All posts by Fiona Saunders

Learning Academic Leadership – Finding my feet

One symptom of just how busy I have been over my first 8 months at Man Met Uni has been my neglect of my blogging.  I had great plans to continue my series of reflections as I began my new role at Man Met but these have been blown away by the speed at which I have had to learn to adapt to both a new Institution – full of new people, processes and ways of doing things – and to a new senior role.

So how has this last 8 months been and what have I learned that I could share with other academics in the same position?

Well,  its been a bit of a roller coaster to be honest.  I think I started well; I  made my primary focus that of building really good relationships with people and concentrating on two key maxims of leadership – enthusiasm and integrity (John Adair).  I made myself as visible as possible within the Faculty, built  my Education team within the first 2 months, aimed for a couple of quick wins and Chaired my first Faculty committees.  All of this was a massive learning curve; overwhelming at times but by focusing on each day in turn I made it to Christmas and then to Easter without any great mishaps or mis-steps. Continue reading Learning Academic Leadership – Finding my feet

Resources and tools for producing video for T&L

At The University of Manchester there are main ways of doing this: TechSmith Relay, Camtasia and Explain Everything.  Each of these is a pretty straight forward and, more importantly, a low budget way of producing short video explainers, tutorial solutions and explanations of core concepts.  If more funds are available, the University’s media services team can produce some very professional looking short videos – see here and here for examples of what they can do.  Continue reading Resources and tools for producing video for T&L

Look how far your career can go as an Project Management Alumni

University of Manchester Alumnus, Paul Barnfield graduated from the MSc in the Management of Projects in December 2014. Since then he has enjoyed a fast developing career in project management and regularly gives guest lectures to current MOP students.  Paul was back on campus yesterday and recorded the following short interview, which captures his professional experiences since graduating and gives some top tips for aspiring project managers.  Watch the full video (9 minutes) here

Distance Learning in a Research Intensive University: A Coalition of the Willing

Like many other UK Higher Education Institutions, The University of Manchester is ramping up its current distance learning provision as a means of simultaneously expanding student numbers, offering greater flexibility to students and increasing global reach and reputation across the globe.  This change in pedagogical emphasis has been underway for a couple of years now, and a number of high-profile campus-based postgraduate programmes are currently being converted into a distance learning (or as we prefer to say a location-independent learning model).

As a relative newcomer to the world of distance learning, The University of Manchester has been working quite closely with Penn State University in the US, who have a renowned and well-established World Campus which delivers quality online courses at undergraduate, masters and doctoral level.

Last week we were privileged to host two senior Penn State University (PSU) staff members at our School of MACE Teaching and Learning Community of Practice – where the topic under discussion was distance learning: an academic and instructional design perspective.  As an academic who is currently wrestling with the transition of an existing campus based programme to distance learning, I found the seminar hugely useful.  My aim here is to share what I learnt with the wider community at The University of Manchester and beyond.  Continue reading Distance Learning in a Research Intensive University: A Coalition of the Willing

Using on-line communication tools more effectively

At our first School Teaching and Learning Community of Practice event 2017, we enjoyed a presentation from Hannah Cook of the Faculty eLearning Team on how to use on-line communication tools more effectively.

This was an eye opener for many of us.  We learnt some great tips and tricks for using Blackboard (our institutional VLE) and other on-line communication tools (like padlet and wordpress)  to improve how we communicate, both with each other, and more importantly with our students.

Hannah’s presentation is available here  Using online communications tools more effectively .  Its well worth a look if you are struggling to communicate effectively, yet efficiently, to often very large cohorts of students.