Review of Dave P. Thomas & Suhraiya Jivraj, eds. Towards Decolonising the University: A Kaleidoscope for Empowered Action (Oxford: Counterpress, 2020)

This book’s publication is timely: the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 acted as a catalyst for the intensification of many mass movements in search of racial justice in the USA, UK and beyond. Protests and campaigns spurred many institutions, including the University of Greenwich, to release ‘Black Lives...

Mentimeter: Empowering presenters and students in online teaching

We have recently seen the number of users of Mentimeter breach the 1,000 mark. That the numbers of colleagues (and students) creating presentations is still increasing is testament, we believe, to the flexibility of Mentimeter as a tool to support engagement and indeed empowerment even where teaching has been increasingly...

‘Move fast and break things’ – Breakouts before breakout rooms: a wish list and lessons learned

I decided to experiment with breakout rooms in Teams some weeks ago, in mid-October 2020.  It was clear that large group tutorials would not be the right forum for the activity we planned – short, individual presentations.  The official Teams release of breakout rooms was not available yet, so we...

Review of Dave P. Thomas & Suhraiya Jivraj, eds. Towards Decolonising the University: A Kaleidoscope for Empowered Action (Oxford: Counterpress, 2020)

This book’s publication is timely: the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 acted as a catalyst for the intensification of many mass movements in search of racial justice in the USA, UK and beyond. Protests and campaigns spurred many institutions, including the University of Greenwich, to release ‘Black Lives...

Mentimeter: Empowering presenters and students in online teaching

We have recently seen the number of users of Mentimeter breach the 1,000 mark. That the numbers of colleagues (and students) creating presentations is still increasing is testament, we believe, to the flexibility of Mentimeter as a tool to support engagement and indeed empowerment even where teaching has been increasingly...

‘Move fast and break things’ – Breakouts before breakout rooms: a wish list and lessons learned

I decided to experiment with breakout rooms in Teams some weeks ago, in mid-October 2020.  It was clear that large group tutorials would not be the right forum for the activity we planned – short, individual presentations.  The official Teams release of breakout rooms was not available yet, so we...

Supervising remotely: supporting a PhD student during a global pandemic

When there’s a global pandemic, many things come to a grinding halt. In the first lockdown of 2020, we saw universities move to online teaching – see my previous reflection on this here. The importance and value of online tools such as Microsoft Teams for video calls, and the innovative...

The time has come to make your breakout: opportunities and pitfalls when using breakouts in live online sessions

“When explanations make no senseWhen every answer’s wrongYou’re fighting with lost confidenceAll expectations goneThe time has come to make or breakMove on, don’t hesitateBreakout” (Swing out Sister, 1986) The lyricists behind ‘Breakout’ were prescient, as a ‘need’ for breakout spaces within platforms used for online teaching can sometimes be seen...

Engaging students online – how to support student participation before and during Microsoft Teams sessions

As Care Leaver Co-ordinator for UK Student Recruitment, I had my first experience of leading Microsoft (MS) Teams sessions over the summer; ‘Preparation for University’ webinars for external offer holders. Using MS Teams with these participants has prompted me to reflect on how I can support engagement, through my actions...

Will Covid-19 finally catalyse the way we exploit digital options in assessment and feedback?

The typical child will learn to listen first, then talk, then read, then write. In life, most of us tend to use these abilities proportionately in roughly the same order: listen most, speak next most, read next most frequently and write the least. Yet in educational assessment and feedback, and...

Avoiding being the sage on the screen – Facilitating online sessions

In 1993 Alison King suggested we move our teaching away from ‘sage on the stage’ to a role of ‘guide on the side’ but what does this mean in the blended learning context? In my role, I am focused on supporting colleagues in preparing their teaching for 2020/21 and many...

An inclusive approach to the ‘virtual campus’ – keeping student experiences in focus

Institutional responses to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have necessarily prompted a sharp and sudden change in learning and teaching as both staff and students move to what we’re calling ‘a virtual campus’. In the context of self-isolation and social distancing, this reflects a wider trend across the sector. The cancellation...