Information Services

Responding to lockdown – a snapshot of provision and support

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic most teaching at Edinburgh was pivoted to online for the last two weeks of teaching in semester 2. This transition was delivered within the space of a week at the point of lockdown in March and involved rapid response from teams across IS working collaboratively with colleagues across the institution.

Teaching continuity help and support (laptop showing the image of someone writing on chalkboard)

Teaching continuity hub

The priority was to ensure teaching continuity by supporting colleagues to access the services, tools and resources needed to put in place emergency provision.  The following core package of support was developed utilising newly created and existing resources:

Teaching Continuity Preparation information hub including:

There were almost 3000 page views of these new webpages between 16th to 23rd March.

Emergency response

The emergency support was well received with over 800 people accessing training over a two-week period in March.  Training was offered in Blackboard Learn, Blackboard Collaborate, Media Hopper Replay and Media Hopper Create, the University’s core centrally supported services.  In addition, daily remote teaching drop-in sessions were delivered in partnership with colleagues from the Centre for Research in Digital Education.

These have been super-helpful this week, and it’s really helped ease the burden on me. The breadth and depth of resources and sessions that you guys have been able to pull together and make available has been impressive, and noted by many others too.

Neil Davidson, Law

Those online sessions and support guides are really useful for our conversations with on-campus teaching staff. I’ve been pointing them to those which has freed up my time in working with them to amend activities.

Brendan Owers, Usher Institute

Training to support teaching continuity is available daily now and through the summer.

Training for remote teaching

Service use patterns and emerging trends

There was a substantial increase in the number of Collaborate sessions and attendees in the first three weeks of March, with almost 5,000 people attending over 1,500 Collaborate sessions on Tuesday 24th March alone.  Some of this is accounted for in the emergency training programme however it does suggest a pivot to teaching online.

There has been a notable increase in the number of videos added to Media Hopper Create and the number of video plays for the first three Tuesdays in March, compared to the same days last year.

The number of views on Media Hopper Replay has increased over the corresponding period last year, with almost 2000 more viewings on comparable days, and a substantial increase in the number of copied recordings, desktop recordings and uploads.

Introduction to Blackboard Collaborate

Media Hopper Create

Media Hopper Replay

Adaption, flexibility and innovation

As we set our sights on supporting teaching in semester 1 we do so in the knowledge that Edinburgh is well placed to adapt to the current circumstances having well developed and innovation digital and online distance education, a highly skilled and creative academic body and strong support infrastructures.


(Ed.This article was originally published on 19 May, 2020)