We recently spent two weeks at XJTLU supporting new staff with the Certificate in Professional Studies (CPS) in Learning and Teaching programme. The visit was hard work, but a very rewarding and stimulating experience. Working with colleagues at the XJTLU Learning and Teaching Enhancement Office we were given a new purpose-built teaching room in the new ‘hub’ central building on the campus.
The visit consisted of:
- Two introductory sessions about the CPS programme.
- 16 learning and teaching workshops.
- Eight presentations/professional dialogues.
- General support for questions and queries about the programme.
- Wider discussions with managers to discuss how XJTLU could develop its support for learning and teaching as the institution grows and develops.
Reflections on the programme delivery
The workshops were well attended and typically consisted of between 12 and 24 staff. Giving participants time early in a workshop to get to know each other works really well in this context. Many staff are very new to the institution and can have limited opportunities to meet and discuss learning and teaching issues with peers.
Moreover staff often value hearing from other staff with experience of teaching at XJTLU because it is such a unique institution, in addition to hearing about discipline differences and similarities. This often can however, raise interesting discussions about how Chinese students learn, and the role of the academic at XJTLU.
As part of the course assessment staff made some really interesting presentations which demonstrated many examples of effective active and collaborative learning, and innovative assessment methods. The next step for this interesting and committed group of new teaching staff is to get to grips with learning technology to support and further develop their teaching. There are a number of very innovative examples of the use of technology across the institution. We look forward to seeing how this develops over the coming years.
Overall, for us, working at XJTLU is hard work but was very rewarding. We recommend it, particularly for colleagues who want to develop their skills as workshop facilitators. We certainly learned a great deal about what it is like to work with a mixed group of staff, many with very different cultural backgrounds and experiences who are striving to develop their teaching in the unique setting that is XJTLU. We also continue to develop our knowledge of Chinese culture. This was Stuart’s fifth trip and Nick’s third. As with previous visits, the people we met were delightful hosts and the food we experienced an adventure – particularly the bullfrog stew!
Nick and Stuart