Feedback: Encouraging Engagement and Dialogue – notes on a seminar

‘Feedback is good for you, like exercise and broccoli’, said Imogen Moore from the University of Bristol Law School in her seminar on 5th December, Feedback: Encouraging Engagement and Dialogue (quote from Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well, Douglas Stone, Sheila Heen). We know it’s good for us but, according to Moore, feedback receives a consistently low score in student satisfaction surveys. So why isn’t it working? Moore offered some really interesting insights that we can take forward when thinking about how to integrate good assessment and feedback opportunities into the Bristol Futures enrichment courses, as well as in the University more widely. Here are some of the main points the seminar covered:

Outdated attitudes
We’ve all had an older family member talk about how things were ‘back in their day’ (in my case, mostly when I’m moaning about my online shopping having not arrived on time). In that vein, Moore suggested that some lecturers are of the opinion that ‘we didn’t get any help at University, why should they?’

The fact that students are paying higher fees in recent years was offered as an explanation as to why feedback satisfaction rates are so low; students expect more help because they’re paying more money to be at University. But I think there’s more to it than that. The internet has changed the studying process unrecognisably, and students going to university in the digital age face different challenges to those who went earlier. With more ideas and information floating around in a global space, students are able to combine traditional book based research with online resources and improve their work as a result, but with an influx of information at their disposal, we need to recognise that students might need more direction as to which information is valuable.

‘More’ isn’t always ‘better’
One of the main questions raised during the seminar was how to make feedback engaging and worthwhile. Moore talked about feedback as a ‘dialogue’ rather than a one off, tutor led event, with the student taking an active, central role in the feedback. Here are some of her ideas and my thoughts on them:

  • Reducing the stakes
    • Moore suggested making formative assessments optional in order to encourage growth and dialogue, only putting formal weight on the summative assessment. Her idea is that this will encourage students to talk about how they can improve and see opportunities for growth, rather than give up and lose confidence at the sign of a bad grade
    • My worry here would be that, in the busy lives of students, ‘optional’ could quite easily be taken to mean ‘it doesn’t matter’. Although it’s ultimately the prerogative of the students to engage with their degree, this approach could actually end up disengaging students who have jobs or heavy involvement with societies, who will deprioritise non-compulsory work for something they consider more immediately worthwhile
  • Moving from ‘evaluation’ to ‘coaching’
    • When the focus is on evaluation, students tend to think of their rank or rating, triggering a defensive response. When the focus is on coaching, the student can learn and grown from their mistakes and past efforts. Moore suggested introducing developmental formal opportunities, for example submitting a plan for a summative assessment.
    • I think this is really valuable; sometimes the hardest thing about being a student is to organise your thoughts into a coherent answer, and so having the opportunity to run your thoughts past your tutor is always going to be a positive thing. However, we need to keep in mind that students want grades – would grading something like an assessment plan encourage or discourage engagement with the summative assessment itself?

Should we engage students in feedback policy and practice?
The co-creation of resources has become really popular in materials development over recent years. I found it really interesting to hear Moore talking about how, during her time at the University of Reading, they held student forums with the aim of influencing feedback policy and practice. She recognised the benefits of getting the students involved in the process, in that it increased a shared understanding between students and lecturers, but commented that a negative aspect of the exercise was the fact that students don’t want a direct involvement in actually writing the policies and prefer to take a consultative role. My thought was, why should they want a direct involvement? To me, this is a bit like saying ‘lecturers are happy to provide their opinion on my essay but they don’t want to write it for me’. Co-creation should be a combined effort with the responsibility for certain tasks or processes falling on the right shoulders; lecturers are essentially co-creating a student’s journey through university by providing feedback on their work and, in the case of the University of Reading, students are co-creating policies by providing feedback on the feedback process.

Overall, it became clear that students want specific advice on how to improve, as well as prompt feedback, guidance on how to use the feedback they are given and examples of good and bad practice. As one of Imogen Moore’s students has said, ‘if I knew what I was doing wrong, I wouldn’t have done it’. Online connectivity offers a number of possibilities for online guidance and feedback, and the TELED team are already managing some really useful methods, including audio and video feedback, iPad marking and TurnitIn Grademark. Hopefully we’ll see student satisfaction on feedback improve with more schools and departments, as well as the Bristol Futures enrichment courses, adopting online processes and thinking about how they can best deliver feedback to encourage maximum engagement and dialogue. 

