It has been a busy semester for Bournemouth University to say the least! In March 2020, our personal and professionals lives were turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic that is impacting on people’s lives around the world.
Richard Williams, Senior Lecturer, and I had just started to teach the Law and Social Policy unit to the Level 4 BA students when the news hit that there was no face-to-face teaching anymore in order to comply with Government guidance to keep the impact of COVID-19 at bay. From one day to the other the academic team at BU and students had to adjust to online teaching, tutorials and communication. As Social Workers we pride ourselves to use relationship-based practice and we were challenged by not being able to interact face-to-face with each other, students and practitioners.
Richard and I had to develop new teaching and learning tools to meet the needs of the students but also the maintain quality of the materials. We were clear that we wanted to offer students not ‘just good enough’ but excellent teaching to prepare them for their future Social Work careers. So we set off to learn, to tinker, to play, to fail on the way and then develop. We learned a lot about ourselves and we got to know our colleagues’ talents with different pedagogical tools.
To my amazement, we were not only able to maintain the input of practitioners in our teaching but actually increase it! We were able to draw in practitioners from Adult’s and Children’s Services to share their experience and expertise to challenge our view on Law and Social Policy. We offered the students pre-recorded lectures that we could do remotely and whenever it was convenient for a practitioner to join us. Richard and I learned that technology can be really useful and we became more confident in recording to build an online library for current and future students.
And it all paid off… Today was the last teaching session with the 1st year undergraduate social work students in this semester and we are grateful to have been on a journey with them. It was not without bumps and wrong turns but it got us to our destination nevertheless. The feedback from students has been really positive and encouraging and we were able to challenge our own tech bias for and with them. A big thank you to the group and good luck with the assignment.
Tilia Lenz, Lecturer Practitioner Consultant – Research Focus