Academic Exchange 1: Working with students to enhance learning for all in diverse contexts

Categories and tags:

Tuesday 5 July, 10.00-11.30, Online

Recording of the Academic Exchange

i. Field Courses: The View from the Bush 

Adam Hart and Anne Goodenough (School of Natural and Social Sciences)

Field courses have long been an integral part of some degree programmes, most commonly associated with geography, environmental, ecological and biological sciences. Organising and running a field course can be difficult and time-consuming, and working in the field comes with possible exposure to risk. To be worthwhile these costs must be balanced, and ideally exceeded, by benefits. We have been running field courses in Natural Sciences for 17 years, and during that time we have been actively researching the value of those courses to our students. Here, we present an overview of that research, which concludes that field courses increase resilience, improve grades, break down barriers to learning and engagement, and develop critical and nuanced thinking. They also provide opportunities for collaborative and publishable research, in which students are genuine co-creators of knowledge. We argue that field courses, and especially residential courses in unfamiliar environments, should become the norm rather than the exception and the benefits field courses offer students (and staff) should be developed outside of traditional “field course” disciplines. Further, developing a strong portfolio of field courses across the University could provide recruitment, retention and research advantages. 

ii. Student Engagement and Motivation in Higher Education: The Contribution of a Level 4 Residential upon University Experience 

Tristan Middleton (School of Education and Humanities) with Eleanor MacDonald Hill (Student), Alice Middleditch (Student), Rick Millican and Sian Templeton (School of Education and Humanities)

This paper is the result of a research project carried out by a team of lecturer and undergraduate student researchers as part of the University Teaching Fellowship scheme.

The research took the form of an explorative case study with the objective to elicit student perceptions as to the possible impact of the residential opportunity on their University experience as students on a three-year BA Hons course. Additional factors around relationships, personal context and engagement and how these interacted with the residential experience were also examined.

A co-research approach, with two novice undergraduate researchers, was used as a way of creating staff-student partnerships, developing research skills and addressing perceived power imbalances.

Level 4 and Level 6 students who had attended the residential experience were interviewed individually. The resulting transcripts were analysed for themes which established emerging implications for future practice around how relationships and building a supportive community can support academic engagement through the provision of a residential opportunity.

iii. A New Lecturer’s Journey Beyond the Global North 

Jenny Eastwood (School of Creative Industries) and Anjola Sulaiman (Student)

Do your lectures truly reflect an increasingly diverse and globalised world? What more could you do to broaden representation and provide a wider international perspective?

I only joined higher education and the University of Gloucestershire in 2020-21. Yet in my short time as a lecturer, I have begun to question whether there is an over-reliance and focus on the global north and whether this could be alienating rather than engaging our students.

I teach the MA in Communications, PR and Media and we are seeing the numbers of international students rapidly increasing with applications primarily coming from Africa and Asia. The course content and teaching must continually adapt to reflect the diverse backgrounds of its students and so I embarked on a research project to find out what more could be done to provide meaningful change.

As part of my reflections for my Academic Professional Apprenticeship, I conducted primary research with my current international students asking for feedback on the course content and teaching. It became clear that there is work still to be done and so I got to work making changes.

I will be joined by one of my international students in this session who will be talking about their experiences. Together we will explore what more academics and the wider university community can do to provide further representation and participation.

iv. Integrating Fine Art and Dance: What can be learnt by sharing materialities and methodologies?

Simon Packard (School of Arts)

This presentation will highlight the learning gained from two disciplines within UoG working together; firstly, through an open workshop where Dance students were prompted by Fine Art instructions from Integrated Foundation Year students and, subsequently, developing a joint module for the coming semester.

The culmination of this collaboration will be a performance in November 2022 involving all students from both disciplines. Dancers will be using charcoal and calico to act out and become embodied drawing tools. This will be part of a Professional Studies module and we hope it will instigate a new approach to college education. This is real time production management.

This project has required working collaboratively with Head of Dance, Adam Gain, who provided nourishment for both staff and students. What happened was, for me, life-affirming, joyful and made me think about my practice as an artist and teacher. It has been both heartening and fulfilling to see both cohorts learn together in the same space. We hope our practice will forge new directions in Fine Art and Dance and that staff across UoG will be galvanized to work together after hearing about our collaboration. We look forward to seeing other schools doing something similar in future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.