Academic Exchange 3: Making teaching and learning meaningful

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Thursday 7 July, 14.00-15.15, Online

Recording of the Academic Exchange

i. To Elevate or not to Elevate? That is the Question 

Darren Bolton and Nicky Williams (Library, Technology and Information Service)

We provide an update on the Talis Elevate rollout project since January 2022. We offer a brief overview of Elevate following its successful embedding within Moodle and a brief demonstration of what impact this had on its simplicity and interoperability with existing systems and workflows from an academic perspective.

Initially purchased as collaborative learning tool to promote and deepen engagement with learning resources, Elevate is actually a broad teaching and learning tool that can be applied across a range of scenarios. The ability to upload textual, image and audio-visual materials, as well as computer files such as PowerPoint and Excel, into a common interface makes it a powerful platform.

In this session, we focus on the value of Elevate as a pedagogical tool and its versatility to enhance student learning, facilitate groupwork and promote assessment literacy. We will draw upon examples of practice, both within the University and across the sector, in order to raise academic awareness and expand engagement in advance of the new academic year. On-boarding and good practice principles will also be included, as well as considerations which include using it as a diagnostic tool to check a cohort’s level of understanding or development with a topic.

ii. Meaningful Teaching in Higher Education

Jordan Wintle (School of Sport and Exercise)

When we find meaning in our work it immediately becomes more enjoyable and we often perform at a higher level compared to elements of our work where meaning is absent. Whilst the context for this research is in teacher education, the principles behind meaningfulness can be equally applied to all higher education contexts. To explore this, four teacher educators working in higher education contexts (from Ireland, England, and Norway) engaged in collaborative self-study (Ovens & Fletcher, 2014). We decided to begin our self-study by engaging in narrative inquiry and exploring what higher education teaching practices are meaningful to us. By gaining an understanding of this, we can then look to develop and enhance our practice to teach for meaningful higher education experiences. We engaged in a storytelling data collection process whereby each of us shared a story of ‘meaningful’ and ‘meaningless’ teacher educator practices. These stories elicited others and we collected stories over five recorded Zoom meetings, critical discussions, and note-taking. Findings highlighted the importance of (individual/collective) reflection in translating meaningless experiences into meaningful teaching practices, the complexities of (meaningful) higher education, and the necessity of space for higher educators to develop meaningful higher educator practices. This presentation shares the complexity of seeking meaningful experiences in teaching within higher education contexts and asks the audience to consider what is meaningful to them and the possibilities within that for an overall enhanced teaching practice.

iii. “And Breathe!” Lessons Learned from our Recent OfSTED Inspection 

Polly Pick (Business Engagement)

In February 2022, the Apprenticeship provision of the University was subjected to our first full OfSTED Inspection. The very word OfSTED can strike fear and dread into the heart of any educator. The aim of an OfSTED inspection is to assess the quality of our provision, but also inspectors review our provision objectively and this process allowed us to look at what we do and our ways of working in a different light. This presentation aims to explain the way in which we prepared for and approached our inspection and to share some of the important insights we gained from the process and from working with the inspection team over the week.

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