Pandemic Pedagogy: The impact of COVID-19 on teaching and learning at UCC

The Initative Team

Initiative Lead
University College Cork

Primary Contact
Catherine O’Mahony and Siobhan O’Neill

Initiative Budget


Initiative Type


The impact of UCC’s Certificate/Diploma/Masters in Teaching and Learning on teaching staff has been evidenced at a local level through participants’ self-reflective portfolios and end of semester evaluations. However, co-ordinators of these programs have not had the opportunity to disseminate this evidence. Recommendations from the Quality Review Panel’s report point to the need for “quantifiable data, metrics and mechanisms[1]” of impact, and inclusion of the student voice as broader evidence of impact of our programs on teaching and learning at UCC, therefore the timing seems right.

This T&L initiative is designed as a two-phased approach:

Phase 1: establish state-of-the-actual as pertaining to ‘impact on student learning’
Phase 2: Create state-of-the-art metrics via designated PhD project.

This T&L initiative funding is concerned with Phase 1.

Phase 1 Methods:

• Systematic review: defining ‘impact’ in relation to academic development and student learning
• Data mining of CIRTL archives: evidence from self-reflective portfolios and online discussions where participants reflect on the impact of engaging with CIRTL’s programs on their own teaching practice (2016- present)

Phase 1 is an important baseline from which to undertake Phase 2: a mixed methods PhD undertaken via main supervision from CIRTL.

Expected outcomes:

Phase 1: Systematic review which reflects international best practice initiatives around evidencing impact
Phase 2: A universal metric/tool/conceptual framework which can be used by other higher education institutions as a means of mapping and evidencing impact of professional development teaching and learning programs on student learning.

Project Reframed in July 2020:

The impact from Covid-19 has meant influencing not only the project roll out and start date (with disruption to teaching, opportunity to recruit for the project etc), but also the focus. In keeping with the initial project theme of ‘impact’, the project is going to be realigned to look more closely at the impact of Covid-19 itself on teaching and learning. The National Forum and EDIN have extensively progressed a significant body of work pertaining to the project’s initial focus (impact of academic development programs on student learning) so it was felt that this project’s initial proposal had become somewhat redundant. The newly framed project: “Pandemic Pedagogy: The impact of COVID-19 on teaching and learning at UCC” will capture a snapshot in time of teaching and learning during Covid-19 from a number of different perspectives – quality enhancement, student and staff experience, virtual spaces as learning spaces and digital approaches to education. There are pockets of research being undertaken already in UCC in these areas - this project will bring disparate pieces together to build a cohesive picture. The hope is to glean insight into how the pivot to online teaching might be the catalyst for leaving behind some outdated forms of teaching and assessment.

[1] Quality Enhancement Unit Review Panel Report