Sunday, 20 May 2012

HEA Workship: session report

Salford's Deborah Gabriel attended --- our thanks to her for the below report. More such sessions are in the pipeline and we're happy to fund Salford PGR attendance.

HEA New to Teaching Workshop – Media and Communications 14/15 May 2012


The course offered an excellent opportunity amongst peers to learn and discuss current issues in higher education, such as the challenges facing the sector relating to funding cuts, the marketization of higher education and the new REF, which directly impact our roles in the sector.

Sessions on the student experience raised some important points, such as the role of student wisdom and how to incorporate this into teaching through approaches like peer-led learning and the growing trend towards collaborative learning. We also examined the purpose of assessment, the wide variety of assessment methods and our tendency to stick to traditional forms of assessment such as essays and exams. Other more creative forms of assessment such as the use of reflective journals, blogs and wikis were discussed.

Of particular relevance was the session on media pedagogies and the often rigid divisions between teaching theory and practice, how this fragments the teaching process and ways of making the student experience more holistic. For example, different lecturers are usually responsible for teaching theory and practice, but if each were able to examine the module outline for their respective courses then this would help to ensure that specific references and examples can be used to link theory and practice.

We also looked at the role of lectures in teaching, how they could be made less didactic and alternative methods of teaching theory such as group work, which could increase student engagement.

This tied-in with the session on the role of technology in the curriculum and how we can embed technologies into teaching, learning and assessment. We saw examples of videos created by students where they presented answers to research questions through interviews, and the use of Twitter as a learning tool.

Overall the course was of immense value both in prompting self-reflection on our own teaching styles and approaches and in generating new levels of enthusiasm and new ideas for integrating more creative forms of teaching and assessment into the modules that we teach.

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