Please do share the information and links to the national CATE and NTF webinars widely! presented as part of AdvanceHE and Association for National Teaching Fellows Committee (ANTF) promotional activity for these schemes….
James Derounian, from the Association of National Teaching Fellows, offers practical tips on delivering quality distance learning for quarantined students (and staff!) …… reproduced with permission – thank you!
There are none so zealous as the reformed
smoker and now – distant-deliverers of higher education teaching and learning.
For years distant and blended learning were seen by managers as a Cinderella,
non-conforming administrative nuisance. But we’re all born-again remote
teachers now, c/o Covid-19.
My overriding advice is to embrace distance
learning as not only good for part-timers or students at a distance from an
HEI, but to recognise that what’s good for the remote student is likewise for
those used to face-to-face. Both depend on fundamentals like clarity of
communication, regular checking on student understanding of material, and
enabling a conversation and exchange to take place between student and
lecturer. It’s important to treat distant students as if they are face-to-face
in the sense of regular ‘appearances’ online, preferably on a set time and day
(for example in their usual/ expected lecture slot), in order to overcome the feeling,
they may otherwise develop, that they are out of sight and out of mind. It’s
crucial – as with all students – to build trust, dependability &
relationship, and to be responsive to their concerns and not just leave them
hanging in the ether.
Synchronous contact sessions, that is where
student and staff are ‘present’ together using technologies like Moodle/
Virtual Learning Environments VLEs, or the BBB (Big Blue Button) enable
interaction that mimics face-to face. You can have virtual break-out groups;
intersperse ‘talk and chalk’ with electronic polls to garner student inputs;
you and students can post questions to stimulate discussion. And the real
beauty is that – unlike the one-off nature of much conventional lecturing – the
online session can be recorded quite simply, and thereby become a permanent
record and resource for students to return to, at times and places that suit
them, as opposed to fitting with a set timetable. It also increases social
distancing and thereby, hopefully, likelihood of transmitting or receiving an
infection, such as the Corona virus.
Online also offers opportunities for electronic
assessment preparation, support and feedback. Use of VLEs in a time of
self-isolation can be complemented by e-mail exchange with students, mobile
phone or ‘conference call’ tutorials, or use of platforms such as FaceTime and
Skype. Of course the assessment must fit the module, purpose and learning
outcomes; and it is a (necessary) pain to have to revise assessment briefs in
light of social distancing; but the rewards can be great and unexpected.
Take the example of a group essay produced
by virtual groups of students via Moodle. The task was for undergraduates who
typically didn’t know each other, to work in electronic groups of 3 or 4 to
produce a team essay on the principles of community-based work. In the process
of assembling this essay students practiced aspects of community development,
such as inclusion, integration of work, partnership and division of tasks. A
portion of the marks was awarded on the basis of how the individual student
reflected on the assignment, by linking their experience to the principles they
had been studying: were any members excluded because they came late to the
party/ group chat? Did everyone pull their weight or were there passengers? Did
individuals contribute complementary skills – one as editor, another as a researcher
and so on? What this example clearly showed was that the process is the product – in the sense that where
a group worked well together, the resulting essay was invariably decent. In a
few cases, of course, the reverse was true – where they didn’t rub along and
fell out over who does what and when, they crashed and burned. There’s a life
and study lesson! One of the students commented ““I feel that the task turned
out to be just like belonging to a real live community. One dropped out due to
too much work, one had to leave through ill health …I feel that a successful
outcome was achieved by taking ownership of the task.”
Or you could pose an online question as a
time-limited marked task, to replace a conventional exam. A year back I
moderated an online conversation amongst about 20 level six (final year)
undergraduates. This was as part of a sociology/criminology module studying
power in the modern world; a highly topical subject at a time of climate change
and Brexit! Students had 1,600 words, and were required to electronically post
contributions as part of a conversation with their peers; in the form of
roughly 4 x 400 word inputs that could not be set-piece paragraphs, but rather needed
to demonstrate that they responded to points from others. I explained this to
them as like being at a party, where someone starts a conversation – in this
case me – with “to what extent can local communities influence decision-making?
and they then interacted and developed the dialogue across the class.
I’m also a big fan of short, sharp
podcasts, especially when it comes to material that you might otherwise repeat
over and over to individual students. For example, I have been sending out
4-minute voice only casts, weekly, covering typical sections of an
undergraduate dissertation: Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology,
Analysis and Discussion, Conclusions and Recommendations; appendices.
I never thought a pandemic would vault
distance learning in to the mainstream. But it’s gone……. viral. Keep as safe as
you can colleagues and families, and students.
The Association of National Teaching Fellows Symposium 5/6 March
Well what a difference a month makes! The Association of
National Teaching Fellows (ANTF) made it just under the radar – our annual
symposium ran at the start of March. Newly elected to the committee, it was my
to both National Teaching fellows and interested academics, the symposium
consisted of four topical themes:
Excellence in Teaching and learning
Building your own impact
Promoting diversity, well being and resilence
Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence strand (CATE )
And as we start…
Here is Dr Caroline Coles (pictured with Debbie Holley, left;) our inspiring and super organised Chair, as she gets ready to welcome over 100 participants. Karen Hustler from (pictured below) dvanceHE, our huge supporters, advocates and sponsors, welcomes the audience.
And a fabulous Keynote for WonkHE Associate Editor, David Kernohan the graph illustrated shows the stark stop in HE pedagogic research investment from 2010 onwards…..
Aston Student Union VP Danielle Gallagher gives her frank views on the student experience, outlining the key cases on student stress and highlighting the importance of student mental health and wellbeing.
The conference then streamed into different sessions, and
were amazing, awesome and inspiring – far too many to report in in a short blog,
but tweeting activity form the different rooms can be found on @NTF_Tweet #ANTF2020
One session that was fabulous to be invited participate in
is the ‘Professors in Preparation’ group, run by Deb Locke and Harriet
Dunbar-Morris, where a Professors invited to undertake a ‘PiP’ talk sharing
their pathway, and then Deb and Harriet ran table tasks to get aspiring Profs
thinking about their journeys. Link to my mini talk here:
Pathways to impact: successful networking
Prof Sally Brown gathered together a group of us to share how to create and sustain networks, in a session on building impact. Entitled ‘my successful networks, this slide hare has the ‘good and great’ put does not recreate the dynamism and enthusiasm with which Sally marshalled all of us!
the key themes, and Prof Kay Sambell contributed to the workshop
And after the networking session, we heard from research
carried out about the attributes of an excellent lecturer from Dr Zoe Allerman,
De Montford University:
Prof Sally Everett, our equality and diversity lead on the committee , summarises the data as a poster – makes difficult reading for marginalised groups…the ANTF committee are working with AdvanceHE to make a difference.
a wonderful poster display – click here to see other posters displayed on
This is just a taster of the work being undertaken across
the sector. Follow us on twitter @NTF_tweet, and our blog on the AdvanceHE
Blog composed by Debbie Holley – any errors/omissions
are mine 31.03.2020
@DebbieHolley1 so true what you said about culture as an enabler. Often innovation happens also despite the culture. We all have the capacity to imagine, creative, innovate. We are the culture #digifest21