For the teaching team, the challenge was to safeguard the distinctiveness of the programme, continue to promote opportunities for active learning and maintain and build the learning community.
Dr Traunter said: “The online programme team were committed to making sure that the human element of the programme was preserved and set about creating as many opportunities for students to not only hear but to see and interact with their tutors.
“The success of the programme delivery could not be attributed to one person and owed its success to great team work, from the excellent support of Emily Armstrong in the teaching and excellence academy, to the whole teaching team.
“Everyone has worked incredibly hard to give the students the best possible teaching and learning experience.”
The team ensured success by:
⦁ Acting on student feedback and experiences of using the software gained during the transition to online learning for students in Hong Kong.
⦁ Providing a clear and well-planned online teaching timetable at the outset and guidance on accessing the teaching and resources.
⦁ Notifying students well in advance about what to expect, the level of support and providing frequent updates to address any anxieties they might have.
⦁ Using consistent tools for programme delivery to avoid the stress of continually introducing new technology; enabling one-click access to make engagement straightforward for students.
⦁ Using the Virtual Learning Environment to arrange interactive lectures and encourage discussion.
⦁ Encouraging students to continue to work in groups using break out rooms for tasks and maintaining the community of learners. Supporting the development of meaningful relationships between staff and students and amongst the students.
⦁ Checking in with how students were feeling, advising them of additional support through the networks and services provided by the University during lockdown.
⦁ Responding and acting on feedback to enhance online learning experience.
⦁ Ensuring flexible delivery to fit in with students’ lives – taking into account their home schooling and key worker responsibilities, as well as the fact some were living in different time zones. Encouraging flexible one-to-one appointments with tutors – not necessarily in office hours.
⦁ Supporting staff with technology by providing assistance from specialist IT staff including trouble shooting in virtual lectures.
Nicole Scoular, a student from the School of Education, described how she benefitted from the quick response of her tutors to teaching online.
She said: “I've been able to still finish my degree rather than it being put on hold and have been able to study round the kids being at home, in a time that suits me. In a round-about way I've learned more techy skills on my laptop too.”
Student Xin Miao, who is an international student from Shanghai, China, studying at the University’s Hull campus, also paid tribute to the School of Education for its support and encouragement with her studies since the COVID-19 outbreak.
Even with the transition to online learning, Xin described her experience as a student in Hull as “unforgettable.”
She said she was grateful for the advice and guidance provided by her supervisor who “showed the sincerest care for me and all the international student…”
The B.ED Education and Early Years is a programme which runs in two countries, with delivery in Hull and Hong Kong. It is a one-year Honours degree ‘top-up’ programme and runs for twelve months.
Special thanks to the following staff who made the transition to online learning a positive experience for students. From Education Studies: Jane Reynolds, Dr Jo Traunter, Dr Rebecca Adderley, Dr Angel Garcia-Urbina, Thamara Bulmer and Christine Trala. From Initial Teacher Education: Dr Julie Brierley and Paul Hopkins.