Remote and multimodal delivery

Faculty support for remote and multimodal delivery

The initial move to remote teaching during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak was coordinated by the Faculty Remote Readiness Group, chaired by Professor Richard Thompson, Vice Dean (Education). The group collated requirements for delivery of teaching for academic year 2020-21 and secured funding from the College to support the work.

Ongoing support is provided by the new Faculty Digital Learning Group, which addresses strategic and operational matters concerning the development, delivery and support of digital learning materials, systems, and initiatives for the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

The committee will normally meet once per term, or more frequently as required. Discussions of the group are reported to the Faculty Education Committee (NSEC). The group includes representatives from all the Departments in the Faculty, the Faculty EdTech Lab, Education Team, ICT, and the Student Union. Professor Richard Thompson, Vice Dean (Education) chairs the committee.

Delivering a high standard of remote and multimodal teaching

Our strategy for delivering a high standard of remote and multimodal teaching is to:

  • use a minimum number of ICT-supported platforms and tools;
  • develop and document robust, reliable methods for remotely delivering teaching, learning, assessment and student support;
  • support staff to implement these methods during both development and delivery, including the provision of templates for Blackboard courses that incorporate best practice and a range of additional activities that have been trialled and evaluated;
  • support students to learn via these methods with suitable technical infrastructure and academic/social/pastoral support mechanisms.

For programmes or modules with additional or specialist requirements, e.g. delivery of remote practical work or specialist computational requirements, the EdTech Lab works with departments, AV support and ICT to implement appropriate solutions.

Tools and approaches

Standard ICT-supported toolset

Guidance on how to use these tools is available on our remote delivery SharePoint site.

Standard approach for delivering remote teaching

  • Use defined, documented methods prepared at College and Faculty level
  • Deploy standard Blackboard templates and learning and assessment activities at department level
  • Support teaching and administrative staff in developing and deploying these techniques at module level
  • Support students in learning remotely

Bespoke solutions

The Faculty EdTech Lab works with module leads to develop solutions for requirements that can't be delivered with the standard toolkit. This may involve piloting of new processes, software, lab equipment, etc.


Further resources for staff

The EdTech Labs across College have worked together to define methods and prepare documentation and support materials, supported by ICT and AV support teams.

Staff can access these resources at the links below.

Further information on the pedagogy of remote teaching is available from the Educational Development Unit, while the Digital Learning Hub provide practical tips for online teaching based on their experience of delivering MOOCs.

Note that these sites refer to software packages that are unsupported by the Faculty EdTech Lab and ICT.

The Faculty of Natural Sciences view, in line with advice from ICT, is that only software supported by ICT should be used for delivery of teaching, except where additional functionality is required that cannot be delivered using the standard toolset. In this case, the Faculty EdTech Lab will provide advice, in conjunction with ICT.