The Covid-19 lockdown has created a new set of challenges for teachers, academics and learning designers. For the programmes I work with at Imperial College’s School of Medicine, this involved a rapid transition into remote delivery in term 3 of 2019-20 academic year as well as changes to the delivery of teaching in term 1 of 2020-21 academic year (and possibly beyond).
I proposed to help mitigate these challenges by creating an extensive set of resources designed to facilitate this transition, including both pedagogical and technological guidance to remote teaching. These resources are available on the Remote Teaching Guidance website.
The website is a result of collaboration with a few colleagues (I wrote the content for Home, Where to start, Recommended model, Scenarios, Useful tools and some user guides).
I consider this project quite important for my professional development as it gave me a great opportunity to research and learn about remote delivery as well as reflect on implementing these ideas in the specific context of a medical school, with all its opportunities and challenges.
Working on the Remote Teaching Guidance website was a good opportunity to reflect on what makes successful remote teaching and how best to communicate this to the relevant stakeholders.
When planning the resources, I considered the immediate needs of the intended users (academics, teaching fellows): informal feedback confirmed that the main areas of uncertainty around the transition to remote teaching included ways of delivering previously classroom-based sessions in an online environment (addressed in the Scenarios section), selecting the right learning technology tools (addressed in the Useful tools section) and developing a comprehensive approach to transforming a larger section of content (e.g. an entire term) into remote delivery (addressed in the Where to start section).
Working on the content for the website was a collaborative exercise whereby other contributors would give me feedback on my content and vice versa. My colleagues’ feedback was always very useful and definitely helped enhance the content. One example is a colleague’s advice to add some information on creating online communities and how this facilitates remote learning. That creating online communities is important was later confirmed by students, whose formal and informal feedback clearly suggested that one of the biggest challenges during the lockdown for them was the lack of social interactions, both with their peers and with their lecturers. Subsequently, I am currently working on more extensive section on the website to address this very issue.
So far, the website has received really good feeback from its intended audiences and I am looking forward to more feedback and comments to expand the website in line with its users’ needs.
Overall, working on the website was a really good experience: I learnt a lot about remote teaching while doing the relevant research, I had an opportunity to work collaboratively with very knowledgeable colleagues and I learnt how to design and create a decent WordPress website!