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Resources is about using physical and digital resources effectively to aid teaching, learning and the development of independent study and research skills.

Technology, Learning and Development Central is the place to go for all technology enhanced learning (TEL) support, guidance and upskilling at Northumbria University. For example, you can follow an e-learning package on how to use Panopto software to record lectures and upload to Blackboard Ultra, Northumbria’s new Virtual Learning Environment. Alternatively, face to face training sessions on this software, among others, can be booked online. The EMA Decision Maker Tool is designed to support decisions on which mode of electronic management of assessment (EMA) is most appropriate to achieve the pedagogic aims of any given module. It supports both staff new to EMA and those looking for a new solution. Colleagues can also explore all technologies available at Northumbria University for enhancing learning and teaching.

The University Library is a multidisciplinary resource at the heart of Northumbria’s learning environment. As a 21st Century Library for Learning and Research it features learning spaces, library collections including a reading list service, online discovery tool Library Search, and study skills support to give Faculty and students richer and more comprehensive resources for teaching and learning.

Our services are shaped by student feedback and academic engagement, and developed and delivered by our professional librarians and expert teams through our ‘Digital First’ approach and with a focus to support learning and research across Northumbria as part of the University's Strategy and Vision 2025.

The University has developed a core set of five principles to guide academic staff. The TEL and Teaching Excellence Teams and the University Library have support in place to assist and provide training and development, as detailed below. 

Principles for online and on campus learning (blended learning) at Northumbria 

Blended Learning that…. 

  1. Adopts all aspects of PFNA, reflecting our distinctive Northumbria programme design 
  2. Delivers Engaging and Interactive Learning for all students on the programme 
  3. Incorporates equality, diversity and inclusivity principles in educational design and delivery 
  4. Is accessible, supportive and participative for all levels of learner regardless of circumstance, background or ability, and this continues throughout the entirety of their programme 
  5. Puts Quality learning and teaching at the heart of inclusive design and delivery 

In achieving these principles we will need to: 

  • Clearly articulate the learning journey to students on each of their modules. This should include:
    • a welcome video outlining the main resources, activities, learning outcomes and assessment for the module with clear guidance on how to access and work through these.
    • a detailed module guide or learning plan to provide information on the module itself. 
    • regular (weekly) guidance will outline the main resources and activities that should be undertaken, as well as those activities that are taking place on campus and online, respectively.
    • An up to date module reading list which focuses on access to on-line resources wherever possible
    • The aim is to provide students with clear navigation through the blended learning provision and ensure each student is comfortable and confident with their learning experience.
  • Provide consistent, clear and timely communication to keep all learners informed, engaged and supported. Staff should clearly state their availability and online office hours at the outset and respond to messages, discussion posts, and general online communications in a timely manner including, for example, a weekly video message from the programme leader or module tutor to introduce the expected learning for the week ahead (where appropriate).This has been identified as one of the key factors to successful engagement with online and blended delivery. It would be useful to also identify to students ‘slots’ you will be available to meet virtually or respond to emails so as to set expectations from the outset. Further research-based guidance is also available
  • Establish Regular Communication and Feedback channels by monitoring and providing feedback to students on their progress and engagement with their learning. Providing regular feedback to student on their activities and engagement helps them understand how they are progressing with their learning. Academic module teams should also be evaluating how students are interacting with their module and learning and should follow up on students who have not engaged or appear to be struggling. 
  • Construct trusting, collaborative, inclusive and professional relationships with students through a variety of programme and module-based mechanisms including welcome activities, icebreakers and opportunities for 1:1 meetings and discussions using accessible, online ‘open hours’. Students should be inducted into how to approach online learning during the transition module, pre-induction, induction and the first weeks of teaching. Tutors should also outline the rules of engagement and interaction to ensure that all communication (staff – student and student – student) is professional and inclusive.  
  • Provide an inclusive and accessible educational experience. In terms of accessibility, module teams should use universal design for learning principles and accessibility tools such as Blackboard Ally and Microsoft’s accessibility checks. For inclusion, it is essential to provide an educational environment which respects the diversity of students, where all are made to feel welcome and are comfortable being themselves. Ensuring different students’ learning needs and preferences are accommodated will enable all students to participate in the learning experience, regardless of their backgrounds, learning styles or abilities. The needs of students whose home circumstances are not conducive to study and students in other time zones should also be considered. See: Applying Inclusive Online Learning Principles.   
  • Be based on excellent and effective educational principles and practice and employ a variety of learning approaches. For example, delivering an hour’s lecture in one session is not seen as effective practice in an online setting. It is much better to break this up into more accessible time periods e.g. 10-12 minute video ‘chunks’, interspersed with student-centred activities. Minimising the overall length of time both staff and students are expected to be online for educational purposes in any one week will support mental health and wellbeing. Further examples and ideas are provided in:  Creating a Blended Approach to Module Delivery: 12 Things to Consider.
  • Embed assessment designed for learning within delivery to support student learning, minimise opportunities for academic misconduct and assess the appropriate learning outcomes for the module and programme. Due to the current situation, all modules should continue to look to provide online assessment submission and feedback. Formative assessment opportunities should be embedded within each module delivery and clearly outlined to students.

Teaching Excellence Team support offer 

To support academic colleagues in the move to online learning, the Teaching Excellence Team has been running a series of webinars on the theme of Inclusive Online Teaching. All session recordings and materials can be accessed by enrolling on the Blackboard Organisations site AR048BC and clicking on the Inclusive Teaching Online tab. The team has developed support packages on creating a blended approach to module delivery. These feature on the Teaching Excellence homepage under Technology Enhanced Learning Guidance, together with links to further resources on inclusive inductionapplying inclusive online teaching principles and what researchers in online learning say.

Dr Rick Hayman, Senior Lecturer in Sports Coaching, has integrated audio feedback into his teaching, with great results



To find out more about the University Library please take a look at University Library Online, read our annual report, or catch up on current developments with our Library News blog.

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