Key points from the Teaching and Learning Conference

I attended the Annual Learning and Teaching Conference. It focuses on the Academic Support: Enabling Student Success.

The sessions will be available online soon like the last year’s conference on embedding skills in curriculum. The twitter conversation is #CardiffEdu.

I think it’s a good idea to note down the things that are more relevant to my role in supporting Teaching and Learning.

Firstly, the sessions show us good examples of how educators become “facilitators”, who are exploring approaches to engage students in teaching and learning activities, how students as learners become reflective learners, self-directed learners, or say, active learners. Very importantly, yes, students drives their own learning. For example, in Flipped learning, students learn (“content”) using their own time and practise more in classroom; Learning activities embed students reflection by going through pre-practical testing, practice to post-practical testing; Feedback process involves contact and non-contact activities so that students contribute to the approach and further lead students to be more reflective thinking and become active learners; Students as curators in selecting learning materials…

Secondly, policy clarification is vital. For example, making clear rules of how group work will be assessed so students know how should they contribute to the group coursework and how they will gain in the activity and why they will be assessed in certain way. Also, for example, who is the owner of the personal tutoring? It’s hard to answer, as both tutors and students need to participant with regard to their needs. Here, I think schools need to have clear policy.

Thirdly, technology and services are essential. We have see some examples of key technologies being used in teaching and learning activities, such as Campus Pack, Question Mark Perception, Turnitin, Blog, Wiki, FaceBook and Scoopit. One example is that WordPress works well for the school but Learning Central (Blackboard Learn) did not work as users expected. For me, this actually hits the point: Should schools drive the technologies being suggested/chosen in the University or the University Learning Technology Support experts drive schools to use certain technologies? When an e-learning platform does not work well with certain technologies, should we encourage schools to choose their own core e-learning platform and dismiss the core service? This probably will bring each school has their own e-learning system and their own support services, which is not what we want to see I suppose. Thus, the point is how can we provide a robust core e-learning system when technology constantly changing and user requirements constantly changing too? To choose a system should be driven by users (schools, lecturers, tutors, and students). We probably need up-to-date evaluation policy on our VLE systems so that it can bring in user requirements quickly and provide solutions back to users quickly.

A good question is how do we engage the students who do not participate to the activities or who do not use the technology we suggested?  Well, my view is to look closely at the students who like to participate and who dislike to participate. Research on different learning styles and different assessment approaches to different learning styles. Focus on the things do work and work well. The certain way that the students do not like to be involved, we have provide alternative methods for them, shouldn’t we?



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