‘Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become’: how can we encourage students to work towards a positive vision of their future selves?

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Astronaut” by J M is licensed under CC Public Domain Mark 1.0

I recently read the biography of Chris Hadfield, the retired Canadian astronaut. In it, he tells readers, ‘don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become’, referencing his childhood vision of being an astronaut and how he refocused all of his daily activities including diet, school work and free time in the direction of that goal until he reached it.

On 28th November Alex Forsythe, an Occupational Psychologist at the University of Liverpool, led an Education Excellence seminar, Thanks But No Thanks for the Feedback, in the Wills Memorial Building. Alex Forsythe unwittingly channelled Chris Hadfield in her idea that students need to have an awareness of their future selves in order to accept feedback and set goals, touching also upon Carol Dweck’s theory of ‘fixed’ and ‘growth’ mindsets. She recognised the theory’s obvious problems in terms of generalisation but used it as a useful way to understand basic student thinking:

  • A fixed mindset student is more likely to see their skills and talents as fixed and will work very hard to protect their self esteem, perhaps rejecting negative feedback where it needs to be taken
  • A student with a growth mindset is all about learning; nothing is set in stone and they’re open to being challenged and growing in areas they don’t believe to be their expertise

As staff at the University of Bristol, it’s our job to help encourage growth mindsets in students and support them in developing an awareness of their future selves. This doesn’t mean that each student has to be aware of the specific career path they will take, but rather that they are aware of the skills they’ll need for any workplace so that they can work towards becoming an employable, well rounded individual. Through Bristol Futures, we’re encouraging students to develop and recognise specific graduate skills so that they can set goals and react to feedback as positive steps towards developing these skills, rather than thinking of feedback as a negative thing. Most of us have heard about the ‘feedback sandwich’, where negative feedback is framed by positive feedback so that the student doesn’t self-reflect destructively. But framing things in positive language doesn’t challenge students to move forward; they need to be able to receive criticisms constructively and have difficult conversations in future, so why wrap them in cotton wool during education?

The main topic of discussion after the seminar was that, due to the increase in tuition fees, students tend to think of Universities as institutions of teaching rather than institutions of learning. They want more resources given to them upfront as well as tangible, easily evidenced results, with learning outcomes that are directly relevant to something they do or intend to do in their lives. Forsythe also told the seminar that ‘you’re more likely to make an effort towards applying for a job if you believe you’ll get it’. This leaves us with two main questions:

  • Do we need to make the learning of graduate skills explicit throughout the Bristol Futures courses in order to:
    • make the benefits clear to students concerned with dedicating time to something they’re not paying for?
    • allow students to recognise the skills they’re developing and improve their self confidence, encouraging them to set higher goals for themselves in future?

I went into the seminar expecting to get ideas on how we can provide feedback to students taking the Bristol Futures courses, but left thinking that the Bristol Futures courses should develop students’ ability to receive feedback in other areas. It seems to me as though the true measure of Bristol Futures’ success is to go back to the students in ten years time; if they are happy, well adjusted adults, we’ve succeeded.

Digital Literacy – An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief

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A new Horizon Project Report from NMC focuses on how classroom instruction/education can create digitally literate students (and by default staff).

http://www.nmc.org/news/nmc-releases-horizon-project-strategic-brief-on-digital-literacy/

“While institutions have become more adept at integrating emerging technologies, our survey data revealed that there is still a lot of work to be done around improving digital literacy for students and faculty,”

FutureLearn Academic Network 24th October

The FutureLearn Academic Network event at the University of Leicester  provided a chance to catch up with Futurelearn developments, including:

