Episode 15: Working together, collaboratively: Changing dissertation-focused teaching sessions to ensure equity for students and realizing the benefits of digital education

In this episode, Steven Young and Sandra Nolte from the Department of Accounting & Finance at the Lancaster University Management School talk about the how they considered potential problems that moving teaching for the dissertation module online might pose.

The result: they changed teaching sessions for the dissertation to ensure equity and a smooth experience as possible for students given the sudden issues caused by Covid19. Teaching was delivered remotely via Microsoft Teams. Sandra and Steven experimented with this approach to identify potential issues prior to commencing teaching delivery.

The key issues they uncovered related to how some software and tools (e.g. MATLAB and Bloomberg) would either be accessible by students via a VPN or on their own devices, or, in some cases, would not. For example, Bloomberg Terminals require on-site access and the remote solution, Bloomberg Anywhere, would incur a significant additional cost. Other issues related to how some tools, such as Microsoft Whiteboard, were not at the time of this recording fit for purpose, and so other work-around solutions had to be found.

How they were successful

Underlying their successes is a discussion of the importance of clear communication, keeping all staff abreast of potential problems and solutions and the need to form close working relationships with educational technologists. Through working together within these close relationships, program and course/module-specific solutions can be created which highlights the need to work less in silos and more collaboratively.

Academic colleagues can reach out to staff, present teaching cases/problems, and educational technologists can identify potential problems that may occur along with solutions. Equally, educational technologists may look at teaching on courses/modules, identify potential enhancements and/or solutions to possible problems that may occur along the way. It’s very much a two-way process that requires close relationship building, an open mind and trust. The benefits are multifaceted as they can affect students and colleagues alike.

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