NEW Welsh-medium Teams site and CPD (March ’21)

NEW Teams Site:
We have set up a new Teams site, Dysgu ac addysgu cyfrwng Cymraeg. This site is for staff at the University who teach through the medium of Welsh or who can speak Welsh. It is an informal place for us to share information about Welsh-medium training with you and a place for everyone to share good teaching practice.

*To be added to the site, please e-mail lteu@aber.ac.uk *
Welsh-medium Learning and Teaching site
Welsh-medium training (March):
The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit offers several sessions for Continued Professional Development (CPD) covering a range of topics. We are holding two Welsh-medium sessions during March.

    1. Hanfodion E-ddysgu Uwch: Beth allaf ei wneud gyda Blackboard (22 March; 14:00-15:30)
    2. Fforwm Academi: Addysgu grwpiau bychain (24 March; 11:00-12:30) *Open to staff from other universities in Wales

For a full list of all sessions (both English- and Welsh-medium) and to book a place on any course, please visit the staff training website. If you have any questions about any of the sessions, please email lteu@aber.ac.uk.

Student Digital Experience Insights Survey

Aberystwyth University is taking part in the Digital Experience Insights project aiming to explore our students’ experiences of technology. The project is based on online surveys designed by Jisc and used by different institutions across the UK.

It allows us to gain insight into how students use technology and to benchmark our results against other HE institutions in our sector.

We would appreciate your help in promoting the Digital Insights Survey to all students

Weekly Resource Roundup – 15/3/2021

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.   

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: ‘Embedding Well-being in the Curriculum’, Thursday 25 March, 09:30am

Mini Conference Banner
On Thursday 25th March, the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit will be hosting the second Academy Mini-Conference online of this academic year. The theme will be ‘Embedding Well-being in the Curriculum’, where will explore the links between mental well-being and learning and how this could help to maximise success for both students and staff. The Mini-Conference will run from 09:30-16:50.

We’re excited to confirm our programme:

    • Flourishing at Aberystwyth – Putting Positive Education into Practice (Frederica Roberts – Keynote)
    • Online Communities and Student Well-being (Kate Lister – Keynote)
    • Well-being in the Curriculum at Aberystwyth University (Samantha Glennie)
    • Well-being in the Curriculum – a Foundation Year Pilot (Sinead O’Connor)
    • Supporting Students in Building a Resilient Approach to their Learning (Antonia Ivaldi)
    • What Can Lecturers Do to Get Students to Embrace Mistakes? (Marco Arkesteijn)
    • Building Resilience (Alison Pierse)
    • Meeting Students’ Needs (using simple tools) (Panna Karlinger)
    • Resilience – a Valuable Student Skill (Sadie Thackaberry)

We will also be running an optional yoga and meditation session during two of the breaks for all conference attendees.

We hope that you will be able to join us. You can register to attend the Mini-Conference by clicking on this link. If you have any queries, please email lteu@aber.ac.uk.

Kate Exley Workshop Summary

Last month the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit invited Dr Kate Exley to run a workshop for Aberystwyth University Staff called Moving your (PowerPoint) Lecture online.

What emerged from participants were lots of useful strategies for engaging students whilst teaching online. We’ve summarised some of the discussion below.

Learning Design:

  1. Simple strategies were most effective, such as using word document and uploading into chat
  2. Make use of Polling Software to engage students in their learning
  3. Build in ice-breaker activities to establish initial engagement
  4. In longer sessions, set a task and factor in a screen break
  5. Include tasks for students to do in advance and use the live sessions to scaffold their knowledge
  6. Include social tasks as well as formal tasks
  7. One department are running day long workshops with the option to ‘dial’ in the staff member if they’ve got any questions
  8. Stick to one or two large scale activities in a 40 minute session
  9. Be aware that students might be entering the synchronous session not having engaged with all tasks beforehand
  10. Use collaborative tools such as shared document, whiteboard or Padlet to collectively generate notes
  11. Being more informal in recorded lectures
  12. Offering weekly live q and a drop in sessions
  13. Asking students to meet in groups outside of timetabled activities
  14. Share real life examples / case studies in teaching and ask students to contribute with their own examples
  15. Ask students to look things up / research in the synchronous session

Continue reading

Reflections from Academy Forum: How can I make my teaching more inclusive?

