Learning Design Bootcamp 2020 – COVID-19

Mon 23 Mar 2020

The first Learning Design Bootcamp meeting moved online. Teams from universities across the UK are working with mentors to develop their chosen modules.

Learning Design Bootcamp 2020 – COVID-19

This blog post is by:

Gerald Evans – Head of Learning Design – The Open University

Dr Maria Toro-Troconis – Head of Academic Research and Quality – CEG Digital

The Learning Design Bootcamp 2020 was ready to welcome the new teams for their first face to face meeting on Tuesday 17 March at Manchester Metropolitan University. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak with restrictions on travel and health advice on social distancing, the Learning Design Bootcamp Committee decided to launch the Bootcamp online instead.

As the Bootcamp 2020 was launched, the Bootcamp teams were informed by their universities all learning had to be moved online due to COVID-19.

'The effective delivery of online teaching and assessment has by necessity become a clear priority, with engagement from staff in a way we do not usually experience (understandably!).The topics we are looking at during the Bootcamp and the support from our mentor is perhaps more timely and relevant that we anticipated it would be. In addition, another channel in which to share our experiences and good practice is very valuable right now.’

Dr Steph Comley, Education Advisor: Technology Enhanced Learning, University of Exeter

‘Lessons we have learned in the last two weeks and will continue to learn moving forward will hopefully lead to tremendous pedagogic innovation. Our perspectives will be changed by our experiences. I believe, and hope, that the Bootcamp forum, can support and nurture this innovation and allow us a valuable opportunity to come together and learn from each other collegially and collaboratively, at a time when circumstances have isolated us.’

Anna McNamara, Director of Learning and Teaching, University of Surrey

'It has been providential that we have been given such an opportunity at this time when we need it most, to be part of this supportive community, enabling us to develop the kind of teaching that we have been wanting to do, but haven’t necessarily had the space or time to do it. I am also very grateful personally to be placed in a position by this Bootcamp to cascade the good practice which I am learning to my colleagues,  who are all part of the heroic instantaneous move to virtual learning in response to the crisis.' 

Dr Caroline Keenan, Director of Education, Director of the Law and Business Programmes,  University of Exeter

The pressures and challenges around moving curriculum online so quickly are intense and it’s going to be a shock both to the staff and students at institutions worldwide.

Working to a defined framework with clarity on the stages and language being used to describe learning gives everyone working remotely a shared language and approach that we hope will ease the transition for all involved.

At The Open University for instance, we have been working with our OU Learning Design approach for 10 years. And we have found in this time the value of having common terminology for types of student activity and a standard methodology invaluable for enabling us to deliver both online and blended online and print courses in this time.

Even for an institution with 10 years experience though, moving the design and production process completely online will also be a challenge. Through being involved in supporting the Bootcamp we are hoping to both contribute our expertise to some of the institutions needing support in this transition and to bring learning back into our team and institution. We will all be learning during these challenging times and the Bootcamp is a great way to draw people together to face those challenges.

The Learning Design Bootcamp offers an intensive four-month programme for learning technologists and academics engaging in the design and development of a 15-30 credit module of their choice.

The Learning Design Bootcamp Committee consists jointly of academics and Heads of Learning Technology from different UK universities and CEG Digital. They were responsible for the selection of the teams as well as the general support, delivery and evaluation of the Bootcamp.

The face to face meetings will hopefully be hosted by our Bootcamp 2019 winning team from Manchester Metropolitan University in the near future.

The teams selected for the Bootcamp 2020 are from:

  • Keele University
  • University College London
  • St George’s, University of London
  • Aberystwyth University
  • Exeter University
  • University of Surrey

The teams met their mentors online for the first time on Tuesday 17. The Bootcamp this year welcomed new experienced mentors from The Open University and Solent University. The mentors are starting to build a community of practice that will also benefit their own professional practice.

The teams will continue working online with their mentors in the development of their chosen modules. However, the knowledge that flows from working in the Bootcamp will definitely spill over to innovation in on-campus curriculum during these challenging times.

The online induction course developed to support the Learning Design Bootcamp is freely available. If you need guidance on how to design and deliver pedagogically sound online/blended courses/programmes we invite you to enrol on this course: CoDesigns – Learning Design in Practice.

Fnd out more about the Learning Design Bootcamp