How to enhance collaboration between faculty and digital teams

Educational technologist Roland Sherwood explains how faculty can get the most from their work with digital experts to enhance online teaching


8 Mar 2021
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Created in partnership with

Created in partnership with

Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University 

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Key Details

This video will cover:

01:07 Why collaboration between faculty and digital teams improves online learning

02:18 Why faculty should keep an open mind when collaborating with educational technologists

03:03 The importance of establishing clear learning goals when working with digital experts


Hi, my name is Tamara Kaup. I work in university marketing and communications at Xi’an Jiaotong – Liverpool University in beautiful Suzhou, China.

I’m joined today here by Roland Sherwood; he is the head of our Centre for Educational Technology. We’re going to talk a little bit today about educational technologists and faculty members working together.

So, Roland, you’ve been an educational technologist now for about 15 years; and last year, at the beginning of the spring semester, we rolled out an online learning platform and you were overseeing that massive change. And then in the autumn semester, we made another change where we moved to online teaching, hybrid hy-flex teaching and on-site teaching all at the same time.

So you have a lot of experience in this area. I’m wondering if you can tell us why do you think that collaboration between faculty and digital teams can work to better the online learning design?

I think collaboration is absolutely critical because staff, academic staff and faculty, of course, have their own specialisms in their particular area, their discipline; and equally people working in my area, educational technology, we have our own specialisms as well. And it’s really the bringing-together of those two things that can help to produce quality, forward-thinking learning experiences for students and learners.

Nobody is, you know, a specialist in all areas of technology, and many staff are using technology in their teaching for the very first time, or in a significant way at least. So it’s very useful to have that collaboration, so that we can provide guidance and support to them as they start to use these increasingly important technologies.

So Roland, in your opinion how can faculty help ensure the best outcome when collaborating with digital teams?

I think having an open mind is a really important part of that process, and being willing to try new things, approach things from different angles, that really helps a lot when working with people in my area.

You know, in many cases we’re talking about teachers who are perhaps used to doing things in a particular way, or have done them in that way for some time. But again being willing to take on new ideas and think about things in a slightly different way is really, really important to that process.

Also very important, equally as important, is having a really clear understanding of the learning outcomes associated with that teaching activity.

If the teacher doesn’t sort of fully understand what they’re asking students to do and what they expect students to come away with at the end of the activity, it’s sometimes quite difficult for people in the digital space to sort of second-guess those things.

So, yes – having a really clear idea about what we’re actually asking students to do is very important as well.

Great, thank you. Thanks for joining us today.

If you would like to learn more about what our university is doing in terms of online education and hybrid flexible, hy-flex, education, please check out our website at www.xjtlu.edu.com. Thank you.

This video was produced by Roland Sherwood, manager of educational technologies, and Tamara Kaup, writer and editor at Xi’an Jiaotong – Liverpool University.


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