Learning and Teaching Week 2018 revisited

Learning and Teaching Week, from 29 October to 2 November 2018, was a valuable opportunity to discover some of the incredible activities that students and staff are engaged in, across the University. This month, Learning Designers are sharing a few of their experiences from attending and presenting sessions.

The sessions attended included peer mentoring, study support, working with groups / communities, and presenting sessions about quizzes for higher order learning, and FLO tools.

From Andrea Rankin, HASS:

Peer mentoring to reduce attrition
Older students are peer mentors to first years, and develop resources for the FLO topic site, stored in a folder in Module 0 for quick student access. New resources are developed each year by (new) peer mentors. These mentors also help students use FLO (e.g. demonstrate in real time how to upload an assignment), amongst other needs identified by the cohort. This approach minimises queries to the topic coordinator and helps students ‘belong’. Presenter: Dr Katharine Swain

Studiosity: how it affects you and its implications for academic support services
Launched in 2018, this 24-7 online student support service has had more take-up than anticipated. Students can submit two draft assignments per week, with a restriction of 1500 words each time. They can also use Connect Live twice a week to talk to a support person for 20 minutes. There is varying usage across colleges. Generally, students have found the service helpful. You can add Studiosity as a link in a FLO topic site (e.g. in Module 0 for quick access) using the External tool option under ‘Add an activity or resource’. Presenter: Dr Kung-Keat Teoh, Student Learning Centre

Building reading resilience in the distracted classroom
Teachers can’t ‘see’ students’ reading activities except through talking and writing. The transition from page to screen is a ‘hybrid space’. Short assignment tasks (e.g. 150 words) for each piece of reading motivate students to read, and also create more class engagement and learning. Scaffolding around reading (e.g. tips for managing time, annotations in texts to prompt thinking) are critical to the process. Presenters: Professor Kate Douglas and Dr Tully Barnett

Students as partners (SAP) for cultural competence
SAP helps make the curriculum relevant to students’ lives. Shifts in thinking can happen in both teachers and students in the cultural competence space. How much do you spell out to students what is happening in an activity? Sometimes subtlety may be a powerful approach – so that they can learn through experience. For example, a quiz testing cultural knowledge is likely to be won by the most culturally diverse team, and this is the real learning in the activity. There are disciplinary / cross-disciplinary differences in approaches to learning cultural competence. Student experiences of cultural diversity are likely to take place in a ‘brave space’ rather than a ‘safe space’. Presenter: Associate Professor Amani Bell, IRU Vice-Chancellors’ Fellow

From Nicola Parkin, BGL:

Take away messages for working with groups and communities: flash mobs, library bombing and the one-minute soapbox
Here was the passion and imagination of being an engaged educator. Michele explained the social justice philosophy of the week-long Masters of Social Work group work-focused intensive topic, and showed some examples of collective and self-directive student social ‘action’ in the topic: ‘the organic, student generated “adjourning” activities which embed learning’. Examples included library-bombing, a flash-mob dance routine with a message, and a one-minute public soapbox. These examples are exciting and compel us to think about how we might try, as Michele so rightly said, to give up our authority as educators. I believe that in any context, given the opportunity, and within a culture of courage and trust, students can ‘author’ their own learning experiences in immediate action, thus bringing into concrete and meaningful experience what might otherwise be abstract. I thank Michele for the opportunity to once again find myself addressed by these difficult but important questions: What can we do that opens up and ‘gives’ space in the curriculum to the students? What can we take away from the over-stuffed syllabus? How can we ‘loosen’ up our grip on the topic design? I am reminded that sometimes, designing involves making less of our expertise and ideas, in order to give more to others. Presenter: Dr Michele Jarldorn, EPSW

From Jackie Cornell, NHS:

Achieving higher order learning through the use of automated quizzes
This session was a great chance to step back from the actual building of a quiz and look at the preparation that needs to take place first. Cheryl discussed the need to be clear on the purpose of your quiz and how this then guides the construction of your questions. Using a tool such as Bloom’s taxonomy, you can ensure your questions are constructed at the right level to test the understanding of your students and meet your intended outcomes of your quiz. Mixing this preparation with the range of question types available within FLO can result in an engaging and effective activity for your students to enjoy participating in and meet their learning objectives. Presenter: Dr Cheryl Schelbach, CILT EPSW

New ways of thinking about how to use existing FLO tools
Often FLO tools are used to reproduce activities that everyone is comfortable with, but this session demonstrated some interesting alternatives. The Q&A forum, Feedback and Choice tools were discussed and a range of activities that had been tried and tested were shared with the audience. The observation activity showed a practical application of the Q&A forum. The Choice tool was shown as an example of engaging students in class / lectures whilst also gathering data around attendance. There was also an interesting evaluation of the Feedback tool as a simple peer evaluation interface. It demonstrated that much can be achieved with the existing FLO tools and some lateral thinking. Presenters: Dr Cheryl Schelbach and Lorraine Lindsay, CILT EPSW

From Cheryl Schelbach and Lorraine Lindsay, EPSW:

Two sessions were presented at Teaching and Learning Week 2018 by CILT staff based in the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work. These were:

  • ‘Achieving higher order learning through the use of automated quizzes’ (31/10/2018)
  • ‘New ways of thinking about how to use existing FLO tools’ (1/11/2018).

Session 1 was presented by Cheryl Schelbach, and session 2 was presented jointly by Cheryl and Lorraine Lindsay.

Both sessions were well attended (32 registrations were received for the first session and 36 registrations were received for the second session). Jackie Cornell (CILT staff member based in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences) attended both sessions and recorded questions and comments that arose or were made (N = 8 for both sessions). Feedback from both sessions tended to be very positive in relation to:

  • content meeting needs and expectations
  • satisfaction with the knowledge base of presenters
  • capacity to be incorporated into and improve future teaching practices.

People attended the sessions for a variety of reasons. Reasons for attending the first session included:

  • wanting to design quizzes but having no experience (N = 2)
  • seeking strategies for higher order learning (N = 4)
  • wishing to learn more about quizzes in general (N = 4)
  • problem solving (academic integrity, student engagement, improving experiences for first year students, improving experiences for online and external students) (N = 9).

Reasons for attending the second session included:

  • having a general interest in learning more (N = 13)
  • seeking troubleshooting strategies (WIL students, international students and first year students) (N = 4)
  • supporting colleagues (N = 1).

Following the sessions, a total of twelve requests for follow up consultations were made.

Find out more

To catch up on a session that you couldn’t attend, presentations and materials will be made available on the Learning and Teaching Week 2018 website.

Did you attend a session that inspired you with some ideas for some collaboration?

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