News

‘myopportunities’ and the launch of the Bristol Futures Engagement Opportunities badge

The Professional and Community Engagement Manager, Jordan Hurcombe, shares this exiting news around the launch of a new system to support students and staff in engagement opportunities.

Bristol Futures Engagement Opportunities connect our students, the University and wider stakeholders through the sharing of knowledge, resources and skills. We achieve this through collaborating with local, national and global organisations on projects that support all students to develop key personal and professional attributes aligned to the Bristol Skills Framework.

Engagement Opportunities allow students to build roots and connections outside of their existing networks, apply their learning outside of their formal curriculum and develop new skills. Opportunities range from internships and employer vacancies, through to volunteering, student leadership and mentoring. These opportunities non-credit bearing and mutually beneficial, with no minimum time commitment.

We know there are already lots of exciting ways our students can engage outside of their studies. We want to support colleagues delivering these opportunities to promote them, as well as ensure students are aware of the opportunities available to them. From March 2019, we will be launching an online platform, to help students easily find opportunities to develop their skills outside of their studies all in one place.

Already involved in delivering engagement opportunities? Promote your project using myopportunities and be recognised by applying for a Bristol Futures Badge.

If you would like a demo of the system or support to add your opportunity, we will be holding drop-in sessions for staff on the dates below;

  • Tuesday 22 January, 2pm-4pm, Priory Road 4, Room B16
  • Tuesday 12 February, 2pm–4pm, Priory Road Complex F Block, Room 2F4

Please confirm your attendance by registering here.

For more information on the badging and guidance on promoting your opportunity, please visit the Bristol Futures Engagement Opportunities Staff Page.

If you would like to meet a member of the team to discuss how we can work with your specific School, Faculty or Department, or if you’d like us to present at a meeting, please do contact us.

News

What exactly is Bristol Futures and what does BILT have to do with it?

The following post was written by BILT’s Academic Director, Alvin Birdi.  

adaptable, confident, knowledgeable, cognitively and practically resilient and innovative, and aware of their social responsibilities as citizens of contemporary, globalized societies”.

That was how the ambition of Bristol Futures was articulated in 2016 when it was adopted as a central initiative by the University, a way of reimagining its education. Bristol Futures meant building skills and a reflective approach through our programmes, providing opportunities for multidisciplinary and challenge-led learning, engagement with the community and employers and study abroad. These ambitions remain unabated in Bristol Futures which has recently moved to a new phase of activity.

To date, study skills provision and personal development planning (PDP) have been established to support the Bristol Skills Framework; there are freely available online courses on the three broad Bristol Futures themes of sustainable futures, innovation and enterprise and global citizenship; provision for professional and community engagement has been enhanced and some optional credit-bearing units have been created. But Bristol Futures does not end there.

The next phase of Bristol Futures is tasked with embedding the vision above into the core of our assessment, teaching and curriculum in all our programmes. This ambitious work comprises aligning all aspects of a degree programme so that they realise the student outcomes described above in an integrated and developmental way over the programme. That means programme level assessment and an active and challenge-led pedagogy as well as opportunities for working and studying with organisations outside the University.

What has BILT to do with any of this? We have supported and will continue to work with the University in furthering its ambitions with Bristol Futures, particularly around programme level assessment, new and innovative pedagogies that emphasise active and challenge-led learning and the reform of curricula to become more inclusive and receptive to the Bristol Futures themes.

To this end, we now have three BILT Bristol Futures Academic Fellows who will take a lead on the intellectual development of the three Bristol Futures themes. They are Chris Priest, who will lead the theme of sustainable futures; Madhu Krishnan who leads the global citizenship theme; and Dave Jarman who is leading on innovation and enterprise. These leads will be working with BILT student fellows to develop and provide resources to help colleagues conceptualise the themes and to embed them into our programmes of study. Websites on each them are currently under development.

