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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – support and guidance

Already a topic high on institutional agendas, teaching in the online environment has become critical in the light of the COVID-19 crisis. This page brings together a range of resources to support you. There are links to practical tips and tools that you may find immediately valuable, as well as reference materials that you can dip into as necessary. There are also links to training courses. These range from broad introductions to principles of online learning and teaching to the use of specific technologies such as Moodle.

  • Contingency planning: exploring rapid alternatives to face-to-face assessment (PDF, 0.42MB) | Sally Brown and Kay Sambell
    Note from the authors: ‘We are sharing it in the hope that it is useful to colleagues. Please regard it as an Open Resource that you are free to modify and share. It would probably be of most value to you if you cut and paste the bits that are useful, chuck out the bits that are not useful, customize your examples where you use different platforms from the ones we mention, add links to their specific guidance, and add in links to your own university’s regulations plus any specific contingency plans you have made.’
  • Adapting your assessments | Heriot-Watt University
    These resources will help you to think through the alternatives to face-to-face assessments, including take-home exams.
  • What to do about assessments when conventional examinations are not possible | University of London
    This suggests some approaches to planning and undertaking assessment when conventional examinations are not possible.
  • Assessment toolkit, part 1 | University of London
    This toolkit has been designed to support the review and redesign of existing programmes and courses as well as the development of new ones for the University of London. It is divided into a number of sections which give both general guidance on assessment, feedback and marking as well as providing detailed descriptions and discussions of a range of methods.
  • Assessment toolkit, part 2 | University of London
    The exploration of time-constrained examinations presented here highlights the range of possibilities that examinations offer in terms of different methods of assessment. At the same time, it embeds the discussion of possible methods of assessment under time-constrained examination conditions within the broader context of assessment and feedback practice.
  • Take-home assessment | London School of Economics
    A guide to off-campus assessment, including advantages, challenges, the student experience, reliability, accessibility, fairness, and rigour.
  • 10 points to consider in choosing alternative assessment methods for the online environment | National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
    Students can learn through many different but equitable assessment methods. An alternative online assessment is not a lesser form of assessment, but a different assessment to achieve the same aim.
  • Assessment quick guide | Moodle
    A guide to creating and editing assignments on Moodle.
  • Create and edit assignments | Blackboard
    A guide to creating and editing assignments on Blackboard.

