Dr J Simon Rofe

Dr J Simon Rofe

Academic Head of Digital Learning & Reader in Diplomatic and International Studies CISD at SOAS University of London. Lead Academic consultant to the Diplomacy in the 21st Century course.

Location SOAS University of London


  • Always grateful for the opportunity to do some critical thinking. Thanks Neil for the recommendation.

  • thank you Anne - good to hear.

  • Thanks Wael, appreciate your point. In the interests of discussion I wonder if I might ask what we think a 'pure Teaching/Learning environment' might be? And even if it truly exists? In a class room, a student (or possibly a teacher) might gaze out of the window at a bird flying around, or look up and follow a fan as it spins while thinking of the assignment...

  • like the analogy - reminds me of The Penguins 'flying' the plane in the Madagascar movie :)

  • thanks for sharing Karen. Online learning allows us to reprise the focus on student centred learning. While the technology is a medium that can provide barriers in some regards - it also removes many others too such as social anxiety in groups.

  • a collective experience that speaks to the value of an online learning community.

  • three good ones there Carol!

  • Great to hear Hildah

  • Hi Rubina, thanks - in short we can't - but as teachers we are attuned to this problem in regular face to face classes so we can transfer those techniques. Equally, we can and should acknowledge that students can benefit from the co-production of knowledge. In other words they can learn with, and from parents and others in their household.

  • Hi Salvado - this is a challenge, but I would suggest we engage out students online in the same way we do in an in person class, watch out for feedback signs in the same way - over exuberance on the one hand and 'silences' on the other - and plenty of others. All opportunities for us as teachers to recalibrate and reach out.

  • I like the analogy Laith; it certainly speaks to the value of students taking responsibility for their learning; raising that prospect and then managing that expectation is part of the challenge.

  • Hi Rose, the dynamic of parents and children is a tricky one for sure (I share the predicament!), and in some senses beyond the remit of teachers but in other ways very important for the context in which learning takes place. From my recent experience (boys age 7 & 10) I can speak to the value of discussing 'learning outcomes' under a 'what have you achieved...

  • Tonia, thanks - no need to apologise - the course is self-paced and operates asynchronously to a great extent. Just a case of contributing when you can; and I can certainly share the experience of my week's being taken up with 'tasks and deadlines'.

  • Little more than I can add here following Tracey and Gilly but it speaks to the importance of listening to our students - whatever their age.

  • thanks Marina - stay the course :)

  • @VivienneLangton Hi Vivienne, a little anxiety can be a useful asset so don't discount it wholly, but equally no need to be terrified either - there is plenty that can go wrong in our classrooms of course - so let me offer some reassurance that good pedagogy can encounter 'technical issues' and get round them. Maybe not immediately, and maybe not in the way we...

  • Good luck both: new opportunities await.
    Relish the excitement.

  • @LiliaMolhamova @CrescencioOropeza thanks - access to the internet is clearly an accessibility challenge; we do need some access some of the time, so we can make use of the asynchronous learning opportunities. We'll certainly address those as the course unfolds.

  • @BeverleyW thank you - we are glad to hear it has been helpful to you. So much to learn - for all of us.

  • @FiorellaB There are a good deal of resources out there for students at the start of their learning and those with special needs. Hopefully we can help with this.

  • thanks Claire

  • thanks for sharing your reflections: so much to learn here. Thanks.

  • Thanks @SophieRobins, taking one's time is certainly worthwhile.

  • Thanks Rita - great to hear.

  • thanks @SofiiaTretiak great to hear you've made your classes more interactive.

  • thank you, once again

  • Hello,
    Just joining this revelatory course; thank you so much, Simon

  • Thanks everyone - great ideas.

  • thanks - like Sam's like here about having a 'day off' - these might look a little different for us all; but we all need them.

  • @GráinneCampbell thank you - I'd echo @JessicaKillaspy here and say that you can provide a good level of support with clarity of your communication & by encouraging peer support in online learning communities. OLC.

  • Rachel, might I recommend a brief summation of these 'live' sessions as recap for those who attended and may have missed something and to avoid #FOMO Fear Of Missing Out for those who couldn't reach either session.

  • Hi Jon, I think this is a really important question. A couple of thoughts: we wouldn't schedule (or be allowed to schedule) a class when we knew a cohort of students couldn't attend if we were on campus, so I consider this a useful back drop. Equally, it may not be practical to schedule a session that caters to all time zones; so this leads me to think about...

  • Building an Online Learning Community OLC - a few thoughts here in terms of the 'presence' and an Online Learning Community. I think @ClaireBeecrofts remarks about being present are apt for many and especially at the outset of the learning experience. There is further consideration that is worth bearing in mind here as there is a body of research that has...

  • I'd add - or at least develop - Two-way feedback to include feed forward - i.e. to provide the opportunity for learners to demonstrate their learning in future assignments/exercises.

  • @RuthWebster Take care - hope we can help.

  • Hi Jenny, good to hear this one has resolved itself.
    Give yourself a break too, by recognising that we can't control all of these dimensions. Thanks, Simon

  • thanks Aimee - love a jigsaw :)

  • nicely said @SiobhanPhelan

  • Thanks Sandy :)

  • Thanks Nieves

  • As one of the mentors for our course, I don't mind saying that I've been more than a little overwhelmed by the depth and quality of everyone's engagement in the past week. It is humbling to hear from everyone when there is so much else to be preoccupied with. I know I've learnt a good deal and I look forward to continuing to do so next week, Thanks to all,...