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Review, rapid recall and reposition: how one HEI adapted delivery and design in the digital world in response to COVID-19

Megan Stephenson (Department of Teacher Education, Leeds Trinity University, Leeds, UK)
Alison Torn (Department of Psychology, Leeds Trinity University, Leeds, UK)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 9 January 2023




The study explores the original positioning of the higher education institution in the teacher education market in March 2020. The case study identifies how the university operated prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the adaptations made to teaching and learning pedagogy throughout academic year (AY) 2019–2020, the impact and the experience it had on staff and students and the subsequent lessons learnt.


Through a comprehensive narrative the authors explore how, during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the academic staff had to upskill themselves in the world of digital technology, drawing on the theoretical framework of community of inquiry (Garrison, 2009; Garrison et al., 2000, 2010). The article describes and analyses the impact of change through the timeline of the pandemic across the AYs 2019–2020 and 2020–2021. Training delivered and adapted from “Active Digital Design” (ADD), was adopted to plan, teach and deliver all centre-based training from September 2021.


The article describes how the leaders across the university and within the teacher education department used this time and space as an opportunity to revaluate whole pedagogical delivery and curricular programme design, effectively transitioning to a blended learning strategy. The rapid adoption of online resources, adjustments made to programmes and school placements and the peaks and troughs of engaging students with online learning are all evaluated. The authors conclude on a reflective note, thanks to excellent leadership and management the majority of the ADD programme that was received positively by academics and students. A continuous cycle of review means adaptations to programme delivery continue to be adopted via the learning communities formed as a result of the experience.


The impact of the pandemic and school closures on the graduating cohorts of 2020 and 2021 are evaluated. Reflecting on the experience and expertise of the team a truly comprehensive, consistent and balanced curricular is set to shape AY 2022–20/23.



Stephenson, M. and Torn, A. (2023), "Review, rapid recall and reposition: how one HEI adapted delivery and design in the digital world in response to COVID-19", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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