Teaching and Learning Centres: June 25-July 6, 2007

Welcome and Introductions

Welcome and Introductions

by Vivian Neal -
Number of replies: 14

Perhaps we could start this discussion with some introductions by saying a little about ourselves and why we are interested in teaching and learning (T&L) centres.   

I work with the Educational Support and Innovation division of the Learning and Instructional Development Centre at SFU, and I've been here for almost 3 years.  I'm currently visiting the T&L centres at several universities in the UK. Last week I visited the University of Sussex and will soon be visiting the Universities of Dundee, Strathclyde and Glasgow. I hope to learn about each of these centres and the types of work that they do. 

In this seminar, I hope you'll share information about your centres/units and learn about centres eslewhere and what they do and how they do it.

Please introduce yourself, and once we've done that I'd like to look at three elements in particular:

1.  The phlosophical foundations, or learning theories, that underlying and shape the activities of T&L centres.

2.  The sort of faculty development activities in T&L centres.

3.  The kinds of programs or projects that are offered in T&L centres.

Please feel free to contribute a brief about your own T&L centre - if you would like to do this, I suggest that you start of new discussion thread - just like Norm did. smile

In reply to Vivian Neal

Re: Welcome and Introductions

by Christine Sinclair -
Vivian - looking forward to seeing you at Strathclyde next week. I'm off to the Isle of Skye today for a 2 day networking meeting with Scottish Educational Developers - may not be able to get back into the site until Wednesday. Will post as soon as I can though - and let you know what we've been talking about. Delighted to be part of this forum.

Christine

Lecturer, Centre for Academic Practice and Learning Enhancement, University of Strathclyde
In reply to Vivian Neal

Re: Welcome and Introductions

by E.A. Draffan -

So sorry I did not know you were in the area as you would have been welcome to come and stay with us in Sussex whilst you visited the University.  I used to work there and I am now based in the Learning Societies Lab in Southampton University.  I would have happily tried to arrange a visit to the Educational department which is in the same building.   If you are still in the south of England - do get in touch smile 

Best wishes E.A.

In reply to E.A. Draffan

Re: Welcome and Introductions

by Vivian Neal -

Welcome E.A.

I'm in Dundee now (was in Taunton on the weekend), Sussex last week, so I missed you.  Great to see you virtually in SCoPE, though, and I see already there is a lot of interesting pieces in this discussion, so dig in.

My computer stopped working on Sunday, and so I'm using a borrowed computer and using an unidentified wireless right now at a restaurant. So please forgive me if I'm a bit slower than usual at responding to your postings that might be directly for me. Gosh, this technology is quite amazing.

In reply to Vivian Neal

Comparing and sharing

by Sylvia Currie -
Interesting to read the various overviews of T&L centres. We're not all organizing our centres the same way, but there there is overlap in the types of services we offer.

At NVIT where I work with faculty we don't really have a centre per se (So I didn't feel I deserved a discussion thread of my own tongueout)  My work falls under the Dean of Instruction and Enrolment services, and we've just hired a new Dean of Distributed Learning so there will be a bit of a split since I'm also involved in online program development. The point is, I wear a few different hats, and folks are probably getting pretty tired of having of having to come to ME! clown So I'm always interested in finding opportunities for our faculty to connect with others outside of the institution.

Does anyone offer workshops that are open to faculty outside of your institutions? It seems to me that cross pollinations across institutions would be ideal.

Also, does anyone share workshop materials openly?
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Comparing and sharing

by Alice Cassidy -
Hello to Sylvia and others,

You asked if anyone offers workshopt that are open to faculty outside of our institutions. At TAG, UBC, many of our seminars (including in the Fall and Spring as well as during our annual TAG Institute, which is often in May or June), we allow anyone to register who finds us online; again that is www.tag.ubc.ca

In addition, many of the 14 Communities of Practice are open to people from other institutions. So, you can go ahead and sign up online for any of those who interest you.

For some of our workshops, such as the 3-day Instructional Skills Workshop or related multi-day workshops with limited enrolment, we need to give first preference to UBC folks. For these, if there is a space, we charge non-UBC people to attend. For the 3-day ISW, the rate is currently $500, for example.

We often collaborate with other instituions whereby someone from our place comes to facilitate or lead something there for no fee, then we do an equivalent 'trade' at a future date. We have had arrangements like this with colleagues from SFU, UVic, and Kwantlen University College to name a few.

