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

Centre for Academic Practice and Learning Enhancement

Centre for Academic Practice and Learning Enhancement

by Christine Sinclair -
Number of replies: 9
Very much enjoying reading about other people's centres. I attach a word document with details of ours. My apologies for taking so long - I was away meeting other Scottish higher educational developers at a college on the Isle of Skye. We always enjoy meeting each other and catching up with what's happening in the different institutions. Scotland is small enough for us all to know each other but big enough to incorporate many different approaches. There were some interesting discussions about standards, engagement of staff and students, relationships among individuals, institutions and accreditation and funding bodies. The dominant theme was networking and communities - so it has been very appropriate for me to return to such a fascinating discussion here to feel part of such networks on a wider scale.
In reply to Christine Sinclair

Re: Centre for Academic Practice and Learning Enhancement

by Vivian Neal -
Christine,
Thanks for sharing information about CAPLE.  It's interesting to learn about how educational research is integrated with the support functions of your centre.  Some T&L centres are less involved in research, while for others, research is central to much of what they do.  What advantages do you see to having the support and the research activities under the same roof?



In reply to Vivian Neal

Value of bringing support and research together

by Christine Sinclair -
I find it useful to have relevant experience when talking to staff - knowing what it's like to have a paper rejected, sharing memories of PhD vivas etc! It can give us a collegial status with other academic staff and some credibility because we are dealing with similar issues to them. It can also help to persuade people that there is a research base for what we're doing - that we're not just making it up as we go along.

Having said that, there can also sometimes be some resistance from staff coming from other research paradigms, who don't want to engage with a different one. But that gives us a reference point for talking about their relationships with their own students.

There can be a tension between the service and research aspects of our work, expressed in both directions as - "why are they doing X and not more of Y?" I think there are many such tensions in educational development; they play out in different ways in different institutions. There are likely to be many interesting answers to your question, Vivian.
In reply to Christine Sinclair

Re: Centre for Academic Practice and Learning Enhancement

by Vivian Neal -

Christine and Others,

I spent much of today at Learning Services at the University of Strathclyde and I've discovered that they have a remarkably similar set of services to our LIDC at SFUCAPLE also offers some of the same services that LIDC does, though Learning Services actually has a media design/development group, a classroom services group, an IT training group, and a group that is akin to LIDC's Educational Support and Innovation division (well, this is somewhat oversimplified - check out their Website for more details; because of the recent reorganization/renaming, the Learning Services Website is a little out of date, but I notice that this is almost standard in these units as they are continually changing. LIDC is a prime example.)  Most T&L units I've seen do not include the media development or classroom services parts, but there is ready collaboration with the people who provide these services whenever it's required.

Interestingly, Strathclyde's CAPLE, as well as their Learning Services, supports students; this is the same in most other T&L centres I've encountered. Whereas LIDC has a mandate to support staff and faculty (aka teaching and non-teaching staff), we officially do not support students directly. LIDC has made numerous exceptions, and we have ended up supporting students in several of our projects/programs to ensure a smooth and effective delivery of our other services.

I am pondering the advantages of supporting students within the T&L units and it seems like a natural fit.  Any thoughts?

 

In reply to Vivian Neal

Supporting students

by Christine Sinclair -
I find that working closely with students feeds into my work with academics. For example, yesterday I ran a workshop for students from a particular department who have to resubmit coursework. I invited the academics to comment on problems with student writing before the workshop and these were a useful contribution to the event. In turn, I have student perspectives on the issues to feed back to the department.

My own research is into student experience and responses to academic discourse. I do this in part by being a student myself. Thus I can integrate research, teaching, educational development and direct student experience - both mine and other students'. Now I just need to find more time to write about it!
In reply to Christine Sinclair

Re: Supporting students

by Alice Cassidy -
Hi, and in response to Christine's earlier message about communities: can you tell me a bit more, and is there, par chance, any web links?

I read with interest and agree completely with what you said, Christine, about how valuable it is in teaching-related seminars and other work to be able to back up what we do with the published research on it. It shows that there is a scholarly basis to pedagogical techniques and facilitation techniques (of course with a good blurry line between those two!).

Vivian: when you were at Strathclyde, did you bump into George Gordon? He was at the STLHE conference in Edmonton and we had a wee chat before he and his wife were headling back home.

I agree that something like CAPLE at Strathclyde, that combines research and support related to teaching and learning under one roof has its positive sides. We have recently embarked on this at TAG with our Institute for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning within our auspices.

On a slightly tangential note, but related to scholarly pursuits, namely dissemination of good ideas, I am thinking that one outcome of being part of these interesting conversations that I am interested to pursue is to write a brief article on the key points that were raised, and a bit of the flavour of where in the world, and what sorts of centres people contributed from, for either our national teaching and learning newsletter (from STLHE) and/or for a journal article. For that I am thinking of a relatively new journal from Braslov University in Romania. I met the journal editor when she came to TAG at UBC to find out about starting her own T and L centre in Romania (Transylvania, to be exact!). She did set this up and the journal was an outcome. She has been asking me to write something.

