News from the Learning and Teaching Unit
The last two academic years have seen a number of changes within the LTU which we hope will have considerable impact in the way we develop Learning and Teaching within MMU.
We have recently re-structured and expanded, and now have a team who will provide leadership in key areas:
Maureen Dawson will lead on Projects and Research in Learning and Teaching. Maureen (very evidently!) has taken responsibility for Learning and Teaching in Action, and has already begun to work with the wider L&T community across the institution in a number of ways that will help us to reflect on and share our practice.
Rachel Forsyth has taken the exciting brief of Curriculum Design and Innovation. She is very keen to support programme teams as they come to a consideration of practice at validation and review. She is already working closely with our colleagues in Academic Standards and Quality Enhancement to find new ways of promoting and supporting exciting developments in curriculum practices across the institution. Assessment and feedback are current areas of priority activity for Rachel.
Alicia Prowse is engaging with a wide brief that can be described broadly as ‘the Student Experience’. Alicia will contribute to strategic thinking and policy development surrounding the Learning and Teaching aspects of the student experience. Personal Development Planning is emerging as an early priority, but there are many claims on her time: internationalisation; accessibility, nurturing and responding to the student voice, to name but three.
Margaret Kendall is leading in the area of Learning Technologies, with a far ranging role to encourage effective practice in the uses of learning technologies in both physical and virtual environments. Her major current priority, as a key member of the institution’s MLE Project Management team, is to lead and coordinate the Unit’s work-streams on learning and teaching planning, e-asset migration, staff development and tracking and reporting use of WebCT Vista. This involves liaison with staff across the University and working closely with the Senior Lecturers in Learning and Teaching Technologies within the Unit.
The three Senior Lecturers in Learning Technologies (soon to be joined by a fourth) have a wealth of experience from which to draw in advising and supporting staff on the challenge of embedding effective e-learning practices as part of the learning “mix”. Rod Cullen’s previous experience includes tutoring and developing learning materials in effective course design for VLEs for the JISC service Netskills and as Distributed Learning Advisor at the University of Manchester. Anita Gill has considerable previous experience as a teacher in the Primary sector, as an IT trainer in Further and Adult Education and as an educational design advisor with the Arts Faculty at the University of Manchester. Nicola Whitton previously worked in a range of roles including educational design consultancy, multimedia development, and a number of research projects. Her previous roles include Team Leader at Heriot -Watt University’s Learning Technology Centre and Educational Development Adviser at Napier University.
Other colleagues within the LTU include Dennis Pass, who has considerable previous experience in educational design and in consultancy and in the production of learning material, Lia Aston, who is highly experienced in Web development, and Alex Lee who staffs the WebCT helpdesk. We are lucky to have the services of Lesley Hamoodi as our Unit Secretary. In anticipation of a very much larger engagement with our colleagues across the University, we have just appointed Carly Flanagan as an Administrator who will support the efforts of our new leadership team.
All the academic staff in the Unit have research interests in learning and teaching, details of which are available from the web site. All are also committed contributors to the institution’s emerging CPD Framework. The coming period will see a further development of the links between the LTU and CPD, all in the service of our commitment to high professional standards in academic practice.
The LTU look forward to working with staff across the institution in a number of ways including:
- working with the new Faculty Academic Development Committees and School and Departmental programme teams
- involvement with the WebCT Vista project, and with Faculty e-learning groups
- working with the Senior Learning and Teaching Fellows and the Fellows in Academic Practice
- continuing to work closely with the CPD unit
- disseminating good practice through its website, its publications, its annual fellows conference and its seminar series
- supporting the development of communities of practice
- developing the Learning Teaching and Assessment Strategy