When I started the role as the authentic learning student fellow, I was a heady combination of huge ideas and had no idea how to do it, or how to work within the university. I would like to thank all of the BILT team for getting me through that first month, and their wise words of wisdom that got me on my way. I also want to thank the BILT team for making this year so fun, and I felt supported every step of the way. Not an easy task, but they pulled it off effortlessly.
The year started strong, getting to speak at the Embedding Employability Authentically in the Curriculum panel, and I loved speaking to academics and hearing about how they had changed their units to include elements of authenticity. For me, it was a new world, and it felt like I got to have a deeper understanding of HOW I had been taught and not just what. It also demonstrated to me how I wanted to be taught in the future and exactly what I was advocating for.
The Fellow role meant I had to put my money where my mouth was with collaboration. I think it is fair to say that my university experience up until that point had not exactly taught me to be a team player, it had mostly taught me about independent research. Yet looking back on the year, many of my favourite moments were helping the other fellows (not that they needed it, they are all individually a force of nature). Owen’s wonderful wellbeing conference, or helping with Emily’s BCUR workshops or Toby and I running around trying to find some way, ANY WAY to include sustainability in our projects. I feel tremendously lucky to have such wonderful colleagues and friends.
As I reflect on this year, in some ways it has been disappointing. As with many people, a lot of the events I had planned were cancelled and being locked away from the staff and students I wanted to talk to was a challenge. However, that’s not true as while some things were lost others were gained. I didn’t get to attend conferences, I did learn an extraordinary amount about online teaching, both from UoB’s own and online research and I did produce an Authentic Open Unit Map designed to make it easier for students and staff to find units that include elements of authentic learning !In many ways, this helped to get through the initial stage of lockdown because it felt as if my role had a purpose, and I could empathise with my lecturers as we all struggled to adapt. More than anything, this has taught me how to make the best of a bad situation and how important it is to have a great team around you.
While I am sad to be BOBbing out, I am proud of what we have BILT this year.