Surviving, Thriving & Sacrificing: The honest reflections and perspectives of opportunities, challenges and adaptations from staff and students on delivering a non-online course to an online community.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The following Paper is a study into the reactionary response of taking an undergraduate Interior Design course from on-site delivery to online. It looks at the impact on student learning and understanding and the effect on staff who are sometimes the forgotten casualty in the pressure to deliver seamless learning material in a global pandemic.
The aim of the study is to discuss and reflect on how, through necessity of the situation, a staff team and Industry focused Interior Design course has found ways to survive, elements that have thrived and the sacrifices made along the way.
The study objectives identify from a reflective model taking into account Brookfield’s lenses. It looks at the impact on curriculum design and practice from short and long term actions of a reflexive staff team, it also looks at how it aids the empowerment of student learning as well as the sacrifices made along the way in creating a conducive learning environment for all.
The methodologies used are qualitative and engage Brookfields lenses to aid the authors in gathering ‘thick descriptions’ of student experiences, as well as more autobiographical observations and musings, enlisting colleague experiences, documented feedback from questionnaires and focused staff meetings. In the evaluation of the data, ethical considerations to maintain value and accountability were deployed to ensure trustworthiness and authenticity. As the researchers and sample group are interlocked in this journey together, confirmability is ensured through reflective evidenced accounts, capturing honest appraisals from all stake holders where personal values or theories are excluded to maintain professional and academic rigor to the study.
The study discusses how the course adapted whilst analysing what survived, thrived, and was sacrificed by the opportunities developed through elements such as embedding flipped classroom strategies in blended learning situations. It also includes reflections on teaching strategies deployed to enhance online delivery and learning; the inclusion of professional CPD presentations providing collaborative lecture content; creating new marketing and admission materials and engaging global alumni talks; up-skilling of staff’s software abilities.
Results show greater engagement within lecture formats where students developed professional dialogues earlier in the course with industry as collaborative discussions enhanced confidence across the student body. New responsive marketing material created changed engagement and interactions, working collectively rather than didactically with the further education sector, as well as being utilised in developing inclusive international engagement in online workshops. Alumni talks evidencing and supporting curriculum design and ongoing relevancy in its industry currency further support student’s confidence in a forward-looking course. However, in conclusion sacrifices in incidental learning and teaching occur with staff adopting measures to create new virtual environments offering places of dual engagement. How staff’s morale and team ethos have also been causalities in terms of well-being and job self-worth, with online environments challenging and excluding unstructured meet ups and discussions, whereby sharing becomes a more planned formal exchange, rather than the organic nature previously enjoyed. In short how the future offers a rebalancing of these responsive experiences to hybridising a more cohesive learning environment that shares the best of both practices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEDULEARN21 Proceedings
Subtitle of host publication13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
EditorsL. Gómez Chova, A. López Martínez, I. Candel Torres
PublisherIATED Academy
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9788409312672
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2021
Event13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies - Virtual conference due to COVID-19, Virtual
Duration: 5 Jul 20216 Jul 2021
Conference number: 13

Publication series

NameEDULEARN Proceedings
PublisherIATED Academy
ISSN (Print)2340-1117


Conference13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Abbreviated titleEDULEARN21
Internet address


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