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Developing a Departmental Employability Strategy
Skills for Lifelong Learning: A Progress Report
Professional Modern Apprenticeships
Lifelong Learning Means You Too
Faculty Learning and Teaching Reports
The Business School
On May 21 and 22 the Business School Learning & Teaching Committee arranged and ran two consecutive days of drop-in workshops. Professor Nigel Healey, Dean of the Business School, attended many of the sessions, as did Professor Lockwood, Louise Yates, President-elect of the Students Union, and a good number of academic colleagues.
There were sessions on the sharing of current MMU and MMUBS developments in flexible and e-learning, and in the use of the MMUBS Intranet. Several publishers were invited, and their representatives engaged in lively debate about the place of commercial packages of e-based packages of support for learning. They also stayed to hear some of the other sessions.
The matter of independent learning was considered, in the context of Personal Development Planning and of schemes for the development of academic and information skills, to which Library staff made an excellent contribution; and an interactive workshop concerned itself with efficient and effective marking, particularly of written assignments.
The two-day event was rounded off with a lively presentation about alternative ways of approaching the teaching of students, from the day they arrive to when they became more world-weary. Lessons for the participants from both days were legion, and a number of issues were taken away by the SLTFs for consideration in refreshing the learning and teaching priorities of the Business School.
Faculty of Community Studies, Law and Education
Faculty Learning and Teaching Activities
The Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee has again this academic year delivered a Programmme of Seminars and Workshops at both the Didsbury and Gaskell Sites and, in May, held a second successful annual Faculty Learning and Teaching Research and Development Day. The day was launched by the Dean of Faculty, Professor Leni Oglesby, who outlined the current issues and demands facing Higher Education. Rob Halsall, Head of Widening Participation, provided an up to date account of access and inclusion issues. Margaret Kendall, Senior Learning and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Information and Communications, joined colleagues in an E Learning Forum and participants from across the Faculty met in a second Forum dedicated to the issue of Support for Learning and Student Retention.
A wide choice of workshops, reflecting the Faculty Learning and Teaching Strategy’s objectives, was offered. It was particularly pleasing to note that sessions were facilitated by colleagues from Information Systems, the Library, the Promethean Centre for Excellence and the University’s Student Services Department as well as by members of the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee.
Faculty Learning and Teaching Strategy and Action Plan
The Action Plan that accompanies the new Faculty Learning and Teaching Strategy identifies ways in which learning and teaching activities will be developed in the coming academic year. Strategic objectives have been identified in order to achieve the overall aim of promoting good practice in Learning and Teaching and staff development activities and events will be organised in conjunction with Departments and Programme Teams. The Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee have, in consultation with colleagues, identified two of the Strategy’s objectives as key priority areas, namely, E Learning and Support and Development of Learning. The formation of working groups on each of these areas has started and the overall plan is to provide opportunities for sharing and disseminating good practice. The two Senior Learning and Teaching Fellows, Edwina Higgins (School of Law) and Kate Kirk (Department of Applied Community Studies), are keen to put energy into working with colleagues to develop these areas of our Learning and Teaching practice.
One area of work that colleagues have identified as of importance in the Faculty is the development of Learning and Teaching strategies that enhance learning through professional practice. Both E Learning and Support for Learning are inextricably linked to this area of work and we will be looking at how learning and teaching materials can be developed for use in practice based learning environments by encouraging collaboration between the Faculty’s various professional courses and programmes.
Support for Learning- The Student Experience
Both the University and the Social Policy and Social Work Learning and Teaching Support network are currently supporting a project to evaluate the contribution of a system designed to support learning for the achievement and success of first year undergraduate students. The project is being carried out on the Applied Social Studies Programme in the Department of Applied Community Studies where students from diverse backgrounds and communities have a range of pre-university educational experiences. A second phase of this work will focus on the success and achievement of such ‘non-traditional entry’ students. A paper will be presented on work in progress at the forthcoming ILTHE national conference in July and a regional Seminar and Workshop on the outcome of the first phase of the project will be hosted at the University in early December. For further information please contact Kate Kirk.
