This blog is by way of an invitation for anyone interested in developing sustainability issues in programmes and modules to attend a workshop on 9th March 2016 at 12.30 run by the Education for Sustainable Development Working Group . Contact Nick Bunyan, firstname.lastname@example.org in the Centre for Lifelong Learning for more details or just book on to the event.
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a university responsibility.
Last year QAA published a framework for Education for Sustainable Development (2014) that is meant to guide UK universities towards the development of curricula that meet HEFCE’s vision:
“Within the next 10 years, the higher education sector in this country will be recognised as a major contributor to society’s efforts to achieve sustainability – through the skills and knowledge that its graduates learn and put into practice.”
Some of the most exciting work for ESD has been done by a group of staff from across all three Faculties sponsored by Facilities Management Sustainability Team and enthusiastically supported by The Green Guild. Putting our university strategy into action, The Guild hosted an event at which students from three different disciplines came together to present their work from modules focusing on environment and using the campus as a city in microcosm.
The project arose out of changes needed to a second year Geography and Planning module resulting from a significant increase in numbers, mainly from XJTLU students to the programme (95 Chinese; 175 total), a desire to promote good group work and interdisciplinary and intercultural working, and a need to make the course more engaged with the real world. The assignment required students to respond to a brief from Facilities Management (the client) for proposals for Greening The Campus.
The module brings together students and staff and students from disciplines and departments from across all three faculties.
This blog will offer some key points and highlights from Dr Camille Kandiko Howson’s lucid and engaging presentation on “Student expectations and perceptions of higher education in the UK” a QAA-funded report based on the voice of over 150 students across the UK. If you weren’t able to come to the session, I would urge you to read the summary report and the recommendations.
My seven highlights were:
1. A key observation is that students are looking for their experience to offer ‘value for money’, which poses the challenge (and need) for the university to communicate to students how this money is spent.
2. Students’ benchmarks of a quality student experience comprised a number of factors ranging from environmental (physical spaces and technological access), through organisational aspects of their course (course structure and timetabling) to scholarly standards. For students, it was seen as extremely important how knowledgeable and motivated academics were in the subjects they were teaching and to have a minimum level of provisions in the environmental and organisational aspects, such as good learning spaces and wi-fi access.
Digital identity as a researcher is becoming increasingly important, at least if you want others to take note of the research that you have conducted. We all know now that you can’t simply publish in a journal, and expect lots of key people to automatically find out and take note. But how does one actually take charge of one’s own digital identity as a researcher?
Here in the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the University of Liverpool, two of us who are engaged in research have recently undertaken an informal project to review our own digital identities, and to support our colleagues and others in taking their own initiative in this area. Tunde Varga-Atkins is a Learning Technologist, with researcher interests around both learner experiences with technology and visual research methods. Peter Kahn is Director of Studies for the University’s fully-online EdD in Higher Education. His research interests centre on applying critical realist perspectives to the study of higher education.
There is certainly plenty of good advice out there, as with the short course at Imperial College London, Collaborating and building your online presence, or the 23 Things self-directed online course from the University of Oxford on using digital tools in academia. But it’s one thing that such resources exist; it’s quite another to take the course or read the material, and then act on it. This is especially true when one is trying to establish a digital identity that reflects the various roles one has to undertake, taking in both development and research. Rather than concentrating so much on these resources, we reviewed each other’s digital identity and also looked at the digital identity of several other researchers. Our emphasis was on understanding the actions that we ourselves, and others, have actually taken.
The EdDev team (Patrick, Stuart, Sarra, and Ian) have been working with colleagues from across the University to help select this years recipients of the Sir Alastair Pilkington Awards. These coveted awards are in recognition for University of Liverpool staff who have made an outstanding contribution to pedagogy and the enhancement of the student experience.
This year, the selection process was undertaken in two stages. Firstly, Teaching Awards were made to staff in who had made an important contribution to learning and teaching in their Faculty. These winners were then invited to present and answer questions about their practice to their peers and a judging panel. From this the recipients of the Alastair Pilkington prizes for each faculty were chosen. It was pleasing to see that many of the award winners had undertaken Educational Development programmes and had been supported by the e-Learning Unit with their teaching innovations, many of which are now used as examples of good practice on iTeach. The award winners for each of the Faculties were as follows:
A National Teaching Fellowship has been awarded to Dr Robert Blackwood, Head of French in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies. He received the award at a celebratory dinner in London on the 5th October 2011. The award was made for his innovative work on the teaching of linguistics, for using web-based social networking to support students in their year abroad, and for his contributions to the national discussion on personal development planning with the British Council.
This prestigious award comes from the Higher Education Academy, as part of its programme of work to raise the status of learning and teaching and to celebrate individuals who make a significant impact in higher education. Teaching Fellowship award winners were chosen from around 200 nominations submitted by higher education institutions across England and Northern Ireland. Dr Blackwood receives £10,000 to support further professional development in higher education.
In introducing sociolinguistics to the curriculum, Dr Blackwood has taught students about the diverse ways in which the French language is used by its speakers, especially in terms of their gender, ethnicity, geographic origins, and age. He encourages undergraduates to draw on their own experiences of language use during their Year Abroad in order to place students at the centre of their own learning experience. He oversaw the development of an on-line private social network which provides the ideal space for year-abroad supervision in the form of both academic and pastoral support, working closely with colleagues from the eLearning Unit in the Centre for Lifelong Learning.