Missed our Vevox Essentials training?

Not to worry. Vevox run regular online webinars, so if you’ve not used our new polling software before and want a great beginner’s guide, sign up to their online webinar Zero to Hero (in 15 minutes!). Running on Tuesday afternoons through to the end of November.

We’ve also got our guides and FAQs available on our Vevox webpages.

Don’t forget to come along to our mini conference on Thursday 16th December.  

Weekly Resource Roundup – 12/10/2021

As leader of our PGCTHE programme, I keep an eye out for resources to help staff teach effectively. These include webinars, podcasts, online toolkits, publications and more. Topics include active learning, online/blended teaching, accessibility/inclusion, and effective learning design based on cognitive science. Below I’ve listed items that came to my attention in the past week. In the interest of clarity, our policy is to show the titles and descriptions in the language of delivery.   

Online events and webinars

Resources and publications

Please see the Staff Training booking page for training offered by the LTEU and other Aberystwyth University staff. I hope you find this weekly resource roundup useful. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact our team at lteu@aber.ac.uk. You may also wish to follow my Twitter feed, Mary Jacob L&T.  

Mini Conference: Using Polling Software to Enhance Learning and Teaching Activities

Mini Conference Logo

The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit is pleased to announce that it’s next Mini Conference will be taking place on Thursday 16th December, online via Teams.

We’ll be taking a look at polling software – a tool that can be used to engage students in their learning and drive-up understanding of complex topics. This year, the University procured Vevox, an online polling tool, that is fully integrated in Teams and can make your face to face activities interactive.

Call for Proposals:

We’re looking for colleagues that make use of polling software in their learning and teaching to present at the Mini Conference. Potential topics might include:

  • Using polling for induction and ice-breaker activities
  • Polling for gamification
  • Polling for driving up learning
  • Making in-person teaching sessions interactive
  • Polling for asynchronous activities

Submit your proposal online before Friday 19th November.

Booking for the one-day event is already open – book online.

We’ll be joined by some external presenters at the event so keep an eye on our blog as we announce our programme.

If you’ve got any questions, let us know: lteu@aber.ac.uk.

Academy Forums 2021-22

As the start of term kicks off, we’d like to invite you to the forthcoming Academy Forums over the next academic year. Our academy forums take place around a particular topic or theme relevant to learning and teaching. They’re an informal space to reflect on and share teaching practice, build connections with colleagues from other disciplines, and keep up to date with debates in the HE sector.

Based on feedback from our successful sessions last year, we’ve extended our Academy Forums to 90 minutes.

Our first session is taking place on 2nd November, 11am-12.30pm. In this session, we’ll be taking a look at the results from the Digital Insights survey. The survey is run by JISC and asks students about their digital learning experiences. For the academic 2020-21, we had over a thousand responses. Come along to this session if you want to hear about the findings and also think about ways in which you can build the results into your digital teaching.

Second up, on the 2nd December (10am-11.30am), we’ll be thinking about designing blended learning. Over the past eighteen months, colleagues have delivered purely online, purely face to face, and also Hyflex teaching activities for students. If you want to consider how to blend the online teaching activities with in person teaching activities, then come along to this session. You’ll be able to reflect on the resources that you’ve produced and how you might go about tweaking them for the current teaching context.

Following the winter vacation period, our third Academy Forum session will be taking place on 10th February (10am-11.30am). This session will take a look at strategies for designing authentic assessments. JISC outline, in their paper The Future of Assessment: five principles, five targets for 2025, that one of the key tenets of assessment design is to make it authentic. Participants will be given the opportunity to enhance an existing assessment or design a new one from scratch.

Into spring now, and our fourth Academy Forum of the year will be looking at peer feedback opportunities. Students develop greater cognitive processing through being given the opportunity to work with their peers – from paraphrasing complex theories, through to sensitively critiquing other students’ work, peer feedback activities can be used to great effect. This Academy Forum will be taking place on the 3rd March, 11am-12.30am. 

Our final academy forum will be looking at Students as Partners on 27th April, 11am-12.30pm. There are different approaches that can be used for Students as Partners projects. We’ll be looking at these – from student co-design to enhancement projects. In LTEU, we’ve worked on a number of student as partners initiatives and will be sharing our projects as well as giving you opportunities to establish you own project at session, module, course, or departmental level. 

For now, our Academy Forums will be taking place online. Book your place on our Course Booking site. Hope to see you there.

Dyslexia Week: Invisible Dyslexia

Written by Caroline White, Student Support (caw49@aber.ac.uk)

It is thought that around 16% of the population are dyslexic thinkers. Currently, around 500 students studying at Aberystwyth University have disclosed a Specific Learning Difference, such as Dyslexia. Other students hope to forget the negative experiences associated with the “dyslexic” label or cannot afford the assessment process and so do not engage with Study Skill (Student) Support.

Some dyslexics struggle through school and then thrive in university and win dissertation prizes. Other dyslexic thinkers’ strategies work until their environment changes eg weekly reading loads significantly increase. The issues usually arise when there is a significant mismatch between the presentation of the learning material and the individual’s ways of learning.

Dyslexic skills underpin much academic work. Areas in which many dyslexic thinkers have been found to be above average are: visualising, imagining, communicating, reasoning, connecting and exploring.  The risk is that these strengths are missed when written communication is used to find out what someone understands.

3 key recommendations for inclusive teaching and supporting dyslexic learners:

Be Specific – students can then use their energy to work more efficiently and experience less anxiety

Be Transparent – so that students understand the processes of developing academic skills

Be Mindful – as our students’ experiences are so varied, including the impact of the Covid pandemic

Resources:

Checklist for Inclusive Teaching (Aber)

Short Aberystwyth video:

Dyslexia (PowerPoint)

Inclusion (PowerPoint)

TedEx videos

The Creative Brilliance of Dyslexia | Kate Griggs (15 mins) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYM40HN82l4

The true gifts of a dyslexic mind | Dean Bragonier (17 mins) https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dyslexia+ted+talk

External web sites

Made by Dyslexia https://www.madebydyslexia.org

British Dyslexia Association https://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/dyslexia. Includes free BDA online training course – dyslexia and mental health – during Dyslexia Week

Microsoft Learning Tools https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/education/products/learning-tools

Weekly Resource Roundup – 1/10/2021

As leader of our PGCTHE programme, I keep an eye out for resources to help staff teach effectively. These include webinars, podcasts, online toolkits, publications and more. Topics include active learning, online/blended teaching, accessibility/inclusion, and effective learning design based on cognitive science. Below I’ve listed items that came to my attention in the past week. In the interest of clarity, our policy is to show the titles and descriptions in the language of delivery.   

Online events and webinars

Resources and publications

Please see the Staff Training booking page for training offered by the LTEU and other Aberystwyth University staff. I hope you find this weekly resource roundup useful. If you have questions or suggestions, please contact our team at lteu@aber.ac.uk. You may also wish to follow my Twitter feed, Mary Jacob L&T.