Lessons learned from reflections on supporting the transition to remote learning following the first lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Keywords:blended learning, remote learning, curriculum development, active learning, communication
Higher education has a rich history of pedagogical innovation and of championing blended and online learning for its students. However, the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic required quick action to enable courses and programmes to be delivered remotely – almost overnight. Following this initial shift, preparations were made to prepare for the worst and expect the best with a new academic year on the horizon. Academics and professional services staff came together to tackle the most challenging change in higher education in more than a generation. This case study shares two models created out of the process of supporting this transition at a Scottish university. The first model provides a route and process for shifting degree course components (i.e. courses or modules) to remote learning and teaching, which can also be used to provide consistency across a degree programme in order to enhance the student experience. The second model was inspired by a cycle used in professional media practice and was adapted to encourage active learning to be embedded at the grassroots of the curriculum – essentially in every teaching and learning event. Drawing on feedback from academics involved in the process, this article identifies the lessons learned from supporting the transition of delivery that mainly had an on-campus first approach (with varying elements of blended learning), to one that features pedagogical innovation at its forefront and is now set to remain permanently in the curricula. This paper will also reflect on how the process of revamping teaching and learning due to short-term necessity has provided an opportunity for curriculum development that embraces a range of sound academic practice, including: active learning; establishing effective communication channels; community building; managing students’ expectations; as well as retaining “jewels of the curriculum” (Cousin, 2006). Furthermore, these models can be applied to any academic discipline.
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