As universities explore digital methods of course delivery in response to ongoing disruption caused by coronavirus, Covid-19, all members of their academic communities continue to face complex and daunting challenges.
It is with this context in mind that we announce the development of two new interactive, online courses – each one designed to support a rapid transition to online teaching and learning, with a clear focus on practical skills development and confidence-building.
Laura Dent, Director of Publishing and Learning Design, explains the rationale behind the decision, and the approach to the courses’ development:
“We know that institutions faced significant challenges in the rapid move to remote learning, and we made some of our training resources freely accessible to support them through that process. Now that this initial ‘reaction’ phase is over, institutions are adjusting to the idea that online and blended learning will play a bigger role over the coming academic year. For those starting university, confidence or skills gaps are likely to be heightened due to the impact of Covid-19, and current students will need to adjust to more online learning in their university experience. Meanwhile, members of staff face the challenges of embedding online teaching on a longer-term basis, and finding new and innovative ways to do this.
We wanted to understand what would be most valuable to institutions to support them in this transition now and moving forward. Drawing on our experience of developing training in this area, and in conjunction with feedback from institutions, we decided to create two new short courses to support both staff and students. Working to an accelerated timescale, we are collaborating with a panel of expert reviewers throughout the development process to ensure we’re covering the most relevant and pressing topics.”
Teaching Online: Next Steps in Design and Development will support instructors in designing and delivering the most effective online learning experiences – highlighting relevant pedagogical principles and frameworks, and providing guidance on key issues, such as community-building, assessment and feedback, inclusivity, and engagement.
Commissioning Editor, Kat Rylance, reflects:
“Developing this course, I was struck by the incredible scale and speed of the university response to ensure continuity in learning. Speaking to those ‘at the coalface’, it quickly became clear that a key challenge was in taking that next step – moving from online delivery as an initial response, to providing an effective and pedagogically sound online learning experience. Teaching Online is intended to be a short, practical course to support that next step – providing practical advice from design to delivery, and beyond.”
Learning Online: Essential Skills for Success will provide students with a practical and interactive introduction to the possibilities afforded by online learning – from guidance around expectations and common challenges, to development of vital skills, and coverage of key concerns, including wellbeing and employability.
Senior Commissioning Editor, Naomi Wilkinson, explains:
“Many university students are finding themselves learning online for the first time, and are having to quickly develop new study skills while adjusting their expectations of a ‘typical’ university experience. It’s a highly stressful time! In response, we designed this course to support students in overcoming the challenges of online study, whether that’s academic, practical, or wellbeing challenges, and to build transferable skills that will enable them to make the most of the broader student experience.”
Looking to the future, Director of Epigeum, Andy Ware, adds:
“The challenge now is to stabilise, enhance, and innovate in teaching and learning, developing the pedagogy of online courses to the quality that both teachers and students desire. Epigeum is committed to supporting universities and colleges in this endeavour, and we have responded quickly to provide training that will help to build the required skills and best practices. And, conscious of the constraints created by the pandemic, we are delivering this in a way that is quick, easy, and affordable for our institutional partners.”
For more information, and request trial access to the courses for your institution, please get in touch.