Tim Neumann, Clive Young, Leo Havemann, Nataša Perović, Karen Shackleford-Cesare, Sam Ahern, Richard Osborne, Abbi Shaw (UCL Digital Education Advisory)

Asynchronous Submission

Digital Education, Arena, Faculty Learning Technology Leads and by extension, Connected Learning Leads provided different layers of advice during the Coronavirus pandemic and its associated shift towards online learning and teaching. During this time, the content and format of advice was not a constant, but dynamically adjusting to change in circumstance, observation of practice, as well as input from and consultation with tutors and students.

We would like to invite you to reflect on
(a) recapping how advice evolved due to sticking points and situational developments,
(b) what advice was useful and easy to implement, and what not, and
(c) which issues to address going forward.

The discussion will provide opportunities for feeding back what worked well for you and compose a wish list of items to improve on. The discussion will run during conference week and culminate in a synchronous summary session.

1. Advice on Connected Learning

We had the most extraordinary year, and colleagues and students had to adapt to new and changing contexts rapidly. This includes the way how advice was provided and the content of the advice.

We would like to learn from this experience to improve services in the future, therefore Digital Education Advisory along with some Faculty Learning Technology Leads and colleagues from Arena have jointly developed this asynchronous participatory session to elicit views from colleagues and students.

2. Overview of areas of advice

Supporting and advising on Connected Learning takes place at multiple levels.

The Sway presentation on the link below lists 10 support areas and examples for UCL activities. This is a “living document”, we will add relevant links as and when, so feel free to bookmark and return.

Digital Education Advice on Connected Learning on Sway – click here

3. Give us your views

Please visit the Mentimeter presentation on the link below to give us your views on how you experienced advice over the past year, and your plans, ideas or wishes for the future. Responses are anonymous unless you choose to share your contact details on the final question.

The Mentimeter Survey is now closed.

4. Tea Time Talks: Recorded live during conference week

Join us for short 30min live panel interviews with people from different advice-related roles to hear how they experienced the past year, how they approached their support role, and what tips they have. Each session will focus on representatives from a particular role in an interview format, and recordings will be posted here.

Feel free to join the discussion live on MS Teams if you’re free, or watch the recording!

Dr Silvia Colaiacomo and Dr Martin Compton from UCL Arena talk about their work and approaches to provide advice on Connected Learning. 
Silvia's key message is "trust your students", while Martin emphasises the "human aspect"; watch the full video interview below.

Watch video on Media Central.

Glean insights from the Digital Education Advisory team on their thinking and approaches to supporting Connected Learning.

Clive Young, Leo Havemann, Nataša Perović, Karen Shackleford-Cesare and Tim Neumann reflect on learning design workshops and processes, minimum standards, platforms, and harnessing good teaching tips.

Links related to items raised in the discussion:

The new Faculty Learning Technology Leads co-ordinate Connected Learning strategically with a focus on a more local level to address specific Faculty profiles.

Abbi Shaw, Richard Osborne and Sean Gainford discuss how they approach their task of holding a number of strings together while putting structures into place for an integrated, impactful and inspiring implementation of technology-enhanced teaching methods and administrative procedures.

In this conversation, Faculty Learning Technologists draw back the curtain on how they work with academics and what some of the current challenges are, from learning design and content development to assessment and the intricacies of developing skills at a rapid pace.

A key theme that emerged in the discussion was the importance to manage the complexity of technology and break it down into digestable, uncluttered and clear steps, with the aim to making the use of technology as easy as possible, so that it unfolds its potential instead of becoming a barrier.

All FLT Leads identified the pandemic as being full of opportunities to improve teaching and learning in a variety of ways. Watch the video to find out details about tips such as:

  • Prioritise authenticity over high production values. 
  • Make learning active.
  • If you don't know, ask!
  • Provide guidance, don't overdo freedom of choice.
  • Keep it simple, and increase gradually.

To find your Faculty Learning Technology Lead:

Connected Learning Leads (CLLs) are academic colleagues who took on the responsibility to co-ordinate Connected Learning in their departments.

Alison Clark-Wilson, Dima Khazem, Ian Raper, Daniel Verscharen and Zachary Walker talk about courage, well-being and fun as well as engagement in asynchronous and synchronous sessions, going from pedagogy to technology, and putting the student experience at the centre while adapting teaching and learning to dynamic contexts.


The peer-level support from CLLs proved crucial during lockdown and continues to be a key role while we are looking towards a phase of consolidation and stabilisation after a frantic year, and CLLs will continue to help colleagues in their department navigate the wealth of information and guidance, as well as identify and source knowledge, support, and interns or assistants.

The five CLLs share their ground-level insights into how they approached their task and what they achieved, and they conclude with plenty of pragmatic tips, such as:

  • Find what works for you.
  • Prioritise care for students over perfection.
  • Buddy up to develop professionally and to improve consistency for your learners.
  • Be brave, and enjoy trying out new things.

To find your Connected Learning Lead:

5. Summary Session: Lunch & Learn, 23 April 12noon

We will run a live Lunch & Learn session on the outcomes from this activity, including survey results and role discussions. This is an opportunity to discuss findings, learn about future plans, and raise any issues you might have with regards to support of Connected Learning.

The session is now in the past. A summary is in preparation.

6. Acknowledgements

This session was put together by colleagues from Arena, Digital Education and IOE:

Samantha Ahern, Silvia Colaiacomo, Martin Compton, Leo Havemann, Tim Neumann, Richard Osborne, Nataša Perović, Karen Shackleford-Cesare, Abbi Shaw, Clive Young

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