  • Education online en-masse: lessons for teaching and learning through MOOCs | Association for Learning Technology
    On 24 April 2015 forty educators from 19 institutions discussed key issues in MOOC design and implementation at a one-day workshop hosted and funded by the University of Reading, a leading member of the FutureLearn MOOC consortium. The workshop offered the opportunity to evaluate practical lessons from the design and delivery of MOOCs, particularly those encouraging skills development. The focus was on problem-based discussion of approaches to teaching and learning, and the extent to which MOOC learning outcomes can be defined, measured, or achieved.
  • Padlet – digital walls for sharing, learning and teaching | Association for Learning Technology
    Several staff at the University of Sussex are using the free Padlet tool in their teaching. This post focuses on two examples. Padlet is an online board or ‘wall’ where multiple users can post text, documents, images, videos, music, and weblinks in one of several visually appealing formats. You can read more about Padlet and how to use it in this blog post by Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher).
  • Reviewing and changing a VLE: Changing the tyre while the car is in motion | Association for Learning Technology
    Those involved in large IT system changes will appreciate the complexity of ‘swapping out’ one of those systems for another. Over time systems can become highly integrated, both on a technical level and in terms of human behaviour. Couple this with the requirement for service continuity, and you find yourself trying to change a tyre while the car is in motion.
  • 6 papers on education to read this summer to prepare for blended teaching and learning | Association for Learning Technology
    Remote teaching, blended teaching or self-learning – all of these will be a part of our repertoire going forward. Here is a list of 6 articles that may form a good curriculum for a summer reading club or just anybody’s personal reading or re-reading list.
  • Digital Education Practices Podcast | Dustin Hosseini
    Within this space, I reflect on matters related to learning, teaching, digital education and education generally, photography and other things that I find important, am passionate about and want to showcase and/or share with the world. I have decided to do this in order to highlight challenges, celebrate successes and learn from failures; we all have a story to tell, and some of our own stories directly cam relate to and influence others in a positive way – if we only take the time to tell these stories that we gather over time.'
  • What to do if you suddenly find yourself teaching at a distance | Doug Clow
    Many academics have suddenly found themselves teaching online. Doug Clow from the Open University sets out how they can do this, effectively, and what support they need.
  • Resources to help learners learn online | Clint Lalonde
    'I was curious as to what is being done to support those students who will be taking their first online course. Quite a few resources were shared with me in the Twitter chat, so many that I thought I would curate them into a single blog post.'
  • When the VLE becomes your campus | ALT Community
    Thoughts on engaging learners online emotionally, socially, collaboratively, cognitively and behaviourally.
  • What (some) students are saying about the switch to remote teaching and learning | George Veletsianos and Royce Kimmons
    Learning what is and isn't working for students in the move to remote learning is invaluable, but it is especially important right now as online courses are being developed rapidly, iteratively, and under pressure.
  • Videoconferencing alternatives: how low bandwidth teaching will save us all | Daniel Stanford, Center for Teaching and Learning at DePaul University
    ‘Seemingly small | and sometimes unconscious choices about the technologies we use can have a big impact on how inclusive and effective our teaching is. The more aware we are of this, the more we can ensure we’re choosing the right tools for the right reasons.’
  • Online meeting survival guide | Jisc
    If you’ve never chaired or attended an online meeting before it can be a pretty weird experience. Done well, they’re a great way of getting people together from a wide area or at a moment’s notice and can make you much more productive. Here is Jisc's take on what works, and what doesn’t.
  • Security settings ‘essential’ as online collaboration increases | Jisc
    Advice on ensuring online collaboration tools are secure and safe to use. A recent large uptake in online collaboration tools has revealed concerns around security on some platforms.
  • Teaching Matters: remote teaching | University of Edinburgh
    A series of blog posts spotlighting remote teaching.
  • Teaching Matters: alternative assessment | University of Edinburgh
    A series of blog posts spotlighting alternative assessment.
  • Staying connected | Distance Design Education
    This blog provides information on how to stay in touch with students whilst delivering courses remotely. It provides a link to a resources bank to support with finding the right tools and services to stay connected.

  • Deliver a robust, flexible, digital environment | Jisc
    Supporting institutions to develop digital environments which meet students’ expectations and help them to progress to higher study and employment.
  • Technology and tools for online learning | Jisc
    Provides guidance, resources and case studies around the use of technologies to support online courses and distance learning programmes.
  • Best practice guides | Jisc
    Topics include digital wellbeing of learners and ensuring continuity of learning during enforced absence.
  • Digital learning glossary | Queen’s University Belfast
    Deciphering technology acronyms and terminologies can be like learning a new language. Sometimes all you need is a short and simple explanation to grasp a concept and recall it when it next arises.
  • Teaching at a distance: methods that work | Open University
    This series of help sheets is designed for people who are trying out distance and online education for the first time, and for teachers who have already taught at a distance and want to try something new.
  • Digital solutions for tasks & activities | Pearson
    There's an incredible number of digital tools available to teachers for online instruction, but sorting out what tools are best for what activities can be overwhelming. This guide helps simplify the process of picking the best tools and putting them to use effectively.
  • Remote teaching and learning in Office 365 Education | Microsoft
    Whether you're within the walls of the classroom or connecting remotely, you can access the tools you need for classroom management and student engagement with Office 365 Education.
  • Distance learning solutions | UNESCO
    The list of educational applications, platforms and resources below aim to help parents, teachers, schools and school administrators facilitate student learning and provide social care and interaction during periods of school closure. Most of the solutions curated are free and many cater to multiple languages
  • Planning induction for autumn 2020 | Jisc
    This resource has links to real practical examples of induction activity and is designed to help you develop your programme, whether your students are arriving on campus, learning from home or blending the two. It will be useful if you are concerned about introducing new learners/students to your organisation during this COVID-19 situation.

