I am passionate about teaching, employing a broad range of innovative methods to help students enjoy and improve their learning. The majority of my teaching at The University of Manchester took place on two taught postgraduate programmes. The first of these is the MSc in the Management of Projects, a 1year full-time taught MSc programme comprising a single cohort of 300 students – from over 30 countries, with over 85% having English as a second language. The second programme is the MSc in Project Management Professional Development Programme (PMPDP). This is a blended learning MSc, delivered to nominated, practicing project managers from a range of engineering and construction organisations, for example Rolls-Royce, AMEC, Sellafield, EDF . There are two variants of this programme – one based at the University of Manchester (UoM) and one, a joint degree between Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the UoM – which involves video conferencing across an 8 hour time difference.
The three main constraints I encounter in achieving teaching excellence are the presence of very large class sizes, the absence of significant resources for small group teaching (both in terms of additional staff, rooms and logistical organisation) and the requirement to assess students in a way that is pedagogically meaningful, equitable and yet manageable in terms of marking.
Current pedagogical orthodoxy would say that large lecture classes are not conducive to effective student learning, but given the above constraints, the challenge I have set myself is to “make large cohorts work”. Large face-to-face lectures are our day-to-day reality; within this constraint I strive to deliver excellence in all aspects of teaching delivery, the student experience and enhancing student learning. In this blog I would like to share the different approaches that I have taken to improve my teaching. Examples of this include the use of wiki’s to promote collaborative learning,the provision of rich-media materials to enhance the teaching of core concepts and the use of social media to improve teacher “availability” to students. You can also find links to my recent publications in the domain of Technology Enhanced Teaching and Learning and examples of recent projects I have completed. I hope you find these useful….