Why are learning outcomes (often) so dreadful?

Learning outcomes have become the ‘go-to’ building blocks of curriculum design and no programme or module is likely to be validated in the UK and many other places globally without specifying them. But they are not universally popular and working with dozens of universities over the years I have seen some truly gruesome learning outcomes. Continue reading

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The importance of communication and collaboration skills for the employers: A student view

In her chapter, ‘Life after academia: Preparing students for successful-collaboration’, Kovačević demonstrates the importance of group work and presentations. Kovačević’s idea of improving learning via group work was implemented through a series of three seminar classes, in which the learners were required to make a poster and do two presentations. This chapter is particularly useful to seminar leaders when designing the seminar outline as they should take into consideration the level of interactivity of their classes. Continue reading

Improving seminars – taking academic teaching seriously

Ina Fujdiak’s study is an excellent example of scholarship of teaching and learning. It investigates whether an introduction of active learning, especially student-to-student interaction, in six seminars was successful. Backed up by literature and observations an analysis reveal that the changed teaching method clearly was an improvement, even though further changes are still needed. The author concludes: “This teaching innovation convinced me that if the activities are planned well and properly integrated into the seminar, they can lead towards improved student understanding.” Continue reading

Be patient and persistent when facing traditions

In her study Does active learning work? Stanislava shares her experiences with using active teaching methods while teaching psychology. I am really impressed how frankly and deeply Stanislava reflects on the unexpected results of supporting active learning. And I feel happy that despite the results of her study Stanislava did not reject the concepts of active and student centred learning. Continue reading

Lectio Divina in Academic Development

Lectio Divina is a traditional contemplative reading practice that originated in ancient Greece, and became associated with monastic scholarship. The reader engages in slow deliberate reading (lectio), searches for deeper meaning (meditatio), and offers a spontaneous response (oratio), finally achieving wisdom (contemplatio). There is a growing body of evidence pointing to the value of Lectio Divina for university students (see, for example, Keator, 2017). I’m interested in what it has to offer academics who want to develop their teaching. Continue reading

Flipped classroom – flipped thinking: from traditional to learning-centred teaching

Kateřina Fridrichová’s study on using flipped classroom while teaching research methods attracted my attention because I have taught myself different research methods courses for many years and I have also thought how to make a course that students always perceive difficult and challenging more attractive and enjoyable for them. Continue reading

Impact – An Assist

A while ago I was in the country music hall of fame, as one is, and I came across this story.  On the wall in a frame, written on a paper napkin (UK = serviette) were the lyrics to the song ‘Me and Bobby Mcgee’.  The exposition about the napkin said, something like, Kris Kristopherson walked into a bar (ouch! – Tommy Cooper) and sat next to someone who asked him, “How do you write songs, where do the ideas come from?”  Kris says something along the lines of “they just come, no idea how or why.” So, the person says, “could you write a song if I gave you a title?”  “Sure, I’ll give it a go.”  And the title was … Continue reading

‘Learning Technology in Higher Education – challenges and opportunities’ – SEDA Conference keynote

I was delighted to be invited to speak at this year’s SEDA conference. It’s a special honour this year, as both SEDA and ALT are celebrating their 25th anniversary and my talk followed inspiring keynotes by Pauline Kneale, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Teaching and Learning, from Plymouth University and also Julie Hall, Professor of Higher Education and Deputy Vice Chancellor, Solent University Southampton as part of the conference programme. Continue reading

The case for teacher training beyond ‘eduspeak’ and not throwing the baby out with the bath water

The 12th October Guardian ‘anonymous academic’ article “My university forced me into teaching training”. It was all dry ‘eduspeak’ ‘hit me where I live’. In fact, it provoked quite a response in the comments section and particularly on the SEDA (the professional association for staff and educational developers) mailing list. Many colleagues felt the article took an opinion on a specific course to offer a generalised view of teacher training courses that didn’t reflect their own, extensive, collective experience or that of research reviews that generally suggest positive results from pedagogical training. Below is a collaborative blog detailing the response of the SEDA mailing list. Continue reading