With the evolving context of COVID-19, the National Forum Board and team are very mindful of the difficult situations many in our community face. We have been considering what we can do to best help the sector to work together and share expertise to support teaching and learning at such a crucial time. A number of steps have been taken in the past week:
- Contingency planning is ongoing for all relevant events and deadlines and we are getting in touch directly with those involved to update them as soon as due consideration has been given and decisions made.
- An online community space has been established for National Forum Associates to allow for sharing of insights, resources, lessons, tips, etc. as they support colleagues across the sector. The space, which had been in development, was originally intended as a collaborative online teaching and learning space for the entire higher education community but, following suggestions during the online meeting of National Forum Associates on 12 March, it was decided to open the community space to National Forum Associates for the moment so that they can trial it and hopefully communicate with each other and assist each other during this unusual time.
- To help everyone work together, we have created a spreadsheet of links to useful online teaching resources here. This is an interactive resource to which colleagues across the sector have been adding in recent days. The first tab of the spreadsheet contains dedicated resource pages from Irish higher education institutions, or related resources. We are also curating other useful resources for the list – you can find these on the second tab of the spreadsheet.
- We are publishing one-page ‘top tips’ on key topics according to the immediate needs of the higher education community:
- One of the issues that many people are grappling with at the moment is facilitating alternative assessment methods for the online environment. Prof Geraldine O’Neill, who led the National Forum Assessment Enhancement Theme 2016-18, kindly compiled a list of 10 Points to Consider in Choosing Alternative Assessment Methods for the Online Environment, which can be accessed here.
- In partnership with the Union of Students in Ireland and in support of students across the higher education community, we also published a list of ‘10 Points to Remember when Learning Online’, which can be accessed here.
- The next one-page overview will be developed in collaboration with AHEAD and will focus on ten considerations for making online assessments inclusive and accessible. It, and future brief overviews, will be shared on our website and via social media.
- Another resource will be published next week focused on the practical aspects of adapting many common assessment methods to the online environment.
As more resources are developed to support the sector, they will be published here.
The success of the enhancement work of the National Forum has always been rooted in the students, teachers and leaders across our higher education community. We know, from experience, that when we work together all boats are raised. There are difficult times ahead and, with respect to Irish higher education teaching and learning, and the people who constitute it, we are very keen to do all we can to provide support. We want you to know that we are with you.
If there are ways in which you feel we can help the sector to solve a collective problem or key topics with which you know many people are struggling please get in touch with us and let us know.