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Learning and Teaching Seminars 2016/2017

All seminars may be booked via Eventbrite. There is a separate link for each workshop listed below. The Centre also runs events for those seeking Higher Education Academy membership

Transitions: Recruit, support, retain (Birkbeck Excellence in Teaching Award Talk)

Liz Drew (School of Arts), Dr Joanne Leal (Department of Cultures and Languages), Leo Havemann (ITS) and Dr Joana Barros (Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies)

Thursday 27th October 4-5pm Please book your place on Eventbrite

The module ‘Step Up to Postgraduate Study in Arts’ was the result of a cross-college collaborative project following a successful bid for consultancy offered via the Higher Education Academy’s Changing the Learning Landscape Programme (Leadership Foundation) 2013. Since then this Summer module has provided pre-sessional support and added value to students transitioning to level 7 who require or desire academic skills training before starting a programme. A flexible, blended approach is inclusive of those coming from a‘non-standard’ educational background, or a long gap in study or those keen to prepare and engage as soon as possible.

Pedagogic Podcasting: What We Learned from Westminster Watch (Birkbeck Excellence in Teaching Award Talk)

Dr Dermot Hodson and Dr Ben Worthy, Department of Politics at Birkbeck

Thursday 17th November 4-5pm Please book your place on Eventbrite

In this seminar, Dr Dermot Hodson and Dr Ben Worthy from the Department of Politics talk about their podcast, Westminster Watch, for which they won a Birkbeck Excellence in Teaching Award. They will talk about their pedagogic reasons for starting a podcast linked to their undergraduate module on British politics, the practical steps involved in recording and editing a podcast and the reception of Westminster Watch by students and listeners beyond Birkbeck.

Inclusive Assessment Workshop (Learning and Teaching Seminar)

Jane Collings and Pollyanna Magne (Plymouth University)

Thursday 24th November 2-5pm Please book your place on Eventbrite

Gibbs & Simpson(2005) tell us that assessment is the most critical influence on what and how well students learn, yet NSS scores relating to assessment and feedback consistently give cause for concern (Williams and Kane 2008). This workshop will briefly share some research findings highlighting the mismatch between the aspirations of effective assessment practice and the reality of the assessment experience. Participants will be invited to consider the design of assessment; to what extent their existing assessment is effective; and ideas that might help to improve assessment practice and experience. The workshop aims to provide a shift from notions of providing alternative assessment for students with particular needs, towards an inclusive approach which considers how to support all students towards a successful outcome.

Polly Magne has 15 year’s experience working in HE. She is an Educational Developer, the Programme Lead for a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) at Plymouth university, and an external consultant. Her research covers a broad range of areas in pedagogic practice including: internationalisation; effective feedback practices; and inclusive assessment.

Jane Collings has 30 years’ experience in research and practice in assessment. She has led assessment in horticultural science, leadership, management and teacher-training both in higher education and in the workplace. In 2012 she conducted a review of assessment and feedback at Plymouth University which resulted in 15 strategic recommendations to improve students’ experience of, and engagement in assessment and feedback. Jane is an Educational Developer at Plymouth working with academic and professional services staff to influence and embed the use of inclusive assessment and feedback in both strategy and practice.

“Please switch your phones on”: how a new smartphone app can enhance student engagement (Bite-Sized Good Practice Talk)

Professor Pat Tissington, Department of Organizational Psychology, Birkbeck

Wednesday 30th November 4-5pm Please book your place on Eventbrite

It has become a standard part of my scene setting at the start of modules to insist that phones are switched off throughout. This talk will describe how my thinking has changed because of the smartphone app we have been building for the past year. The app actually encourages engagement during class and I will share how we have been using the app to help with onboarding at the start of the student journey and provided additional strands of engagement in large groups, seminars and across programmes. All are welcome to the talk. And do bring your phone!

