In this case study Hazel Flight, AHSC within the FOHSC explains how they are working to ensure effective student communications.
“We are using collaborate, not just to teach, but to have catch ups. I have a weekly catch up with each year group. This is optional for the students to attend, and give me the opportunity to check on how they are doing. Importantly it is not a teaching session, but a time when they can see each other, virtually, and ask any questions or raise any concerns”.
She continues: “As from this week I will be holding these monthly throughout the summer, for all three year groups”.
In addition “Most of us have also set up microsoft teams and so students can have the option of meeting up on line, a phone call or email contact”.
A warm welcome to #FOS201and please come and join us!
We are back! Are you ready for 10 days of cross-institutional development to explore flexible, open and social learning together?
Dear colleagues and friends,
A warm welcome to FOS, the open cross-institutional course for professionals in Higher Education who teach or support learning and students who are interested in learning with others from around the world about flexible, open and social learning together. The areas we would like to explore together are:
A key focus of the Success for All
educational development initiative was to ensure that curricular
interventions—i.e. interventions into mainstream learning and teaching on the course—remain
Studies on inclusive interventions in the sector (e.g. Thomas 2012; Hockings 2010; Mountford-Zimdars 2016; UUK 2019) emphasise the importance of direct interventions into curricula, pedagogies and assessment practices. These studies found a strong reliance on “bolt-on” interventions, i.e. those in the “exclusive” and “co-curricular” areas of the matrix below. The same landmark studies emphasise, however, that inclusive integrated interventions are more likely to be successful. Within the landscape of intervention types, these “inclusive curricular” interventions sit in the upper left quadrant of the matrix below.
The most effective strategies for addressing disparities, then, are often direct interventions into what is taught, how it is taught, and how learning is assessed. Further, inclusive interventions into learning and teaching can potentially provide the most transformative learning experiences, in that all students can learn from the diverse challenges and perspectives of their peers (in line with NTU’s Creating Opportunity strategy). Future work should include strategies to ensure that inclusive curricular interventions are embedded into learning, teaching and assessment.
The outline (below) may be used as a standalone resource or – better – incorporated in the existing advice and resources on putting lectures online:
The following are useful points to bear in mind when
moving lectures or other “content” online. These points are in line with good
practice to support Success for All as well as general student learning and
Pre-record or curate existing content
Lectures do not need to be delivered synchronously, i.e.
in real time. Any parts of a “traditional” lecture that involve the tutor
speaking, or showing or demonstrating something, can be pre-recorded.
Pre-recordings, or screen casts, can be made available to students instead of or
in advance of live online sessions. Most students are likely to appreciate
this, in particular those whose learning benefits from extra time to pause or
rewind, and those whose schedule or IT access is disrupted in the current
circumstance. Pre-recording also reduces the likelihood of technical glitches that
can occur when large numbers of students try to access the content at the same
Use “chunking” if it’s convenient
In the current situation, tutors should use the most
convenient means available to move content online as quickly as possible. This
may mean screen casting full-length lectures. However, tutors should not feel
under pressure to produce “lecture-length” content. A series of shorter
“content chunks”, each with one or more associated activities, is more likely
to increase engagement and support learning. This approach can benefit all
students and may also help to narrow attainment gaps. Teaching teams can create
their own “chunks” (for example, lecture segments) and/or curate existing resources
such as podcasts, text excerpts, and short videos.
Embed short tasks
Content by itself does not assure learning: activities such
as focussing tasks and knowledge-check quizzes will help students identify and
grasp the key points. This is even more vital in the online realm, where the
tutor cannot gauge understanding from physical cues such as body language. Such
activities can be provided alongside content chunks or can be embedded into
longer lectures. In this way students can use their own—and in some cases their
peers’—responses in real time to check their own learning. Tutors can access
student responses in real time or after the fact to check understanding and
address any misconceptions.
Enhanced guidance to support colleagues in tutoring online will be available during the University Learning and Teaching Day. However in advance, and in addition to the existing Staff and Student Guides, University guidance and training resources and materials, you may find these link helpful:
A guest blog post from Visiting Professor Sue Beckingham, Sheffield Hallam University and her students working within the SMASH team which is a student partnership group researching Social Media for Academic Studies at Hallam.
Online learning: Are we asking the right questions?
Without warning, and almost overnight, the higher education sector has embarked on a whole-scale experiment in online learning. There is no doubt that this is a challenging time for both students and teaching staff, but what can the academic literature tell us about online learning?
In this review of the literature, we define online learning as ‘a learner’s interaction with content and/or people via the Internet for the purpose of learning’. For example, students interact by watching a pre-recorded lecture online (interaction with content) or participating in an online discussion group (interaction with people). An important distinction that the literature makes is between synchronous and asynchronous learning – whether student and teacher are online at the same time. A Zoom meeting is ‘synchronous’ whereas an instructor-moderated Facebook discussion is ‘asynchronous’.