Following my update last Monday about our move to blended learning next academic year, I am pleased to announce the launch today of our Principles and Guidance for Blended Learning web resource that will help to guide and support your planning.
This move to a mix of online learning with some face-to-face teaching - where safe and possible - is a significant change for our University. While some colleagues will have experience of online delivery, for some this will be something new and we want to do all that we can to support you as you prepare for the new academic year. I know that this is a challenging time for colleagues with many competing demands, whether these are personal or professional, impacting on the preparations for the new academic year.
The Principles and Guidance for Blended Learning website has therefore been developed to support your preparations. Alongside a set of overarching Principles that set out our agreed, flexible approach to the preparations for, and implementation of, blended learning, you will also find practical guidance to enable you to easily access a toolkit for the development of blended delivery. I hope that you will find that the guidance also offers you inspiration.
We will keep the resource under review and we are able to update it as required. If you have ideas or want to share good practice, we would be delighted to hear from you. Thank you to Kirsty Kiezebrink (Dean for Educational Innovation) for leading the workstream that developed the guidance, and to the Centre for Academic Development for all the work they have done in the development of the guidance. In addition, a workstream on Practical Learning (for example, laboratory-based learning) has identified some of the challenges for the delivery of practical learning and will provide further examples of good practice and guidance on alternative approaches in due course. Thank you to Dave Muirhead (Head of Geosciences) for leading this workstream.
Alongside this valuable resource, help and support is also available through the Blended Learning Support Model that was put in place six weeks ago. As you may know, the support model is made up of colleagues from the Centre for Academic Development and Digital & IT Services who are working actively with Schools through the School-based Blended Learning Groups to provide advice, training and support for the move to blended delivery.
The Blended Learning Implementation Task & Finish Group continues to meet and the minutes, agendas and other papers are available at the weblink so that you can keep up-to-date with the work of the group.
I do understand that this move creates unexpected workload, and that some of you may have concerns about this and other issues. I do hope that these Principles and Guidance for Blended Learning will not only assist you with the development of your courses for blended learning, but will provide reassurance that decisions on how the Principles and Guidance will be implemented will be managed within individual Schools. As always, thank you for all your work on the move to blended learning.
As I say, if you have any comments or ideas, or you want to share good practice, please do get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professor Ruth Taylor