So, I need to ask your permission to include excerpts, or examples or bits and pieces and ideally to name you and your institution, including web links, etc. What say each of you? Feel free to email me personally if you are more comfortable with that: alice.cassidy@ubc.ca

Vivian: how does this sit with you? Okay or not something you like to see done with the onine seminar discussions. I am thinking I do not need ethics approval, but do any of you out there feel otherwise? Also, Vivian, if this is okay to proceed with, will the archives of the seminar stay up fora while?

Many thanks all. Not sure I will be checking back until next week, as I have an off-campus meeting tomorrow, then not in on Friday. Will check back on Monday and hope we are all still here....(online in this form, I mean).

Cheers from the west coast of Canada,

Alice Cassidy at TAG, UBC
In reply to Alice Cassidy

Re: Supporting students

by Christine Sinclair -
Hi Alice
You - and others – might be interested in the Enhancement Themes website, part of the Scottish Quality Assurance Agency site. See http://www.enhancementthemes.ac.uk/

The educational developers who met last week on Skye produced an interesting report last year entitled "Scottish Higher Educational Developers' Learning Objects and Distributed Services" (SHEDLOADS) which can be found on this site, under Flexible Delivery. The weblink mentioned in this paper is currently not available; new ways of communicating are being developed.

The Quality Assurance Agency in Scotland emphasises enhancement rather than assessment of quality and operates differently from QAA elsewhere in the UK. It is just one of a number of differences that Scottish Higher Education has: we don't have any CETLs here for instance.

Finally, I'd be happy for anything I say here to be included in a paper - and I'd be interested to keep in touch about such a paper.

It's been great seeing Vivian here this week - hope to meet some of the rest of you sometime!

Christine
In reply to Christine Sinclair

Re: Supporting students

by Sylvia Currie -
I'm just popping in here at the mention of developing new ways to communicate, and also keeping in touch about a paper...

If there is any way we can support some of this work through SCoPE just let me know. I'd be happy to set up a special interest group, wiki, whatever it takes. :-)
Sylvia
In reply to Alice Cassidy

Re: Supporting students

by Vivian Neal -

Hi Alice,

I very much like your idea of writing a paper about the key points that have been raised in this seminar and let me know how I can help. You certainly have my permission to use any of my contributions, and I'm not sure what other permissions might be needed.  Certainly you can post in this seminar later on at any time, and it should be available for a while in the future (on the other hand, I think that't think of SCoPE as a permanent repository).

Regarding George Gordon, I did not run into him at Strathclyde, but Christine informed me that he was the head of CAPLE - Ray Land is now the lead of CAPLE.

Thanks for your great contributions.

 

In reply to Christine Sinclair

Re: Centre for Academic Practice and Learning Enhancement

by Judy Southwell -

Hello from the Malaspina Teaching and Learning Centre (MTLC),

I haven’t had an opportunity to join in earlier and hope it will be possible for these discussions to continue in the coming weeks. It’s been very interesting reading some of the posts, and I look forward to spending more time here.

In July 2006 the Educational Technology Centre and the Teaching and Learning Centre amalgamated. Our team provides direction for institutional professional development initiatives in four key areas: teaching and learning processes, educational and workplace technologies, professional networks and communities of practice, and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Our PD initiatives are for all Malaspina employees.  We believe we are all teachers and learners and committed to excellence in teaching and learning.

I’ve just realized that our Terms of Reference isn’t posted on our website, but it will be in the days ahead. If you’d like to see these and also learn about our team and our reading circles, events and undergraduate research leadership that <?xml:namespace prefix = st2 />Nancy Randall has been involved with, our web site address is http://www.mala.ca/teaching. Our role is to work with faculty and staff. We work indirectly with students through professional development and consultations with faculty and staff; as well participate on committees on student retention and recruitment, etc. We offer ISW sessions for our faculty and these, along with other events, like our reading circles and May Days workshops are successfully helping to build community and expertise. We don’t directly instruct students on how to use technology; however, we do co-facilitate in-class Microsoft® application sessions until faculty are conversant with the technology. The Library Commons offers drop in Microsoft® workshops for students. A technology website has been developed through collaboration with IT, the Library Commons and MTLC. It’s the one-stop site for anyone at Malaspina to look for help on using technology http://www.mala.ca/technology/.

We’ve formed the Collaborative Cluster Committee which consists of representatives from all areas of the institution providing professional development. This committee is instrumental in hosting a variety of workshops throughout the year, as well as for new employee orientations held in August each year. We mostly post our workshop handouts on our institution’s intranet which has a rather nice workshop registration system that we purchased through Intranet Connections http://www.intranetconnections.com/. Our intranet has authenticated log on for employees only. Each department is responsible for posting their workshop descriptions and managing their registrations. Professional development specifically for CUPE is organized by the CUPE Professional Development Committee http://web.mala.bc.ca/cupe.

Regards,

Judy