As part of Liverpool University’s Guild of Students Sustainability lecture series, Dr Jenny Hodgson from the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour, in the Institute of Integrative Biology, and two PhD students, Vinnie Keenan and Jamie Alison recently hosted an innovative and engaging event on the topic of ‘re-wilding’ which was attended by thirty staff and students from across the University.
The event started with an activity to get participants to reflect on how much they individually value the natural environmental – this included a fun activity of drawing our favourite place in the UK for a holiday!
Jenny then presented a summary of current research on the historical impact of humans on the natural world, particularly since the introduction of agriculture, and specifically on the impact of the British landscape. For Britain, a very large percentage of the country is either urban or agricultural, with only small areas of nature reserves and other protected areas that tend to be very disconnected and fragmented. Because of the significant impact that man has had on this country’s landscape, it’s problematic to define what exactly ‘natural’ means. ‘Re-wilding’ was introduced as an approach to re-establishing natural landscapes for a range of purposes that include nature conservation and sustainability of habitats, re-introduction of large mammals and other wildlife species, climate change migration, flood protection, local tourism and farm income diversification.
In groups of five or six, we then were given the scenario of developing a re-wilding strategy plan for an area of the Lake District using information from a range of stakeholders; local farmers, residents, The National Trust, and the National Farmers Union etc. Each group gave a one minute ‘elevator’ pitch for their ideas. What was notable from this activity was how engaged most students were with the process. They developed a wide range of practical, innovative and imaginative solutions to the task in a very short period of time – often utilising their different subject expertise and perspectives on the issues involved.
The Sustainability lecture series is a new initiative that provides an open and innovative forum for students to explore complex global issues outside of their own subject areas. These events also provide staff with an opportunity to promote their research to non-technical and public audiences, and for research students an opportunity to engage in learning and teaching. The series so far have covered a wide range of social, economic and environmental issues including the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP), media reporting of climate change, green spaces strategy for Liverpool, food security, and post-crash economics, and forms part of the University’s objectives for promoting greater inclusion of sustainability into our learning and teaching.
Traditional HE measures of internationalisation typically include numbers of international staff and students, student mobility numbers, and international research. The University of Liverpool recently had the opportunity to participate in a pilot study of the Global-Education Profiler (GE-P), a diagnostic tool developed by Spencer-Oatey and Dauber to go beyond these traditional measures and help institutions identify what kind of global learning environment our students are actually experiencing.
This new tool asks students to rate items such as social and academic integration in terms of both their ‘importance’ and their ‘actual experience’. The GE-P “identifies students’ actual experiences of integration, and opportunities and support for developing ‘Global Graduate’ skills”, which many employers say they are looking for graduates to possess, and which might typically include the following:
Spencer-Oatey and Dauber (2016) have also developed a model (below) to show the five stages of development for an institution to become fully internationalised:
Many institutions are in the middle stage of this model. The GE-P tool can provide information to help institutions develop strategies to facilitate movement to the higher stages.
Helen Spencer-Oatey gave a really interesting presentation to staff in May where she presented some initial findings from the survey. You can hear a short video from Helen about the importance of looking at ‘wider’ measures of internationalisation to support institutions in developing a truly international student experience, and how the Global-Education Profiler tool can provide strategic information to support this process. View a copy of Helen’s full presentation (availableto Liverpool staff only at this stage as this work was part of a pilot study using a survey that is not yet refined nor generally available).
Although Helen’s team were only at the early stages of analysis of the pilot data, which was based on a fairly small sample, staff attending the talk were fascinated to see what Liverpool students think about their experiences. Although in some cases, Liverpool doesn’t quite meet the high expectations of students, the gap between expectation and experience is small for communication skills and academic integration, with a slightly bigger gap between the two noted for social integration. Language skills and global skills were a little more of a concern. Interestingly, comparing students from Asia with UK students, the overall differences in results are not large. Asian students saw social integration as slightly more important than UK students and their experience falls a little shorter of their expectations. However, we were encouraged by the results which provide some useful pointers as to how we can get ourselves firmly into the stage of ‘Community Internationalisation’.
You may also be interested in a previous blog which highlights some of Spencer-Oatey and Dauber’s previous research in this area.
On the 13th October 2015 Esther Barrett and Scott Hibberson from Jisc delivered a workshop to university colleagues entitled ‘What are Digital Capabilities and why do we need them?’.
Emma Thompson (above), the Library’s Learning and Teaching Lead, opened the session, before Esther explained to attendees that digital capability is a journey, i.e you can’t simply ‘learn’ digital capability, you have to gradually become digitally capable.
Throughout the workshop we used TodaysMeet and Padlet (both of which were new to me) to share ideas with each other and ask questions throughout the session. We were also encouraged to use Twitter with the hashtag #digitalcapability.
To begin the workshop Esther (pictured below) asked us to discuss what device or app we could not live without. A digital pen, email, translating software, File Explorer, WhatsApp, and file sharing software such as DropBox were all mentioned.
