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  1. ISLA [Inclusive Synchronous Learning Activities] Project
Learning Enhancement and Development

ISLA [Inclusive Synchronous Learning Activities] Project

Inclusive Synchronous Learning Activities is name for the ISLA project, a new pedagogic and technical methodology for live teaching simultaneously to students who are situated both on campus and online

LEaD Project Lead: James Rutherford

Across the Higher Education sector, there has been a significant uptake in hybrid (also known as blended, multimodal, blended synchronous, hyflex, equitable model, and dual delivery) teaching since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and in some cases, i.e., HyFlex for some time.

Hybrid-teaching is a methodology by which academic staff teach their class face-to-face and online, simultaneously, using video conferencing technology. A camera shows the academic and in-person class to the online audience, while microphones pick up all speech in the room for the remote learners. Those online can communicate with the class on campus by chat or by using their own webcams and microphones. Interactions are relayed in class via audio-visual technology specifically designed for this purpose.

ISLA will allow City to begin to overcome some of the traditional barriers to active learning by creating opportunities for greater equity, engagement and enhanced educational experiences. It opens up the potential for greater inclusivity, with digital inclusivity considered and for wider audiences of students.

As of May 2022:

  • There is an ISLA blog run by James Rutherford, LEaD project co-ordinator, for project updates.
  • The ISLA project team working alongside the DALI project has developed 25 hybrid learning spaces across City, at Northampton square sites and Aldersgate, Bunhill Row and finsbury square. Guidance videos can be viewed for lecture theatre N201 and seminar room N216b.
  • ISLA technical and pedagogical guidance is available for staff and students.
  • Dates for ISLA technical and pedagogical training sessions have been released on LibCal’s LEaD Events page.
  • Co-Pilots have proven to be invaluable for assisting academic staff with hybrid teaching, hybrid-teaching Co-Pilots – and we are in the process of recruiting more working with HR and City, University of London’s Unitemps .
  • Hybrid teaching will be evaluated as part of an extensive piece of research by the ISLA project team, with a City-wide survey and follow up sessions with staff and students planned for this summer.