What does insivity mean to you wordcloud

Last week’s Academy Forum on inclusivity was one of the best-attended sessions this year. It was great to see so much interest and commitment in developing more inclusive teaching. This session was delivered in partnership with Student Support Services. Accessibility Advisor Nicky Cashman provided staff with information on demographics at AU as well as support available to students.  

The session started from a broad question of ‘what does inclusivity means to you’ (see the word cloud we created above). After Nicky’s introduction, we moved onto a scenario-based activity. Each group was given one scenario to work with. Every few minutes each group received and an additional piece of information providing them with a broader perspective of the situation.

The scenarios can be found at the bottom of the post.

The activity was followed by a whole-group discussion. Staff talked about a ‘duty of care’ towards their students and the extent to which they are expected and should be monitoring their students. We also talked about the balance between taking care of individual students and the needs of the entire cohort. The group looking at scenario one rightly pointed out that more inclusive practice would be to ensure that students are pre-assigned to groups, to avoid situations when someone is excluded. A discussion on when alternative assessments are appropriate and where additional support in completing existing assessments would be more suitable. Finally, the importance of establishing trust with students as well as checking in with students who may show early signs of difficulties was discussed.

We are very grateful to Nicky and all staff who attended and contributed to this session.

Continue reading

Weekly Resource Roundup – 8/3/2021

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.   

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.  

Call for Proposals: Learning and Teaching Conference 2021

We are now inviting proposals for the 9th Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, Wednesday 30th June – Friday 2nd July 2021.

Submit and view the call for proposals here.

This year’s conference theme, Improvisation within Constraint: Reshaping a Learning Community in a Time of Change, aims to reflect the commitment that AU staff have to enhance the student learning experience. The four main strands of this year’s conference are:

  • Flexible approaches to assessment design
  • Embedding skills into the curriculum
  • Lessons learnt from a blended approach
  • Active Learning

Staff, postgraduate teaching assistants, and students are welcome to propose sessions on any topic relating to learning and teaching, especially those that focus on the incorporation and use of technology. Even if your suggestion doesn’t fit a particular strand, other topics are welcome.

We seek to encourage presenters to consider using alternative formats that reflect and suit the content of their sessions. As such, we are not specifying a standardised presentation format.

Please complete this form no later than 30th April 2021.

If you have any questions, please contact the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit at lteu@aber.ac.uk.

Weekly Resource Roundup – 1/3/2021

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.   

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.  

Why and how we manage Blackboard enrolments

One of the most common queries we get is from people who aren’t enrolled on modules in Blackboard. Our standard answer is that staff and students should be enrolled on the module in the module record in AstRA. Once this is done, it takes about an hour for that enrolment to make its way to Blackboard.

But we know that there are still times when students and staff are added manually to modules. We’d like to reduce this as much as possible, so we need to understand when and why it happens. Our short survey will help us do this. The results of this survey will help us to see if we need to make changes to our processes to make it easier for everyone who needs to be on a module can get access quickly and easily.

It can be tempting to just manually add someone to a module, especially if you are in a rush or can’t find someone to make the change for you. However, there are reasons why we take all our enrolments from one source:

  1. Who has access to a module is transparent. This is particularly important for staff enrolments as staff have access to marks and student details. If all our records are taken from AStRA we know that someone should have access to the module; their enrolment has been approved. Also, there are checks within AStRA to make sure that only staff IDs can be given teaching permissions to a module. This avoids mix-ups with logins or typing mistakes which could see students accidentally being given access to grades (for example).
  2. Students only get access to modules they are registered to. Although we encourage students to check their student record, they will often go by the modules they are registered on in Blackboard. So, if a student is manually added to a module in Blackboard, but not properly registered in the Student Record, this can cause all sorts of issues. Especially when we reach exam board season.
  3. Enrolments can be re-built if needed. If a problem with Blackboard we can easily rebuild permissions to modules quickly and easily as there is a central source for them. Any manual enrolments will not be included in this process and could lead to delays with access.

If you manually add staff or students to modules (or ask someone else to do it for you) please take a few minutes to complete our survey.