With the onset of the pandemic, there was a rapid shift to move everything away from the physical to an online method of delivery. LITE Research Support Officer, Dave Riley, charts here how the Share, Adopt, Adapt Workshops (SAAW) were a central part of that journey.
At LITE, our approach to online delivery has been to reimagine our content offerings for the work-from-home era.
We’ve looked to continue to showcase pedagogical research and practice in ways that are accessible and inclusive for those that attend our events and watch our videos, and in a way that is not workload-heavy for our contributors.
In July, in conjunction with the TIPS Community, we re-launched our popular Share, Adopt, Adapt Workshops (SAAW) with a focus upon sharing experiences, techniques and strategies relevant for online teaching online.
The events are relaxed and informal in tone and see up to three presentations of around five minutes, before the floor is opened up for questions.
This quick and flexible method of delivery has proved extremely popular.
There have been 554 attendees to the 10 workshops we have held, and a further 234 views across our MS Stream channel.
To illustrate how the workshops operate in practice, our SAAW from August 18, How to make your teaching accessible and inclusive provides an illustrative example.
Jenny Brady, Inclusivity Project Lead at LITE, explained the opportunities and challenges that an online teaching environment can provide.
Whilst digital accessibility removes barriers for a number of students, for example, for those that commute, others may not have a suitable work environment or access to appropriate digital tools.
Jenny’s talk was followed by Kirsten Thompson, Digital Practice Advisor at OD and PL, who provided practical advice on how to ensure that an online presentation can be as inclusive as possible. Kirsten explained how the use of natural light, a plain background and the elimination of distracting habits can make a huge difference.
Dr Alice Shepherd rounded off the event with a presentation on the use of the Ally tool within Minerva to assess levels of accessibility and inclusivity.
In the spirit of Alice herself went away having learned a lot.
After the event and in the spirit of collegiality encouraged by the workshops, Alice had learned a lot from the other speakers.
Dr Shepherd said:
Jenny and Kirsten’s presentations left me thinking more thoroughly about the more holistic aspects of accessibility.
“I knew about using headings and alt text, for example, but the event taught me about text contrast, size and approach in terms of structuring materials which I think will make them better for everyone.
“The event reinforced my perception that focusing on accessibility is good for all students”.
The sessions have not only played an important role in sharing best practice at the University but have promoted a sense of community among those looking to provide the best possible teaching experience in the COVID era.
At LITE, we’d like to take the opportunity to thank all of the presenters for the time and great effort that they have put into sharing their practice with their colleagues across the University.
On a personal level I’ve found the sessions enjoyable to organise and fun to host and I look forward to more as the academic year rolls on.
All of our SAAWs, including our most popular sessions on Building a Student Community Online, the SCALA method and Language Centre Staff’s experiences of pre-sessional teaching are recorded and available on our MS Stream Channel.