Moodle and Apps for Students with Disabilities (Bite-Sized Good Practice Talk)

Leo Havemann (ITS), Melissa Steiner and Michael Wheare (Birkbeck Library)

Monday 5th December 3.30-5pm Please book your place on Eventbrite

Leo Havemann from ITS will discuss straightforward ways of discuss straightforward ways of making the resources you put in your Moodle module accessible to the widest range of students. Michael Wheare and Melissa Steiner, Disability Coordinators in Birkbeck Library, will demonstrate some useful apps for supporting students with disabilities.

All seminars may be booked via Eventbrite. The Centre also runs events for those seeking Higher Education Academy membership.

Peer Observation of Classroom Practice (Learning and Teaching Seminar)

Ana da Cunha Lewin, Associate Lecturer in Psychology at Birkbeck

Wednesday 11th January 3-5pm NOW POSTPONED AND WILL BE ARRANGED

Peer observation offers a uniquely valuable opportunity for reflection for both the observer and the observed. Based on a sharing of experiences and an intrinsically collaborative approach, it can provide a moment to pause and reflect on practice that is equally valuable for both. This workshop explores peer observation as a mechanism for reflection and professional development. We will discuss the preparation, the visit and giving feedback both verbally and utilising the associated forms.

App Swap (Bite-Sized Good Practice Talk)

Emma Illingworth, Birkbeck Subject Librarian

Thursday 12th January 4-5pm Please book your place on Eventbrite

Bring Your Own Device to this session to share examples of apps you use in any aspect of your teaching. This could be to engage students using interactive elements like a poll or a quiz, check understanding, communication, reflection, researching, marking using Turnitin. We'll look at the current mobile learning landscape and talk about ways to incorporate mobile learning using apps in your teaching.

Practical approaches to effectively support your dyslexic / Specific Learning Disability learners (Bite-Sized Good Practice Talk)

Anne Morris, Ian Karten Learning Development Tutor at Birkbeck (Specific Learning Disabilities)

Wednesday 25th January 12-2pm Please book your place on Eventbrite

One of the most frequent questions raised by staff is how best to design, deliver and assess our modules and courses to enable all of our students to reach their full potential, particularly those who are dyslexic / SpLD learners. As each learner is unique, how can we develop good practice?

• What are your real-life issues of Learning & Teaching?
• What strategies and approaches may work for Neurodivergent / SpLD students - and also enhance the learning experience for your Neurotypical students?

This workshop provides an opportunity for discussion of real-life issues with practical ideas and innovative strategies, underpinned by good practice.

Moodle Workshop: How to increase student engagement by using the Birkbeck app

Professor Pat Tissington and Jessica Rimoch, Organizational Psychology, Birkbeck

Wednesday 8th February 4-5pm. Please book your place.

The new Birkbeck app offers an effective and easy way to increase student engagement in your classroom. It has various interactive tools, such as live polls, which can be used in and out of the classroom. The app is based on Birkbeck Moodle and this workshop will walk you step by step through the process of setting up your activities on Moodle for the app. Some prior experience of Moodle will be assumed.

Fostering a culture shift in assessment and feedback through TESTA (Learning and Teaching Seminar)

Professor Tansy Jessop, Professor of Research Informed Teaching at Southampton Solent University

Wednesday 15th February 3-5pm Please book your place on Eventbrite

‘Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment’ (TESTA) is a research and change process which provides large-scale evidence of the impact of modular degrees on student learning. Programme teams in more than 50 UK universities have used TESTA as a catalyst for more coherent and connected curriculum design. TESTA has engendered a culture shift among programme teams, building a stronger conceptual and pedagogical awareness of formative assessment. In an instrumental culture where the grade matters most, formative assessment is under-theorised and tentatively practised. The session will explore examples of how programmes have designed formative tasks which engage students, help them learn, and express key disciplinary ‘ways of knowing and practising’. It will highlight overarching feedback design practices which have come about through TESTA, and provide some elixirs for curing student confusion about goals and standards.

