Take some time to reflect on what you have achieved
and what you have learned
In designing a pathway of key considerations for staff who are currently planning for effective remote teaching we believe reflection is a critical component to this preparation. In the time since March 12th 2020 all staff in the higher education sector have experienced a time of tremendous change to their day to day work, teaching and learning. While the global crisis that is Covid19 has catapulted us into a space of uncertainty it has also illustrated more vividly the need for enhanced digital skills in the modern day working environment.
We believe all staff have further developed their digital skills since March 12th, and many may not be aware of this positive development, and rather be focussing on how much more they need to learn in order to effectively teach, or indeed support teaching, remotely. Therefore, taking some time to now reflect on all you have learned and all you have achieved during these past few moments is important in order to effectively plan for the future.
1. What worked well?
While we appreciate that you had not planned for this pivot to remote teaching, learning and assessment, was there any aspect of this experience which worked well for you and/ or worked well for your students? Was your VLE a positive resource for your teaching and learning? How did you communicate with your students and was it effective? Were there online activities that worked well? What worked well for you?
2. What didn’t work for you?
Equally, what would you do differently next time? What resources/technologies did you find challenging to use? Was student engagement an issue for you? Did you find it a struggle to motivate your students, or indeed to motivate yourself? What really didn’t work for you and how do you think this can be remedied going forward?
3. What was the student feedback?
As the student is core to all our work, what was their feedback of their experience of the pivot to online teaching, learning and assessment in 2020? This feedback can be gathered at module and at programme level in your institution via formal and informal methods. Your local Student Union will also be an excellent source of feedback and support in this regard. We also have a ‘Consider Your Students’ resource within the EDTL Approach with provides you with national sources of student feedback which provide insights into both pre- and post- Covid19 experiences of digital in their higher level education in Ireland.
4. Your digital skills and digital confidence
A lot of us lack confidence when it comes to the use of technology/digital in our work and in our teaching. Therefore, we often do not recognise or give credit to ourselves for the level of digital competence we hold, and can build on. In that context we have developed 4 Top Tips as well as recommendations for self-reflection and self-assessment tools which will build your digital confidence, provide you with a language and guide you in the right direction to further develop your digital skills and competencies should you wish to do so.
- You are not alone. Especially true when it comes to digital and the use of technology. We are dealing with exceptional times in both our personal lives and working lives. If you are reading this, it means you are willing to learn. Trusting that you are not alone in feeling overwhelmed, not alone in worrying about your digital skills and competencies, should reassure you. It is natural to feel like this and we are all in this together.
- Reach out. It tends to be overwhelming navigating all the supports, resources and training initiatives in your institution and otherwise. Where to start? Simply reach out and ASK! Ask someone in any one of those supports and they will point you in the right direction. They are there to help you. There is an IUA EDTL Project Lead in each of the seven universities and you are welcome to contact any one of us, and we will certainly help in whatever way we can. We realise this can sound easier than it is, but please do reach out and ask for support.
- Trusted friend. We often speak about having a ‘critical friend’ in academia. That friend who will provide you with honest feedback, that friend whom you trust. Your current situation is no different. We need that trusted friend (colleague or family member) who will practice online activities with us, who will give feedback on content creation and we can do the same for them. This helps address any fear or anxieties you might have about ‘pressing the wrong button’.
- Pedagogy first. Your teaching is the most important thing and the technology will follow. In our #IUADigEd infographic detailing our EDTL Approach, you will note the emphasis is on pedagogy; only one of the five themes pertains to considerations around technology. You may be overwhelmed by the fear of using technology but support and training will help you get started and grow your confidence. What “works best for you” takes priority as an educator. Consistency and simplicity are key recommendations in this regard.