Lessons learned from early adopters of blended and online learning





e-learning, blended learning, MOOC, online-distance learning, micro-credential


In 2013, the University of Glasgow published an e-learning strategy, setting out a vision for the University’s digital education delivery between 2013 and 2020. The strategy’s aim, in part, was the creation of personalised, interactive and feedback-rich courses, and staff were noted as key enablers of the strategic priorities. As a result of this strategy, several initiatives were developed, including the creation of massive open online courses (MOOCs), the implementation of the Blended and Online Learning Development (BOLD) project, which led to the creation of fully online PGT masters programmes, blended Undergraduate courses, and eventually, the creation of a Digital Education unit. More recently, micro-credential courses have been developed, which bridge the gap between MOOCs and full online accredited programmes. Finally, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the rapid pivot to remote teaching. In this article, we describe the roles, challenges and opportunities of early adopters in a number of these initiatives across the University, giving a reflective account of our lessons learnt and recommendations for staff involved in similar initiatives.

Author Biographies

Camille Huser, University of Glasgow

Dr Camille Huser is a lecturer in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing at the UoG. She is the Deputy Director for the Health Professions Education online programme, Deputy Director of the student selected component of the MBChB, and Deputy Lead on one of UoG’s first MOOCs.  

Sue Campbell, University of Glasgow

Ms Sue Campbell MPH, BSc (Hons), RGN, FHEA is a Lecturer in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing. She is Programme Lead for the MSc Health Services Management and Global Health Challenges and Health Promotion postgraduate modules. She leads on the Microcredential course Introduction to Management and Leadership in Health Services. @suecampbellGH1 

Samantha Fontaine, University of Glasgow

Ms Samantha Fontaine is a Lecturer in the School of Veterinary Medicine. She is the Programme Ddirector of the MSc Advanced Practice in Veterinary Nursing. This  is the first fully online distance learning master’s specifically for veterinary nurses (VNs) and the first year (PG Certificate) is accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. 

Susan Jamieson, University of Glasgow

Professor Susan Jamieson BSc (Hons), PhD, PGCert, EdD, SFHEA, is Professor of Health Professions Education at the University of Glasgow. She is Director of the University’s  online masters’ programme in Health Professions Education.  Recently, she developed and is Lead Educator on the Microcredential course on Teaching Healthcare Professionals. @SusanJHPE @GlasgowHPE  

Leah Marks, University of Glasgow

Dr Leah Marks is Senior University Lecturer in Medical Genetics and Academic Director of the MSc Genetic and Genomic Counselling. She was Co-lead on the UoG’s first MOOC: Cancer in the 21st Century and has a particular interest in co-development of MOOCs with students as partners, as well as in using MOOCs in innovative ways in the Medical undergraduate curriculum.  

Jeremy Singer, University of Glasgow

Dr Jeremy Singer is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow. He is Flexible Learning Lead for Science and Engineering, involved in the coordination of the institutional pivot to remote teaching due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Jeremy has co-developed two massive open online courses on the FutureLearn platform, including the popular "Haskell MOOC".   

Ronnie Young, University of Glasgow

Dr Ronnie Young lectures in Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow, where he was part of the team that developed a suite of online and blended learning courses on Robert Burns, including the Futurelearn MOOC ‘Robert Burns: Poems, Songs and Legacy’. He currently  runs regular support sessions to assist colleagues in the transition to online delivery during the pandemic.  


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