Demand for the latest skills in digital teaching is increasing as lockdown returns and educators are turning to Lews Castle College UHI, one of the smallest colleges in Scotland, and part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, which has over 25 years’ experience of delivering and designing online teaching. 

Its first fully online degree started in 1993 with the first graduates emerging in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science in Rural Development Studies.

In 2016, Lews Castle College started up an online postgraduate programme in digital pedagogy (the teaching of education).

According to course leader, Dr Gareth Davies there is a misconception that digital learning is merely a reproduction of what happens in a physical classroom.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," he continues. "Classroom and digital learning are very different disciplines. Digital pedagogy requires new and different skills. A digital teacher needs to think very carefully about what they do and how they deliver guidance to students so that they can then go off and read all about the topic."

He says: "The way we deliver education, like everything in society, has been changed by this pandemic and we are never going to go back to how it was before in education. That includes schools and universities.

"Education hasn't just taken a leap forward, it has been pushed forward. Everyone who is based out of Lews College Castle UHI have vast amounts of experience when it comes to teaching students online all over the world on our courses.

The university and others have developed multiple online programmes. Innovation and development has continued apace but COVID-19 has forced a rapid acceleration of the pace of that change. Throughout the world, schools, colleges, and universities have moved from face-to-face delivery of programmes to online delivery in a matter of a few short months.

Dr Davies, pictured, adds: "Effective teaching also requires teaching expertise, and this is different in the digital learning space. Making the change from face-to-face to online or digitally based learning requires careful thought and planning."

One of the earliest exponents of technology to assist learning was Frank Rennie, Professor of Sustainable Rural Development at Lews Castle UHI. Professor Rennie started teaching at the University of the Highlands and Islands in 1993 and delivered his first online lecture in 1995.

Although it was early days in terms of the world wide web, a slow and steady shift towards using technology in education had already taken root across the Western Isles.

He explains: "In the early 1980s, a dial-up computer conferencing system called Rurtel, developed by the University of Guelph Ontario, Canada and used in agricultural education by farmers across the Great Prairies, was used across the Isles.

"Despite the speed being so slow, that users could see letters appearing individually on the computer screen when someone was online, almost immediately, it gained traction across the Western Isles. Those working in education and rural development, which included myself at that time, were among the first to pick up on it."

Over the last 25 years, Professor Rennie and his colleagues across the university partnership have developed a wealth of expertise in distributed learning, with students on courses from all over the world across many time zones.

"The reach of the Lews Castle College is phenomenal and time zones are not a problem for us. We can customise for individual students, many of whom are working and studying at the same time so this suits them.

"In the wake of the pandemic, University of the Highlands and Islands is getting requests from universities asking us for help. That puts the emphasis on innovation and that's where our new Centre for Online Research and Education comes in. After this pandemic, the way education is delivered will never be the same. The world will never be the same."

The college also offers an M.Ed. Digital Pedagogy. Students from afar afield as the Falkland Islands have studied with Lews Castle College UHI to date.

Create bespoke training for your staff in 2021 with Lews Castle College UHI

Lews Castle College UHI offers a range of professionally accredited training and development courses for local businesses and organisations. This ranges from commercial short courses to individual workshops and bespoke training.

We can work with you to identify your training needs, enabling you to tackle potential skills shortages and support new or existing employees to develop.

Lews Castle College can support you to explore different funding streams such as The Scottish Government's Flexible Workforce Development Fund. This is available to employers across the private, public and third sectors. The Fund allows you to address priority skills gaps and invest in your workforce through training and personal development.

We have worked with a range of local businesses to assess and support their training needs. Macmillan Engineering based in Stornoway said, “We have always liaised well with Lews Castle College and find it beneficial to our company that these training and educational facilities are available locally.”

You can visit our Business Page ( or contact our Development Officer on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. about how you can access funding and create bespoke learning for your team.

