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Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning


The Technology-Enabled Learning (TEL) Service is a new team situated within Education Services, created to support University staff in the transition to greater blended teaching and learning in the wake of the pandemic and in support of longer-term residential course development.

We are focused on supporting the effective use of technology within existing practice and the transition to suitable blended delivery. Our team is keen to discuss how this could benefit you, your students and overall engagement when working online. We're beginning by taking a practical approach that aims to support the current use of technology within your practice and collaboratively develop relevant solutions to any ongoing solutions.

In the coming weeks we'll be delivering a series of 30-minute webinars focusd on actionable content that you can use, including running small group sessions online, Moodle tips, polling tools and inclusive practice online. To complement these sessions, we will also be producing guidance to provide digestible answers to common technological learning queries around the University.



For our first segment in the Newsletter, we wanted to offer five top tips from our first webinarRunning a successful small-group session online.


  1. Find a friend

    This goes for many things in our field of work, but don't feel you have to go about it all alone. If you're unsure how to approach tools, methods or how to deliver comfortably online, then seek some support from those around you and practise. It could be a colleague, friend or family member. They don't necessarily need to know the topic either; it's about you becoming more comfortable with the tools available and developing your online presentation skills.

  2. Project confidence

    It's natural to want everything to run smoothly, but it's important to know that mistakes will happen. Be sure in your knowledge and take your time. If something goes wrong when presenting live then acknowledge it, take a moment to resolve the issue, and remember the solution or how to avoid the problem altogether in future. If you seem confident, even when there are hiccups, students will respond positively.

  3. Make content dynamic

    When delivering content with a presentation, it's tempting to provide as much information as possible to help your students. However, text-heavy slides can hinder student attention and be difficult for some students to read while also listening to you. Consider key bullet-points or images that allow you to elaborate more through delivery and discussion. This can prompt questions and create a more stimulating visual for your learners.

  4. Establish a social culture

    During the pandemic many have lost their usual social outlets, and classrooms are no different. The casual discussions between learners before and after lectures, during practical sessions or within study groups can be incredibly potent for critical discussion and peer support. Consider reintroducing a social norm within your classes; perhaps you could open a call 5-10 minutes early for any students who want to chat. This not only presents a highly sough-after opportunity for them, but also gives you time to prepare and ease into your online session.

  5. Balance your session

    Aim to break up lengthly topics with short activities that allow learners to interact and share their ideas. Through simple activities such as word clouds, whiteboards, polls and more, you can give yourself a chance to take stock of the session and assess current understanding, and provide an opportunity for students to engage with one another. Remember to factor in time for these activities and be clear with your expectations to maximise their effectiveness.


A recording of our webinar Running a successful small-group session online is available on the TEL Webinars page, along with booking links for upcoming webinars on a range of topics.



For more information visit the new TEL Service section of the website or email the TEL Service team.

Chris Baker

Portrait photo of Chris Baker

Chris Baker is a Learning Designer and the Team Lead for the new TEL Service.

Simon FitzPatrick

Portrait photo of Simon FitzPatrick

Simon FitzPatrick is a Learning Designer with the new TEL Service.

Melissa Reilly

Portrait photo of Melissa Reilly

Melissa Reilly is an Administrative Officer of the Educational Quality & Policy Office team, supporting the new TEL Service.


Cambridge Teaching & Learning Newsletter vol. 2 (issue 2) March 2021

Teaching & Learning Newsletter

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