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Digital education

Starting the semester

1 October 2020

Time has flown by since I last wrote for the CESI blog in mid-June . Now the new academic year is with us (and conscious that some programmes have been teaching for a while already), I just wanted to suggest a few things worth considering in the days and weeks ahead.

First up, let’s not forget the principles which we set out at the beginning of the Digital Education Programme to guide our work this year. I think they still hold up and if I had to choose one that really matters right now I’d go for Keep It Simple. The fundamentals of online learning do not require sophisticated use of technology and getting the basics right will make the world of difference to your students. The two key things I’d focus on would be:

  • Clear and regular communication – the current circumstances are understandably causing confusion and sometimes anxiety so anything we can do to guide and reassure students will be time well spent. A cheerful video message from you in Learning Central and clear details of forthcoming learning activities in a Weekly Module Map would both be well received I’m sure.
  • Engagement – use your synchronous time with students (on campus or online) to create a dialogue and build relationships (including activities that allow students to get to know some of their peers). Information delivery can work very well asynchronously so when you’re together you can prioritise giving plenty of opportunity for questions, clarification and listening to students’ thoughts and ideas.

If you need any help and support with the digital elements of your teaching, please don’t hesitate to make use of our resources and/or contact the Digital Education Support Service. We may hit a few bumps in the road to start with but I’m also convinced there will be some genuinely great learning and teaching experiences this semester. In the Digital Education Programme we will be very keen to hear how things are going and, of course, work with you to ensure we learn from what is working and what might need to be adapted as we go along.

Written by Simon Horrocks, Academic Lead for Digital Education Strategy