Compendium of LD practice

2021-03-23
Invitation

You are cordially invited to share your reflections on the impact of the pandemic on your practice via a new and exciting publication by JLDHE:

Compendium of innovative practice: A Learning Development community response to the pandemic

The Compendium will be a collection of observations, commentaries, innovations, reflections and ideas tried and tested under the exceptionally demanding conditions of the pandemic. Given the creative and resilient nature of LD practitioners, we expect this volume to turn into the Forrest-Gumpian box of chocolates – a delicious collection of tales from practice, to delight and to inspire. Variety is the spice of life and this is what we’d like to capture! So let us examine together our transformed LD pedagogies through a variety of lenses and voices, contexts and environments.

Aims and objectives

It has now become a familiar cliché but the last year has certainly been a time of significant challenge and change. The pivot to online emergency delivery (Hodges et al., 2020) and subsequent working through repeated campus lockdowns has led to noteworthy developments in how we deliver teaching and engage with our students. After one year appears to be an apt time to take stock.

We are interested in your individual response to the pandemic and the impact it has had on your LD practice. What worked for you during this unprecedented time? What did you change and experiment with? How was it received? What risks did you take? What were the lessons you and your team learned? How has changing practice altered your thinking? How have you made sense of this different environment? How have you engaged with your students socially and academically (Venn et al 2020)? How have you connected as teams and colleagues emotionally and cognitively? Are there any practices that have supported your team to work better together? As we go forward, what practices and adaptations do we want keep?

The overarching goal is to create a collection that documents our responses and presents our community with viable pedagogic tools and insights, which we can build on for the future. LD colleagues will be able to dip into this Compendium for inspiration or to broaden their theoretical perspectives and pedagogic approaches.

Format

In the spirit of equitable sharing, and mindful of the stresses and strains caused by the pandemic, we are not seeking standard papers or well developed case studies that require considerable time to design and the kind of sustained effort few of us can muster at the moment. Instead, we are looking for lightening insights, short and punchy pieces that explain how you responded to the challenge of moving to remote or blended learning at speed. Precision, brevity and clarity are key.

Submissions should be between 750 and 1,000 words, divided into 3 sections:

1. The challenge: Define the problem that you were responding to or trying to solve. Outline its importance and set out what you aimed to achieve. Why did you care about it?

2. Your response: Describe your solution and the rationale behind it. What was you approach? How did you experiment? Why did it succeed? What was the feedback?

3. Your recommendations: Reflect on how your response demonstrated a viable way forward. How could others benefit from or apply your experience?

Themes

Possible themes to explore in your reflections include, but are not limited to:

> Moving teaching and support online

> Specific adaptations you made to your practice

> Delivery and engagement (changes, hacks, measures and innovation)

> Barriers (to learning/participation/delivery) and how these were overcome

> How we stayed connected and built or maintained teams and community 

> Connecting with students and sharing… when the screen is all you have

> Issues and innovations related to technology

> The co-creation of learning, resources, and delivery techniques

> Facilitating specialisms such as reading, writing, other skills

> Coping with the emotional and practical issues brought and/or magnified by the pandemic

> Professional development

> And more! Your creativity is the limit.

Subversive content alert!!!

We are ALSO interested to hear about what didn’t work, how you took risks and creatively failed. There is too much aversion to risk and experimentation, which makes us play it safe, avoid failure and suppress uncertainties. As a community, we believe that failures and unfavourable decisions are valuable too, as more experimentation means more results and more growth. So in the spirit of helping others to avoid avoidable mistakes or to build on what you have learnt, please document your fruitless experiments and well-intentioned disappointments as you may support others to be a success!

When analysing what didn't work, adopt the following structure:

1. The challenge: Define the problem and set out what you were trying to achieve. What risks did you take to address it? What results did you expect? Why did you care about it?

2. The battle: What got in the way of accomplishing your goal? What went wrong? Why didn’t your approach work? What was the feedback?

3. Your reflection: What is the value of your experience to other practitioners? What can we learn from it? How did it impact on you and your practice?

What the Compendium is NOT:

We intend to avoid creating a volume that might resemble the following:

> A repository of materials and instructions related to study skills

> A collection of templates for LD practices

> A set of resources to support students’ learning development (for those, please see LearnHigher)

> Dusted off old research

Such submissions will not be accepted for the Compendium. 

Why do it?

This is our chance to come together as a community to document what we have learnt from the pandemic – and you can make a contribution to this body of knowledge and insight!

Contributing to this collection will not require days/weeks/months (years!?) of data gathering – instead, we want to hear about your experience and your reflections, so the submissions will be research-informed rather than research-led.

It is an opportunity for new writers to make an entry into our discipline and for experienced writers to distil their insights and confirm or revise their approaches.

Literally everyone has had a new and unique experience during this pandemic and that experience is worth reflecting on and sharing with others. It is our chance to show what we did as a community and assess how well it worked, so we can see what is worth retaining in the post-pandemic university.

What's next?

The varied contributions will be organised by editors into themes and collated into topical sections. We will then ask colleagues to frame these themes theoretically, introduce them with short opinion pieces, and draw out larger conclusions about how the pivot to remote learning during the pandemic has impacted our field. The ambition of this project is to create a democratic compendium of knowledge and reflections on practice from the LD community, to be shared and drawn upon for the benefit of the field of Learning Development. Initially published as a special JLDHE issue, we will also work towards releasing it in print, in an edited book format.

All submissions will be peer-reviewed.

Deadline

Submissions will be accepted until 11 June 2021.

The Compendium will be released in late Autumn 2021.

Contact

Please contact us with any questions:

Alicja Syska alicja.syska@plymouth.ac.uk

Cathy Malone cmalone@brookes.ac.uk

Nicola Grayson nicola.grayson@manchester.ac.uk