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A year like no other

In a year like no other, myself and students across the country have had to adapt to the switch from face-to-face teaching to online teaching. As a post-graduate student at the University of Sheffield, since September I haven’t set foot inside a lecture hall, seminar room or been able to talk to my tutors face-to-face. Universities quickly had to produce a brand new service for their students, trying to deliver learning materials and support as similar as possible to that which students received before the pandemic. To get this new service running as smoothly and successfully as possible, it has been vitally important for universities to streamline this service.

There are several things which, in the move to online teaching, I would say have not worked, or have not been adapted to suit the online delivery of learning materials. For example, the change to online learning has not allowed for the same dynamic discussions to be had in seminars or lectures and not much has really been done to facilitate this. Though this is difficult to do for the University, from the start of the year, it felt as though the system that was set up was somewhat a ‘hit-and-hope’. Similarly, with the switch to online learning, there is a huge reliance on every student having access to suitable technology, and support.

There was undoubtably going to be teething problems and problems that may not have been foreseen. This is when streamlining your service becomes particularly important to ensure that a service runs as efficiently and as effectively as possible. By streamlining the current service, universities can identify sticking points in how they currently deliver online learning and identify how to streamline them to make them much more efficient.

When streamlining your service, once you have identified these pain points it is important to put forward a new process to fix the current issues being faced — in this case, problems being experienced by both universities and the students receiving the service. Once this new process has been created, it is then important to compare the current and new process to identify the gaps between those. This is where you find the things that need to be changed. Once these gaps have been identified, the final step of streamlining your service is to put together an action plan to help implement any necessary changes.

Therefore, to ensure that students are getting the same university experience as they normally would via face-to-face teaching, it may be necessary for the universities to look at their current processes and streamline these to make them more reliable, efficient and effective. Let us know what you think? Do universities need to adapt their processes? Let us know on twitter at @BusinessAHub


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