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Assessment Business Operations Remote Working Student Experience and Wellbeing Teaching and Learning

Feedback from our 4th Coronavirus webinar

Chris summarises the webinar held on the 27th April about preparing to come out of lockdown. Includes the recording and a downloadable spreadsheet of the discussions.

Our 4th webinar on the 27th April had a forward-looking theme. I’d written a blog posts shortly before on how the education sector might manage the transition out of lockdown acknowledging that it wasn’t at all clear when this might happen or what things would look like.

You can find the recordings of the previous webinars on the event web page.

How are people feeling about the future?

I started with a couple of warm-up questions, inviting people to place themselves along a continuum. The first was looking at how how prepared their institution (or the bit of it the were closest connected to) was for coming out of lockdown.

collaborative graph showing readiness for change - most people saying they are less ready

The second question was more a personal reflection about how the attendees viewed the future. I used a tension pairing exercise looking at hopefulness alongside empowerment.

Grpah showing majority of respondents are both optimistic about the future and empowered to influence it

The discussion

The majority of the event was the based around a series of questions put to the 100 or so participants, asking for their experiences and reflections based on a start, stop continue model. We asked:

  • Continue – What has happened, or what have you done, that is worth preserving?
  • Stop – To keep the show on the road, what changes happened that won’t be sustainable once the emergency is over?
  • Start – If you knew then what you know now before this situation arose, what in hindsight, would have been helpful to have in place before the emergency?

If you want to see the complete set of anonymised and categorised responses to these questions, download this spreadsheet:

20200427 Compiled question responses (anonymous).

Here are some selections from each:

Things to continue or improve

Having had agile working thrust upon us for professional services staff this would be worth preserving.\
Accepted that we need professional services and academics working together – both have a lot to bring to the dance\
both F2F and online have benefits for how we work – we don’t need to throw both out but find which is more productive for all\
Developed alternative learning methids e.g. google classroom\
How do we define engagement?- moving away from just attendance\
reduced carbon footprint\
Have a defined set of supported systems and solutions\
thinking differently about assessment – are summative annual exams the only way to assess?\

Things to stop or reduce

100% remote working/teaching – there is a lot that tech-mediated discussions cannot replace\
Poor provision of tech for home working, too much reliance on personal tech that’s just not up to the job. If this is going to be sustainable there will have to be investment in tech/license to allow proper home working.\
the expectation of 24/7  communication is not sustainable or desirable\
Difficult to identify/monitor learner issues for E&D/ Safeguarding, often these are picked up visually\
T&L in some STEM subjects also extremely challening in an online context – e.g. Labs etc.\
Difficult to complete on-line intital assessment for low level and ESOL learners\
destructive shadow IT\

Things to start or increase

Senior leadership support for digital capability building\
All tutors to have a committment to improving their digital skills and thinking about how edtech can be used in their own specialism – instead of saying “it’s not relevant” and avoiding training.\
Good practice where collaboration between staff and with students is concerned.  Could be skype, chat, forums, etc. right from the start of the academic year.\
more vPN capacity. better understanding what VPN is needed for. clear pathways for staff to upskills on available tools\
Buidling Digital, Agile, Flexible and Open into the organisational DNA\
Senior leadership investment in “digital” is key- obviously appropriate tech, upskilling and usage important, but not writing off investment in things that “can not be seen” as not having a valuable impact.\
Students’ access to digital tools and home Wi-Fi.\
Better provision for student support with anxiety / mental health. Even more difficult with students working remotely\
Clearer understanding of the time needed to explore delivering remote teaching\
Even more e-books, e-resources. Which we are working towards but we could’ve done better so we don’t have to rely so much on the temporary free resources that Lis mentioned.\

How would you have responded to these questions?

By Chris Thomson

I'm a Subject Specialist at Jisc focusing on online learning and digital student experience.

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