Enabling transition to online teaching during COVID-19 through a peer-supported collaborative environment

Bowen Yang, Zainurual Abd Rahman, Joannette J. (Annette) Bos, David Robertson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Research


At the start of 2020, COVID-19 restrictions have led universities to move most face-to-face teaching to online. Across the sector, traditional university teaching staff were faced with a common challenge: adapting classroom teaching to online in a short window of time. The difficulty of this transition was often compounded by limited support, resources, technical skills and knowledge required to create socially-engaged online classroom experiences that supported learning as effectively as their face-to-face teaching.
As a response to the needs of supporting educators during the transition, in March 2020, a cross-institute approach at the Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI), Monash University Australia led to the establishment of the Teaching On¬line Meetups (TOM) — a series of regular online sessions attended by academic and professional staff in the Institute. The initiative gained momentum across 2020, and later expanded to include across other faculties of Monash University.
In this chapter, we firstly discuss the critical roles TOM played in supporting staff’s successful transitioning into online teaching during the lockdown and outline the process involved in the establishment and operation of TOM, including the management of TOM’s resource site. Next, we explain TOM’s community building and staff capacity development approach, which centres around creating an open and safe space to share online teaching practices, test new online teaching tools and activities, and provide hands-on experience with online technologies in a live group setting. We evaluate how this practical approach helped staff to develop their digital capacity effectively and gain confidence in online teaching. Lastly, we discuss the pattern of technology adoption and the different levels of needs of participants. We reflect on how the progression of session topics has continued to address the community’s online teaching needs. We conclude with recommendations for others in adopting similar approaches at an institutional level.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Impact of COVID-19 on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
EditorsSylvie Studente, Stephen Ellis, Bhavini Desai
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781536199710
ISBN (Print)9781536199475
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameEducation in a competitive and globalising world
PublisherNova Science


  • peer support
  • capacity building
  • online teaching
  • transition

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