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Learn Environ Res ; : 1-15, 2022 Apr 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1777756


In 2020, King's College London introduced HyFlex teaching as a means to supplement online and face-to-face teaching and to respond to Covid-19 restrictions. This enabled teaching to a mixed cohort of students (both online and on campus). This article provides an outline of how such an approach was conceptualized and implemented in a higher-education institution during an intense three-month period over that summer and prior to the limited re-opening of the university campus. This was a new approach that offers a number of pointers for reflection and provides key insights in on this novel learning environment and the physical and pedagogical contexts in which learning can occur. Technical implementation factors are detailed, along with both reflections on challenges and solutions. Pedagogical issues such as cognitive load, social presence, and resolving the issues of a cohort spread across two locations are discussed. While we should be mindful of the limitations of this relatively-specific research, and shouldn't therefore over-extrapolate our findings, one key finding is that delivering Hyflex is associated with a higher cognitive load. Further, the audio quality of our implementation enhanced the feeling of presence in the learning environment. We recommend providing appropriate technical and pedagogical training, as well as audio-visual and digital education support.

Education Sciences ; 12(2):123, 2022.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1686643


COVID-19 forced the closure of UK universities. One effect of this was a change in how lectures, and their recordings, were made and used. In this research, we aimed to address two related research questions. Firstly, we aimed to understand how UK universities replaced in-person lectures and, secondly, to establish what academic staff believed the post-pandemic lecture would look like. In a mixed-methods study, we collected anonymous quantitative and qualitative data from 87 academics at 36 UK institutions. Analysis revealed that respondents recognised the value and importance of interactive teaching and indicated that the post-pandemic lecture would and should make greater use of this. Data also revealed positive views of lecture capture, in contrast to pre-pandemic studies, and demonstrated that staff recognised their value for those who were unable to attend, or who had specific learning differences. However, staff also recognised the value of asynchronous lecture videos within a blended or flipped approach. This study provides evidence that the pandemic has engendered changes in attitudes and practices within UK higher education that are conducive to educational reform.

Education Sciences ; 11(11):702, 2021.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1502387


COVID-19 has impacted Higher Education worldwide. While several studies have examined the effects of the pandemic on students, few have addressed its impact on academic staff. Here, we present both survey (n = 89) and interview (n = 12) data highlighting the pandemic-induced effects on academics from various disciplines and career stages. Data was collected between May and September 2020, aiming to capture and understand the immediate effects of the U.K. lockdown on the academics examining demographic and employment factors, digital abilities and confidence, and mental wellbeing. Analyses revealed that most academics were satisfied with the support they received from the university and colleagues, and they had adequate equipment and space at home to work. However, half incurred additional financial costs to maintain access to technology and many felt an altered relationship with the university. There were discrepancies in digital abilities and confidence according to employment status, age, faculty, and social identity as an academic. Teaching workload did not increase across the board, rather seniority predicted increases. Levels of wellbeing were low but were not significantly predicted by workload increase or abilities and confidence in working digitally as might have been expected. Stronger social identity as an academic may predict higher mental wellbeing with qualitative data suggesting teamwork and collegiate activities helped. Furthermore, interviewees identified several positive aspects to working remotely. These findings suggest universities should consider carefully how to support all staff to work digitally and consider flexible working post-pandemic.