Designing or adapting programmes to be flexible and inclusive

The aim for the 2020-21 academic year is to preserve Oxford’s high-quality, personalised education offerings, despite the constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pedagogical guidance

There will be a strong focus on tutorials and other undergraduate and graduate small-group teaching (face to face wherever possible) alongside online alternatives for larger group teaching, lectures and some exams. Remote teaching will need to continue for students who are not able to come to Oxford at the start of the year or who may need to self-isolate during term.

Academics and programme administrators will need to consider task and course designs which can accommodate students who are participating remotely and be able to switch to remote teaching in the event of a change the University’s business continuity planning level.

In general, planning for a mix of teaching and learning activities is the most flexible and inclusive approach. For example, small group teaching can be supplemented by resources available to students in advance, recordings and/or summaries of the sessions (perhaps created by students), with opportunities for follow up discussions online.

In order to ensure that students remain engaged and motivated, it is important to set out a clear plan of activity with regular opportunities for students and tutors to check in with each other, and for students to interact with one another in formal or informal settings.

Technical guidance

Canvas, Panopto and Microsoft Teams (often referred to as MS Teams or simply Teams) are the University supported technologies that will assist you in adapting your programmes to be flexible and inclusive.

Canvas allows you to create structured content and resources for students to access as well as a means contacting students and receiving work. Canvas will act as the hub for course information and teaching materials for your programme or course. Other technologies you may use for your programme can either be embedded within or linked to from Canvas.

MS Teams provides live conferencing with audio, video, whiteboards and screen sharing. The chat functionality is good for informal discussions. Teams has seen several enhancements since remote teaching began including backgrounds, hand raising, live captions, and the ability to turn on phone dial in and make recordings.  

Panopto (Replay) allows you to make and upload videos or screencasts to the lecture capture system and make them available to students via Canvas. These could be a recording of a slideshow with audio, or a recording of the computer screen plus audio. Videos made with other recording devices (e.g. phones, cameras) can also be uploaded to Panopto, where captions can be enabled before sharing with students. 

Useful links

Many departments and faculties are reflecting upon how programmes are taught, what materials are assigned and how students are assessed. Academics and administrators who would like to consult with the Centre for Teaching and Learning as they design flexible and inclusive programmes may contact us at

Helpdesk service



Resources for flexible and inclusive teaching