Welcome to PEGblogs - a series of blog posts about postgraduate teaching, work placements and educational research in the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition!
Welcome to this, the first post in our new blog mini-series, PEGblogs, launched in November 2020 via our School Blog page. We will be posting each month with an update from our group, PEG - the Postgraduate Education Group - to keep you up to date with how our learning and teaching activities are going, current pedagogical research and the achievements of our students and staff!
PEG was first established within the Institute of Applied Health Sciences several years ago with fewer than five members, offering a handful of MSc degree programmes and with modest student numbers. Now, our team is over ten strong, with more than ten programmes on offer – including fully online MSc degrees and a new MSc in Health Data Science from 2020 – with various additional and alternative study routes and almost 200 students registered for 2020/21. We are a group of staff with a teaching focus at the University of Aberdeen, and at the heart of what we do is facilitate student learning and professional development. Although we are located within our School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, we have diverse backgrounds. You can meet the team here!
Each monthly post will be authored by a different member of the team across the year. This one was written by Dr Heather May Morgan.
2020: The times they are a-changin'
March 2020 saw the realisation that University life was about to change drastically due to what became the Covid-19 pandemic. On 13 March 2020, 2019-20 students left campus, followed by staff over the next week. Since then, we have worked from home to complete the academic year, including final taught course assessments, remote research projects, exam boards and continuing to connect as a community. We sincerely hope to be able to share in our students’ successes through celebrating their graduations offline at some point, but November 2020 will see a different kind of procession. We are delighted that our students can receive their degrees, though, and we are so proud of them for finishing their studies during trying times, trained and going on into the world that needs them more than ever! Congratulations to you all and we look forward to seeing the differences you will make. Don’t forget to join our LinkedIn group to keep in touch. You can also follow us on Twitter.
2020-21: Brave new world?
Over the summer, Aberdeen University staff have been working hard to plan and prepare for the new session, knowing that things would have to be very different. While our group already runs a number of fully online courses and degrees, all of our face to face teaching has had to be reconfigured and adapted for a blended learning model. We’ve been busy sharing our tips and learning from others (including through Twitter chats #toptipsforteachingonline in June and #blendedassessmentfeedback in September). We can report a successful return to campus in the first week of teaching. While some of our students are joining sessions virtually, a good number have been coming onto site at Foresterhill.
Things are a bit different… we are observing FACTS – Face Coverings, Avoiding crowded places, Cleaning hands regularly, Two metre distance and Self-isolating/testing if showing symptoms – this applies to staff and students on campus.
We are clearly still in the early days of the 2020-21 session, first semester, and things change so rapidly during what we keep referring to as the ‘new normal’, but we are pleased with how induction and the first weeks of teaching have been going. We are actively seeking feedback and will share this in our next post! In the meantime, follow local guidelines, wherever you are, and take care. We continue as a truly global community and we hope you and yours are all well. We are in this together.
Next instalment: December's PEGblog will be a group piece on how everyone has adapted to 2020-21 teaching!