This presentation reports on the delivery and evaluation of a new experiential staff development course designed to equip participants with the skills and confidence to create and teach a new set of online masters programmes offered in partnership with edX (Nicol, Gallagher, and MacNeill 2019). It will also describe how the course has been adapted and delivered at scale in response to university campus closures as a result of the global pandemic, embedding the messages of continuity, contact, and care. Now more than ever we must attend to the health, safety, and wellbeing of our students and staff as teaching for many transitions into a new digital space in radically uncertain times (Gallagher 2020). The course, and the message, is a keystone in demonstrating institutional leadership in learning technology at a time of unprecedented and rapid change.
Following a pilot run in September 2019 (Gallagher 2019), “An Edinburgh Model for Online Teaching” successfully ran as planned in January 2020 to an internal cohort of over 50 academic teaching and teaching support staff. In March 2020 the global coronavirus pandemic forced universities to close their campuses and move to remote teaching at short notice. A team at Edinburgh comprising staff from Learning, Teaching, and Web Services, and the Centre for Research in Digital Education, moved quickly to provide targeted support for teaching continuity preparation (www.ed.ac.uk/teaching-continuity): in the week beginning 16th March more than 900 staff attended online staff development courses focussing on a core toolset for remote teaching. Lessons from the ‘Edinburgh Model’ underpinned the tips for teaching; a focus on continuity, contact, and care in these difficult times was clearly articulated to teachers in drop-in sessions (Gallagher & Nicol 2020).
During March and April the Edinburgh Model course was migrated to Blackboard Learn, the hub of online teaching at Edinburgh University. A pool of volunteer tutors from across the institution were enlisted to share their experience; harnessing the institutional experience of successfully delivering online teaching over the last 15 years. The course launched on 27th April 2020 with 200 teachers enrolled. A further two cohorts have been advertised for June 2020, enabling us to reach a another 400 teachers. This presentation will report on evaluations of the initial runs of the course, and reflect on the experience of converting to an at-scale solution, designed to provide institutional leadership in a new form of ‘hybrid’ teaching. Most importantly we will share how we embedded the messages of continuity, contact and care into online teaching practice.
Gallagher, M. S. (2019), An ‘Edinburgh Model’ for Online Teaching Programme: Notes from a pilot run, Teaching Matters. The University of Edinburgh. Available from: https://www.teaching-matters-blog.ed.ac.uk/an-edinburgh-model-for-online-teaching-programme-notes-from-a-pilot-run/.
Gallagher, M. S. (2020). The transition at the University of Edinburgh (or at least my small part in it), Michael Gallagher. Available from: http://michaelseangallagher.org/the-transition-at-the-university-of-edinburgh-or-at-least-my-small-part-in-it/.
Gllagher, M. S. & Nicol, S. (2020). Getting started with remote teaching: continuity, contact, care. Accessed 1st May 2020. Available from: https://www.ed.ac.uk/files/atoms/files/remote_teaching-2.pdf.
Nicol, S., Gallgher, M. S., and MacNeill, S. (2019). Walking the online creative teaching walk: developing curriculum and staff creativity in online programmes. ALT-C 2019. Available fro: https://altc.alt.ac.uk/2019/sessions/a-121/