#LTHEchat182: Lifting the Mask: creating a connected campus in socially distanced times Guest host Danielle Hinton (SFHEA) and Dr Andy Pitchford

Following on from last week’s chat, Danielle and Andy hope to dig deeper and gather early experiences.


As universities prepare to welcome students and staff for the start of a new academic year, the experience will undoubtedly be different for all concerned.  

Whilst there will be institutional variations, all will have a common goal: to make sure that students are able to study in a safe environment whilst, at the same time, maximise their experience of university life.  For most, this environment will combine a degree of online delivery with face-to-face or in-person contact on campus.  

The university experience is made up of a series of communication activities – whether it be an exchange of knowledge between lecturers and students, the personal tutor (academic / pastoral) maintaining relationships and sharing  advice with a student, or the social communication that takes place between students as part of a normal university social life. Together, they form a multi-faceted and holistic student experience. 

In this #LTHEtweetchat (16th September, 8 pm), we will explore the challenges that universities may face in delivering this holistic experience via a blend of socially distanced in-person education and remote learning. Challenges in teaching and learning can include everything from the wearing of masks on a socially distanced campus, to technical, social and psychological challenges.

How can we overcome these barriers to “lift the mask”?

What are the opportunities at our disposal to communicate more effectively?

We look forward to discussing, debating, sharing experiences and ideas on how we can create a better-connected campus in these socially distanced times. 

Danielle Hinton (SFHEA) is an Educational Developer within the Higher Education Futures institute (HEFi) at the University of Birmingham. She provide support for the enhancement of teaching and learning practice, promotes innovation in the curriculum, and facilitates the career-long professional development of Birmingham teaching academics, and academic-related or professional staff in supporting learning. She is particularly interested in active learning (including enquiry and problem based learning), the emotions of learning and teaching, enhancement of learning through technologies, distance/remote teaching and serious play in Higher Education. @hintondm

Dr Andy Pitchford is the operational lead for the Centre for Learning & Teaching at the University of Bath. He manages the Academic Staff Development Team, Curriculum Development Team, Student Engagement Team and the Technology Enhanced Learning Team. He champions excellence in community engaged learning, partnership building and innovative curriculum design. 

Andy has held a variety of leadership roles in higher education, including Director of Sport at the University of Gloucestershire. He was awarded HEA National Teaching Fellowship in 2015 and is co-author – with Ed Stevens and David Owen – of the Routledge Handbook for Authentic Learning, due out later this year. @andypitchford68

Read Further

Bennett, N. (2020) Mental fitness helps us all to thrive – it should be in the curriculum, WONKHE, 7 Sept 2020, [Online] https://wonkhe.com/blogs/mental-fitness-helps-us-all-to-thrive-it-should-be-in-the-curriculum/

Birdwell, T. (2020) Teaching in the Pandemic Classroom: When We Are All Wearing Masks, Mosaic Initiative, Indiana University, 1 June 2020, [Online] https://blogs.iu.edu/mosaiciu/2020/06/01/teaching-in-the-pandemic-classroom-wearing-masks/

Bruff, D. (2020) Active Learning in Hybrid and Physically Distanced Classrooms, Centre for Teaching, Vanderbilt University, 11 June 2020, [Online] https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/2020/06/active-learning-in-hybrid-and-socially-distanced-classrooms/

CalTechAMT (2020) Hameetman Physical Distancing Visualization, YouTube, [Online] https://youtu.be/Qpd5uFTd-ak

Clark, N. (2020) The Physically Distanced Classroom: A Day in the Life, Inside Higher Ed, 27 May 2020, [Online] https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/views/2020/05/27/envisioning-day-life-physically-distanced-classroom-opinion

Lederman, D. (2020) Trying to Make Sense of a Fluid Fall, Inside Higher Ed, 24 June 2020, [Online] https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2020/06/24/simulations-college-classrooms-fall-dont-bode-well

Parkin, D. and Brown, G. (2020) Creating Socially Distanced Campuses and Education Project – Final Capstone Report, Advance HE, [Online] https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/creating-socially-distanced-campuses-and-education-project-final-capstone-report

Scott, G. (2020) Can we plan for a socially distanced campus? WONKHE, 7 May 2020, [Online] https://wonkhe.com/blogs/can-we-plan-for-a-socially-distanced-campus/  Taylor, C. and Buttle, A (2020) 2020: a space (and timetabling) odyssey, WONKH, 28 May 2020, [Online] https://wonkhe.com/blogs/2020-a-space-and-timetabling-odyssey/

See the wakelet for this chat here

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