at Jisc’s Connect Morewhich I have called What of the future?My session was asking delegates to think about what happens next? What they think they need to do? As well as what they want support and help with to make it happen? This was a challenging session, despite having 80+ people in the Zoom session, there wasn’t many contributions from the delegates. I am not sure if it was my session, or the fact that it was the last session of the day, or the platform (we were using the Zoom webinar platform) didn’t necessarily facilitate engagement that well. In the end I did a quick presentation about my thinking of what the short term future means for universities and colleges.
I have been thinking following conversations earlier this week about scheduling of hybrid and blended programmes on a socially distanced campus.
So we know many universities are planning for blended and hybrid programmes with some aspects of courses delivered physically, but socially distanced. Some parts will be delivered online through tools such as Zoom, Teams and the VLE. Some will be asynchronous, but some won’t.
My question is this, where (physically) are you expecting your students to access those online aspects of their programmes, especially those which are synchronous? They will need a device and an internet connection, but they will also need a physical space to participate as well.
Imagine a commuter student (or a student who lives some distance from the university) who has arrived on campus for a physical face to face seminar and then needs to attend an online session. Where are they expected to do that? If they are to be on campus, where would they go? Would they know where they could go? Are they expected to go “home”?
My top tweet this week was this one.
Not sure if it is the worst…. it is bad! The Sovereign Centre in Weston-super-Mare. It has a food court with NO food outlets to buy food from! Loads of empty shops and plans to turn it into a health centre. pic.twitter.com/us5RAJwCIS
— James Clay (@jamesclay) June 15, 2020