Teaching online during a pandemic: Pedagogical skills transfer from face to face support to online synchronous support provision

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The restrictions placed on face to face working practices in higher education because of the Covid-19 Virus pandemic has resulted in educational activities being moved exclusively online for an extended period of time. While tools such as Blackboard Collaborate, Adobe Connect, and Microsoft Teams environments are readily available to academics, the pedagogical approaches needed to utilize these tools effectively may not be immediately apparent. There are several facets to the delivery of online learning but the rapid transition away from face to face delivery meant that there was a need for creating synchronous activities with groups of students. This requires a refocusing of the skill set the pedagogue already has in the organization of activities such as lectures, tutorials and labs. The sudden need to support students from a distance has required a rapid upskilling of academic staff across a range of disciplines in the use of online delivery platforms. The authors believe that the core approach to delivering online activities is very similar to that required for face to face delivery but the tutor is required to be much better prepared in terms of developing the synchronous activities due to the “invisible” nature of the participants. Each of the staple face to face methods of Lecture, Tutorial and Lab need to be rethought for delivery online. The standard Lecture requires less adjustment than a Tutorial or Lab as the Lecture still contains the same familiar components of “chalk and talk”. Tutorials would, generally, require a higher level of interaction between Lecturer and student(s) involving a greater discursive discourse and small group work but is still achievable via tweaking the existing material to suit the technology tool being used. Labs, depending on subject area, may well prove to be inoperable or require innovative nonorthodox solutions that combine multiple technology tools. The absence of visible and audible cues makes for a more restricted interaction with the Tutor supporting the activity having the additional burden of trying to get the students to speak and interact online. This paper will seek to explore the factors needed to make the transition to supporting students online delivery straightforward.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th European Conference on e-Learning
EditorsCarsten Busch, Martin Steinicke, Tilo Wendler
Place of PublicationReading
PublisherAcademic Conferences International
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2020
Event19th European Conference on e-Learning - University of Applied Sciences HTW Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 28 Oct 202030 Oct 2020
Conference number: 19

Publication series

NameEuropean Conference on e-Learning
Publisher Academic Conferences International Limited
ISSN (Print)2048-8637
ISSN (Electronic)2048-8645


Conference19th European Conference on e-Learning
Abbreviated titleECEL 2020


  • online teaching, e-learning, distance learning, synchronous communication


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