A recent DELT Forum was a great impetus for collecting some new examples of what works with online/blended learning here at Newcastle University as the current situation has meant that lots of colleagues have been doing lots of really great stuff to make student learning experiences rich and meaningful.
There are 9 new case studies to explore right now and more to come soon at the case studies site.
A team drawn from LTDS and FMS TEL drew together examples of effective practice in action on three themes:
Supporting and promoting a sense of community for students in online environments.
Providing pathways for students through online modules/programmes to help them structure their studies and learning.
Achieving, promoting and maintaining student engagement with online learning.
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 email@example.com to let us know how we can make next year even better!
There is a new collection of resources on the LTDS website designed to help you navigate your way through the process and help you assemble a case for promotion based on excellent or exceptional teaching.
VC Award-winner Clare Guilding of the School of Medical Education is always trying new things to keep her students ahead of the game.
Clare’s innovative approach has won her many accolades in addition to her recent VC Award, and seen her re-design the way that medical students learn certain subjects.
She said: ‘I am really always looking to try new things, always thinking about what’s working well and what’s not.’
Put in charge of the pre-clinical pharmacology courses for medical students at Newcastle, Clare felt that a new approach was needed to make sure that students gained the skills they needed at earlier stages of the course.
Clare lead the development of a new Clinical Pharmacology, Therapeutics and Prescribing curriculum which now runs as a vertical strand through the MBBS degree programme at Newcastle University.
She said: ‘I realised that students were not being asked to prescribe – such a crucial element of their jobs – in the pre-clinical years. I thought that these practical skills should be introduced earlier so we redesigned the curriculum to make sure that they are working on prescribing throughout their five years, rather than it being introduced in the third year.
‘Now in the first two years we’ve got pharmacists who run practical prescription writing workshops with our students and we run inter-professional education events based around prescribing and diagnosis with pharmacy students from Sunderland University.’
Indeed Clare’s implemented re-write of the curriculum for pharmacology has led her to advise other institutions and even the British Pharmacology Society on curriculum design.
She said: ‘I presented the curriculum nationally and in March 2015 was invited to join a four-strong core team managing the development of the British Pharmacological Society’s new core pharmacology curriculum which has furthered my professional development.’
Clare is always looking into the use of new technologies to deliver learning. An early advocate of the use of TurningPoint in lectures, she more recently introduced SimMan (a simulated patient) into her teaching ‘to help deliver realistic simulations of the professional environments that our students will eventually work in.’
She said: ‘SimMan is an artificial dummy who breathes, has heart beats, bleeds, blinks, responds to drugs etc. He can be programmed to display a wide range of physiological and pathophysiological signs and responds appropriately to treatment for example cardiopulmonary resuscitation or administration of oxygen.
I run simulations of medical emergencies in the lecture theatre and at key clinical points in the scenario students vote individually and anonymously (using TurningPoint) on the most appropriate course of action (for example which drug should be administered).
‘The option with the most votes is applied to SimMan and the students then observe the physiological effects this has in real time. This provides the students with a unique opportunity to apply learned principles in a safe, controlled learning environment and it offers them instantaneous feedback on their actions’
As a result of her work with SimMan, Clare won the British Pharmacological Society Education Prize and Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) Educator Innovator Award in 2015.
She is very keen to encourage the students to develop their team-working skills, and with colleagues from Newcastle and Sunderland universities has integrated a seminar on IPE (Interprofessional Education) into the curriculum.
‘In the professional environment our students will be making decisions as part of a varied team of health-professionals so learning in inter-professional groups is an important part of the students’ education.’
This proved so popular that it was expanded into a day long ‘Interprofessional Education Conference’. This year the event had 400 students rotating round a variety of interprofessional tasks, facilitated by 50 academic staff members from medicine, pharmacy and nursing backgrounds from across the North East of England.
Five major external organisations ran stands on the day and more are being recruited, including the GMC (General Medical Council) for the next iteration of the conference in 2017.
Clare is now looking forward to a new challenge as Dean of Academic Affairs at NUMed in Malaysia, where she starts in January.
Vice Chancellor’s Award-Winning JC Penet talks about good practice, employability and why he is happiest when teaching.
Jean-Christophe Penet, a teaching fellow in the School of Modern Languages has a number of strings to his bow.
An accomplished teacher, he’s seen his professional practice grow to become a huge influence on his life and on the institution.
Penet, who started life at the UWE before moving to Newcastle to take up a teaching fellowship in 2010, has won one of this year’s VC Awards, recognising his work in learning and teaching, in SML and across the Institution.
‘These awards represent a really important way of recognising learning and teaching and the crucial role they play in the University.