Find your future with Lews Castle College UHI -

Engineering and Construction Courses starting in January 2021 at Lews Castle College UHI

We have a wide range of courses available throughout the year whether you are looking to begin your career in construction and engineering or to develop you training and skills further with a short course.

If you are employed in the engineering sector and are looking to upgrade your current qualifications, we offer flexible study options in a range of engineering disciplines including, Mechanical, Electrical, Electronics & Energy Engineering. Whether you are employed locally or are working on a rotational basis, you can upgrade your current qualification to HNC or degree level with a tailored package of learning suited to your personal circumstances.

Find your future with Lews Castle College UHI -

Creative Learning Opportunities with Lews Castle College in 2021

Make 2021 the year you make a change and do something new with Lewis Castle College UHI’S creative courses. We have a huge variety of creative learning opportunities available for you; whether you want to pick up a new instrument, learn a new skill or simply develop existing talents our expert course leaders can help you achieve your potential.

Turn your ideas into songs local musician Willie Campbell, design and cast a silver piece of jewellery or dive into the Gaelic language through the medium of traditional Gaelic song with our award-winning staff online from South Uist.

Find your future with Lews Castle College UHI -

A bheil Gàidhlig agad? January 2021 Gaelic Courses at Lews Castle College UHI

Whether you are taking your first step in learning Gaelic, a native speaker, looking to develop your conversational skills or learn more about the Gaelic language and culture, we have a course for you.

As well as a range of Gaelic language classes we have short courses which explore Gaelic culture and heritage. Our Gaelic Placenames evening class explores the different languages used to describe our landscape, and what they tell us about history as well as geography.

Find your future with Lews Castle College UHI -

Don’t wait Until September to start your degree

We have a wide range of full and part time degrees and post graduate courses starting in January 2021.

If this is your first time studying at university level, or you've been away from study for some time, we have a range of exciting undergraduate courses to choose from, many of which are directly linked to industry and business, giving you the best chance of a great career.

We also offer post graduate course for those wishing to specialise further including Healthcare Management, Pedagogy and Teaching qualifications.

Find your future with Lews Castle College UHI -

With courses ranging from one-day or short courses through to degrees and postgraduate studies, Lews Castle College UHI have everything you need to start 2021 the right way.

We have a range of courses starting in January 2021, if you are looking to develop your career with a CPD course, take a whole new direction with a HN or even degree or simply want to take an evening or part time interest course we have something for you. 

If you are looking to gain additional skills or help you reskill in a new area short courses are a great way to get a taster of a full-time course. The College offer courses in:

  • Business & IT - basic Admin and Business skills to Web Design & Gaming.
  • Food & Drink – Professional Cookery and Elementary Food Hygiene
  • Construction & Engineering - Introduction to Engineering & Construction to a range of short CPD courses.
  • Creative – Learn Song Writing with Willie Campbell, enrol in our new Art & Archaeology course or discover our music courses based in South Uist.
  • Gaelic – From learners to fluent speakers and for those interested in our Gaelic culture and heritage, explore our wide range of courses.

We also offer a wide range of support for local businesses looking to develop training for staff. You can visit our Business Page at or contact our Development Officer on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. about how you can access funding and create bespoke learning for your team. 

If you are looking to study full time at degree or postgraduate level then remember you do not have to wait until September. We have several courses starting in January including Archaeological Studies, Childhood Practice and Music and the Environment.

There can be a lot to consider when choosing to study but the Lews team can support you every step of the way. Our courses offer a wide range of flexibility with online teaching, part time study as well as support from our Student Services team who can help you with funding, childcare and more.

Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for any information and advice on our courses.

  • Twitter: @lccuhi #StudyLCC
  • Lews Castle College UHI is an academic partner of the University of the Highlands and Islands, the United Kingdom’s leading integrated university encompassing both further and higher education.
  • We have campuses and learning centres in Lewis, North Uist, Benbecula and Barra.
  • Lews Castle College UHI contributes £24 million to the local economy and supports 230 jobs throughout the Outer Hebrides.