Monday, June 13, 2016

Spotlight on teaching and learning - 10th June

Summary of some of the presentations at the 'Spotlight on Teaching and Learning' event, held last Friday at the University of Canterbury. The event was organised by Ako Aotearoa Academy (Rua Murray and Eric Pawson from UC, myself and Suzanne Pitama from UO) and Ako Aotearoa Southern Hub. A good turnout with about 70-ish participants and 15 fifteen minute long presentations.

Mihi and opening with Associate Professor . Suzanne Pitama from University of Otago who is winner of the supreme award for sustained excellence in tertiary teaching for 2015. she then provides the opening keynote on "using peer review as a learning tool - peer assessment to coach transformative behaviours". Rationale was cause of death through medical errors still too high. Often caused by poor communication and difficulty in peers providing feedback as required. So important for medical students learn how to provide appropriate feedback to peers as and when required. Described process to assist students learning. 

Professor Eric Pawson chairs the following presentations before afternoon tea. First up, Sam Utai from Ara and Elena from UC present on an AKO funded project - change strategies to enhance Pasifika student learning. Focused on Elena's more quantitative analysis of the data. Need for all institutions to include / integrate Pasifika approaches in programmes, support approaches and pedagogy / curriculum. Participation at Support  programme tended to benefit. 

Dr. Timothy Curran from Lincoln presents next keynote using experiential learning to maximise success in undergraduate students, with context of field ecology. Introduced principles from the school of field studies - an immersive experience for students and staff. Shared experiences of how experiential contributes. Learning by doing, learn from mistakes, hones problem solving, fun, real world application, shared experiences between staff and students builds relations and job ready graduates. Challenge of bringing field experience back into classroom. Connect with data analysis and communication segments / learning outcomes of other courses. Showed link between field work, experiential learning and research - to publish papers or present posters (recommends use of padlet to comment and critique posters to learn how to produce good posters). 

Sascha Mueller from UC presents using real world context to improve student success. Bringing real world examples into the classroom to learn law. Need to shift from didactic and rote learning. Large picture type topics tend to be more open to experiential learning. However, black letter law courses still required to become solicitors. Tends to be descriptive with little moral or ethical discussion. Presented on one of the outcomes of an Ako Aoteoroa project, assessment. Instead of using set problem question, they are provided with a case file. File contents contracts, email trail, newspaper clippings etc. students have to work through. 

Kirsten Bracey from Otago Polytechnic presents via video link on supporting student learning from a learner advisor's perspective. As with Ara learning advisors from OP one on one with students to assist development of academic skills. Students are f2f or distance and across all levels, certificate to post grad. Learning advisors see a wide range of resources assessments across the institute. Some pointers on how to make learning better for students. Show students several times of where to find resources, e.g. How to navigate through Moodle and learning support websites. Share models of what needs to be produced. Talk through models, instructions and marking schedules. Approximate word limit for each section often useful. Give right amount of feedback, sometimes none, too little or too much and overwhelming. Look out for students at risk and make contact with them early. 

Afternoon tea is followed by two concurrent streams. Dr. Rua Murray chairs one stream and I chair the stream on active learning. 

First up, Adrian Woodhouse details the change in curriculum approaches for the Bachelor in Culinary Arts at Otago Poly. He provided the rationale for abandoning the curriculum silo and the programme's collaborative / co constructive approach. Instead of following a traditional trek through the cookie repertoire, there was a concentration on research informed design projects. Integration of research and management aspects into projects and assessments. Timetabling shifted to allow for several courses to run together allowing for blocks of learning to take place. 

Second, Bernadette Muir from Ara presents on project based learning in architecture. Covered active and authentic learning through projects which bring students from all 3 years together. Vertical integration of students across all years of a programme through a design jam. Detailed the living building principals students applied to their project as it brings about integrative concepts of architecture. Third year student led a project assisted by year 1 n 2 students. Year 1 n 2 then had a preview of their future learning expectations. Learning involved learning much about collaborative learning. 

Then Caro Macaw from Otago Polytechnic follows with project based learning for design teaching. Small student teams supported by staff to complete projects. Teacher becomes an executive producer! Described a project bringing together an author's work to life by to producing work and curating an exhibition at the museum. Museum invested $$ in the exhibition, held for 4 months and well supported by visitors. Summarised learning of the students from doing the project. Integrated theory learning in graphic design, film video audio production, communications etc. 

Raewyn Tudor from Ara presents on developing critical thinking, critical reflection competencies with social work students. Prepares student for role of social workers to challenge assumptions and social structures that discriminate and oppress and bring around meaningful personal and social change. Offered definition of critical reflection as a purposeful activity for considering and making changes, improvements to practice, knowledge and meanings. Introduced Stephen Brookfield's critical reflection model. Described how this is achieved through group projects and how assessed. Collaborative teaching requires high capability so PD essential. Shared learning of tutors from the process. 

Last up, Steve Tomsett from Ara on flipped classrooms as deployed helping engineering students learning concepts which are maths based. Provided background on the evolution of his current practice. Explained how flip learning should work and shared what worked and what did not work. Summarised the reflective process of Lines and dots. Line was the wider context and dots are the essential mechanics required to be learnt to progress in class. Dots are provided before class. Lines then take place to apply the dots into the context. Not just the maths but adding the why into the how. Able to use extra time to carry out authentic data collection and analysis to apply the concepts learnt. teL only useful to add value and enrich. 

In the other stream on school to tertiary transition. We have Katrina Fisher and Silvia Santos from Ara presenting as well. Katrina on 'learning barista skills through on-line learning' and Silvia with 'using tablets to assist with maths skills'. 

Dr. Peter Coolbear, Ako Aotearoa Director, closes a busy but well attended event. Peter reminded us internationally tertiary education is in flux. Changes in technology mean learning no longer has to be anchored in institutions. Cost wall being hit with regards to massification of education. Cost constrains now need to be rethought. Diversity of learners increased. Social expectations and returns on tertiary education also shifting. Tertiary education still needs to meet the needs of the future with uncertain parameters. Provided background on rationale for return on investment on tertiary education. D

Lots of variety in the presentation this afternoon but also commonalities between what constitutes good teaching to encourage learning. Active, authentic, constructive, collaborative. 

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