UEA Teaching and Learning Day

I attended the Teaching and Learning day at UEA on the 3rd. The theme of the day was around employability, although the workshops I attended didn’t seem to mention / link to the theme.

From a UCS perspective, there are a number of messages which can be taken. Firstly, the is a significant amount of work being out into embedding employability within the curriculum, with transferable and translational skills. They are engaging with lots of employers, making their employability destination data more transparent to schools and departments, and the Business School have recently undertaken a staff audit of employability within their curriculum.

An observation was UEA use their equivalent of ilts much more effectively with a strong emphasis on evaluating the impact.

From a personal perspective, I really enjoyed the workshops (very nice to be a stranger in the crowd, with no agenda, so I could just ask questions).

There was a very interesting session around developing learning materials using prezi.com. The model was at the end of each lecture, the lecture would supplement the learning material with links, images, text questions, and video. They would use prezi to make this available as it offers a very appealing visual interface which is much more engaging compared to text / links in blackboard. The resource would grow over the duration of the course, week by week. It would also allow the students to get a sense of how the course interlinks, as prezi is similar to a mind map. The log data indicated regular access by students, high levels of access, and students revisiting after the semester had finished. This implied they used it in semester 2 !!

One application was to develop a virtual classroom as the metaphor. This made me think, what a wonderful way of developing material to join up our support for classroom technologies. I’ve since, downloaded the desktop application.

Another session focused on screen casting and creating vignette (short, key concept screen casts). The vignettes where interesting, and would be very nicely hosted in a oer repository.

The person running this session, seemed to like bringing in technologies. So included twitter questions and qr codes. Both of which were sound in principle. However, the implementation was very poor. There was no preparation of the audience for the qr codes, or how to install the reader. Therefore, if you didn’t know, you couldn’t engage. The number of people excluded from the activity could have been reduced if he’d included the short URL with each qr code. This would have also mention people could have followed up after the session.

A couple of really interesting points were around the integration of the blended learning approach. For instance, twitter is used for more open discussion as it is not very good at short, quick interaction. While the longer term model is around the use of vignettes, to get knowledge etc., across before the session, and then open up the opportunity for a more discursive, active learning lecture. All great stuff, however, it was surprising there was no mention of the effective and innovative use of audience response systems to facilitate the active learning in large group teaching.

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