2a) An understanding of teaching, learning and/or assessment processes
Statements here might relate to areas such as teaching experience, learning design, curriculum development, work-based assessment, the creation and execution of a programme of training and so on. Evidence might include being on the register of the Higher Education Academy, a PGCE award, having completed a SEDA-approved course, extracts from your Institute for Learning (IfL) portfolio or undertaken relevant sections of the Certified E-Learning Professional courses. Commentaries from peers on your approach would also provide suitable evidence. Other possibilities include teaching experience, reflective statements that analyse experience in terms of learning theory, pedagogic approaches, sociological theories, or a comparable, recognised perspective. In relation to learning design, a report, specification or reflective statement might be provided that clearly elaborates the principles that informed the design process. In any collection of evidence, there should be some consideration of how technology is changing approaches to teaching and learning and/or the roles of learners, teachers and support staff.
Technical Demonstrator in Media Production.
From 2007-17 I was a Technical Demonstrator in media production at The University of Northampton, supporting students on the BA Media Production and BA Journalism courses. In this role I ran workshops on a wide range of media skills including; photography, video camera recording, video editing, magazine layout, graphic design, TV & radio studio recording, and building e-portfolios.
I also created opportunities for students to learn actively outside of the classroom by supporting the launch of the University’s student radio station from 2014-16 and launching the Northampton 72-hour film competition in 2016. These enhanced the student experience by encouraging them to expand and develop their skills beyond the requirements of course assessments and engage in communities of practice which facilitate peer learning.
From 2015-17 I led a level 5 module ‘Web Site Design’ within the programme – Business Computing (Web Design) BSc (Hons). This module introduced 2nd year computing students to graphic design and how to use the platform WordPress to build a website.
With the agreement of the module leader J Vernon, I redesigned the module activities to better align to the assessments (based on my reading of J Biggs’s concept of constructive alignment) and changed the method of student presentations from classroom presentations to screen recordings using the University’s video hosting platform (Kaltura).
The use of recorded presentations helped students who are non-native English speakers or those suffering from anxiety who are disadvantaged by face to face presentations. It was also an effective practical solution for the second grading of student presentations and external moderation as they could be reviewed outside of the class time.
The feedback from the module leader and students was very positive and I was invited to teach the module for a second year, where I further refined the weekly learning activities.
Teaching/Training as a Learning Technologist.
Since joining the Learning Technology team in 2016 I have delivered a number of face to face training courses on our supported Learning Technologies inlcuding our mandatory staff induction session: ‘SaGE – Submitting and Grading Electronically’.
When reviewing the ‘SaGE’ session with colleagues in 2018 I suggested that we run this in pairs to allow for session peer review, this idea has been adopted in the team and we have continued to use this model for all face to face training.
With colleagues in 2018 I designed two new faculty specific sessions; ‘Techniques for improving interactions and student engagement within your VLE’ and ‘Blogs for students’. When planning the first of these I met with Learning Designer J Usher who advised on how Kolb’s experiential learning cycle could be useful in the design of our session plans.
By using this model to plan these sessions I was able to ensure that I modelled an ‘experiential’ approach in which tutors:
- Had an opportunity to experience tools (concrete experience)
- Reflected on their experience of each tool (reflective observation)
- Discussed how changes to the way that technology is introduced and presented to students can affect their engagement and learning (Abstract Conceptualisation),
- Consider and discuss how they might wish to introduce different tools in their teaching (Active Experimentation),
I continued to use Kolb’s cycle when co-designing and delivering four new courses in use of; Blogs and Journals, Edublogs (WordPress), Padlet and recording videos with Kaltura.
Further training and learning.
Since joining the Learning Technology team I have attended a number of training courses on Teaching and Learning including Active Blended Learning, and Problem Based Learning. I have also discussed teaching strategies with colleagues in Learning Design, and ILT professors Ale Armellini and Dr Ming Nie which have been useful for the design of the online training course ‘Enhancements’.
Reflection and Feedback
Feelings – what were you thinking and feeling?
My experiences teaching and supporting students prior to becoming a Learning Technologist have led me to be an advocate for experiential learning which strongly aligns with Active Blended Learning (ABL).
When meeting with academics in my faculty in 2016, I found there was concerns about the change in pedagogy from lectures to ABL. And rather than discuss this directly I found that an effective strategy was to focus on they were using technology to improving their student engagement.
By framing the conversation in this way I was able to highlight staff innovations and link these to Active Blended Learning through case studies on our LearnTech Blog. This approach allowed me to build positive relationships with staff.
Evaluation – What was good and what was bad about the experience.
I believe that my time invested recording case studies has helped the faculty to develop a reflective community of practice which supports the pedagogic approach of ABL.