Esther then introduced us to the five elements of Jisc’s digital capabilities framework which together add up to ICT proficiency, and then walked through each element, with a pause after each one for groups to discuss what it means and the impact of not having it.
Ghada Karmi: ‘A Palestinian Memoir: Where next for the right of return?’
Thursday 22nd October, 6pm
The Quaker Centre, 22 School Lane (near the Blue Coat Chambers), Liverpool, L1 3BT. Click here for directions.
Price: FREE, booking essential (booking information below)
This year the John Hamilton Lifelong Learning Lecture will be delivered by Ghada Karmi. One of the most passionate and articulate advocates of the cause of the Palestinian people, Ghada is the author of the best-selling In Search of Fatima (Verso 2002). She has also recently published A Palestinian Memoir: Where next for the right of return? (2015).
In her writings she has described the harrowing experience that she and her family went through during the Nakba (‘Catastrophe’) of 1948 when many hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced out of their homes by the terrorism of the emerging Israeli state. The great majority were displaced to refugee camps in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan; those who are still alive remaining there with their descendants to this day. Currently around five million UNRWA registered Palestinian refugees live in camps after an expulsion lasting nearly 70 years.
Ghada and her family came eventually to London. Her father had worked for the BBC in Palestine and was able to take up a post with its Arabic service. However, the Karmi family always lived with a sense of displacement and longing for their original home and culture. In 2005, after many years of political activism campaigning for the right of the Palestinians to return to their homeland, Ghada took up an opportunity in 2005 to work as a media consultant with the Palestinian Authority. In her most recent book she tells of the frustrations of that experience, working with an organisation that whilst mimicking the manner and organisational style of a ‘state’ is actually powerless to achieve justice for Palestinians, dominated always by the political and military power of Israel.
However, she also insists that just as her own generation looks now to the young educated Palestinians who today staff the various UN funded projects and campaign offices of the Palestinian Authority, so too do they need to know the story of the 1948 generation in order to make sense of their struggle today.
For more information on the John Hamilton lifelong learning lecture series click here.
Science and Engineering are really tackling the challenge of teaching large cohorts with lots of good practice across the Faculty. I was reminded that I attended another fantastic event last term. Run by Dr Kathy Johnson in Science and Engineering and introduced by Mark Bowen, a whole day was dedicated to large group teaching with invited speakers from within and beyond the University, giving thought provoking and entirely practical strategies for teaching modules for groups of up to 600 students.
Executive Pro Vice Chancellor for Science and Engineering Professor Ken Badcock opened, underlining the importance the Faculty gives to the quality of the student learning experience. He was followed by five speakers, from Liverpool, Manchester and The Open University.
Key messages from the session emphasised the importance of:
Students having the opportunity to interact with one another, something that can be done very well online.
Students feeling connected to the lecturer. They will overcrowd a live lecture rather than sit in an overspill and they need to know their lecturer is concerned about their learning. This requires planning and insight that takes as much effort as all other aspects of the teaching. But, it can be done.
A blended approach with on-line activities and discussions which can significantly enhance the student learning experience because the very nature of the large scale course means that there are many ideas, points of view, and knowledge to bring to the debate and insights to share. Well planned online elements are valued by staff and students.
Module efficiency was a key consideration for staff – including excellent administrative staff and well trained teaching assistant support.
Selecting tools that work for students, not simply like for like replacements for those that work face-to-face, but approaches that meet the aims and intended learning outcomes of the modules.
The presenters were (click the links for short interviews):
Dr John Moriarty (Manchester) – Feeding the four hundred – case study with a large class.
Dr John Marsland (Liverpool) – 3000 students and counting! Assessing and engaging large cohorts.
Erik Clark (Liverpool student) – Strategies for large cohorts – a student perspective.
Dr Matt Murphy (Liverpool) – Using more than just lectures to teach classes of 500+.
Dr Anne -Marie Gallen (Open University) – Developing large scale undergraduate engineering modules using VLE-based approaches.
You can view Ali Al-Ataby’s full conference presentation here.
‘Education is the proper employment, not only of our early years, but of our whole lives.’
William Roscoe, 1817 (painting by Martin Archer Shee (1815-17)
Last term I attended a special lecture on the history of Continuing Education (CE) at Liverpool, delivered by Dr Anna Pilz. Based on archive material going back more than one hundred years, Anna’s lecture built on and extended what we knew from her booklet, Continuing Education at the University of Liverpool (commissioned to celebrate the centenary of CE’s home, 126 Mount Pleasant) which started life in The Royal Institute, opened by William Roscoe in 1817. Reading his motto inspired me to be more determined than ever to support and promote today’s CE.
I was fascinated and delighted to learn that the idea for local university lectures had been first mooted by suffragist Miss Anne J. Clough who, with others, established the North of England Council for Promoting the Higher Education of Women in 1867. In the same year the Council invited James Stuart of Trinity College Cambridge to give a lecture. He was so impressed he took the idea back with him and inaugurated university extension lectures in his own institution. The idea spread to London, Oxford and back to Liverpool, becoming the ‘Society for University Extension in Liverpool and District’ in October 1899, operating under the auspices of the brand new University College Liverpool.