  • Intended audiences for courses: Several institutions are aiming FutureLearn courses at their own students and/or wanting to track impact of publically available courses on their students.  Professional CPD is another growth area. There are debates to be had about the relative merits of CPD courses being closed or open to a wider audience.
  • Course evaluation and analytics: There were some wonderful presentations on how data extracted from courses can be used to understand learning taking place in FutureLearn courses. Sylvia Gallagher’s research at Trinity College Dublin uses visualisations of FutureLearn discussion to identify discursive themes and analyse whether comments are ‘on task’ (related to the intended learning outcomes). Sylvia is also evaluating the impact of infographics summarising each week of the course. Ben Fields from FutureLearn is exploring time on task; the amount of time that elapses between a learner first starting a step and marking it as complete. This could appear as a report in the platform to aid educator in the future. Southampton University are using data to try to predict dropouts and comparing stated weekly learning time with the actual time learners spend on platform.
  • Futurelearn and relevant external tools: Futurelearn are ready for a further roll out the long awaited group tools. Early indications are they can work for courses where the design is heavily structured towards group work – food for thought for Bristol Futures course design. An external tool called  Georama may also have application for Bristol Futures. It is an  Immersive technology that could give a learner some feeling of engagement with a live event from a distance, for example a field trip. As with the group function, the purpose would need to be clearly thought through. Would a live experience be of enough benefit to enough learners to make using this worthwhile?
  • Methods of accrediting and verifying learning: Professor Mike Sharples (Open University) outlined some future looking research using ‘Blockchain’ technology. Blockchain was developed to verify bitcoins, but is now being piloted to verify learning achievement. Could this become a more mature version of Open badge technology? See The Blockchain and Kudos: A Distributed System for Educational Record, Reputation and Reward. OU experiments include using within an ePortfolio.

Play – notes from a PM Studios lunchtime talk

I attended October’s lunchtime talk at Pervasive Media Studio by Simon Johnson of Free Ice Cream and igfest – about working in real world games. His big hit was the city-based zombie chase game, 2.8 Hours Later (these were heavier with social commentary than I had realised at the time – second version was about becoming an asylum seeker).

I loved his thought that playing a game is like running on a different operating system. And that it can help you see features of the existing operating system – say of a city – that would not otherwise be apparent. Creating a game was also described not as storytelling, but as creating a context in which people build their own stories.

This seems very relevant to thinking about teaching in the digital era, where dissemination of information is no longer such a key concern. We should be designing experiences which shake people out of their set patterns of thinking and allow them to explore new ones, helping them to try out new operating systems, creating rich environments in which they build their own stories.

Misc details

  • Simon emphasised the idea of fun – not “serious gaming”. Similar to Nic Whitton’s emphasis on playfulness?
  • His Cargo game, a city escape game focussed on how to build/undermine trust in a group, was designed to create a chaotic environment to test disaster relief principles.
  • igfest – a festival of interesting games that ran for several years. I think there were more frequent meet ups too. This gave game developers a play-testing community by regular events and some regular participants even became game designers.
  • Hat game – gps tracked bowler hat, whoever kept it longest would win (but there were unintended consequences… the hat-wearer ran away – the prize was too big)
  • theTweeture – such an advanced bot that people thought it was a puppet
  • A couple of the games were intended to help people conceptualise complex ideas: a hoop-rolling game set in a quantum computer; Calibration which puts the scale of the solar system in human terms.
  • He’s developing a conference-based game for the ODI to be played at the UN conference in March.

Teaching at scale: engagement, assessment and feedback – notes from reading group

Chris read #53ideas 27 – Making feedback work involves more than giving feedback – Part 1 the assessment context. A great little paper full of epithets that perfectly describe the situation I find myself in. ‘You can write perfect feedback and it still be an almost complete waste of time’. ‘University policies to ensure all feedback is provided within three weeks seem feeble’.’On many courses no thought has been given to the purpose of the learning other than that there is some subject matter that the teacher knows about’. ‘Part time teachers are seldom briefed properly about the course and its aims and rationale, and often ignore criteria’. The take home message, for me, was that the OU is an exemplar in the area of giving good, useful, consistent feedback even when the marking load is spread over a number of people: ‘If a course is going to hire part-time markers then it had better adopt some of the Open University’s practices or suffer the consequences.’

Jane recommended: Sea monsters& whirlpools: Navigating between examination and reflection in medical education. Hodges, D. (2015). Medical Teacher 37: 3, 261-266. Interesting paper around how diverse forms of reflective practice employed by medical educators are compatible with assessment. She also mentioned “They liked it if you said you cried”: how medical students perceive the teaching of professionalism

Suzi read E-portfolios enhancing students’ self-directed learning: a systematic review of influencing factors

This 2016 paper is based on a systematic literature review of the use of online portfolios, with most of the studies taking place in an HE context. They looked at what was required for portfolio use to foster self-directed learning. Their conclusions were that students need the time and motivation to use them, and also that portfolios must:

  • Be seamlessly-integrated into teaching
  • Use appropriate technology
  • Be supported by coaching from staff (this is “important if not essential”)

Useful classification: purpose (selection vs learning) and volition (voluntary vs mandated) from Smith and Tillema (2003). Useful “Practical implications” section towards the end.

