They think it’s all over… – Weeknote #69 – 26th June 2020

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

So what do you understand by the term blended learning? What about an online course? A hybrid programme? Could you provide a clear explanation of what student wellbeing is? At the end of last week I published a blog post on language.

Last week I delivered two presentations, one was a planned presentation for a QAA workshop, the other, well it wasn’t supposed to be a presentation, but due to a lack of response from the audience in the networking session I was in, I quickly cobbled together a presentation based on the slides I had used for the QAA.

I pulled together the idea into a single blog post. It is a combination and an expansion of the presentations I delivered about my thoughts of what happened, what then happened, what we need to think about and what we could do.

So we know many universities are planning for blended and hybrid programmes with some aspects of courses delivered physically, but socially distanced.  My question is this, where (physically) are those universities expecting their 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. This was the question I asked in another blog post I published this week. Though as the week went on we saw the government start to ease the lockdown restrictions. I suspect we will see some (or even most) universities follow suit.

Dave White

That Dave White (who also became ALT President this week) blogged about the lecture paradox which reminds me of his eventedness talk at ALT-C ten years ago. 

The lecture is one of the easiest teaching formats to ‘replicate’ online and one of the most high risk during COVID-19. So why do students appear to be missing on-site lectures so much when they can learn just as much from the online version?

His perspective is something that echoes my translation work, you can easily translate physical experiences to online ones, but you lose the nuance and hidden aspects of the physical, however you also lose the potential affordances that digital can provide. Sometimes transformation is required over translation.

This was something I also discussed in an introductory meeting with a new member of staff, talking about how the experience was not the same as sitting down for coffee together in our Portwall Lane office, but we were able to share links and content over Teams, which would be more challenging to do over coffee.

Jisc's Portwall Lane Office, Bristol
Jisc’s Portwall Lane Office, Bristol

I enjoyed Dave Cormier’s perspective on contact hours, How much ‘work’ should my online course be for me and my students?

How much work is too much (or too little) work for my students? How much work is too much work for my TAs or for me? How do I design an online course? A post where i propose ‘Total Work Hours‘ as a replacement for the Course/Credit Hour.

This was a similar topic to one I had written about for 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? The concept of contact hours is enshrined in many module specifications and course descriptions, yet the guidance on contact hours that universities use was first published by the QAA as long ago as August 2011. Although it is clear and (historically) useful, this doesn’t reflect the changes over the last nine years in online delivery – or the current Covid-19 landscape.

The weather was really hot this week with temperatures exceeding 30°C my car even got a little too warm with the temperature gauge saying it was 39°C…

Over the last couple of months in lockdown I have written various blog posts about the challenges that universities and colleges have faced with their emergency response to dealing with the coronavirus lockdown and planning for a new academic year amidst, translation and transformationhybrid curriculumsocial distanced campuses and a huge helping of uncertainty. That uncertainty is certainly a big challenge and in the last few days we have seen the government make big changes to the lockdown restrictions in place, and have planned further easing of lockdown. This was the background to a new post, Do we need to worry so much?

Over the week I have been thinking about and working on vignettes about possible future universities. Not so much a university on the moon, more something along the lines of the localised university, or the responsive university.  This has been interesting but also quite challenging.

My top tweet this week was this one.

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