Teesside University is committed to delivering institutional content. As the University shifts teaching to a hybrid model, this resource will guide you in continuing support and teaching services remotely, with a sharp focus on embedding enhancements, nurturing excellence in delivery and strengthening resilience in the event of future disruption.

Attention is now increasingly turning to the coming academic year and the use of digital tools and solutions will remain a crucial aspect of how student experience and quality is maintained. The Digital Delivery: Learning and Support pages provide a rich array of resources which can help to empower staff and create hybrid learning courses and modules.

Please do be aware that moving to online as part of COVID-19 continuity planning is an unusual situation and is not the same as developing a pre-designed and planned online learning experience for your students. It is important that we have realistic expectations about what we can achieve; but there are many positive things that we can do, working together with understanding, patience and flexibility, to maintain a reassuring presence for our students in the event of full or partial closure of the University.

Whilst access to campus is restricted, our students’ lives are also likely to be significantly disrupted in other ways. Students may need to cope with practical challenges, caring responsibilities within their families, feelings of stress and anxiety and/ or they may be dealing with illness and self-isolation themselves. It is very important that we do not assume that all of our students will be able to participate synchronously in online versions of their normal timetabled teaching at the usual scheduled times.

Although the majority of our full-time students will have an iPad, many may not have good internet access at home. Many students may need to use their phones to stay connected.

We recommend that rather than requiring our students to be online together at any one time, we need to think about ways in which our students can complete the required work asynchronously, at times that work best for them – and then share this work or check in with us and with their peers in some way to gain feedback and support.

Click here to read key advice around teaching online

Ground yourself in your own good practice
Online doesn’t mean you need to change how you teach. Ground yourself in the aims and learning outcomes that you have already set for your module. What are the key things that students need to learn, practice and understand? In what simple ways can you continue to support them to do this whilst the campus is closed?

Do what you can to maintain a sense of reassuring presence for your students
Human connection is key. Email, phone calls, posting a brief unedited video note on Blackboard are all ways to sustain a human connection.

Protect Privacy
Never give personal email addresses, phone numbers or information to students and ensure that you also protect your students’ privacy. Follow common sense rules such as including email addresses in the Bcc field when sending group emails.

Set clear and realistic expectations, work with what you have and keep adapting
Recognise that this situation is not the same as a pre-designed and planned online learning experience. Both you and your students will need to be patient, and be willing to improvise and to work together. Ask students to tell you what is possible and not possible for them. What access issues might they be experiencing? Invite them to co-create the learning experience with you.

Create a mutually respectful and supportive learning environment
Online spaces can be disinhibiting. Communicate clearly to your students the behaviours and contributions that you need from them, set clear guidance about behaviour online (e.g. in group emails and forums), and calmly but firmly challenge any online behaviour that falls outside these boundaries, in the same way that you would in any other learning environment.

Asynchronous and synchronous learning
Think flexibly. It may not be possible to get everyone online at once and participating in online classrooms or spaces (synchronous learning). Normal rules of attendance and participation may need to be revisited.

Keep things simple
Simple solutions are always the best. Don’t complicate things suddenly with unnecessary tools or expectations. Use reliable tools that your students are familiar with (email, Teams, Blackboard, or set up a hashtag for a public Twitter chat). Keep your focus on teaching, rather than technology.

At all times, think about any barriers to learning that your students may be experiencing, either because of practical circumstances such as bandwidth or because of disability. Keep communications clear, simple and reassuring. Use fonts and backgrounds that are easy to read. Chunk information into smaller pieces. Provide clear URLs (not clickable links) for all materials and resources. Set clear professional boundaries but offer as much support as you can. You can find resources for Universal Design for Learning at this link: http://udlguidelines.cast.org

It is anticipated that this site will be continually updated, so it is recommended you revisit as often as possible.

Use the links below to access help and support:

  • Blackboard for Hybrid Delivery – The content in this section will help you manage the transition towards hybrid delivery. You will find helpful guidance relating to:
    • Blackboard Access
    • Quick Start Guide
    • Content
    • Assessments
    • Communication
      • Asynchronus (Announcements, Email and Discussion Boards)
      • Synchronus (Blackboard Collaborate Ultra)
  • Lecture Capture/Screen Recording – The content in this section explains how you can use ReView (Panopto) to record videos to share with your students:
    • Recording Video Content (ReView/Panopto)
  • Digital Empowerment
    • Future Facing Learning Digital Development Support
    • Apple iPad – User Guide and Apple Teacher Resources – A free professional learning programme designed to support academic colleagues in using Apple tools and software.
    • Microsoft Teams Help – The ultimate real-time collaboration and communication application for meetings, file sharing, and even the occasional emoji!