Suzi read How & Why to Use Social Media to Create Meaningful Learning Assignments

A nice example of a hypothetical (but well thought-through) Instagram assignment for a history of art course, using hashtags and light gamification. Included good instructions and motivation for students.

Has some provocative claims about the use of social media:
“It’s inevitable if we want to make learning relevant, practical and effective.”
“social media, by the behaviours it generates, lends itself to involving students in learning”
Also an interesting further reading section.

Suzi read #53ideas 40 – Self assessment is central to intrinsic motivation

Feeling a sense of control over learning leads to higher levels of engagement and persistence. If possible this would be the what, how, where and when. But “taking responsibility for judgements about their own learning” – so good self & peer assessment – may be enough. Goes through an example of self & peer assessment at Oxford Polytechnic. Challenging to our context, as this was highly scaffolded, with the students practicing structured self-assessment for a year before engaging in peer assessment. Draws on Carl Rogers principles for significant learning. Interesting wrt the need to create a nurturing, emotionally supportive space for learning.

Suggested reading

Engagement and motivation

Social media and online communities

Assessment and feedback

More general, learning at scale

Resilience – notes from reading group

These seems to be a lot of interest in resilience in higher education at the moment. For myself, while I know we can all learn how to better cope with the stuff life throws at us, my initial reaction to the topic with was along these lines:

My impression from these papers is that resilience is not well-defined and interventions, although often very plausible, are not evidence-based. Putting that concern aside, the techniques which seemed most suited to be incorporated in university education were:

  • building nurturing social networks,
  • fostering a sense of purpose, and
  • encouraging reflection.

I read Resilience: how to train a tougher mind (BBC Future) and Jackson, D., Firtko, A. and Edenborough, M. (2007) ‘Personal resilience as a strategy for surviving and thriving in the face of workplace adversity: a literature review’, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 60, 1: 1-9.

Resilience is broadly: the ability to keep going in face of adversity and to get back to normal functioning afterwards. It can mean different things in different situations and might not always be wholly positive. For example, one study looked at at-risk youths for whom self-reported resilience meant disconnection and the ability to go-it-alone – not necessarily something to foster.

Both papers talked predominantly about quite extreme situations: children whose schools were close to the twin towers on 9/11, and nurses who work in high-pressure and traumatic environments. In both a lot of the conclusions seem to be based on self-report, for example how people say that they coped under extreme stress.

There are lots of traits, attitudes, and techniques mentioned as helpful for resilience and most of these are thought to be things which can be learned or developed. They include:

  • social support, especially nurturing relationships (including mentoring)
  • faith, spirituality, sense of purpose
  • positive outlook, optimism, humour, seeking the positive
  • emotional insight, for example through reflective journaling
  • life balance

There are several programmes seeking to develop these traits in school children through mindfulness, sometimes mixed with other techniques. These programmes include: Mindfulness in Schools Project (UK), Inner Resilience Programme (US), Penn Resiliency Training (US). The nursing paper does not mention mindfulness, focusing more on hardiness, optimism, repressive coping, and journaling (more stereotypical activities for middle-aged women, perhaps?).

Both papers touch on the idea that you can’t help others to be calm and resilient if you are not resilient yourself, and so on the importance of promoting resilience in those with caring responsibilities (nurses, teachers).

There are no magic bullets though and nobody claiming large or long-lasting effects for any intervention (once it’s finished). What we have is a bag of techniques and ideas.

Learning design cross institutional network

On Wednesday 6th July I attended my first meeting of the Learning Design Cross Institutional Network, kindly organised by Lisette Toetenel of the Learning Design team at the Open University, and hosted by UCL.  The network has only been going for a year, but with an ever growing focus on systematic enhancement of teaching and the student experience across the HE sector, learning design is becoming a field of great interest to many institutions, and this was reflected in the attendance at the event, which was double the number of the previous meeting. Participants came from a range of organisations, including Liverpool, Edinburgh, UCL, Oxford, Greenwich, Northampton and the Open University.

So what exactly is learning design and why is it of such interest?

Fiona Hale from the University of Edinburgh has recently carried out a review of relevant literature and resources as well as interviews with practitioners across the sector, and opened the day with a summary of her work which is informing developments of the Edinburgh Learning Design roadmap (ELDeR) at her institution.  Fiona acknowledges the importance of learning design research but prioritises learning design practice which she defines as

the process of designing learning experiences (planning, structuring, sequencing) through facilitated activities that are pedagogically informed, explicit and make better use of technologies in teaching

(Learning Design Scoping: Final Report)

It is a creative process and distinct from development of courses, although it may involve prototyping of activities and getting feedback on these.

