This presentation, delivered at ISSOTL Symposium in November 2018, describes an ongoing project to reinvent an undergraduate engineering curriculum in a post-92 University in the United Kingdom, based on the principles of relevance, accessibility and quality. The impetus for the project arose from institutional data that showed not only poor overall progression statistics, but stark differences in attainment and progression (students progressing from the 1st to the 2nd year of undergraduate study) between students arriving with traditional academic qualifications (A levels) and those arriving with vocational qualifications. The project involved twice-weekly hands on workshops with faculty from across the School of Engineering to address a series of problematic progression chains – sets of modules that build on each other in each year of study; propagate assumptions and attitudes about the quality and potential of the students at each level; and which currently exhibit the largest attainment gap between students arriving with Academic and Vocational qualifications. Redesigning the curriculum across a chain of modules is by definition a team based, and cross-classroom approach and the shared understanding that is developed is proving a powerful mechanism for a bottom up pedagogically driven approach to curriculum redesign.
Download the full presentation here: ISSOTL-Nov2018-Saunders-Fowler-Final
Continue reading Re-inventing undergraduate engineering curricula around relevance, accessibility and quality: ISSOTL 2018 Presentation
The what and why of video support for Teaching and Learning
Short videos/screencasts (aim for 5 minutes max) are really helpful for students and staff alike in terms of raising teaching quality, reducing staff workload (as all students have access to your one best explanation), and students really like them.
They don’t need to be professionally produced or edited or take a long time to make – especially if you use pre-prepared powerpoints/pdfs/images rather than writing or drawing live. And ask for help from your Faculty TELA to get you started
The types of topics that are particularly suitable for video are
- Revision tips
- Exam paper explanations
- Resit paper explanations
- Coursework guidance and tips
- All class coursework feedback
- Solutions to tutorial problems
- Core concept videos (short explanations of the key concepts that students must grasp to succeed on your unit)
Continue reading Implementing Video Support for Teaching & Learning in the Faculty of Science and Engineering
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
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.
Just over two years ago I was asked to take on the role of Academic Lead for eLearning within the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at The University of Manchester. We are a large school (120 academic staff) covering a number of engineering and management disciplines. In common with many academic departments, this has resulted in a somewhat silo mentality; long, often deserted corridors, and staff only communicating with their immediate research and teaching colleagues. My sense at that time was that there was plenty of eLearning expertise within the School, but that this expertise existed in small pockets of excellence, which were isolated and often unaware of each other.
If this sounds like a familiar picture, then read the story of how we used a Community Practice to connect, encourage and strengthen our eLearning practices within the School, which has just been published on the Higher Education Academy Learning and Teaching Blog – Putting the Community into eLearning