Responding to the Challenges of Moving an On-Campus Pre-Sessional Course Online During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Responding to the Challenges of Moving an On-Campus Pre-Sessional Course Online During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Andrew Northern, Julie Hartill
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-4148-0.ch007
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This chapter reports on how the challenge of transforming an on-campus pre-sessional into a fully online assessed format during the COVID-19 pandemic was addressed in the context of a leading UK university (Imperial College London). The chapter explains the core principles behind the transformational approach that was adopted and provides examples of practices that had unexpected affordances for teachers and learners. It is hoped these principles and practices can inform others considering a similar transition.
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Chapter Overview

This chapter presents a series of key principles that underpinned the transformation of the on-campus pre-sessional course. These principles are explained in relation to the course designers’ transformation of the course and discussed by providing examples of practice and reflections on implementation on a level that ensures they can be applied more widely by other course designers and coordinators looking to make a similar transition. The chapter explains the affordances of the technology used in the university context outlined above before discussing how the online version of the course was carefully designed to pre-empt and avoid known deficits of online learning as well as to compensate for elements of the on-campus experience that would no longer be available to learners. The chapter also highlights the pedagogical principles that were emphasised more in the online version of the course and reveals several unexpected affordances of the online version of the course that emerged from the transition.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Microsoft 365 (M365): a subscription-based service that gives access to an extended suite of cloud-based Microsoft applications (previously Office 365).

STEMM: Science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine.

Flipped Learning: A pedagogical approach that involves students studying input materials remotely before class and attending the class to consolidate, deepen and apply knowledge e.g. through guided discussion, group work and problem-solving.

Scaffolding: The use of pedagogical techniques to structure learning materials and activities to enable learners to become more autonomous in their work through the duration of a course.

Washback: The influence that testing can have on teaching and learning, motivation, attitude and behaviours.

Viva Voce or Viva: An interactive summative, oral examination in the presence of an examiner and a facilitator/interlocutor.

Constructive Alignment: An approach to curriculum design linked to the work of Biggs (2002) whereby assessment, learning outcomes, tasks and intended learning objectives are constructed in conjunction with each other to optimise learning.

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