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FE experts give top tips for teaching in lockdown 2021

The enforced shift last spring to online work and study took its toll on staff and students alike.

While that experience was difficult, it will have served to upskill many teachers and practitioners, who have new-found confidence working digitally. However, the pressure of working purely online again - at least for the early part of 2021 - remains a worry for some.

To help, here’s a package of practical advice from experts at Jisc and teachers, practitioners and leaders across the sector. It covers teaching methods, of course, as well as wellbeing and online safety.

For further information and advice, try Jisc’s dedicated coronavirus advice page, or contact your account manager.

Online delivery

South West College in Northern Ireland shares four steps to better online delivery, while another NI organisation, South East Regional College, share their own experience and cover similar topics.

Ashford College describes how to improve engagement through lockdown and Plumpton College demonstrates how to solve the tricky issue of moving practical courses online.

Enhancing remote-access education is Weston College’s new virtual classroom - a first for UK FE.

Grimsby Institute (now part of the TEC Partnership) has been using edtech for years and talks about how that experience enabled it to shift teaching online within 48 hours of the first lockdown announcement. Its best practice is an example to all.

There are further examples of good practice in Jisc's report, shaping the digital future of FE and skills.

For advice about digital pedagogy, Jisc has produced a toolkit aimed at helping members to make informed choices when embedding digital into the curriculum.

The Welsh Government has just published information on blended learning, developed under its COVID-19 resilience plan for the post-16 sector. Co-authored by Jisc, it includes a short guide and practical tips.

Several members from edtech demonstrator colleges have shared their personal top tips in this short series of videos:

Digital resources

Jisc’s head of digital content services for FE and skills, Karla Youngs, put together advice for teachers who need help to find and use digital resources, and you can read how Hull College made its e-books and other online resources more visible to staff.

Don’t forget that Jisc has a free e-books service for colleges.

Digital divide

The digital divide has been all-too apparent since the pandemic stuck, and despite lobbying from Jisc and the AoC among others, support from telecoms and government is still not solving the problem.

Walsall College is among those where BAME students are particularly adversely affected. Walsall’s experience of tackling the problem may be of help to others.

Online safety

For those working and studying online there are safety and safeguarding policies and procedures to consider, or check out Jisc’s guide to online safety.

Meanwhile, our safeguarding expert, Nelson Ody, answers the question: ‘What can colleges do to protect homeworking students from harmful online content?'

Westminster College provides all learners with an online agreement to sign, covering aspects such as online bullying, privacy and online etiquette, so learners are clear about what is expected of them and know where they can go for further support.

Cyber criminals have been quick to take advantage of the pandemic, so here’s some useful information on how to protect staff and students.

Digital wellbeing

Taking care of mental and physical wellbeing has been a concern for us all in the pandemic – and, for many people, that includes digital wellbeing. 

Members at East Coast and BCoT colleges shared their approach last summer, and Jisc has further advice on the impact of technologies and digital services on mental, physical and emotional health.

There’s a raft of further information on Jisc’s dedicated coronavirus advice page, and colleges might find some of our training sessions useful, especially this free course on 20 January about delivering webinars, classes and meetings online.