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Figuring out what works and sharing with colleagues

For many staff and students, teaching online is a new experience, and figuring out what works can take time. Exchanging and testing out ideas or questions with others will no doubt be helpful.

Try to share questions, ideas and maybe resources with colleagues: doing so could help identify and address problems, save time, and even lead to innovation.

  • Your Department or Faculty may have a discussion forum
  • You might collaborate with others to set up an informal network
  • You might join Cambridge’s discussion forum


Try to collaborate with your students: talk with them about what you’re trying to do, ask them what’s working for them, what do they think could help to iron out difficulties or enrich their learning?

The ‘chat’ function within Teams, or Forums within Moodle, or collaborative editing documents could be a way for students to develop their ideas and share them with you and each other. There are plenty of suggestions for ways of getting feedback and ideas from students online. We have included on very basic approach, which can also be illuminating:


A simple feedback tool: commend and recommend

Basic format: at the start of a teaching session, explain to the students that at the end of the session you will ask them for two brief comments on what they have found helpful and one thing that they think could be changed and why they think this would help. The balance of ‘commendations: recommendations’ (2:1) encourages constructive feedback.

You can decide whether you want to do this ‘live’, during a conference call, or whether you will post the questions below and ask students to respond in their own time. Be ready to collect your students’ responses, think about their ideas and then explain at or before the beginning of the next supervision what you’ve decided to do, and why.


Q1: Please tell me about two aspects of today’s lecture that you found helpful and briefly explain why.

Q2: Please tell me about one aspect of today’s lecture that you think could be done differently and briefly explain why you think this would make a positive difference.


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We are continuing to add to and develop these resources - we welcome your feedback, as well as your own ideas and examples of tools and practices that work for you and your students. Please get in touch. 

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