Developing a school-wide framework for blended and online learning and teaching (BOLT)


  • Sarah Honeychurch University of Glasgow
  • Matt Offord, Dr University of Glasgow



TELT, emergent design, early adopters, online learning, emergent strategy


This article explores the unexpected role-shift for early TELT -adopters during the COVID-19 crisis.  In Universities where TELT occurs in the margins of campus-based traditional lectures (e.g. Russell Group Universities), early adopters and experts are accustomed to working in some degree of isolation and exploring digital resources independently.  It will explore the rapid shift in emphasis away from micro-projects to performing in a high-pressure and strategic environment with an unprecedented interest in TELT, and show how, in a very short period of time, a group of early TELT-adopters were empowered to become strategic leaders and policy makers and to produce a robust framework for Blended and Online Learning and Teaching (BOLT) for use in all courses.

In April 2020, the Adam Smith Business School (ASBS) made the decision that all learning and teaching for the academic year 2020-21 would move to a blended/online model. In order to action this, a working group of early TELT-adopters from within ASBS was formed, who collaboratively produced a four-part BOLT Framework for use in all courses.

Working quickly, and with little time to consult externally, this group drew on their existing knowledge and worked iteratively in order to ensure that colleagues could quickly develop the necessary skill-sets for BOLT. The result is a BOLT strategy where all ILOs are achievable asynchronously, with synchronous sessions used to support students and build learning communities.

This article sets out the BOLT Framework: explaining how it was developed, the principles underpinning it and using case studies to show the Framework working in practice. It explains how the sometimes informal, furtive and unstructured self-development of TELT enthusiasts played a key role in the School online pivot and perspectives of TELT changed on both sides of the TELT debate through open and earnest exchanges of ideas and problem-solving.


Bennett, E. (2014). Learning from the early adopters: developing the digital practitioner. Research in Learning Technology, 22, 21453.
Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. M. (2016). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. John Wiley & Sons.
Brenton, S. (2015). Effective online teaching and learning. A handbook for teaching & learning in higher education: Enhancing academic practice, 139-151.
Fullan, M. (1994). Coordinating top-down and bottom-up strategies for educational reform. Systemic reform: Perspectives on personalizing education, 7-24.
Hixon, E., Buckenmeyer, J., Barczyk, C., Feldman, L., & Zamojski, H. (2012). Beyond the early adopters of online instruction: Motivating the reluctant majority. The Internet and Higher Education, 15(2), 102-107.
Gourlay, L. (2012). Cyborg ontologies and the lecturer’s voice: A posthuman reading of the “face-to-face.” Learning, Media and Technology, 37(2), 198–211.
Gourlay, L. (2020). Quarantined, sequestered, closed: theorising academic bodies under Covid-19 lockdown. Postdigital Science and Education, 2(3), 791-811.
Jandrić, P., Ryberg, T., Knox, J., Lacković, N., Hayes, S., Suoranta, J., Smith, M., Steketee, A., Peters, M., McLaren, P. and Ford, D.R., 2019. Postdigital dialogue. Postdigital Science and Education, 1(1), pp.163-189.

Moldovan, S., Steinhart, Y., & Ofen, S. (2015). “Share and scare”: Solving the communication dilemma of early adopters with a high need for uniqueness. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 25(1), 1-14.

Nordmann, E., Horlin, C., Hutchison, J., Murray, J. A., Robson, L., Seery, M. K., & MacKay, J. R. (2020). Ten simple rules for supporting a temporary online pivot in higher education.

Robertson, T. S. (1967). The process of innovation and the diffusion of innovation. Journal of marketing, 31(1), 14-19.

Rogers, E. M. (2010). Diffusion of innovations. Simon and Schuster.