Why is this sort of process seen as so valuable? Firstly, research by Fiona and others has shown that traditionally course design often “just happens”. When there is an explicit design process this tends to be focussed more on content than thinking about the activities students will be undertaking in their  learning. Learning design foregrounds activity as opposed to content, on the basis that it is the activities which help students to engage with content. Content alone is not learning. 

Secondly traditional design practice often happens in silos, with individual academics working in isolation. Sometimes the person designing is not necessarily the person teaching, which can lead to a lack of coordination. The facilitated process Fiona and others use is a collaborative endeavour, involving as many colleagues from the unit and/or programme team as possible working together with library staff and learning technologists. Collaborative design has been shown to be effective, for example through the success of Gilly Salmon’s long-established Carpe Diem approach. (http://www.gillysalmon.com/carpe-diem.html )

Thirdly use of a structured process is easier to evaluate and scale as well as being easily shareable.  In Fiona’s case her team have been facilitating the workshops initially, but because there is a standard model and resources, they are now being cascaded down to facilitators in Schools, which has increased capacity and spread effective practice.

So what sort of approaches are other institutions taking?

At Edinburgh the process involves a workshop which takes place over two days, similar to the Northampton CaIeRO approach, both of which are based on Gilly Salmon’s Carpe Diem model.  Others use shorter interventions such as UCL’s one and a half hour ABC workshops. These do not provide an opportunity for any actual activity prototyping  though, in contrast to the approaches used at Edinburgh and Northampton.

All of the approaches are very active, with participants able to make use of visual resources such as activity cards to try out different sequences of types of activities in their designs. This hands on approach is quite different from other purely discursive review processes, and feedback from participants illustrates that they find this very effective in helping engagement and productive outcomes. 

Learning design as product

In addition to the process, learning design can generate a product, for which Dalziel uses the analogy of musical notation.  In the same way that musical notation attempts to capture the energy and complexity of music, a learning design representation tries to capture “the great ideas of teaching to be shared so that we can build that community knowledge”.

“Learning Design – conceptualising a framework for teaching and learning online” (2016) ed Dalziel 2016 )

Different attempts have been made to represent learning designs, including through use of tools like LAMS and the Learning Designer.   Helen Walmsley-Smith from Staffordshire University is one of those who are looking at challenges of categorising learning designs. In order to demonstrate this point Helen invited participants to have a go at analysing and categorising a series of descriptions  of learning activities. This revealed that the different ways that colleagues talk about teaching and learning can present challenges, as can the way teachers describe activities in their instructions for students. 

One of the frameworks that has proven widely useful in helping to categorise learning activities and thereby help with achieving balanced learning design is Diana Laurillard’s:

 

Laurillard types of learning

(Adapted from: Laurillard, D. (2012) Teaching as a design science: building pedagogical patterns for learning and technology )

We have used both this and the eight learning events model in a number of contexts including workshops and the TEL essentials online course, as ways of helping colleagues think about different ways in which TEL can effectively support learning.

8LearningEventsModelGraphicv2

(Leclerc and Poumay (2005) The 8 Learning Events Model and its principles  http://www.labset.net/media/prod/8LEM.pdf)

Diana’s framework is used in the Learning Designer tool, which allows colleagues to visualise through a pie chart the proportion of each different type of  activity in their course. This can then prompt reflection, for example if there appears to be a dominance of “Acquisition” type activity , this may lead to consideration of balancing this more with discussion or practice. 

Future of learning design

Diana provided the final presentation of the day, which looked to the future of learning design. She sees it as an essential to enable scaling up of engagement with learning technology, and to help good pedagogies to cross to different subject areas and contexts, for example between online and blended courses. She ended by suggesting some ways in which MOOCs could help, for example in sharing ideas and designs, and taking advantage of analytics to further research evidence of effectiveness.

(Slides and audio from presentation by Diana Laurillard)

This was an extremely useful day, and provided a great opportunity to meet colleagues who are both starting out on the learning design journey and others who have significant experience and for whom this process is really gaining traction and leading to better designed courses.  Many thanks to all of the contributors. 

