UCL Lecturer Parama Chaudhury Reveals 5 Elements of Educating During Lockdown That Will Endure in Her Teaching Post-COVID
Professor Parama Chaudhury was destined to teach. Both her parents and brother are professors and after doing some teaching while studying for her PhD, she loved it and has never looked back.
Now Professor (Teaching) and Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning Economics (CTaLE) at University College London, Parama has used Echo360 for many years to engage and support her students, both in face-to-face lessons and online during the pandemic.
Below are five key elements of teaching through lockdown that Parama believes should continue as more students return to campus, with examples of how she uses Echo360 to support students’ learning and progress, whether they are studying onsite, online, or a blend of both.
1. Focus on Flexibility
Lockdown has accelerated the move towards a blended approach to teaching and learning in higher education, which will give students much more flexibility to choose how and where they learn in the months and years ahead.
“Providing a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching offers students the flexibility they need to continue with their studies, whether they are working, juggling family commitments, or learning remotely from overseas,” says Parama.
Echo360 supports this by enabling institutions to provide students with a mix of asynchronous and synchronous resources to supplement the time they spend physically in the room with their lecturers and peers. This helps ensure that in-person sessions can be focused on providing opportunities for collaborative learning and activities to deepen students’ subject knowledge.
Students can be given access to a comprehensive video archive of all recorded sessions in one place too, which means they can re-watch at any time to refresh what they learned in a live lesson or catch up with classes they have missed due to other commitments.
2. More Options for Engaging and Assessing Students
The pandemic highlighted the importance of engaging students in what they are learning, whether online or in person.
Using the student engagement tools in Echo360, quizzing and polling activities can be embedded into both classroom presentations and video recordings that can be accessed at students’ convenience.
These provide benefits for educators and students at the university, as Parama notes, “UCL uses the student engagement features in Echo360 really extensively and having a broad selection of question styles makes encouraging interaction much easier, particularly with very large groups.”
The wide variety of question types available, from multiple choice and ordered lists, to image, numerical and open-ended questions, offer lecturers many options for making the live learning experience more interactive, stimulating group discussions and assessing students’ learning quickly and easily before, during and after sessions delivered in person or online.
3. Prioritise Ease of Use
“Students, like most of us, don’t want to have to go into multiple portals so the fact that Echo360 integrates with Moodle and Zoom means my students can use it without going from place to place. They’re very familiar with it and know exactly how it works.”
In a blended learning model, where both students and staff are logging on to some lessons from a distance, ease of use is essential for delivering a seamless experience.
Systems need to be intuitive and that’s why Echo360 integrates with all of the major Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) and Learning Management Systems (LMS) via the LTI Standard (Learning Tools Interoperability). This means that students and instructors can access all the tools in Echo360 from the systems their institutions use through a single login, so lessons flow smoothly and the focus is on teaching and learning.
4. Support Wider Accessibility
One way to enhance students’ learning experience is to provide a full transcript of what was said in live and online sessions, group discussions, pre-recorded clips and video feedback from instructors.
Considering the broader impact for learners, Parama observes, “We can use technology to make the learning environment much more inclusive for a wider variety of students, including those who have medical issues, caring responsibilities or are juggling study time with other commitments.”
With Echo360, transcriptions can be created at the click of a button offering all students a valuable resource that can be used for revision purposes and to support students with special needs and disabilities or those who do not speak English as a first language.
5. Make Student Outcomes the Driver for Innovation
“Technology needs to facilitate what you’re doing so the tools you choose should be determined by what you’re trying to achieve, what you’re comfortable with and what your students are comfortable using.”
The pandemic has shown how important it is to shape an effective blended learning environment where staff and students are comfortable using the various technologies they have access to. This blended approach to delivering higher education will continue to be essential as we emerge from global lockdowns.
Great teaching is what improves outcomes for students, whether the learning is delivered face to face or remotely, so the technology universities use to deliver lessons should support this.
You can listen to Parama Chaudhury’s recent guest appearance on the JISC podcast, ‘Beyond the Technology’ here.
From campus video management, lecture capture, online and hybrid learning and more, contact us to discover how Echo360 can help transform the teaching and learning experience at your institution.