Information for staff and students about online teaching resources, wellbeing and online access to CUP textbooks.

Dear all,

As we reach the end of another week in unprecedented circumstances, my thoughts are with those who have been directly affected by Coronavirus.

Much work has taken place over the past week to ensure that our University can continue its core functions, and that it will be in a position to resume its normal operations when we emerge from the current crisis. My thanks, once again, to all the people across the collegiate University who are assisting in these efforts.

Online teaching resources

As we stride into the brave new world of remote education, teachers and tutors may welcome the launch of new resources for online teaching by the Cambridge Centre for Teaching and Learning. The first guide, on "Moving Supervisions Online", addresses the planning and conducting of online supervisions – including practical advice about devices, platforms and tools, as well as how to structure online conversations and give feedback. More content will be added to the website in the days ahead.

Student and Staff Wellbeing

Ensuring our wellbeing – essential at any time – is paramount at a time of prolonged isolation and strain. The University’s student wellbeing pages have now been updated to include links to excellent COVID-related national guidance.

Members of staff may wish to make use of the excellent resources gathered on our dedicated staff wellbeing page. It includes guidance on working from home (including a useful tool to help us choose the best channel for online communications), as well as general advice on managing our mental and emotional health, and on how to cope with isolation and anxiety.

Staff Counselling

The University Staff Counselling Centre is supporting its existing clients via telephone or Zoom. This support will be extended to clients who have referred themselves to the Centre and are still on a waiting list.

I am proud to note that the Staff Counselling Centre is offering emergency support sessions to frontline staff at Addenbrookes who have a University contract of employment. A dedicated referral system is now live on the Centre’s website.

At the moment the Centre is not able to take other new referrals, but it has published useful resources and details of alternative services on its website.

Cambridge University Press and Cambridge Assessment

Having made more than 700 higher education textbooks available online to students through their University libraries, Cambridge University Press (CUP) is providing free access to a growing collection of research related to the coronavirus, drawn from specialist medical journals, until the end of May.

In an effort to support the health services at a time of intense pressure, CUP has made some classic medical reference books available for junior doctors. These are a hugely valuable resource when conventional forms of training have been put on hold.

In partnership with Cambridge Assessment English, CUP is producing large amounts of free, online content for teachers and learners of English. The resources for teachers whose schools have been closed include daily text, audio and video content focussed on different aspects of online teaching. CUP and CA are making this content widely available, and have produced guides on how to use printed materials in a virtual classroom setting. Further information on CUP’s helpful response to the pandemic can be found here.

Reasons to be hopeful

We all need reasons to be hopeful. Here’s one. The latest issue of CAM, our alumni magazine, is now available online. It includes an uplifting article examining the idea of hope, and explaining how hope can pull us through challenging times. You can also browse an archive of CAM’s past articles – enough interesting content, I hope, to keep us entertained and informed over many weeks of lock-down.

More Stories from the Home Front

It has been interesting and inspiring to learn how some of our colleagues are coping with the new realities of working from home. As one comment piece said about the now ubiquitous video-conferencing: "Never have so many ceilings been broadcast to so many for so long". I’m delighted to share another short video featuring Cambridge colleagues getting on with work from their home studios, living rooms and kitchens.

This weekend would have marked the beginning of the Easter holiday for schools, when many of you would have expected to be away. We are all stranded indoors now, of course, but I hope you still find the time to unwind and switch off work.

We are reviewing the frequency of these messages in the days ahead. From next week, you can expect to hear from me regularly, but not daily. (I am sure many of you will appreciate having fewer emails in your inbox.) Please know that, even when you are not getting these updates every day, my colleagues and I continue to work hard on your behalf.

I wish you all a restful weekend.

Best wishes,



Professor Stephen J Toope