Tansy Jessop is Professor of Research Informed Teaching at Southampton Solent University. She believes passionately in the capacity of assessment to transform the student learning experience. Her leadership of the 'Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment' (TESTA) research project, has crystallised the benefits of taking a programme view of assessment. Tansy's interest in student learning is driven by democratic and participatory approaches to pedagogy. She began her career as a secondary school teacher in South Africa, completing a PhD on teacher development in rural KwaZulu-Natal. She has published on social justice in education, narrative inquiry, learning spaces and assessment and feedback.

Linking Research and Teaching: Opportunities for students and academics Connected Curriculum (Bite-Sized Good Practice Talk)

Dr Vincent Tong, Principal Teaching Fellow (Connected Curriculum), UCL Centre for Advancing Learning and Teaching

Wednesday 22nd February 4-5pm Please book your place on Eventbrite

The Connected Curriculum is an institution-wide initiative that aims to ensure that all students at University College London (UCL) are able to learn through participating in enquiry and research at all levels of their programme of study. Creating an inclusive research and learning community is at the heart of the initiative, and we aim to equip students to address interdisciplinary challenges and to explore critically the values and practices of global citizenship. As part of the Connected Curriculum, we address a wide range of diversity issues in higher education curricula. In this presentation, I discuss how academics have been engaging students as partners in their education as co-producers of knowledge at UCL and beyond. I will also outline the rationale behind the R=T (Research equals Teaching) Consortium, in which students and research professors with international profiles in education work together to inspire academics and other students to bring research and teaching closer together.

Thinking Media through the City (Birkbeck Excellence in Teaching Award Talk)

Dr Scott Rodgers, Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies at Birkbeck

Wednesday 1st March 4-5pm Please book your place on Eventbrite

This seminar offers some reflections on The Mediated City, an undergraduate module that encourages students to think about ‘media’ through their experiences of urban environments and urban living. The main focus of the seminar will be an alternative assessment which has been under development in recent years. Throughout the module, students build a blog-based compilation of ‘urban media’ examples that include text, photos, audio, video, maps and other elements. Particularly when they make use of mobile media technologies and techniques, students are effectively being asked to gather up the city and bring it back into the class setting for discussion and elaboration. We will consider the potentials and challenges of this learning method and assessment, and its connections with recent debates that suggest pedagogy should move both beyond the classroom setting and beyond representational knowledge narrowly conceived.

Visualising Arguments: Using dynamic visual elements and other learning strategies to improve students’ appreciation of philosophical methods (Birkbeck Excellence in Teaching Award Talk)

Daniel Harkin, Department of Philosophy at Birkbeck

Thursday 9th March 4-5pm Please book your place on Eventbrite

When Daniel first began teaching in higher education, he negotiated three roles. Alongside his role as a sessional tutor, he was both a secondary school teacher and a student himself. Initially he saw these roles as distinct and often in competition with one another. However changes in the delivery of teaching of philosophy at Birkbeck forced me to bring all three of these roles together and radically altered my approach to leading seminars.

This change brought new demands of the teaching environment and rendered existing strategies ineffective in meeting those demands. Forced to seriously reflect on what it meant to lead a seminar and he began to see continuities between his role as a classroom teacher and the seminar. Daniel brought into the seminar learning strategies honed from his time as a secondary school teacher, by implementing structured activities that allowed for kinaesthetic, visual and auditory learning. A central element of this new approach involved the deployment of a dynamic, visual approach to presenting arguments that allowed students to interact with them and develop the skills required to critically assess them.

Student use of Video Creation to Support the Development of Academic Skills (Bite-Sized Good Practice Talk)

Steve Hirons, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Birkbeck

Thursday 16th March 4-5pm Please book your place on Eventbrite

Digital literacy amongst Birkbeck staff and students is increasing and promotes the opportunities for students to experience a more flexible and enriched learning experience. Using appropriate technology in innovative and exciting ways fosters co-creativity, adding new dimensions to learning tasks.

This can revitalise formative assessment by improving accessibility, develop new and transferable skills, promote individual/group-work and enhance inclusivity.
The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences is at the forefront of using technology enhanced learning within the College. This talk will highlight and discuss a new initiative using video/audio in a formative assessment.