On the sharing workshop material, we do post some materials, including handouts or powerpoints, from some sessions. Check out our website for these. Our Institute for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning has a lot of such material presented by our Visiting Scholars over the past 3 years.

Cheers,

Alice
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Comparing and sharing

by Deirdre Bonnycastle -

The <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />University of Saskatchewan has its own Teaching and Learning Centre http://www.usask.ca/gmcte/ and we do occasionally co-sponsor workshops. Medical centres seem to be quite open to sharing resources with other medical schools and have annual conferences in Canada and the US to facilitate this. There are also several Medical Education journals that focus on best practices.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Being a bit of techie, I have several initiatives that are open to anyone, anywhere. The Medical Education Blog http://blogs.usask.ca/medical_education/, my wiki http://wiki.usask.ca/db/index.php/Main_Page, a clinical teaching online course, an online book club, and bi-monthly Elluminate sessions on changes in medical education. I recently setup a social network on NING for women practicing in the Health Sciences. I tried Podcasting http://www.medicine.usask.ca/cbf/podcasts, but didn't get the readership to offset the cost.

The difficulty I have with sharing resources on a larger scale is advertising and a certain technical reluctance on the part of people over thirty (I’m close to 60 big grin). I recently attended a presentation by one of the top medical practitioners in the world who said "I don't get this Facebook avoidance of relationships" A young doctor in the audience tried to explain his sense of connection with scattered friends through social networking and she said "I will never understand it!" She uses more sophisticated technology routinely in her practice. sad

In reply to Deirdre Bonnycastle

Re: Comparing and sharing

by Emma Duke-Williams -

Deirdre said:

Being a bit of techie, I have several initiatives that are open to anyone, anywhere. The Medical Education Blog http://blogs.usask.ca/medical_education/, my wiki http://wiki.usask.ca/db/index.php/Main_Page, a clinical teaching online course, an online book club, and bi-monthly Elluminate sessions on changes in medical education. I recently setup a social network on NING for women practicing in the Health Sciences. I tried Podcasting http://www.medicine.usask.ca/cbf/podcasts, but didn't get the readership to offset the cost.

For part of my working week, I'm seconded to the ExPERT centre - that's a CETL (Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning - they're funded from a central funding agency in the UK, and are based in Universities). The areas that we're particuarly active in are biomedical sciences, psychology, radiography and professions allied to medicine. My background is Education & Computing, so I'm interested in things like blogs & wikis to support learning, and I've been looking for good examples of blogs & wikis for med students - so thank you for your links!

In reply to Emma Duke-Williams

Re: Comparing and sharing

by Deirdre Bonnycastle -

Great site, Emma!

Just a word of caution in case you aren't telling students this. Anonymous medical blogs seem to be particularly vulnerable to being tracked down and exposed. I personally know of two recent situations: one student "Barbados Butterfly" who was mildly critical of her training and was told to shut her site down and a pediatrician, "Dr. Flea" lost a malpractice suit because he was asked under oath if he was this blogger, who had been commenting on the lawsuit. Blogging gives an aura of anonymity which is quite false evidently.

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Comparing and sharing

by Amy Severson -
I've been intrigued by the presence of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) in the UK. JISC seems to fund specific programs and innovations, with an emphasis on research.

If I understand this correctly, the HEA produces a newsletter, credentializes faculty certificates in teaching and learning and produces many other resources. Imagine that all these teaching and learning centres in the UK don't have to keep describing what assessment is and can be, but instead can work with their specific instructors (lecturers) on specialized developments. It's an intriguing idea. From the outside looking it, it seems like a great way to share resources - I wonder if anyone from the UK could comment on the HEA's position in various universities?

In reply to Amy Severson

Re: Comparing and sharing

by Trish Andrews -
While I can't comment on HEA I can say a little about Carrick (The Carrick Insitute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education http://www.carrickinstitute.edu.au/carrick/go.) in Australia which does a lot of similar things to HEA.

Carrick funds educational research and development through several programmes, including leadership, priority projects in particular areas such as assessment, competitive grants and discipline based initiatives. It supports the national teaching awards process and also funds seminars and forums on many topics and provides many opportunties to discuss issues and developments in higher education.

HEA and Carrick are currently in the process of discussing some joint activities such as teacher exchanges.

