Becoming physically distanced but socially engaged in online teaching and learning, when being 2 to 20 million metres away from each other.

Becoming physically distanced but socially engaged in online teaching and learning, when being 2 to 20 million metres away from each other.

As we move headlong into the world of online learning and teaching keeping ourselves and our students socially engaged becomes of paramount importance. Below are some oldish and new articles that discuss various aspects of not becoming ‘socially distanced’, when we are 2 to 20 million metres away from each other.

‘I still miss human contact, but this is more flexible – Paradoxes in virtual learning interaction and multidisciplinary collaboration.’ 

Research paper – Long read – 20 mins

‘Collaboration is always hybrid in terms of learning spaces, because each of the participants brings their own everyday life to the collaboration,…

By Suvi Kaupp, Hanni Muukkonen, Teemu Suorsa, Marjatta Takala.

First published:19 March 2020 https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12929 in theBritish Journal of Educational Technology – Wiley Online Library https://bit.ly/2JiMzbr

“The most emphasised benefits and challenges concerned the combination of working and creating knowledge together, virtually, in a multidisciplinary group. Based on the results, practical recommendations were made for university‐level pedagogical designs that facilitate effective and active collaboration and interaction, and learning of such competence.”

One of their conclusions to the study was that, ‘…learning activities on shared knowledge object creation were supported by repeated, structured cycles combining both individual tasks and group tasks, each promoting knowledge and competence that aim to advance the final object.’ (In Conclusions) 

The Human Element in Online Learning

(Blog post – Short read – 5 mins)

‘There is no back seat in online education — every student is in the front row’I

By Larry DeBrock, Norma Scagnoli and Fataneh Taghaboni-Dutta.

Published March 18, 2020 in INSIDE HIGHER ED 

https://bit.ly/3bDHOFR

Some really useful insights into teaching online from a course that has grown from 114 students in its first year to 3,200 this year. In their concluding remarks, they say,

“For those of you venturing into online education for the first time, we should share one more secret: the distinct engagement and bonds we build online don’t just enhance the student experience. They breathe a whole new life into the teaching experience, as well.”

Socially Engaged Learning 

(Article – Medium read – 10 mins)

‘…a fundamentally different set of assumptions than traditional online classes, to revolutionize online courses with socially engaged learning.’

By Brian Basgen and Peter Testori.

Published March 7, 2016 in EDUCAUSE Review

https://bit.ly/2wsmMel

“Engage in universal design for learning. Faculty can provide choices for the way in which some assignments are completed. For some assignments, faculty would permit students to submit their work in a format they feel is most appropriate: writing a paper, making a presentation, conducting an interview, performing a demonstration, etc. This approach allows students to demonstrate learning in a variety of ways and provides new pathways for faculty and institutional support of student learning.”

The authors give a very thoughtful and useful account of how they have successfully constructed socially engaged classrooms with their students and for their students. They show how student engagement online can be tailored to make the experience a personalised experience. 

Online communication design education: the importance of the social environment 

(Research paper – Long read – 20 mins)

‘Only through in-depth consideration of the current context can an equivalent online learning environment and community of practice occur.’

By Nicole Wragg

Published online: 23 Apr 2019 in Studies in Higher Education 

DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2019.1605501 https://bit.ly/39g5H4p

(Accessed through logging into UAL’s Shibboleth account via Taylor & Francis Online using your UAL login details.)

“Comparing the current reality of the studio with the idealism associated with the traditional design studio, we identified the core attributes of the studio and activities within the space and reimagined them in a way that acknowledges and prioritises the social conditions of the studio alongside the traditions, while mirroring the technological and innovative shifts at play within the design industry.”

This is an excellent paper from Swinburne Online https://www.swinburneonline.edu.au/ that should help in our thinking of transferring from a physical studio culture to one that is still socially engaged and perhaps even more so?

The Importance of Presence Offline and Online in Higher Education 

(Blog post – Short read – 5mins)

‘Ultimately, what matters is making sure that everyone is connected, and everyone is engaged.’

By Marvin Krislov Published Sep 25, 2019 in Forbes https://bit.ly/2UhVPD3

“So how can educators make sure they maintain presence as education moves online? First, by being deliberate in course design. Instructors can’t simply take syllabi they’ve long used in a classroom and start delivering the same lectures virtually. Successful distance courses often use video presentations and multiple methods of connection, including interactive lessons, using wikis, discussion boards, and small group projects.”A good discussion about the importance of being ‘present’ in online and hybrid courses. Small interventions into online presences can make students feel they are not just ‘talking to themselves’.

A good discussion about the importance of being ‘present’ in online and hybrid courses. Small interventions into online presences can make students feel they are not just ‘talking to themselves’.


2 Comments on “Becoming physically distanced but socially engaged in online teaching and learning, when being 2 to 20 million metres away from each other.

  1. Thanks for sharing these Mark. I’m particularly interested in the last article about ‘presence’, how we have traditionally recognised this in our physical learning environments and how we might begin to promote it and recognise in our virtual environments. Also, how this interacts with our requirements and expectations regarding ‘attendance’.

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