  • Learning, teaching and assessment during enforced absence | University of Portsmouth
    The University of Portsmouth has compiled a list of resources relating to elearning tools, and continues to add to this site.
  • Teaching continuity preparation | University of Edinburgh
    These pages provide guidance and advice on how to continue teaching when you and your students are unable to access the campus.
  • Glasgow Anywhere | University of Glasgow
    Practical advice on online teaching.
  • Teach remotely | Harvard University
    Learn about best practices, available tools, and how to get support for teaching your classes online.
  • The Watt Works quick guide to digital education | Heriot-Watt University
    Heriot Watt University's Learning and Teaching Academy offers a suite of resources to support the development of practice and promote engagement with inspiring teaching and learning.
  • Moving to online teaching and supervision | University College London
    These pages provide guidance for remote delivery of most traditional teaching approaches used at UCL. All remote teaching approaches assume that staff and students can access the internet.
  • Remote teaching | University of the Highlands and Islands
    The information on these webpages is for FE and HE staff delivering programmes during the current coronavirus outbreak, including staff who are new to online teaching.
  • Hybrid Teaching: a resource centre for Edinburgh College of Art | Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh
    Experiences, reflections, tips, suggestions, resources. What 'hybrid teaching' might mean for Edinburgh College of Art.

  • Responsive Blended Learning | Heriot-Watt University
    Responsive Blended Learning (RBL) combines active, supported online learning with contextually appropriate face-to-face learning opportunities, responding dynamically to the changing external context. This approach enables students to proceed with their studies alongside their peers, whatever pandemic-related restrictions are lifted or imposed in specific contexts. The University has also prepared a student guide to Responsive Blended Learning.
  • Supporting student transitions into and through online learning | Enhancement Themes
    This is a guide to a set of resources for tutors to use with students in further or higher education of any level who are starting or continuing an online learning experience. The resources cover four themes:
    • 1. Being an effective online learner: academic time management, independent learning, motivation and self-regulation
    • 2. Working with others online: working in groups, and effective communications with peers and tutors
    • 3. Learning effectively with technology: ICT proficiency, and how technology can help online learners
    • 4. Being a responsible online learner: managing an online digital identity, being professional online, and protecting data and privacy rights online.
  • Rapid response toolkit | Heriot-Watt University
    The Toolkit is for those colleagues rapidly responding to the move to online learning, potentially for the first time. It covers basic tools to maintain communication and support for learning. It is not intended to provide a comprehensive guide to learning and teaching online, but it might spark your interest to learn more.
  • How to move your teaching online fast | University of London
    Three pages of simple, practical advice and tips.
  • Open and distance learning planning workbook (PDF, 6.0MB) | University of London
    Use this workbook to work with colleagues to begin to plan and develop a programme of distance learning for your course/subject area/institution. Developed originally to underpin a three-day staff development workshop, the main aim of this workbook is to provide information, ideas, resources, and support for participants to plan the next stages of development of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) in their institution, whatever their role.  By the end of the 15 activities it contains you will have developed strategies, policies and plans for working with colleagues in your University to develop and run high quality ODL programmes.
  • Developing a sense of belonging in online and distance learning | Enhancement Themes
    Tutors can use the toolkit to make informed decisions about the type of interventions that might benefit their students. It contains practical suggestions for online tutors about how to develop a Sense of Belonging, opportunities to learn from others, a tool to help with evaluating and reflecting and a short synthesis of relevant literature. The toolkit is hosted on the OpenLearn Create platform.
  • Thematic series: technology enhanced learning | Advance HE Scotland
    The aims of the Thematic Series are to strengthen core academic capabilities of staff through the sharing of effective practice and focused theory, and to support institutional enhancement of learning and teaching, complementing and further building on their existing in-house work. Topics are identified by the Scottish sector, and resources are authored and curated by colleagues from Scottish institutions and aim to guide practitioners to relevant material and experiences to support them in developing their own teaching practice.
  • Bank of resources | Distance Design Education
    Distance Design Education have created a bank of resources with information on general distance learning, tools and services, online workspace tools, virtual design studios, sketching and journalising, screencasting software, assessment, online portfolios, conferences, organisation and larger events, and Open Education Resources.

