Friday, October 04, 2013

National tertiary learning and teaching conference - Day 3

Keynote from Dr. Peter Coolbear from Ako Aotearoa opens the last day of an interesting conference. Peter presents on 'supporting the success of priority learners - translating policy aspirations to enhancement of practice'. Covered the policy sitting, what the education performance. indicators are telling us, argue that teaching teams have a role to play and then some projects that hope to address some the issues. Alco Aotearoa working assumptions include working in a system that allows great teaching and learning to occur, we do not do enough to share good practice, we still allow mediocre performance, the system is fragmented and research still weak and has limited impact on practice. These views are shared by government. NZ has moved to greater public accountability from all public funded education. EPls tell us that course completion rates have plateaued at 80 -85%. Therefore, as tertiary teachers, maximising individual performance is no longer enough, focus needs to shift to whole teaching teams causing a significant culture change.  Teaching teams need better management, support and take responsibility for student success on their programmes. Suggested a traffic light model of assessing programme academic health based on principles of learner focus, outcome focus, learner support etc. and include accreditation, completions, academic standards, student evaluations, graduate destinations, equity pathways and community /Iwi involvement. Provided overview of how traffic light model may work for students, teaching team, managers, academic board and council. Related projects include: improving large class learning, using student evaluations to improve outcomes, model of success for Maori learners in workplace settings, success for Pacifika, adult refugee learners: effective responses and recent publications bringing themes together

Parallel sessions follow morning tea. I attend Iain Huddleston's on 'blended delivery gains student support'. Presented examples of changes made to delivery of an engineering course to improve students' learning experiences. Technology based resources were developed to enhance learning and a blended approach used. Group work and enquiry based learning used. Each week groups presented their learning qfrom week before and rest of class time put into exploring the next topic. A learning commons environment set up supported with WIFI, laptops and presentation facilities. Presentations are marked and count towards summative assessments. Review of topics through online quizzes and crosswords. Students develop research, presentation, team work and collaborative skills.

Last keynote with Dr. Stuart Middleton on 'teaching and learning: the Park momentos or 21st century'. Began with overview of how he arrived to the work he is now focused on. English speaking systems seem to all have similar challenges with equity and outcomes. Challenge is to address the schools system as vocational and higher works from the outcomes students bring with them. ITPs have to work with school systems to bring about change and interconnections so students are able to transition into programmes that will provide them with future prospects. Structures like curriculum, time, pastoral care, age related cohorts, sectors, programmes and delivery are things that need change. Transitions between various educational sectors has attrition. Proposed 2 sectors. MIT tertiary High School one way to integrate secondary and tertiary, leading to a seamless transition to allow students to complete multiple qualifications across sectors.

Conference closes with Poroporokai.

Overall, the range of presentations was good. A balance between reports from practitioner on their own teaching contexts and keynotes that set the tone and create forums for discussion. Always good to catch up with colleagues from other institutes to share ideas and brainstorm creative ways to do more with less in the staff development process.

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