It’s fair to say 2020 has been a challenging year in higher education. The pace of change was beyond anyone’s expectation, ‘agile working’ doesn’t give credit to the speed at which academics had to respond.
But the pandemic won’t be over on 1 January 2021, we will still have challenges and the expected ‘stop-go’ approach to lockdown will require continued creativity and flexibility to ensure that students can access the experiential learning they need, expect and deserve. This creates new tensions – on the one hand, how do we find and use rigorous evidence to inform our practice, whilst avoiding the debunked theories that still resonate in the sector? On the other hand, how do we mitigate against risks when we use new and creative approaches to teaching?
Has the last nine months taught us anything? What lessons can we take into 2021? Is it time to pause, reflect and identify the good practice we’ve developed and how this can be taken into the new ‘normal’? Let us recognise the value of new approaches; the things which we don’t want to lose moving forward.
The rapid move to technology-facilitated learning has highlighted new issues: digital poverty, mental wellbeing in the online environment, virtual bullying, ensuring student engagement, development of a sense of belonging without meeting, to name but a few. Through ingenuity and creativity, solutions have been sought and new approaches emerged out of adversity. In this Innovation in Teaching Practice workshop we will explore the challenges of inclusive practice in the virtual world and identify effective practice for the benefit of students and our colleagues.
The rapid pace of change has been more than using an eclectic range of electronic tools. How do we evaluate the impact of our practice? How do we know we have provided the best student experience under Covid conditions? And how do we share this knowledge and experience with colleagues?
This workshop will provide participants with a practical approach to the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) and pedagogic research enabling them to effectively evaluate the work of others as well as develop their own practice in designing, implementing and evaluating innovative teaching practices.
Professor Sally Bradley is Senior Advisor for Knowledge, Innovation & Delivery at Advance HE