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Floating on the ‘cloud’ or living in the material world`? Teaching online in the time of Covid

Blog Editor, IOE Digital16 February 2022

Lesley Gourlay.

At the beginning of the pandemic, schools and universities were forced to ‘go online’ at short notice. We often refer to this as ‘virtual learning’, but is that really a good description? We think about the internet as something separate from the ‘real world’ we see in front of us, full of objects and people. The language used to describe it suggests this too – we talk about ‘the cloud’ and ‘the ether’, giving the idea that the online world is a special place, free from the messiness of the material world.

However, the reality of ‘online learning’ is also part of the that world. Computers, laptops and smartphones are objects, and we work with them in ‘real life’ settings. During the pandemic, millions of people had to set up and use digital devices at home for work or study. As we (more…)

Higher education in the era of COVID-19: have universities considered all the issues for moving teaching online?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital7 July 2020

Gillian Stokes, Alison O’Mara-Eves, Antonia Simon, Preethy D’Souza, Meena Khatwa and Michelle Richardson

The coronavirus pandemic arrived like Nature’s curveball from the blue, and it has had a huge impact on the landscape of higher education (HE). Teaching and learning from home have rapidly become the new normal, with no clear end in sight.

The discourse surrounding HE teaching and learning just as rapidly shifted focus.

Universities’ ability to deliver ‘fit for purpose’ remote learning is under scrutiny. Staff, parents and students are raising worries about privacy, technology and teaching methods. Lecturers have engaged readily and adapted teaching to try to ensure the best experience for their students. But they also have concerns.

We believe discussions about HE and online teaching need to become more nuanced. Here, we identify four key issues (more…)

5 easy tricks for successful online teaching

Blog Editor, IOE Digital17 June 2020

Eileen Kennedy.

Research on MOOCs can tell us what works for online learners.

Since we launched IOE’s first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) five years ago, we have been learning a lot about how to scale up online learning. I have been interviewing MOOC students and conducting Design Based Research into ways we can make online learning a social and collaborative experience for the thousands of participants who enrol on these courses.

Now that UCL and other universities are embarking on a mission to widen the reach of online teaching for students who would otherwise miss out because of COVID-19, what can research on MOOCs tell us about how to make it work for both teachers and students? Here are 5 easy tricks I have learnt to make it work for everyone: (more…)