Like everyone else we have closed down physical meetings, and have gone on-line for both teaching and research. We are still working out how to keep a community together, and different research groups are doing different things to maintain cohesion.
We at QMUL have taken the approach that we are providing teaching virtually, and there have been a lot of internal conversations about what is (and sometimes isn’t working). And we still have to work out how to do assessments so that students can graduate and progress. Some decisions have been taken at University level, but there is a lot of working out how to implement them on the ground.
In some sense there is good news. We have to change our practice and make better use of the tools we have available. Early feedback from those giving on-line lectures and webinars is that they can be more interactive than traditional classroom teaching and that the students who are there are more engaged and find them stimulating. And we are also being told that it makes a real difference for students to see that there is a member of staff there supporting them live.
I’d like to set up way of extending this conversation to the community. This is a blog post, I hope folks can comment to tell others what they are doing at their institutions. Please do. If it grows then we’ll need to spin off to separate topics.
It looks as if you may need to log in using something like a WordPress/Facebook/twitter account to leave comments. I hope there is some way round that.
Anyway: here is a quick summary of the approach taken by QMUL.
We moved to on-line teaching at the start of the week. Staff have been using Blackboard/Collaborate to deliver teaching sessions. We have this as part of Moodle. There is some fiddling around to get things working properly, and staff are telling us that it can help to have two devices: one the presentation and one the control. There are also changes in technique needed. I can post more on this if folks want.
We’ve also made some (temporary) changes in the way we’re assessing students. The main one is that we won’t be counting the first year towards the final classification (for students currently in first year). We’ve told students that we won’t be holding physical exams this summer (no surprise there), but that they will be progressing and graduating much as normal. We still have to work out the details.
Do please let me know if you want to expand on anything, and feel free to post about what is happening at your own institution.