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What is over the horizon?


The JISC work on the digital student experience shows that students remain unconvinced that we are delivering the digital skills that employers are demanding. 74% of teaching staff never teach in a live online environment; and most (33%) learn from their colleagues, not in a structured and systematic way. Having to rapidly move to synchronous and asynchronous modes of online learning almost overnight is putting pressure on teams of academics and Learning Technologists alike; students are stressed and anxious, and mental health is finally being foregrounded – against a backdrop of 18% of teaching staff agreeing that they are informed about their responsibilities to help students behave safely online.

I have been reflecting on the WONKHE piece, ‘the clock is ticking on a decision about September entry’ by Alex Usher, challenging us educators to think about the ‘what-ifs’. Moving quickly to online as a response to crisis has seen teams across the sector move to online learning, and, getting content ‘out there’ has been the priority. Professional Bodies are  having to rethink their regulations, Universities are matching the flexibility and making every effort to ensure that our third year students graduate – and for health workers, graduating quickly is essential as the needs of the NHS escalate.

The ‘clock is ticking’ article notes:

“everyone is doing their level best to make the current situation work, but it’s all basically DIY right now, and it’s so far from good enough that there is now an entire sub-genre of humour devoted to it.”

Is there any good news out there we may well ask!

The awesome Educause  New Media Horizons report was launched just as we ran into our strike period, rapidly followed by Corona Virus. And yes is the answer…

Open Educational Resources  a variety of materials designed for teaching and learning that are both openly available for use by teachers and students and that are devoid of purchasing, licensing, and/ or royalty fees. The global community are actively developing and curating resources, pressuring Governments and institutions to share their resources. The University of Minnesota has developed and curated the Open Textbook Library, which includes nearly 700 peer-reviewed titles. To stay informed and up-to-date, sign up to the Association for Learning Technology OER Special interest Group. Embedding curated, quality assured resources in your reading lists, your curricula or even the powerpoints we share with our students makes a huge difference, and offers alternative, inclusive ways of accessing content.