News

Introduction to 2018/19 from the BILT Director

This year’s BILT calendar kicked off with a fully-booked seminar by Debby Cotton and Rebecca Turner on the use of four-week “immersion modules” as means of easing the transition of new undergraduates into their disciplines and good habits of university study. BILT has a full calendar of seminars, covering topics ranging from contract cheating, student autonomy to the embedding of skills. Please see our Events page for the full list.

We begin academic year 2018/19 with a new set of 9 BILT associates drawn from around the university who will be working with BILT in areas of mutual interest so that the educational work of colleagues around the institution can be supported and disseminated throughout the University. See this graphic to make sense of a growing BILT community. Please watch out for further opportunities to join our community in the coming months.

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Our Fellows and Associates are exploring at our two themes, Assessment and Rethinking Spaces, as well as three additional projects outside the themes.

Among these opportunities will be the establishment of funded Learning Communities where we will invite individuals to join a cross-disciplinary team to work for a year on a defined topic. Learning Communities will operate largely autonomously but with BILT support, and they will bring together individuals with cognate interests where synergies and mutual interests can be exploited to their best advantage. These Communities will run from January for a full calendar year.

To support colleagues in schools even more thoroughly we will soon be announcing a discretionary small/ seedcorn funding scheme that staff can use to begin educational work and innovation within the year. The aim of such funding is to provide a more agile and responsive resourcing as the educational landscape changes ever more quickly.

We are also increasing our work with the University’s strategic Bristol Futures programme by bringing the thinking around embedding the key themes (‘Sustainable Futures’, ‘Innovation and Enterprise’ and ‘Global Citizenship’) into BILT by introducing three BILT-Bristol Futures Academic Fellows, each of whom will take charge of the development of one of the themes, its intellectual rationale and supporting resources. As part of this support, many schools will also see BILT colleagues working closely with key individuals in their academic programmes as we begin to transform our pedagogies, assessment and curricula along the lines envisaged by the Bristol Futures project.

This year we are also seeking to significantly increase our work with our students, beginning with the introduction of student fellows who will complement and work with existing academic fellows and associates to work towards realising practices of co-design and co-creation of our education.

I have left until last the introduction of our new BILT Visiting Professor for 2018/19. We thank the outgoing Visiting Professor, Christopher Rust, who has worked with many of you developing our collective thinking around assessment. We welcome our new Visiting Professor, Tansy Jessop, who has led on a key assessment change project in the sector (TESTA) and who will bring her considerable expertise and warm manner to help us make a step change to our move towards programme-level assessment this year.

Alvin Birdi

Meet the BILT Fellows

Meet the Fellows: Christian Spielmann

We asked our Fellows to write us a short blog about their background and what they are doing as part of their BILT Fellowship. The following blog is from Christian Spielmann, who has been a BILT Fellow since September 2018.

 

Is there a future of large group lectures? When can virtual interaction substitute face-to-face contact and is it possible to link both virtual and face-to-face learning spaces to create greater flexibility in how students engage with learning materials? How do we best design learning materials such as video, podcasts or readings for blended and flipped teaching as well as online learning?

My name is Christian Spielmann and questions like the above drive my interest in pedagogy. I have started my BILT Fellowship in September 2018 and am working on the theme ReThinking Spaces.

In the face of growing student numbers and considering the increasing evidence that students learn best when constructing knowledge themselves, designing the space in which learning happens is more important than ever.

Thinking about ‘learning spaces’ means exploring options to make the physical space more suitable for innovative learning activities, but for me it also means exploring the possibilities of virtual and asynchronous learning to evaluate when and how these forms can achieve the intended learning outcomes.

I am a Reader in Economics Education at the School of Economics. Before joining Bristol University in 2017, I worked at University College London, where I co-founded the Centre for Teaching and Learning in Economics, which researches, implements and evaluates active teaching and learning strategies in economics. As part of the CORE project, I have been involved in rethinking the content and the way economics is taught to students all over the world. I am also a Senior Associated of the Economics Network, which is a network of economics educators dedicate to improve economics teaching in the UK Higher Education Sector.