  • Teacher self-efficacy in online education: a review of the literature | Michael Corry, Julie Stella
    Although empirical validation of teacher self-efficacy in face-to-face environments continues, it remains a relatively new construct in online education. This literature review, which was conducted over academic databases and which examined work published in the past 15 years, explores three areas of research about teacher self-efficacy in online education: (1) ease of adopting online teaching, (2) online teaching self-efficacy in comparison to demographic and experience variables and (3) changes in teacher self-efficacy in professional development scenarios where self-efficacy was measured before and after treatment. Research studies demonstrate agreement (or no discernible disagreement) in the importance of system/curriculum quality in the implementation of online learning and the recognition that a measure of self-efficacy in online pedagogy has not yet been empirically derived. Researchers continue to examine the balance of technological and pedagogical knowledge that supports the development of teacher self-efficacy, the role of learner self-efficacy in teacher self-efficacy and whether teacher self-efficacy differs fundamentally in online education. In addition, it seems clear that empirical validation of the association of teacher self-efficacy and student success has yet to occur in online education with the rigour seen in face-to-face modes of delivery.
  • Learning through online discussion: a framework evidenced in learners’ interactions | Yvonne C. Bain
    Online learning, often supported through online discussion, is not only a popular means of supporting off-campus learners, but increasingly has a place within campus-based learning courses. Laurillard and others suggest that there are assumptions being made about learning through online discussion that have yet to be fully tested, and therefore there is a need to examine this area further. Tutors and learners may benefit from having a greater insight and understanding of how engaging in asynchronous online discussion presents opportunities for learning on an individual and a collective basis. This research study focused on learners’ engagement with online discussion and their perceptions of how engaging in online discussion impacts on learning. This paper revisits learning through online discussion and proposes a framework, which emerges from the analysis of learners’ experiences. A grounded theory approach was used in the collection and analysis of six learner case studies within a higher education setting, exploring learners’ interactions in online discussion, and their perceptions of learning through online discussion. Insights into the learners’ interactions were provided by the learners themselves through semi-structured interviews. The grounded approach to the analysis of the interviews enabled the learners’ voices to be heard in terms of what they thought about learning through online discussion. The insight enabled through the depth of description from the learners and the examination of the online interactions led to the development of a framework for learning through online discussion. The framework raises the importance of articulation as a key process in learning whilst highlighting the opportunities for collaborative informed thinking by engaging with the ideas of others. The focus given to the learning process through the framework will be of interest to tutors and learners who use online asynchronous discussion environments for learning.
  • The seven principles of online learning: Feedback from faculty and alumni on its importance for teaching and learning | Cynthia Janet Tanis
    Effective online teaching and learning requires a carefully designed classroom that promotes student engagement with faculty, peers and course content. This research included an investigation of the importance of faculty–student communication and collaboration; student–student communication and collaboration; active learning techniques; prompt feedback; appropriate time for tasks; high performance expectations; and respect for diverse learning styles (preferences) (Chickering and Ehrmann 1996) to faculty in their online teaching and to alumni in their online learning. The participants were 14 college faculty and 111 alumni, from the same graduate program. A 45-item Likert survey and two open-ended questions were presented to the participants to explore the important factors contributing to their online teaching and learning. The results demonstrated that holding students to high standards of performance, academic honesty and professional conduct was the most important factor to both faculty in their online teaching and alumni in their online learning. Additionally, alumni valued engagement with their faculty more than engagement with other students or course content. Students need an online instructor who is organised and communicative in the online classroom, and faculty need a solidly designed online classroom, with engaged students who are timely in their work. An analysis of the findings with specific application to online teaching and learning is presented in this article.
  • A review of predictive factors of student success in and satisfaction with online learning | Heather Kauffman
    Students perceive online courses differently than traditional courses. Negative perceptions can lead to unfavourable learning outcomes including decreased motivation and persistence. Throughout this review, a broad range of factors that affect performance and satisfaction within the online learning environment for adult learners will be examined including learning outcomes, instructional design and learner characteristics, followed by suggestions for further research, and concluding with implications for online learning pertinent to administrators, instructors, course designers and students. Online learning may not be appropriate for every student. Identifying particular characteristics that contribute to online success versus failure may aid in predicting possible learning outcomes and save students from enrolling in online courses if this type of learning environment is not appropriate for them. Furthermore, knowing these learner attributes may assist faculty in designing quality online courses to meet students’ needs. Adequate instructional methods, support, course structure and design can facilitate student performance and satisfaction.
  • Usability testing your VLE: A service design approach to Learn Foundations | University of Edinburgh
    Throughout 2018-2019, the University of Edinburgh’s User Experience Service collaborated with the Learn Foundations project team to undertake a comprehensive programme of user research with students and staff. The researchers have discovered how students’ experience in Learn is closely intertwined with how staff work with it.

