Our approach to contextual implementation planning needs to be based on what we know and have learned throughout Semester 1. The top 5 observations from a cross-university group looking at this were as follows:

  1. Students need to feel engaged and motivated. We therefore need to:
    • Provide a full and inspiring schedule of activities, whether on-campus or online, to incentivise engagement with learning opportunities and to reinforce time-management skills
    • Use ‘big challenges’ to create team cohesion – contributing to community, belonging and social learning
    • Create a ‘sticky extended campus’ where students want to dwell. ​
  2. Students want face to face activities to be purposefulWe need to provide on-campus activities that:
    • Use resources not available online​.
    • Demonstrate applied learning
  3. We need to focus on student outcomes. This means:
    • Engaging with the Course Delivery Principles ​
  4. Constant change is hard. This means:
    • We need to provide stability where we can
    • We need to illustrate the path ahead – create a line of sight between now and the end of a successful academic year.
  5. Supporting students requires timely use of professional judgement in context to ensure we manage change effectively, this means contextual planning is needed.

More detailed learning from Semester 1


  • F2f teaching is really important, but so is access to resources, support for SDL and co-curricula learning – focus on ‘applied
  • Students need the structure of synchronous events.
  • Digital can be just as engaging when part of a mixed- format model
  • Students welcome communication from their academic team above all other forms
  • Activities have to feel worthwhile – i.e., quality and purpose is just as important as format/mode
  • Staff are passionate about supporting students
  • Precise balance of synchronous / f2f differs for each course, dependent on time of year – need to look across whole year, not on week-by-week basis
  • There is a desire to continue with many of the new approaches into the new norm (from 21/22 onwards)
  • Staff perform best, and have better wellbeing, when they feel they can see a path ahead and have some agency over decision making – it is not only workload that impacts, but uncertainty as well.

What works well

  • Synchronous – face to face or digital
  • Access to resources / experts on campus
  • Practical sessions using physical space
  • Bringing the applied university to life
  • Virtual events for students
  • Remote supervision; academic advising etc.

What works less well

  • Sessions that don’t feel like they add more than could be provided online or feel like an inefficient use of time (e.g., 1 hour out of whole day)
  • A focus on inputs rather than outcomes
  • Insufficient focus on whole academic year experience

Student feedback from pulse survey

  • Preferences are divergent – some wanting more on-campus and others more online
  • Online teaching alone is not considered an equal experience to on-campus teaching.
  • Difficulties in engaging with / understanding online content lead to disconnection and low motivation
  • Learning can be negatively affected by the online behaviour of peers.
  • Accessing online learning, finding resources on different Blackboard sites, accessing library resources and finding on campus study space are areas of concern
  • Students felt informed but overwhelmed by information received / number of changes at the start of term
  • Students struggle to balance other responsibilities, such as work, placements, family obligations, or living arrangements.
  • Students would like clarity in terms of teaching and learning delivery for the rest of the academic year so they can plan effectively.