Teaching this term

It’s the time of the year when I seem to be frantically preparing teaching materials between delivering classes and workshops. In the last few weeks I have taught two workshops as part of LSE’s PGCert on Learning Technologies. This term I am teaching with Claudine Provencher from the Teaching and Learning Centre and LSE’s Department of Social Psychology. We made some changes to the workshop, and were both really pleased with how the session went. For once I also felt that many of the students did realise that technology was not something to think about after you’ve planned your teaching. We also had a greater number of students who had taken online courses or used technology for their own learning.

Last week I was teaching ‘Developing you web presence’ and today I ran a session on using Web 2.0 tools in teaching. Again it seems that many people attending these sessions don’t need convincing these tools are helpful for learning, they just need advice about the best way of using them. Tomorrow I’ll be teaching a session on Managing Information with colleague from the Library as part of the MY592 programme. And then at lunchtime I am teaching second year PGCert students about using technology for assessment and feedback. Then on Thursday I’ll be in Aberystwyth for my annual trip to the Department of Information Studies, to give a guest lecture for students. Wish me luck!  Don’t forget many of the resources for these sessions are available as open educational resources in LSE Learning Resources Online.

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Preparing to teach

Tomorrow I return to teaching, starting at 10am with the first class of our information literacy programme for PhD students, MY592 at LSE. I’ll be joining colleagues for the first hour of the 2 hour workshop, and then running next week’s session and the final session in week 6. However, I also start teaching students on our PG Certificate in Teaching in HE tomorrow. Module 1 on Planning your teaching kicked off a few weeks ago and I’ll be running the workshop on learning technologies at midday with my colleague from TLC, Claudine. It’s our first time teaching together, so I am really looking forward to it, but also hoping all our timings and activities, including using the voting system, works ok!

I know lots of people hit the ground running at the start of term with a lot of teaching, but it’s often a slower start for me after the initial induction programes for staff. Next week I’m running the Managing your Web Presence workshop, and I’m also preparing a day long training programme on copyright issues for another university. But I’m really going to be busy later this month with workshops and conferences. I will also be taking the long train ride to Aberystwyth to give a lecture at the Department of Information Studies in a few weeks time. Oh and in case you missed it, the conference I presented at a few weeks ago on Future Strategies for HE libraries, was picked up by the Times Higher and you can read the write up here. My presentation on Librarians as Teachers Integrated into the Curriculum is on Slideshare.

Turning my training into development opportunities

I’m really enjoying the SEDA Summer School, not just the beautiful Cumberland Lodge and the Great Park at Windsor, but the chance to meet lots of new people who share my interests and to really spend some time thinking about how to implement a framework for digital literacies at my own institution. I’ve enjoyed the sessions today, on digital identities, personal learning networks, open practice (by Lindsey Jordan from the University of the Arts) and a session on workshop planning facilitated by David Baume. It’s started me really thinking about what I call the ‘training’ that we offer in terms of digital literacy. The need to have a clear outcome from a session so you can evaluate if it really has been effective. The difference between aims, learning outcomes and actual outcomes. I have realised that some of the workshops I run perhaps don’t have a clear outcome for the participants, (or I don’t give them time to work so they can take something away!) and some of the training I do (hands-on how to create a blog, how to use Twitter) is much more outcome focused. An interesting observation, but I also heard so many ideas from other learning technologists on how to run training on technology enhanced learning, what works, what doesn’t. The need to run sessions on course design and what a good course in Moodle looks like, rather than focusing on the nuts and bolts of how to upload files! Of course people need to mechanics, but surely we can give them more than that, otherwise, no wonder they treat learning technologists like technologists and not curriculum designers, or people who might know about pedagogy. One to think about at our team away day on Friday this week perhaps? Also lots to reflect on for the sessions I run in the PGCert and I have a plan for a workshop on open education – thanks Lindsey!

What do university teachers think e-learning is good for?

University in Budapest

This is the title of an article by Gonzalez which appeared in 2010 in the journal Studies in Higher Education. We used this reading last year in Module 1 of the PG Cert (LSE’s teaching qualification) in an introductory seminar about learning technologies. I am teaching the technology and digital and information literacy aspects of this course, with my colleague Dr Claire Gordon, who is a Teaching Fellow at LSE’s European Institute and an Educational Developer in our Teaching and Learning Centre. We decided to stick with the article this year, despite my slight concerns that it focuses on what teachers think e-learning is good for, not what it actually might be good for! This year we agreed to take a seminar each and Monday was the first time I had run this type of session on my own.

Seminars are a little scary for me, particularly as they bring back memories of undergraduate days when everyone sat around a professor’s office not daring to be the first person to say something, or admit whether we had (or hadn’t!) done the reading. They are also a quite different way of teaching to my usual session which is a hands-on training session, a lecture or more commonly these days, a workshop, where I present but have some activities for participants. Continue reading