  • Student commentaries on transitions into blended and online learning | University of Glasgow
    Five short videos from students in different disciplines, with personal reflections and tips.
  • Learner stories | Jisc
    The Jisc Digital Student project was set up to explore students’ expectations and experiences with digital technology. These Digital Learner Stories explore how factors identified in other strands of the project are experienced by twelve real learners.
  • Essential student skills: Getting online | University of the Highlands and Islands
    This section will look at the practical steps that you need to take in order to access technologies provided by the University of the Highlands and Islands.
  • Study skills for online learning | The Open University
    Find some new study habits to help you study modules that are presented online.
  • Five-step strategy for student success with online learning | Online Learning Insights
    Read the syllabus; plan weekly study times; log onto the course home a minimum three times per week; ask questions; and make connections with fellow students.
  • Seven tips for success when taking online courses | Jason Mock, Illinois Online
    Taking an online course gives you a lot of flexibility in where and when you do your coursework. That flexibility, however, means you have to take some extra steps to be successful. You have to be proactive about creating some of the structure you get naturally in a face-to-face course. Here are seven tips to help you stay successful once you are in an online course.
  • iTest | University of Exeter
    It is important to identify technologies and recognise how they may be of benefit to you now and when you graduate. Complete this short quiz to reveal a personalised profile spanning six different genres, which suggests ways you can improve how you use technology within your studies. Don't forget these could have further reaching applications for when you graduate and apply for jobs, and just because your modules don't require you to use technology, it doesn't mean you can't.
  • Tips for taking online classes: eight strategies for success | Northeastern University
    If you develop skills for effective online learning, you’ll find the courses can be an excellent alternative to a traditional classroom setting. Here are some tips for online learning success to make sure you get the most value out of your next class.
  • A student guide to studying online | Tony Bates
    General pointers about online learning, with links to online study guides for specific institutions.