Carrick has been in place for about two years and replaces earlier programmes. It is far more comprehensive than previous programmes to support learning and teaching in Australia and has a lot in common with HEA.

Carrick has had a significant impact on TEDI work. HERC staff are heavily involved in assisting academic staff develop their applications for Carrick. They supply feedback and support on teaching award and teaching citation applications.

HERC staff are generally part of teams involved in developing Carrick grant applications either at UQ or in partnership with other Australian organisations and most are currently involved in at least one Carrick grant - one HERC staff member now works almost entirely on Carrick projects. Staff from the ER section of TEDI assist in layout, design and desktop publishing of the applications. All of this work means that Carrick has become an important part of TEDI activities.

UQ has been highly successful in winning teaching awards and in part this is attributed to the the role TEDI plays in both supporting innovative projects and in the application process.

Carrick has given a significant "buzz" to learning and teaching in Australia and teaching and learning centre such as TEDI have needed to adjust to adequately respond to this.

I would be interested to hear what others think about the impact of national bodies on teaching and learning centres.
In reply to Trish Andrews

Re: Comparing and sharing

by Amy Severson -
Hi Trish,

I had never heard of Carrick - thank you so much for introducing it to us!

I'm curious if universities are mandated to use any of the services/ programmes/ resources produced by Carrick, or has the influence on university teaching been more organic.

I'm embarrased to admit that I'm not sure if Canada has a nation body on teaching and learning centres. There is the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and the newly formed Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (a merger between CADE and AMTEC), but those are, I think, more independent collections, and not something created and legislated by the government. I don't get the impression that either organization has a major impact on teaching and learning in Canada, but are more... talking to the converted? I have not been involved in this area long, so I'm curious to know what other people's interpretations are.
In reply to Amy Severson

Re: Comparing and sharing

by Trish Andrews -
Hi Amy and everyone

No, universities are not mandated to use the sevices/programmes/resources etc developed through Carrick . It is a more organic approach. The impact of Carrick is huge in terms of activity - it will be interesting to see in terms of uptake and changed practice what impact it has in the long term. Many projects are cross-institutional and there is considerable emphasis on dissemination in real terms, not just articles in journals, but workshops, leadership requirements and so.
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Comparing and sharing

by Alice Macpherson -

Kwantlen's Centre for Academic Growth is committed to sharing what we have because so much of what we have received has been through the generous nature of others.

As far as workshop materials, if we have it we can share, or in a few cases, refer you to those who initially shared with us. We have and will trade facilitations with others as well. We do something at your institution and you do something at ours.

A list of all of the workshops that we can offer is at:
http://www.kwantlen.ca/academicgrowth/WorkshopsAll.htm
and our current calendar of events is at:
http://www.kwantlen.ca/academicgrowth/Calendar.html

collegially
alicemac
In reply to Vivian Neal

Re: Welcome and Introductions

by Diane Brewster -
Hi Vivian,

here finally! I've started a thread about InQbate... in answer to your questions

1. we have two main underlying "foundations" - one is, in common with many technology enhanced spaces, constructivism.  we want to encourage collaboration between and within students and tutors, as well as interaction with each other and the subject domain. so the emphasis is not on content delivery but on questions activities and discussions around the content. (our creativty zone is not just a nice big lecture hall with bean bags so the students find it easier to fall asleep to a PowerPoint presentation!)  the second "foundation" is the idea of "learning through observation" - the operating theatre model.  there was an explosion in surgical skills when medical students  and doctors could watch opertations taking place from the "gallery" - we want a similar explosion in teaching skills.  We encourage tutors using the Sussex zone to open up their teaching to anyone who wants to come in (and advertise it as such) and there will be extensive use of cctv cameras so that activities in the main teaching space can be viewed from the informal cafe area.

2. faculty development .... well, we are planning to work with our Teaching and Learning development unit to run part of the associate tutor training and new lecturer induction in the zone - get them while they are keen!  All tutors will be invited to a series of "Creativity cafes" in the Zone next term to explore its use.

basically we want to push at the boundaries, do interesting, innovative and creative things that inspire people to do the same....

here is an image  of a "coding dojo" organised by some postgrad students.  the students worked in pairs (Agile or Extreme programming techniques, very popular in industry) on a coding problem, competing in teams against each other.  The pairs would swap over after 10 mins or so - prize to the team that got the best working code at the end. this lot are watching the pair doing the coding....

coding dojo

Diane