Tag Archives: Faculty of Science and Engineering

Satisfying the 300+: The Challenge of Teaching Large Cohorts

At the Learning and Teaching Conference last month we were treated to an awesome presentation by Dr Ali Al-Ataby, the winner of the annual Sir Alastair Pilkington Prize for excellent teaching. In his presentation, entitled ‘Satisfying the 300’, Ali explained how he has turned what was considered to be a boring and difficult, yet required, module with a large failure rate into one of the most popular and successful in Electrical Engineering and Electronics (EEE).

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.

teaching large cohorts

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.

 

Anne Qualter, Centre for Lifelong Learning

Guild Awards 2015

On Wednesday night I attended the annual Guild Awards. A glittering affair well attended by senior university staff, but most importantly by students representing societies that had been nominated by a record number of students for an award.

Table at the Guild Awards

This event always leaves me in awe of the fantastic things our students do to represent their fellow students to the university, to participate and lead in volunteering, in the arts, in the university community and the wider Liverpool community.* The sheer number and variety of societies and activities students engage in shows the Guild going from strength to strength now that its back in Mountford Hall.

I want to pick out the Guild’s Student Led Teaching Awards.  This is new for 2015. Apparently lots of staff were nominated  for the ‘highest standard of teaching support’ which shows how much students appreciate the extra mile that so many of their tutors go.

The three nominees from each faculty were:

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Nikolas Gjogkas; Dr Amel Alghrani; Dr Mike Rowe

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Dr Laura Soulsby; Prof. Stuart Carter; Alison Reid

Faculty of Science and Engineering
Dr Jonathan Green; Dr Gita Sedghi; Dr Paul Williamson

Continue reading Guild Awards 2015

Sir Alastair Pilkington Teaching Prizes

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:

Continue reading Sir Alastair Pilkington Teaching Prizes