  • Teaching in Microsoft Teams | Jisc
    Teams is primarily designed as a collaborative workspace, but if you are delivering webinars, workshops or training sessions you can use many of the functions to create live interactions. Esther Barrett shares some tools and techniques for making teaching in Teams more interactive and engaging.
  • Staff training courses | Jisc
    A selection of free resources to support members with technologies, wellbeing and online learning and teaching.
  • Take your teaching online | OpenLearn
    In this online course, you will hear about the experiences of real educators, be introduced to cutting edge research, and understand the ideas and tools that shape how we teach and learn online. You will also learn useful methods that will guide you to test out these new ideas in your own practice.
  • Tutoring students online using technology | UK Advising and Tutoring
    On this site you will find guidance documents, links to resources, and discussion forums where we can share practice and experience of using online tutoring to support students during difficult times.
  • Series of courses on teaching online and blended learning | Epigeum
    Epigeum, from Oxford University Press, has made a series of resources freely available to support with the current pandemic. There are courses on Teaching Online, Blended Learning, University Teaching: Core Skills, Planning and Preparing Activities, and University Teaching: Core Skills, Addressing Barriers to Student Success. These courses are freely accessible until Sunday 31 May.
  • Get interactive: practical teaching with technology | University of London
    This is a three-week exploration of some of the popular technologies that educators use to make their learning engaging, interactive and dynamic. It is aimed at educators who have little experience using online tools and technology for teaching purposes but who have basic familiarity with the Internet, online learning environments and computers in general. The course is most relevant for teachers, lecturers and instructors of adults and older children | i.e., secondary school, college, further education, higher education, continuing education. 'Get Interactive: Practical Teaching with Technology' was co-developed by CDE Fellow Sarah Sherman.
  • How to teach online | University of London
    This three-week course is designed for educators, teachers, lecturers, and trainers who have to rapidly move from face-to-face to online teaching in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The course offers practical steps towards online teaching and student support. You can reflect on your own work, adapt your approaches, and share your stories with a global community of educators who’ll help you to get started and keep going in uncertain times. 'How to Teach Online' was co-developed by CDE Fellow Simon Rofe.
  • Blended learning essentials | University of Leeds & UCL Institute of Education program
    Essentials for teachers, trainers & managers developing blended learning and prepare learners to succeed in the workplace.
  • The online educator: people and pedagogy | Open University
    Design engaging courses, make your teaching more inclusive, navigate online research ethics and shape your digital identity.
  • Get interactive: practical teaching with technology | University of London, Bloomsbury Learning Exchange
    This course is designed to help you create dynamic, interactive online courses through the use of multimedia tools, student collaboration opportunities, and formative assessment and feedback.
  • Course on open education: section on VLEs | OpenLearn
    This free course, Open Education, is an example of a massive open online course | MOOC. The section on VLEs may be of particular use.
  • Learn Moodle | Moodle
    This free, four-week course is designed for anyone who wants to use the Moodle learning platform for teaching, whether it be in a school, a university, a company or just personal interest.
  • Online Instructor | LX Pathways)
    Free courses covering: fundamentals of online teaching; mythos of online teaching and learning; community of inquiry; teaching presence; social presence; and cognitive presence.

 

 

Striking the right note with audio feedback | Sam Ellis, Glasgow Caledonian University
Want to introduce audio feedback? This webinar considers its effectiveness, some of the technical possibilities, and how best to support colleagues in adopting audio feedback practices.

 



 

Do you even Twitch? Exploring applications of video feedback in higher education | Greg Bremner and Ryan Locke, Abertay University)
This webinar demonstrates how video feedback can be applied in areas as diverse as art and economics – from pieces of design coursework to written PhD chapters.

 


 

Challenges and rewards – developing digital educators | Emma Duke-Williams, University of Dundee
As with many institutions, Dundee faces multiple challenges when supporting staff who wish to innovate in their use of TEL to enhance their learning and teaching. Many (probably all!) of these challenges are not unique to Dundee, so we’d like to share a range of approaches that we’ve taken to work around these. These have included face to face, both group and individual, and online, both synchronous and asynchronous. I shall aim to look at the features of each that work, while reflecting on those that could be improved upon.

 


 

How usability testing is shaping the changes to our virtual learning environment | Lee-Ann Simpson and Duncan Stephen, University of Edinburgh
As part of improving the student and staff digital experience, the University of Edinburgh (UoE) is investing in improvements to our VLEs over the next few years. Directly observing users is one of the most valuable activities which can be undertaken in order to help understand the needs of our users. We have embarked on a regular cycle of usability testing as part of a co-design process involving over 4000 students and almost 300 members of staff. This has helped our communities of practice understand what is important to users when using a VLE, and to collaboratively identify how we can improve the overall experience. This is following an iterative approach to support with the continuous improvement of the VLEs.




Digital education | Heriot-Watt University and Sheila MacNeill

A YouTube playlist covering a range of topics including content creation, digital presence, digital wellbeing, student engagement, and professional communities.