The following post is from Imogen Moore, who became a BILT Associate in September 2018.
My current position as Education Director in the Law School affords me the privilege of overseeing programmes delivered to over 1800 law students, including an annual intake of over 400 undergraduates.
When I started teaching in law such numbers would have been incomprehensible: a rueful smile crosses my face when I think back to training courses where ‘large-group’ teaching envisaged 50-100 students. Increased numbers bring challenges beyond the obvious ones of administration, space and student and staff wellbeing. How we can successfully engage such a large and diverse student body, how we can continue to offer high-quality and appropriate academic support, and how can we best enable effective transition to university level study for these students? And cohort size is only one of many factors to bear in mind in relation to our changed, and changing, student intake. Students’ prior educational experiences may well be very different from that we ourselves experienced, as may be their learning habits and social norms. Current students may have different concerns to those we held (as well, no doubt, as many of the same) and very different, and generally much higher, expectations. These issues are not of course unique to my own discipline of law.
Exploring these questions, and in so doing trying to find ways of effectively supporting transition and academic development, will be the focus of my associateship in BILT. Within that broad scope I will be looking at how student voice might be used to bridge possible communication gaps to enhance transition, support and learning; how best to support academic development through the degree programme (linking to long-held and ongoing interests in assessment and feedback), and the impact of pre-university study in the degree subject area on transition, attainment and student experience.
Bristol Institute for Learning and Teaching