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’.
UniSkills provides a wide range of support designed to help students develop their academic skills and confidence at University and beyond. The Student Engagement team (part of Library and Learning Services) are committed to continuing our support during this uncertain time, albeit in a slightly different way.
The team are currently working from home at various locations across the North West (from Ormskirk to Hebdon Bridge!) but continue to provide 1-2-1 appointments, UniSkills workshops (now webinars) and embedded classroom sessions.
We know our popular UniSkills workshops are valued by students across all years of study to help them find high-quality academic information online and develop their academic writing and referencing skills. We are now delivering these workshops as webinars via Blackboard Collaborate. Find out more on our UniSkills webpages.
Our 1-2-1 appointments remain in high demand and support is now also offered via Blackboard Collaborate. Once students have booked a 1-2-1 appointment in the usual way we will send them all the information they need to join the appointment online. Whilst it’s not the same as a face to face appointment, students have found them beneficial so far and we can provide lots of advice and guidance on all aspects of producing University assignments.
Embedded sessions/online content
The Student Engagement team are also available to join you within your online classroom environment or we can provide digital materials that you can share with students and/or host in Blackboard. Just firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements.
We also have a wide range of online support and information available 24/7 on the UniSkills webpages, and students can also access this information via their ‘My Library’ tab in Blackboard.
If you have any questions or queries about how we can support your students with their academic skills during this period please do get in touch.
You are invited to join the amazing @VirnaRossifor 3 free webinars on the theme:‘A menu of practical lesson activities in e-learning mode’
You have had to switch to e-learning fast, because of the pandemic. In your current e-learning mode, you likely have some synchronous and some asynchronous lessons. You would welcome some practical ideas for activities in e-learning mode.
These 3 webinars present a ‘menu’ of practical ideas on: 1. lesson starters 2. main activities 3. lesson closures
Intended outcome: By the end you should be equipped with an international toolkit of (evidence-based) effective e-learning activities that you can implement within your course(s).Register to join live and/or to receive the recording by email. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Webinar 1: Lesson starters (in e-learning) When: Apr 27, 2020 01:00 PM London
In this Webinar 1, about lesson starters, these international guest speakers will discuss some practical options to use at the start of lessons in e-learning mode:
Virna Rossi – Educational Developer – Ravensbourne University London (UK) Flavia Belan – PhD in Neuroscience, Chief Scientist at Seneca Learning – (Brazil/UK) Punya Arora – Senior Educator and Academic Developer – New Delhi (India) Maha Bali – Associate Professor of Practice – American University in Cairo (Egypt) Tim Fawns – Deputy Director, MSc in Clinical Education – Edinburgh University (UK)
Webinar 2: Main activities (in e-learning) When: May 6, 2020 11:00 AM London
In this Webinar 2, about main activities, these international guest speakers will discuss some practical learning activities to use for lessons in e-learning mode: Virna Rossi – Educational Developer – Ravensbourne University, London (UK) Vicky Dale – Senior Academic and Digital Development Adviser, University of Glasgow (UK) Dustin Hosseini – Senior Teaching Associate – Lancaster University (UK) Chris Baldwin – Application Manager (Education) – Nord Anglia – London (UK) Steven Kolber – Humanities Teacher – Brunswick Secondary College (Australia)
In this Webinar 3, about lesson closures, these international guest speakers will discuss some practical options to use at the end of lessons in e-learning mode:
Virna Rossi – Educational Developer – Ravensbourne University, London (UK) Stephan Hughes – Adjunct lecturer/Doctoral student/Teacher Trainer – Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) Dayamudra Dennehy- ESL Faculty, City College of San Francisco (USA) & Creative Director, Jai Bhim International (India) Mays Imad – Professor at Prima Community College – Arizona (USA) Flower Darby – Director, Teaching for Student Success – Arizona (USA) Derek Jones – Senior Lecturer in Design – The Open University (UK)
emergency remote teaching to resilient systems for higher education’
21 and 28 April 09:00 BST
Details from Advance HE are here:
The last four weeks has seen an exceptional effort by the HE sector to continue to deliver or attain learning outcomes in non-ideal circumstances. Students and staff recognised that achieving a perfect online learning experience was probably out of reach in the time frame available and most have exhibited great patience and humanity. However, as the crisis is set to continue into the next academic year, both returning and new students will be expecting an effective, accessible and flexible learning experience.
In the next two webinars in our COVID-19 series we will hear
from academics on the frontline of the current crisis and those who have had
years of experience in delivering flexible and accessible higher education.
This webinar will help us to reflect on what we have learnt from this crisis to
ensure that our approaches to curriculum design are flexible and agile enough
to cope with a range of potential scenarios from some students not being able
to attend campus either due to travel or health restrictions and/or further
outbreaks leading to rapid campus closures.
Both webinars will be chaired by Advance HE’s Dr
Kay Hack, Principal Adviser (Learning and Teaching). Ahead of
the webinar, Kay has written a blog offering initial insights. Read the blog here.
At Advance HE, we want our member benefits to be accessible to as many of our members as possible. All webinars in the Connect Event Series are recorded and available to watch at your convenience via the member benefits group on Advance HE Connect.