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The Certainty of Uncertainty: Transnational Online Pivot in China


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China HE20, University of Manchester, Friday 11th December 2020. Marieke Guy (@mariekeguy) & Pip McDonald (@PipMac6), Royal Agricultural University

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The Certainty of Uncertainty: Transnational Online Pivot in China

  1. 1. China HE20, University of Manchester, Friday 11th December 2020 Marieke Guy (@mariekeguy) & Pip McDonald (@PipMac6), Royal Agricultural University The Certainty of Uncertainty: Transnational Online Pivot in China
  2. 2. Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester
  3. 3. The Royal Agricultural University • At the forefront of agricultural education for 175 years • Around 1,200 students – Undergraduate, postgraduate and international • Courses cover agriculture, rural land management, equine and business • Learning Technology team developed two fully online courses • Digital Transformation blog:
  4. 4. Partnership with SDAU • Partnership with Shangdong Agriculture University (SDAU) for almost 10 years • Flying faculty • Teach on English for Academic purposes (EAP), Food and Real Estate Management modules • Approx 150 students per module, 3 classes • Sage on stage, some group work • Exam based assessment
  5. 5. The Transnational Online Pivot & Uncertainty • How did we experience uncertainty? • Uncertainty as an archetype • The concept and practice of ‘Uncertainty Literacy’ as part of wider skill set • “Known and unknown” (Rumsfeld, 2011) • Individual and organisational uncertainty • Post digital uncertainty?
  6. 6. The Transnational Online Pivot & Uncertainty • Planning for uncertainty. A problem shared/halved. Development of strategic partnerships. Sharing the burden of uncertainty as part of an ongoing collaborative conversation. • Uncertainty as opportunity & a choice. Glass half full. • Reflection (Weatherall, 2015: p1). • Reflection “buzzword”, “popular mechanism in Higher Education…with a view to improvement” • RAU’s Digital transformation blog -
  7. 7. The Transnational Online Pivot & Uncertainty • Bonnie and Lola’s blog. • Collaborative transnational reflection • Blogs are “still a feature” (Stirling in Coe, Waring, Hedges & Arthur, 2017: p207). • Lecturer contribution to reflective blog
  8. 8. 4 80%3 & 4 2 1 Tool-based: Somewhat/Not at all Tool 40% Location: Somewhat/ A Great Deal Location 40% Knowledge, Relationship & Pedagogy: Somewhat Knowledge Relationship Pedagogy Identity: Somewhat Pedagogy 80% Identity Pedagogy 60% Taxonomy of Uncertainty Results & Discussion
  9. 9. Beyond the Taxonomy: Other Types of Experienced Uncertainties
  10. 10. How did you adapt lecture content for Panopto? Adaption as structure of delivery ‘Formative’ excellent. Clarity & supervision for students really bored of watching videos Some editing before live Making extra notes Preparing for online harder Write an entire course to fill time, which meant less personalisation Discipline for Lecturer & Student.
  11. 11. • Accessed tool based training - blue • Emailed support request - orange • Colleague support - green • Team teaching - red • Adapted material for online teaching - purple • Testing before live teaching - brown • Other - pink How did you overcome uncertainty?
  12. 12. Do you agree with the following statements?
  13. 13. How did you adapt your approach to teaching and learning during interactive sessions on Zoom? What types of learning took place during interactive sessions? • Collaborative- blue • Cooperative- orange • Multimodal- red • Differentiated- green
  14. 14. How can the RAU support Lecturers to identify strategies to manage uncertainty with the SDAU project and more widely?
  15. 15. Further Critical Reflections
  16. 16. Further Critical Reflections 2 (Sankey, 2020)
  17. 17. Future developments • RAU Joint Institute of Advanced Agritechnology at Qingdao Agricultural University, China • SDAU Joint institute • Retain the benefits of online learning • More staff training • Digital accessibility and captions
  18. 18. Bibliography Fawns, T. (2020) 20th August. Available at: (Accessed 7th December 2020) Rumsfeld, D. (2011) Known and Unknown: A Memoir (New York: Penguin) Rossi, V. (2020) 2nd December. Available at: (Accessed: 7th December 2020) Sankey, M. (2020)23 June. Available at: (Accessed 7th December 2020)
  19. 19. Bibliography 2 Sankey, M. (2020). Putting the pedagogic horse in front of the technology cart. Journal of Distance Education in China. 5, pp .46-53. (Online) Available at: nology_cart [Accessed: 8th December 2020] Stirling, S. in Coe, R, J. Waring, M, Hedges, L, V. & Arthur, J. (2017) ‘Doing Social Media Research’ in Research Methods & Methodologies in Education, 2nd ed, (London, California, USA, New Delhi & Singapore: Sage) pp207-213 Weatherall, D. (2015) ‘Online blogs as a reflective tool the experience and support needs of a group of international students in Higher Education’ [pdf] in The Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, Innovation and Change. Vol.1 Issue. 1 (Online) Available at: [Accessed: 8th December 2020]