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Quick Tips for Teaching Online: Spring Semester & AY 2020/'21 Wrap-Up

Picture of a little girl running to the end of a rocky jetty by the sea. A glass bottle appears at the base of the image making it look like she is coming out of the mouth of the bottle. A red, orange and purple sun sets through the clouds into the surrounding sea in the background.
Mon, 19 Apr 2021

By David Moloney.

Reading Time: ~4 mins.

Featured Image Source: "Little Genie In A Bottle" by Oliver Scott is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


This short wrap-up post features 3 things:

  1. Round-up of the blog series for the 2020/'21 academic year with an eye on the present, an eye to the future,
  2. Summary list of all blog posts to the series this academic year, and
  3. Inviting your feedback  on the blog series to date, offering you an opportunity to contribute a future blog post (UL Staff only).

At the base of this post, I've also included some links for you to explore  further in your own time.


1. An eye on the present, an eye to the future

In times of change learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.


Eric Hoffer



What a year it has been...almost ineffable. As we near the end of the 2020/'21 academic year prior to the summer period we near the end of the blog series for this academic year also. Our personal and professional lives have undoubtedly undergone significant change this past year. Moving teaching and learning online has been no small task, and each of you deserve a huge amount of credit for what you have learned, implemented and importantly what you have achieved this past academic year in such a short space of time. We are all learners, learning.

Our curricula, attitudes and mindsets, digital skillsets, technological and pedagogical approaches, our empathy towards and experiences with our students, have all undergone a degree of transformation. Accordingly, academic professional development supports available for you, including this blog series to name but one, have also transformed.

This series seeks to accommodate a flexible self-service professional development opportunity to aid you with learning to teach online during and beyond these trying times. We listened to what you said in the Autumn semester 2020 feedback form and this past semester the series focused on providing readers with some examples from academic guest contributors of academic use cases, innovations, trial-and-error practices, and tried-and-trusted strategies with online teaching during this pandemic (take a look at the summary list of all posts in section 2). We intend to keep these types of posts coming - if you're interested in contributing a post, use section 2 in the feedback form below to express interest.

Some other LTF supports for you include digital skills workshops, help with redesigning or developing new blended or online modules, and also resources around the current set of supported tools at UL.

From our collective shared experiences we've come to realise that online and blended teaching and much more about people...than it is about the technologies that we use.

Sometimes, when we speak of teaching and learning in higher education and the word 'future' is mentioned, it can evoke images of a drastically different, fantastical, sometimes detached reality to the one in which we live and work. We have gotten glimpses of what parts of the future of higher education may look like. It isn't some abstract concept, we all actively shape it, as do our students.

From our collective shared experiences we've come to realise that online and blended teaching and learning, despite its title, is much more about people, and how we can foster and center human connections and interactions with one another within that learning environment, than it is about the technologies that we use. Across all disciplines, this pandemic has brought with it a sharp focus from educators on the ways we are teaching, interacting, assessing, and evaluating what we do, as well as an emphasis on continuously enhancing the student learning experience, appropriately integrating sound pedagogical use of digital technologies, against the backdrop of the increasingly digital world which we are all living in.

Looking ahead over the next few months, there is now more time to consider implementing or honing some things in your practice that you intended to but that you didn't perhaps have the time to during the rapid shift to online teaching. You might find yourself now in a much better, more knowledgeable and confident position to be able to do so, or to seek out the appropriate help for you to do so. LTF members are here to support you with that.

We hope that reading about some theories, strategies, practices and innovations in our series has (re)surfaced an awareness of possibilities and opportunities for you to reflect on what has been implemented and what could prove advantageous to you to try out in your own teaching practice. The importance of the experiences that you and colleagues have had this past year shouldn't be underestimated. They are invaluable evidence-based accounts of what innovations happened, how they happened, and importantly what worked, what didn't, and what can be improved upon for next time around.

Let's end the series for this academic year on a lighter note as we look intently ahead with an open outlook.

Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.


Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency



As always, thanks for reading, and take care.

2. Summary List of All Posts This Academic Year

If you couldn't keep up with reading our 'Quick Tips for Teaching Online' posts during the academic year, you can catch up on them all from this list:

Autumn Semester 2020

Spring Semester 2021

Feedback Form

The 'Quick Tips for Teaching Online' blog series is aimed at all staff who teach at UL and we invite your feedback on it after it's inaugural year. This quick feedback form has 2 sections and takes 5 minutes to fill in.

  • Section 1 invites your brief feedback on this academic years blog series. Your feedback will help to inform the future direction of the blog and to identify topics relevant to you that you would like to be addressed in future posts.
  • Section 2 is an invitation to contribute. The Learning Technology Forum (LTF) would like to open up the blog series to any staff who teach in UL with an invitation to contribute a future post, case study or success story from your own online teaching practice. Express your interest using this form.

Please Note:

  1. The form does not automatically record your name. Your feedback is anonymous. However, signing up to contribute a future post in Section 2 does involve you submitting your UL email address with your feedback response.
  2. It is possible for you to submit to this form more than once, therefore, if you would like to preserve your anonymity and also sign up to contribute a future post to the series, you can submit your feedback using one form response and subsequently submit a second form response to express interest in contributing a future post to the series.

Some Links For You To Explore

  1. To continue the conversation about the future of higher education we recommend our readers sign up to this webinar list to receive notifications of upcoming webinars on the IUA Enhancing Digital Teaching & Learning project, which this blog series is run in association with.
  2. Gasta goes Global (website : video recording) - Watch and listen to 6 leading people in technology enhanced learning's global community (Maha Bali, Martin Weller, Leigh Graves Wolf, Mark Brown, Frank Rennie, and Sheila MacNeill) as they each give 5-minute presentations about what they have learned about teaching and learning online during this pandemic, 1 year on. 30 minutes well spent.