How the Faculty is supporting the move to remote teaching during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

The move to remote teaching is coordinated by the Faculty Remote Readiness Group, chaired by Professor Richard Thompson, Vice Dean (Education). The group includes Heads of Online Teaching from each department, as follows:

  • Dr Jonathan Fenton - Physics
  • Dr Adam Masters - Physics
  • Professor Nicholas Heard - Mathematics
  • Professor Pietro Spanu - Life Scienes (UG)
  • Professor Alfried Vogler - Life Sciences (PG)
  • Professor Alan Spivey - Chemistry
  • Dr Mike Tennant - CEP

Moira Sarsfield represents the Faculty Ed Tech Team and there are also representatives from ICT and the Student Union.

The group has collated requirements for delivery of teaching for academic year 2020-21 and secured funding from the College to support the work.

Delivering a high standard of remote teaching

Our strategy for delivering a high standard of remote 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 Ed Tech Team will work 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 Ed Tech Team will work with Heads of Online Teaching and 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 Ed Tech Teams across College are working 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 Ed Tech team 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 Ed Tech team will provide advice, in conjunction with ICT.