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.
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.
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.