We are very keen to trial one or more of these approaches at Bristol, and would love to hear from any colleagues who may be interested.  To find out more please email:  roger.gardner@bristol.ac.uk

Schools and eLearning – Education ICT 2016 and visit to Microsoft

Last week I attended two events in London that gave a flavour of eLearning and the school sector. The first event was a conference entitled Education ICT 2016, the second was a visit to see education experts at Microsoft, who are doing a lot with schools and increasingly with Universities. Things are changing fast in schools, particularly with the use of tablets by students. We can learn from what is happening in the sector, and there is interest from schools in what we are doing in HE.

Education ICT Conference 2016

Pete Herbert and I presented at the Education ICT Conference in Westminster On Wednesday 29th June. We had the tough job of following an excellent presentation from  Dr Neelam Parmar, Director of Elearning at Ashford School. Neelam described her engagement in with staff to identify pedagogic approaches and develop workflows for a variety of apps used in class on tablet devices. Many of these apps are free and could be of use in HE.

Pete and I spoke about scaling up the digitisation of content through Mediasite and our aspirations to move beyond simply capturing content to doing something more transformative. Pete illustrated the scale of use of Mediasite at Bristol, which has had over a million views, and also described how academics here are:

  • using analytic data to determine the areas students return to in the recordings to ask questions about why students might focus on those elements, eg is there a concept they are trying to better understand?
  • using flipped techniques and video feedback. In other words, changing teaching practice through the technology.

We alluded to aspirations to partner with students in areas of course and material design and how we are learning from MOOCs to change what we deliver to our own students. I was then on a panel session with some challenging questions from the floor about how we engage staff and students in change, and how students can partner with us in making change happen. Coincidentally, one of the other panel members, Kevin Sait, Head of IT Strategy at Wymondham High Academy Trust, delivered part of the session I attended at Microsoft on Friday.

Visit to Microsoft

This was an opportunity to see what Microsoft are developing for the education market. The visit was arranged and attended by colleagues from IT Services. Colleagues from the Faculty of Health Sciences.

We enjoyed a demonstration of the Microsoft Surface Hub. In effect, this is a very advanced electronic whiteboard with powerful video conference functionality built in. The responsiveness of the touch screens in particular was impressive. This has been the main disadvantage of screens I have used in the past. The video conferencing (built on Skype) included Xbox technology that tracks the user to determine which camera to use. You can see that in the right sized classroom, and with the right use cases, this could be an extremely effective tool. They could, for example, support those teaching across the clinical academies.

Kevin Sait demonstrated a range of Microsoft collaboration tools built into Office 365 and Sharepoint. Of particular interest to one colleague was Sway (part of Office 365) billed as a digital storytelling tool. Much of the collaboration with students in Microsoft schools centres on Onenote, through which students can build and share content. Other colleagues could see huge potential of the cloud for collaborative staff activity eg collaboration on exam papers.

There are some differences between Schools and Universities (for example, class size and types of teaching space) but there is much we can learn from what they are doing in schools. University student expectations will evolve as a result of what they are seeing in schools. We can start experimenting with tools like Onenote and the office 365 package, which, like Google apps, have great potential for both staff and student collaborative activity.

Faculty learning communities

Last week I attended a workshop about Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs), organised by colleagues in Academic Staff Development . This was an extremely interesting day led by Milton Cox from Miami University (which Milton was keen to emphasise is not in Miami Florida, surprising many!)

In the morning we looked at evidence for the effectiveness of FLCs and recommendations for how to design and run them successfully.  Milton referred to a number of useful resources, many of which can be found on the FLCs website.  The afternoon started by considering scholarship of teaching and learning and how it can be supported through FLCs. Milton talked through examples, some of which had been presented at the Lilly conference on evidence-based teaching and learning. The day closed with a discussion of important factors when leading and facilitating FLCs.

Discussion and questions were varied during the day, including concerns about time,  opportunities afforded by cross disciplinary collaboration in FLCs, and ethical considerations in educational research. I was particularly interested in Milt’s repeated emphasis on the effectiveness of “people talking to people over time” in effecting changes in pedagogic practice. He spoke at length about evidence from implementation science, and particularly from the National Implementation Research Centre on the effectiveness of FLCs in delivering educational development.

Many thanks to ASD for organising the event. Milton was an engaging lead and the day provided plenty of food for thought for us at Bristol, as we embark on the new University  Strategy, which aims to nurture and grow our community of innovators and scholars in teaching and learning.