How can you engage large student cohorts in the classroom/lecture theatre?
And how could you maintain those connections when the lecture is over?
How do you make meaningful connections with all your students?
Aimed at academic and professional services staff these practical workshops draw on examples of effective practice from within the University and from outside. Ranging from using technology effectively, and utilising basic acting techniques, to creating accessible materials for everyone, we share ideas and tips you can take away and try with your large groups tomorrow.
You can attend all three, or choose the ones that best meet your needs
Creating connections: Managing large groups in the lecture theatre
Tuesday 9th May 12.00-14.00, G.07 Daysh Building
In this workshop we share tips and tricks for how we can effectively manage large groups in the lecture theatre, You’ll be able to try out some techniques for yourself in this interactive session, with case studies from colleagues from across the University and some practical exercises ranging from maintaining audience attention and using lecture theatre technology to how to stop your voice giving out as term progresses.
Staying connected: Facilitating large groups outside of the lecture theatre
Tuesday 19th September 12.00-14.00, Herschel Learning Lab, Herschel Building
The recent NUSU report on the Teaching Excellence Awards contained some gems of information from students, one of which was that they really value the activities before and after a lecture. But how do you build meaningful activities and maintain attention outside of the lecture theatre? This workshop looks at ‘the lecture sandwich’ where we share tips and get some hands on experience of using Blackboard, ReCap discussion boards etc to help build collaborative learning before and after the lecture. We also look at boundary setting and expectation management with email and in discussion boards.
Date tbc (pending timetabling)
Drawing on inclusive learning principles this cluster based hands on workshop focuses on learning for all and reaching everyone on your large group. We share tips on using multiple communication channels, and how using module handbooks, reading lists, well structured documents effectively can help get to hard to reach students.
The annual Learning & Teaching Conference for staff at Newcastle University took place on Monday 27 March 2017. Celebrating learning and teaching at Newcastle University, it was organised by ourselves on behalf of the Pro Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching, Professor Suzanne Cholerton.
This year’s theme was Reimagining Teaching Excellence, and the day was spread over two venues: the Lindisfarne Room in the Kings Road Centre and the Herschel Learning Lab, with lunch and an engaging poster session in the foyer of the Herschel Building.
Paul spoke eloquently about making curricular changes in higher education institutions and introduced us to examples from all over the world, including Melbourne Arizona State and Hong Kong Universities, whilst provoking questions about how such decisions are made, the associated risks, and how we know whether these interventions have been effective.
He went on to question Biggs’ ideas on constructive alignment, much quoted in educational development, and suggested these ideas were a good servant but a bad master for developing curricula. Asking what the real links are between research and teaching, he moved on to discuss the recent White Paper and the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).
He also covered themes around commodity, interdisciplinarity, globalisation and networks. Professor Blackmore’s keynote was well received and set the scene well for challenging what teaching excellence is, and for taking risks when thinking about changing the curriculum.
Next, Sara Marsham, JC Penet and Vanessa Armstrong took the stage to talk about teaching excellence and the Newcastle Educators peer educator network. In an interactive session they asked us to share ideas of what teaching excellence is or could be, and made the point that the concept is very culturally bound.
The last session of the morning had everyone scribbling notes furiously as representatives past and present from the Newcastle University Student Union (NUSU) talked about the analysis they had done on the NUSU Teaching Excellence Awards, highlighting some of the report‘s findings. Students at Newcastle value an eclectic mix of learning and teaching approaches including blended learning, flipped classroom, TEL, and collaborative approaches to learning.
Our students see learning as incremental, and appreciate the intellectual generosity of their lecturers, their knowledge and expertise. They like lectures to be a conversation, through use of open discussion and participation in the learning process. This creates an atmosphere where students feel enabled to contribute and speak up, as well as opportunities to talk to staff informally.
The report highlights that what happens before, during and after the lecture are all important. This really highlighted how much students are engaged in thinking about good teaching. They really don’t see academic time as an unlimited, on-demand service.
At lunch the poster session took place and the audience was asked to vote for their favourite posters.
For the afternoon sessions we moved from the Lindisfarne Room to the Herschel Learning Lab. A session using the facilities in the Herschel Learning Lab was facilitated by Craig Smith, who looked at developing the Newcastle University Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Strategy. Attendees contributed their ideas about the key factors that the new strategy should include, collaborating in group and utilising the room’s technology.
We attempted to use all of the affordances of the Herschel Learning Lab (HLL) in this highly engaging session (not least because of the omnipresence of Tina Turner!). Some colleagues who have successfully used the HLL then showed us how to use it properly.
Ulrike Thomas, Ellen Tullo, TT Arvind, James Stanfield, and Katie Wray were all familiar with the space and outlined how they had successfully used it with some diverse cohorts over very different courses, from all three Faculties. Ulrike reminded us that we can look at learning spaces in the teaching room finder.
TT suggested that planning how you were going to use the technologies in the HLL was essential to success, and by using the affordances of the space, the barriers between teaching and learning could be broken.
Linear and block teaching, group meetings, workshops, society meetings all worked well in the space said Katie Wray, but group work, collaboration using activities, engagement and video all worked particularly well. What worked less well? More than 20 groups, lectern based lectures, and the inflexibility of the space all posed challenges.
The resources from the day are available from the LTDS website. Don’t forget you can find many examples of effective learning and teaching practice on the case studies database.