I was inspired to adopt this approach after viewing the (#ABLpractitionerstories) posts on the Learning Technology blog and am indebted to the Learning Design team for creating a flexible format which I can use to document how tutors use technology to enhance their learning.
By engaging with Learning Designers and ILT (Institute of Learning Technology) I have also learnt much about the theories of teaching and learning which underpin ABL. These conversations have highlighted concepts such as Kolb’s reflective cycle which I have used to better design face to face training sessions.
When I began redesigning our Learning Technology face to face training sessions in 2018 I initially found it difficult to cover the same content as earlier sessions which were delivered didactically. Since retiring our older courses I have been able to design new ones with different learning outcomes which now better model experiential learning.
Analysis – What sense can you make of the situation
Like academics the Learning Technology team has changed our methods of delivering training. Where previously we delivered demonstrations from the front of the room, with designated times for answering questions we have now adopted task sheets for staff and as a result have found our role has changed from expert demonstrators to learning facilitators.
I have enjoyed the process of working with colleagues to experiment with different ways to engage staff and feel we now deliver more inclusive and engaging training sessions.
The creation of the new online training courses are modelled on behavioural learning theory rather than a constructivist approach and as standalone online experiences are less active than our face to face sessions. These courses are are not intended to replace the more active face to face training sessions but fill a gap for tutors who are unable to see us in person.
Conclusion – What else could you have done?
In 2016 I became interested in how technology supports ABL and designed a prototype game (View ABL training pack), staff feedback suggested that the game layout was too complicated and I abandoned the idea to focus on other projects. However I think this was an interesting idea and would like to revisit using gamification in the future to explore the relationship between pedagogy and technology.
Action Plan – If it arose again what would I do?
Meetings with subject groups are perhaps my best opportunities for staff training, as colleagues can reflect together upon their use of technology and collectively make decisions on how they want to develop their skillsets.
Unfortunately I find it is difficult to timetable these so if starting afresh I would try to fix in the diary termly training sessions with each subject group and establish these as regular events.
Session Planning – Techniques for improving interactions and student engagement within the VLE
Course Request Form – Building blogs with Edublogs (PDF),
Workshop Alignment with the UK Professional Standards Framework
– Introduction to Padlet (C@N-DO)
– Tools & techniques for reflection and discussion (C@N-DO)
– Video case studies (PDF) Presentation delivered at Northampton ILT conference in May 2018.
– Introduction to Padlet – E-tivities linking to JISC Digital Literacies (PDF)
– These anonymous comments were added in the session the ‘Techniques for improving interactions and student engagement within an FBL faculty away day.
Julia Vernon - Pathway Leader BSc Business Computing
Rob Howe - Head of Learning Technology
“The online training courses were developed as a result of Richard identifying the need for a comprehensive set of resources and exercises which had to be delivered flexibly. Richard developed and piloted the materials with the support of other members of the team and continued to update the materials based on feedback received when the materials went live. The resources filled an obvious gap in training for partner institutions and they have been so successful that they have also been promoted to the internal staff at Northampton. It is essential that staff are competent in using the tools available for their needs and the resources are an important part of supporting staff to achieve this.”
Jim Atkinson - Staff Development Trainer / E-Learning Developer
Richard took part from the very first stages of the project, alongside other colleagues from the LearnTech team. During the pilot sessions he provided particularly helpful, clear and constructive, instructional design feedback.
He helped identify where and how the training session plan could be developed to improve the learning experience and learning retention of delegates attending the sessions.
His input was influential during this design process and in maximising the effectiveness of the course.
Richard also supported the practical delivery of those sessions. He co-led on the training delivery of a training session with his colleague Belinda Green. He also provided support within several other sessions by performing the role of group leader and facilitating tables during the practical elements of the course. Here he provided further explanations and support to those on his table on how to use Barco, fielding queries and questions, solving problems or issues and more.”
Elaine Vyner-Mayes - Student workshop
As part of an assessment briefing, Richard Byles, attended three workshops for first year UG Events and Tourism, plus HND students. The assessment task requires the student to create an infographic and then carry out a voice recording to justify and explain their ideas.
The purpose of the session was to introduce the topic of infographics and the tools available to create one.
Richard’s, session was interactive and practical. He began by asking the students if they had ever created one and then proceeded to introduce the purpose of the infographic and then proceeded to explain and demonstrate a number of tools that could be used.
The class were then able to get involved and have a go at creating one for themselves.
This session is being followed up this week where the students will come to class with a shortened version of their infographic and be able to learn how to complete the second part of the assessment and record themselves.
The workshop was extremely successful and all students were engaged.
Elaine Vyner-Mayes – Senior Lecturer in Events & Hospitality