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#WeAreTogether - taking SCUBA online

colour portrait photograph of David Ashmore

David Ashmore is a Category Manager in Procurement who is also a volunteer instructor with the University’s SCUBA club. Training in SCUBA techniques involves both theory and practice and, whereas the practical classes aren’t currently possible, the club has been providing online training.

We caught up with David to find out more about this:

“Some of our training programmes were still running after the students had to return home because of the lockdown. We decided to finish these online and saw no reason why this couldn’t be opened up to the SCUBA community more widely. We’ve seen rapid growth over the last month we’ve been running the online lectures from maybe 10 or 15 attendees at first to over 200 for each session now.

“We are part of the sport’s national organisation the British Sub-Aqua Club, or BSAC, and were the first affiliated club to try this switch to online learning. Being part of BSAC has meant we’ve been able to share techniques and tips on how to deliver online training effectively. This includes making the sessions interactive by using quizzes but also introducing multiple presenters and adding value to the sessions by posting additional information like pictures or links using the chat function.

“As well as running the required training courses we’ve been running a series of special interest lectures on specific topics. It’s been good to engage with colleagues from across the University and tap into the expertise we have to enrich these sessions. For example, Glyn Barrett will share his knowledge on corals. There is a necessary element of hands on training but we will have a combined approach in the future, keeping those things that have worked well online, like the special interest lectures.

“We’ve learnt some lessons along the way as we were used to teaching much smaller groups at a time. The process has evolved over the weeks we’ve been running the classes but key to our success had been working collaboratively. I’d like to thank all the instructors who have been involved in this as, without them, it wouldn’t have been possible.”

The club’s work on moving training online has been acknowledged by BSAC and its Chief Executive, Mary Tetley, said:

BSAC would like to thank David Ashmore and the University of Reading for their excellent help in leading the way for BSAC in online learning. As a Governing Body of sport we had been talking about the shift from our face to face teaching to more online platforms. David has given up his time, and expert help to lead the way for BSAC and its clubs sharing his knowledge and ideas and started us on our journey to online learning”

You can join in the training by visiting the club’s dedicated online learning website.

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