Please comment on this post, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know how we can make next year even better!
Teaching colleagues from across the University have launched a new educator-led forum to share good practice and provide support.
The group – which is open to anyone with an interest in teaching at Newcastle – will hold its inaugural meeting on 27th January.
This first EDUBITES session will include a talk on ‘Supporting Reflective Practice’ by Dr James Field (Dental Sciences) and will include lunch.
Although the group has existed in a range of guises in recent years (Teaching Fellows Forum, NUTS Forum), this year’s coordinators are determined to provide a space for the support and discussion of teaching practice and teaching staff across the University.
The group is run by teaching staff for teaching staff and organisers are drawn from across the three faculties; James Field (Dental Sciences), Sara Marsham (Marine Sciences), JC Penet (Modern Languages), Phil Ansell (Maths and Stats.), Lindsey Ferrie (Biomedical Sciences) and Katie Wray (SAgE Faculty).
The group is partially funded by a grant from Pro-VC for Learning and Teaching, Suzanne Cholerton.
Sara said: ‘We really started it as a space for Teaching Fellows and other early career teaching staff to support each other and answer each other’s teaching related questions and queries.’
‘It can often be intimidating to come into a department and start teaching, and quite isolating too.’
‘Early career or new colleagues don’t necessary want to ask more senior staff when they’re unsure or worried about something, so we want to create an informal space for them to raise those queries, get advice from others, and share good practice.’
Although the origins of the group were around the establishment of teaching-only roles in the University, all colleagues are welcome to attend the sessions.
‘We hope everyone will be happy to come along, find out what is happening across the campus, and even propose a session to share their ideas and their practice.’
The meeting takes place on Wednesday 27th January, 12-1 in Bedson Rm 1.19. To register, fill out this form.
NUTELA Award winner Graham Patterson has been spearheading innovative technology-led teaching in the School of Civil Engineering and Geomatics.
Graham has worked extensively with staff to oversee the adoption of mobile Android-devices to support teaching and learning across the School.
Graham said: ‘We started using Android tablets three years ago, giving one to each student in their first year
‘They get used for all sorts of things. We use software called Responseware to get feedback in lectures, polling students on the correct answers to questions or to see if they understand.
‘We’ve also used it to replace paper handouts which we used to use a lot, so now students can download PDFs before lectures.
‘We have worked with staff over the last three years to format these PDFs so that there is room for a slide or diagram and then for the student to take notes as the lecture goes on.’
At the beginning of their first term Graham and academic lead on the project, CEGS Teaching Associate Henny Mills organise three sessions to introduce the students to the technology.
The first session is aimed at familiarising them with the device and the Android operating system, the second focuses on University facilities on the tablet, such as accessing University drives and timetables and the third is a Drop-In session to address any teething problems.
Students have responded really positively to the changes and to the scheme is going from strength to strength is CEGS.
‘Students really like being able to use the tablets in practicals, as a second screen.
‘The Galaxy Note 10 was very carefully selected because it allows them to have two screens open at once, so they can be looking at a PDF and taking notes on the lecture.
‘It also allows them to view AutoCAD documents and others and has a great camera for field trips which they find useful, health and safety permitting.’
As more and more schools across the University start using responseware and other sorts of technology to enhance their learning and teaching experience, it’s becoming increasingly important to share good practice in what sorts of devices, software and support systems work.
Graham said: ‘We thought that this system was going to require a lot of technical support but actually after the initial sessions, students are very capable of using the devices provided there are no problems with the hardware.
‘We were also concerned about students using facebook and twitter in lectures and not paying attention but I think, with mobile phones and laptops, students who wanted to do that were always just going to find a way anyway.
‘We’ve made it clear to students that this is not a gimmick or a toy, it’s something they must bring to lectures and it’s something that they are responsible for.
‘Most of them respect that and use it responsibly.’
Is there an example of innovative or good practice in teaching in your school? Email: Katherine.email@example.com. For other great teaching ideas have a look at our Case Studies Database.
Ever thought of using actors to demonstrate a problem or technique, gauging student and understanding by using TurningPoint technology in lectures or getting students to make animations or videos instead of doing presentations?
Compiled by staff in the Learning and Teaching Development Unit, the website has example of good teaching practice from across the University.
From using peer review to improve essay writing to buddy systems for PG teaching staff, bringing in industry professionals to student-input in module design, the database has practical solutions to everyday teaching problems, with advice on how schemes were set up and why they’re successful.
The website is easy to search, so if you are looking for innovative assessment techniques, you can just search ‘assessment’, to look at examples of good postgraduate teaching you can search ‘postgraduate’.
You can hone in on a range of other keywords or requirements to see examples relevant to your work or your learning outcomes, from student engagement to employability.
You can also scroll through categories of examples, including ‘Assessment and Feedback’ and ‘Research-informed Teaaching’, to see how colleagues in other Schools are responding to particular challenges or better incorporating their own work into their teaching practice.
It’s always interesting to see what staff in other Schools are doing with their teaching and to share good practice – perhaps you’ll even find something you can use!
Or maybe you’re already doing something interesting and innovative yourself – you can add your own Case Studies to the database by clicking ‘Submit Case Study’ and filling out a simple form.
Or you can contact us directly about good practice in your school – email firstname.lastname@example.org.