For further information on CSLE Learning and Teaching matters please contact either
Planning for the Learning and Teaching Conference on Wednesday 17 September is well advanced. The conference will be opened by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Plumb, and there will be keynote speakers and parallel sessions which will give an opportunity to find out about research and development in learning and teaching at Crewe+Alsager and elsewhere. The conference will be open to all members of the University.
The Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee held a round of applications and made four research and development awards to Ian Atkin and Mike Lowe from the Department of Environmental and Leisure Studies, Teresa Brayshaw from the Department of Contemporary Arts , Heather Leach from the Department of Contemporary Arts and Mary Issitt from the Department of Humanities and Applied Social Studies. The successful applicants will be presenting their projects at the Learning and Teaching Conference.
The Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee will greatly miss Jane Artess, Senior Learning and Teaching Fellow from the Institute of Education, who is leaving the University this summer to take up a new post. We wish Jane all the best in her new appointment.
The last issue of LTiA with its focus on assessment generated some considerable interest in the Faculty with a number of groups and individuals re-considering this issue. The Department of Clothing Design and Technology took a whole day to review issues like assessment methods, assessment criteria, the impact of increased numbers on assessment etc. The debate continues but a number of developments are being put in place for the new academic year.
Since the last meeting of the Faculty L & T committee, earlier in the year the site librarian and her team, Diana Massam, have completed the audit of e-learning resources in the Faculty and we now have a fairly comprehensive view of what is available and what is in production. Hopefully with a little cooperation from the Departments we can keep this up to date.
The ‘e-Telestia’ project in the CDT Department is moving on at a pace, given that it is due to be completed by the end of 2003. The virtual factory element of this should be up ands running by the autumn and most of the other aspect of the ‘e-Telestia’ website are now in place. This should provide a useful resource not only for our students but those studying in our partner institutions across Europe. Our Greek partners also tell me that they have received quite a lot of interest in the development from colleges in Australia.
The next meeting of the Faculty L & T committee is on Wednesday 2nd July 2003 when the audit of the academic and professional needs of staff in the Faculty is the main feature of the agenda.
A lunchtime workshop was held on ‘Plagiarism – Key Issues and Solutions’ on Wednesday 2nd April and another larger event in the autumn term is planned, focussed around alternative assessment strategies to reduce opportunities for plagiarism.
The SENDA event, originally planned for the summer term has now been postponed to the autumn term in order to maximize attendance. This will be a day school devoted to issues of disability, focussed on the DDA and SENDA, and sponsored jointly by the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee and FASC.
The Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee has now instituted a Faculty Learning and Teaching Prize. For some years the Committee has made available funds for learning and teaching initiatives across the Faculty. These initiatives will now be considered for award of a £500 Faculty prize for innovation and excellence, to be awarded annually.
The summer term was relatively quiet although the Faculty is preparing for imminent major disruption as all three buildings on the John Dalton site are either demolished and rebuilt, closed and refurbished, or subjected to major building works. Despite these undoubted downsides the new academic year will see a major improvement to the faculty's AV facilities as new lecture rooms are equipped with permanent data projectors. In addition, and subject to approval for the expenditure, we hope to begin trials of electronic whiteboards in the three of these rooms. The L&T committee completed a survey of staff development needs using a web-based form that was based on that used at Crewe and Alsager. The results have not yet been analysed but the participation was disappointing, despite extended deadlines and reminders.
Our major learning and teaching event, LT2003, is in its final planning stages and some information will be sent out to all MMU staff. We welcome colleagues from other faculties. Next term will also see the arrival of a new dean (Maureen Neal from Coventry University) and a new chairman for the L&T committee. Dr Mike Cole, a SLTF from Chemistry and Materials, will be taking over. Mike's chairmanship, and my retirement, is a continuation of our policy which restricts the tenure to 12 months. We hope that this will help to maintain enthusiasm, while spreading the experience throughout the faculty.