From reading Anna’s report we already knew about the huge number of people who attended lectures before the First World War, and had read of the often heroic efforts on the part of staff and students to continue learning and teaching during the privations of the two wars . But her lecture brought it to life, and made us realise just how precious learning is.
This year’s Learning and Teaching conference, held in the Foresight Centre on the 2nd July 2015, once again showed an increase in the number of presentations and attendees discussing innovative practice in learning and teaching across The University of Liverpool.
Professor Daniella Tilbury, inaugural Vice Chancellor of the University of Gibraltar, opened the conference by asking staff to discuss the meaning of ‘Learning to Change’ and ‘Sustainability’ amongst themselves before presenting a talk that asked delegates to think hard about the purpose of a university education for students and society.
This set the tone for a lively, engaging, and enjoyable conference with a record number of delegates able to choose from 58 presentations and workshops on offer (all abstracts available here) from staff from across the university and some of our partner institutions. A number of the presentations were co-delivered with students, which always adds an additional perspective.
Professor Gavin Brown, our new Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education, gave the afternoon address. His presentation comprised an overview of the fast-changing national context for Learning and Teaching, including the ‘hot off the press’ setting up of a process to develop a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). He then spoke about the university strategic review and his early thoughts on an Education Strategy.
Two further presentations showcasing innovative learning and teaching practice were delivered by two Faculty winners of the Sir Alistair Pilkington awards for teaching excellence – Dr Georgina Turner from Media and Communications, and Dr Ali Al-Ataby from Electrical Engineering and Electronics. The conference was also the launch event for the new lecture capture software developed by the Computing Services Department.
Overall, the conference provided an opportunity for many colleagues to share their enthusiasm for learning and teaching, and to learn about other innovative learning and teaching practice that is happening across our institution.
One of the issues raised at the seminar, and the focus of the THE report, concerned the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s plan to extend the student loans scheme to taught master’s provision. That would appear to be better than nothing but there is the potential for new problems arising from such a scheme.
One of the speakers, Tony Strike (University of Sheffield), explained how the separate HEFCEPostgraduate Support Scheme has been offering specific schemes for using funds. This is proving to be successful in encouraging historically under-represented groups of students to progress into the postgraduate level, with a view to enhanced access to the professions outside higher education. Meanwhile Paul Wakeling and Sally Hancock (University of York) explored the characteristics and perceptions of those generally who both do and do not progress into postgraduate taught study, and Brooke Storer-Church provided a brief response and update on HEFCE’s work in this area.
More than 180 people attended the University’s 12th Annual Learning and Teaching conference which was held last week at the Foresight Centre – the highest number ever.
Attendees included academic staff, colleagues from the Senior Management Team and Professional Services, and students. We were also delighted to welcome Professor Youmin Xi and others from the Senior Management Team at XJTLU to the event. The keynote presentation, by Professor Pat Thomson from Nottingham University, proved both engaging and thought-provoking and an excellent start to the day. You can view a video stream of the keynote lecture at https://stream.liv.ac.uk/etqe3wh9.
The conference, organised by the Educational Development Division of the Centre for Lifelong Learning, provides an excellent forum for us all to share innovative learning and teaching practice, experiences and insights across the institution. It was a really good day. Forty five different workshop presentations showcased a wide variety of innovative learning and teaching developments from all three faculties. There was a real excitement and energy generated by the discussions we had and lots of food for thought.
On 13 September I attended a symposium at the University of Exeter that aimed to provide an opportunity to share practice in relation to the continuing professional development of staff who teach (ASPIRE is the name of the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme at Exeter).
As the member of the Educational Development team who is leading on the implementation of the University of Liverpool Teaching Recognition and Accreditation (ULTRA) Framework, it was interesting to hear how colleagues are addressing CPD in their own institutions. The focus of the day was the successful implementation of accredited CPD schemes, and there was a lot of interesting discussion and debate in the breakout sessions. One of the main themes was the need to explore ways in which staff can evidence excellence in teaching, and the role that a CPD Framework can play in supporting staff to do this effectively. Other key issues included:
the importance of ensuring that Frameworks for CPD are located firmly within existing University structures
the need to involve all staff who support learning and teaching, including lecturers, professional services staff and technical support staff
the potential for recognition through accredited CPD Frameworks to be linked to promotion criteria
The universities represented at the symposium are at varying stages of the development and implementation of their CPD schemes. Some are at the early stages of gaining support for the idea from senior management, while others had recently had their scheme approved at institutional level, and accredited by the Higher Education Academy (HEA). Here in Liverpool, the details of the ULTRA Framework are being finalised currently, and we have been working with a small group of staff to ensure support will be available within each Faculty. We hope to submit our Framework for HEA accreditation this semester, and to recruit the first cohort of applicants for ULTRA Fellowship soon. Please contact me at the Centre for Lifelong Learning if you would like further Information.
Janis McIntyre, ULTRA coordinator, Educational Development Division, Centre for Lifelong Learning