Image of the Rosetta stone

… you spend twenty years trying to persuade the sector to go online and then it happens over a weekend…

As campuses close down around the world, digital channels in HE are buzzing with ideas for how to start teaching online in a hurry. Necessity being the mother of invention, there is a sudden blizzard of advice and suggestions – from lecturers trying things out for the first time, to digital learning support teams giving their seasoned counsel, to technology vendors advocating their tools as solutions.

At the University of London, we are well used to teaching online; we have been doing distance learning since 1858, and today we have over 100 online programmes in 190+ countries and 48,000 students.

In Education, Innovation and Development (EID) we create online courses in partnership with colleagues across the federation. Our filming studio is closed at the moment, we aren’t doing face to face learning design sessions, and access to the usual kit is restricted.

So we face a practical challenge at the moment: how to support all our partners and create engaging online learning at a distance.

And with the practical challenge comes a pedagogic one: how to ensure we do it well, and give our students the education they deserve.

So there are two audiences for this blog:

  1. Colleagues and programme teams who we work with in the federation.
  2. Anyone teaching in higher education who is looking for tips and ideas.

And our posts will generally cover:

  1. Things you can do quickly now to get up and running, with a minimum of technical fuss or specialist knowledge.
  2. More in-depth advice about how to teach effectively online over the long term, for when the dust has settled.

We will also contribute to debates in HE about online learning, share our own resources and link to external things we find and like.

We’re really busy working from our homes to launch some great online programmes this year, including a BSc Psychology (with KCL) and an MSc Data Science (with Goldsmiths), both this April, an MSc Marketing (with Birkbeck), later in the year, and we’re still making the later modules on our BSc Computer Science (with Goldsmiths, via Coursera), and our MSc Supply Chain Management and Global Logistics (with City, University of London).

We know there’s a surge in interest in the kind of work we do. We’ll share as much as we can, and if it’s of some use to even a handful of HE practitioners in the global community, we’ll be delighted.

Wishing everyone good health,


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