Meet the BILT Student Fellows

Meet the Student Fellows… Marnie Woodmeade

Dear reader,

My name is Marnie Woodmeade, I am a fresh-faced Student Fellow working on the ‘challenge-led, authentic learning’ project. The reason I took on this project is fairly simple: I want to help create a future where university teaches you outside of lecture halls, working on real projects that impact the community in which you live.

As an (ex) social policy student, I spent three years learning all of the nitty gritty of what makes a policy work and what makes government tick. Yet, when asked to create my own policy I was flummoxed, I couldn’t even think of how to start. This presented a real issue concerning university education. We spend so much time learning theorists and academics, and while this is useful it does not lean itself toward independent forward thinking. The BILT project presents the opportunity to find out if other university students are facing similar issues and how they want this to look.

The new Temple Quarter campus provides the university an exciting opportunity to expand the type of learning and teaching they provide, and I want to ensure that challenge-led, authentic learning is high on their agenda. Located directly in the centre of Bristol there are possibilities to learn outside the classroom and work closely with other organisations that can provide real-life challenges that students can tackle.

Currently I am studying for my Masters’ in international development, studying part-time because unlike the masters funding suggests, I am unable to live on the equivalent of 86p an hour.  When not in university or prattling on about how to overhaul the education system, you can find me tackling climbing walls or falling into a lake attempting to windsurf.

So, there we have it, if you have any ideas, thoughts, or even musings on anything you’ve read today please let me know and I look forward to working with you in the year to come.

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