Learning and Teaching in Action: Open Issue

Group of students at a computer



Maureen Dawson

The last LTiA of this academic year is a packed 'Open Issue' that demonstrates the variety of good practice going on within MMU in learning and teaching.

The articles in this issue fall broadly into three categories: Innovations in Learning and Teaching; The student experience (or finding out what our students think); and Guidance. Of course, there’s overlap between them but this is how they are laid out in this edition.

In the first article Joanna Verran discusses her success in using art to stimulate creativity and enthusiasm for microbiology, in first year undergraduate biology and biomedical science students. This is the latest in a series of sci-art projects in MMU with which she has been involved.

In his article ‘Active Learning in History Seminars’ Paul Oldfield, a participant on the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice during 2007-8, reflects on his attempts to create a more effective teaching and learning environment within seminar sessions for a course on the ‘Medieval World’. His article demonstrates good practice not only in introducing innovative teaching strategies into his seminar programme, but also of reflective practice.

Kieran Maguire shows how he has used video podcasting (vidcasting) both to provide tutorial support for students and also for revision purposes. Links between these activities and the subsequent improvements in unit grades are currently being investigated as the project is continued. Also in this edition, Nillan Fakira reports on the MMUBS project which aims to create a podosphere community in which staff are enabled to produce podcasts to support the learning of their students.
In her article, Nicola Greaves introduces the ‘Studying online: resources to get you connected’ website. This resource, which will be evaluated over the next academic year, is designed to provide a one stop shop for training and advice on on-line study.

Claire Hamshire and Rod Cullen report on their project to investigate facilitators and barriers to the uptake, by first year Physiotherapy students, of WebCT-based resources, designed to promote their autonomy. Their findings are informing changes in the induction processes for these students.

Dawn Nicholson, an SLTF in Science and Engineering, discusses another aspect of her survey, reported in a previous LTiA, of d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. This article concentrates on student-student and student-tutor interaction during learning and assessment sessions. Dawn makes a number of suggestions for promoting truly inclusive learning and teaching practice. Following on from this, Susie Jacobs et al report on a project in which students in six departments, across two faculties were interviewed about diversity issues at MMU. Susan Curtis then reports further on the ‘Student voice’ by presenting results of a survey on destination choices, by students at MMUCheshire.

In the last section of this edition, Rachel Forsyth provides advice for developing a strategy for providing feedback on assessed work, and shows us how feedback can be timely, useful and used by students. Maureen Dawson also outlines the role of the HEA subject centres and their value as learning and teaching resources.
Finally, we have news: from CeLT, the Library and the Student Union, as well as a report of some successful funding bids.

The next edition of LTiA (Autumn 2008) will have Assessment as its main theme, in line with the Challenging Assessment initiative. This edition will be co-edited by Rachel Forsyth from CeLT who convenes the Assessment Community of Practice.

If you have any ideas for articles with this theme, then contact Rachel or myself. We would also welcome any news from around MMU on learning and teaching including events, successful funding bids, and book reviews. We’re also thinking of having a regular ‘soapbox’ slot, so if you’d like to stand on one- let me know.

about the author

photo of Maureen Dawson

Maureen Dawson
Centre for Learning and Teaching

e-mail: m.m.dawson@mmu.ac.uk
telephone: 0161 247 1205

Summer 2008
ISSN 1477-1241