‘I like especially that these awards are not based simply on module evaluations or peer review but on a more holistic approach to teaching and learning, taking in lots of elements of professional practice.’
Some of Penet’s major contributions have been above and beyond the realm of classroom teaching or delivering information, focussing on a key student concern: employability.
He’s worked on two key projects in this area for SML, each begun as a response to student demand.
‘The first was in response to a focus group report which we received about concerns students had about employability.
‘We started by running a networking event in which alumni and the companies our students have gone to work for in the past, come in to meet the students of the present.
‘Often I think SML courses are seen as vocational, that you will certainly go into translation or teaching but we wanted to show that there was lots more you could do.
‘We started a blog, run by Joss Harrison in the School called Careers Translated which looks at all the options with a degree in Modern Languages.
‘We now also have an alumni evening where alumni come back and meet with students to discuss what the options are after finishing their degrees.
‘The evening raises money for the Modern Languages Society, so that they can pay for trips etc. throughout the year.
‘We also organised an afternoon event to help students to meet with potential employers and to showcase different careers for languages students.
‘All of these events have drawn really positive feedback from both students and the businesses involved.’
As well as this event, JC is involved in recruitment in the school, running events which bring together local sixthformers, UG and PG students such as ‘Meet the Translators/Interpreters’ to look at transition and progression between school, university and postgraduate study.
Alongside these achievements JC was recognised for his contribution to teaching and learning across the University and is a familiar face on committees and in cross-faculty groups.
He is a founding member of Newcastle Educators, a group started by teaching staff across the University to provide support, advice and a forum for discussion of all things teaching and learning.
He still views this as one of his proudest achievements: ‘It’s changed my professional life having that community to draw on. Having peers to offer advice on teaching but also books, applications and career options.’
Do you have a colleague who goes above and beyond in the name of learning and teaching? Or know someone who has a particularly innovative approach to their teaching?
In a neat follow-on from Nutela’s latest event on flipped classrooms, Edubites will be running a flipped curriculum event next week.
Edubites is an educator-led network based at Newcastle, encouraging collaboration and cooperation between peers to share ideas and good practice in teaching. You can find out more by reading founding member Katie Wray’s guest blog about the inaugral EDUBITES.
The event, drawing on the flipped classroom model, will look at how to put students in control of what they study, allowing them to design or influence curriculum design.
The session will question whether this approach is feasible or even desirable in the academy, allowing teaching staff to compare notes and ideas.
The event will take place next Wednesday 8th June 12-1pm in Bedson 1.19 and lunch will be provided.
Newcastle Educators held their inaugural EDUBITES event over lunch on Wednesday 27th January 2016. Dr James Field (Lecturer in Restorative Dentistry) kicked off the sharing events with a look at how we can support reflective practice.
Across all disciplines, for learners and for ourselves as ‘learner-educators’, self-reflection plays an important role in enabling us to articulate what we have really learned through our study and practice by examining ‘where we have been’ and ‘where we are going’. ‘Supporting Reflective Practice’ was a great topic to begin the series of EDUBITES events, which are intended for educators to gather and discuss issues of importance to practice and personal development.
Furthermore, James demonstrated to us how we can map what we do to the UKPSF, in order to support us in obtaining recognition from the Higher Education Academy, which is becoming even more important in light of new measures such as the forthcoming TEF.
Key to this is the ability to evidence what we do, and how we do it, as we seek to achieve higher recognition for our work by demonstrating support for others, and for the leadership of teaching.
Many of you will be aware that LTDS link their development sessions to the UKPSF standards, so if you are looking to fill some gaps, you could find a relevant session here.
The Case Studies LTDS have collected are also useful. The ePortfolio can help you to record and share evidence with others, and also has a mapping to UKPSF (quite a number of the group did not know this).
James, and his colleagues have undertaken some research which shows that 96% of educators feel that reflection is important, whilst only 2% currently use a framework for reflection. Without doubt, the most important tools to help educators and their students with reflective practice are ‘being able to record and sort through evidence and commentaries, getting into the habit and sharing your experiences’.
Through his research, James has identified a gap in the availability of a dedicated reflection tool which enables you to understand and practice the various levels of reflective practice, and conduct that practice within your work/lifestyle. They are working on a reflection toolkit which could address this gap, so watch this space. At this point in the event, a lively discussion was had. We look forward to inviting you to help trial the toolkit during its development.
Finally, if you are looking for a guide for Reflective Writing to use yourself and with your students, we would recommend the 2012 text ‘Reflective Writing’ (Pocket Study Skills) by Williams et al. available in the Robinson and Walton libraries.
Are you involved in the use of reflective practice at Newcastle? You can get in touch with members of the EDUBITES group directly or contact firstname.lastname@example.org who can pass information on.