Transitioning to online teaching without prior warning

Online, 2 June 2020, 5:15 pm–7:00pm

Informal discussion, organised by
the Special Interest Group Higher Education of the Worshipful Company of Educators


Remote teaching methods are not new in Higher Education, but until recently, universities were reluctant to embrace them and most teaching and examining at universities would be done the traditional way in a classroom or office. It was often claimed that being physically present is an important part of the university culture, allows students to experience the genius loci, and is an indispensable component of the wider university education.

The global pandemic in 2020 forced universities to switch to remote teaching in the matter of a few weeks, not just those universities which had started some online learning programmes, but also those which had no prior experience whatsoever. Every higher educator has now taped lectures, lectured on Zoom, met students virtually over Skype, or modified examinations so that they can work in an entirely remote environment, often with little to no guidance.

In this informal discussion, we would like to hear from those in this situation. Higher educators who had hardly any online teaching experience and were suddenly informed that their teaching would have to be remote and online at some point during March 2020. An additional complication is that we do not know for how long we have to live in the world of online teaching: are we dealing with emergency measures that will disappear in a few months; will we have a full academic year 2020/21 dominated by online teaching; or are some parts of it going to stay with us?

We are going to hear personal accounts from those who had to develop a strategy for remote teaching at extremely short notice and talk about issues that came up in this process.


The informal discussion will take place on Tuesday 2 June 2020 on Zoom. If you are interested in attending, please send an e-mail to the Clerk to the Educators who will send you the Zoom link and password.


Lorenzo Galeotti, Amsterdam University College.
Harry Hortyn, Oxford Summer Courses.
Jonathan Jewell, The Open University, Birkbeck, and UCL.
Patricia Stefanowicz, Wine Consultant, Educator, Architect.
Carole Still, Coventry University London.
Max Weaver, London South Bank University.
Julia Wolf, Cambridge University.
Last changed: 15 May 2020