Beyond Starting to Teach for PGRs: Progressing your teaching

This is the fourth year that Academic Staff Development have run Beyond Starting to Teach sessions to enhance teaching practice and enable space for reflection for PGRs who teach.
These sessions complement the other teaching developments we offer (Starting to Teach and CREATE for PGRs) and will take place between 12:30 – 14:00 in the PGR hub (so please bring your lunch). They are a great chance to meet fellow PGRs teaching across the university and grow your PGR network.
To book, please click on the session titles in the table below and come along to as many of them as your calendar permits. At the end of the academic year you will receive a certificate of attendance for all the sessions you have attended. We look forward to working with you during Beyond Starting to Teach sessions.

Progressing your teaching 
This session will give you the opportunity to review your teaching in order to determine your future teaching objectives. A variety of teaching approaches and activities will be considered within this active session.
By the end of this session you will be able to identify teaching practices/methods/activities you would like to experiment with and hypothesise how you will evaluate the impact of these new approaches.

Web NotesIf you have any issues booking onto sessions please contact Academic Staff Development: asd-course@bristol.ac.uk

Course chargesPlease be aware that failure to cancel your place three full working days before a course or failure to attend a course will incur a £50 charge to your school.

Further informationPlease note: lunch and refreshments will not be provided during this training session, so please bring your lunch with you.

Beyond Starting to Teach for PGRs: Pedegogy in practice

This is the fourth year that Academic Staff Development have run Beyond Starting to Teach sessions to enhance teaching practice and enable space for reflection for PGRs who teach.
These sessions complement the other teaching developments we offer (Starting to Teach and CREATE for PGRs) and will take place between 12:30 – 14:00 in the PGR hub (so please bring your lunch). They are a great chance to meet fellow PGRs teaching across the university and grow your PGR network.
To book, please click on the session titles in the table below and come along to as many of them as your calendar permits. At the end of the academic year you will receive a certificate of attendance for all the sessions you have attended. We look forward to working with you during Beyond Starting to Teach sessions.

Pedagogy in practice
This session will explore current themes in pedagogical research to enrich your teaching practice. The format of this session will include multiple representations of pedagogical research to be examined through constructive debate.
By the end of this session you will be able to appraise pedagogical articles and relate themes in pedagogy to your practice.

Web Notes

If you have any issues booking onto sessions please contact Academic Staff Development: asd-course@bristol.ac.uk

Course charges

Please be aware that failure to cancel your place three full working days before a course or failure to attend a course will incur a £50 charge to your school.

Further information

Please note: lunch and refreshments will not be provided during this training session, so please bring your lunch with you.

signposts

TA Talk – Teaching as a transferable skill in different career paths

Whether you are planning to pursue a career within or beyond academia, teaching provides valuable transferable and applicable skills. This session will explore ways to think and talk about these competences when planning for your future career.

By the end of the session you will be able to identify a range of transferable skills gained through your teaching activities and have had a chance to reflect on how to articulate them in different professional contexts.

Please visit the BDC’s website for more information on support for Doctoral Teachers, or get in touch with Dr Conny Lippert.

Beyond Starting to Teach for PGRs: Reflective practice

This is the fourth year that Academic Staff Development have run Beyond Starting to Teach sessions to enhance teaching practice and enable space for reflection for PGRs who teach.
These sessions complement the other teaching developments we offer (Starting to Teach and CREATE for PGRs) and will take place between 12:30 – 14:00 in the PGR hub (so please bring your lunch). They are a great chance to meet fellow PGRs teaching across the university and grow your PGR network.
To book, please click on the session titles in the table below and come along to as many of them as your calendar permits. At the end of the academic year you will receive a certificate of attendance for all the sessions you have attended. We look forward to working with you during Beyond Starting to Teach sessions.

Reflective practice
This session will help you to identify methods to review your teaching and offer strategies to identify what has been working well and where you may need to develop. Through a series of individual, pair and group activities different models of reflective practice will be explored.
By the end of this session you will be able to identify the skills gained through teaching, critically reflect on your teaching practice and review areas for development.

Web Notes

If you have any issues booking onto sessions please contact Academic Staff Development: asd-course@bristol.ac.uk

Course charges

Please be aware that failure to cancel your place three full working days before a course or failure to attend a course will incur a £50 charge to your school.

Further information

Please note: lunch and refreshments will not be provided during this training session, so please bring your lunch with you.

wooden clocks overlapping

TA Talk – Time Management and Prioritisation

This session will explore a variety of time management and prioritisation strategies to help you identify what works for you and allows you to maintain a productive balance between your teaching and research. You will have the opportunity to hear about and share your own practical tips and tricks.

By the end of the session you will have had a chance to reflect on how you manage your time and approach prioritisation and hopefully identified new strategies to try out.

Please visit the BDC’s website for more information on support for Doctoral Teachers, or get in touch with Dr Conny Lippert.

image of an apple on a piece of wood

Teaching as a Doctoral Student – Myth-busting session

This panel session will provide an opportunity to hear from doctoral teacher ‘veterans’ about their experience, lessons learned, and tips. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and share your own perspective.

By the end of the session you will have a clearer picture of how your experience compares to others’, a broader view on strategies available to you to tackle challenges and access to an interdisciplinary cohort of doctoral teachers to share practice with and learn from.

Please visit the BDC’s website for more information on support for Doctoral Teachers, or get in touch with Dr Conny Lippert.

Teaching Stories

When Problems Create Solutions: A Problem-Based Approach to Teaching

Problem based learning (PBL) is an approach to teaching that supports creative and complex problem-solving. It seeks to address open-ended problems and real-world scenarios that researchers and industry encounter in professional practice. The higher education sector has employed PBL in a range of subjects. In fact, PBL can be adapted to work in virtually any discipline. Often, the best use of PBL is when it is adapted to work on “grand challenges” like climate change, migration, equality and diversity, and any other area that requires multi-faceted approaches and the applied use of disciplinary-specific techniques and theory. PBL is also an excellent vehicle for encountering interdisciplinarity and creativity. 

For the instructor, PBL can invite innovation in their teaching practice. Typically, PBL places the instructor as a facilitator in teaching sessions. It switches the dynamic to student-action, rather than traditional didactic teaching approaches. Students often encounter peer-to-peer evaluation and personal self-reflection of this type of teaching practice. Through its applied approach, PBL also enhances students’ ability to understand the relevance of their degree when they become graduates. Rather than just learning-by-heart, students learn by doing, by failing, by innovating and by being critical. As a result, students become better learners. For the instructor, PBL is an excellent route to demonstrate alignment with intended learning outcomes and a means to articulate how learning connects to professional skills. 

Students respond well to the use of PBL. Evidence supports the success of PBL, for example, it enhances long-term knowledge retention and application (Dolmans et al. 2015; Yew & Goh 2016). The real-life applicability of PBL enhances students’ appreciation for the relevance of their subject, their learning and their intrinsic motivation. There is a greater sense of authenticity and a better understanding of the practice of their subject through PBL. Students become active learners and engage with their subject at a deeper level in PBL learning environments. The nature of PBL, typically working in groups collaboratively, ensures that students become better communicators and team-players, alongside developing core research skills. 

Instructors can also collaborate with alumni and external industry experts to deliver PBL-style teaching. Light-touch engagement can include guest lectures and interactive Q&A sessions. More in-depth collaboration can take the form of problems sourced from industry and industry partners becoming part of the assessment process. Likewise, interdisciplinarity can be enhanced by working with these external stakeholders and with internal academic colleagues in other subjects. 

The best way to start thinking about PBL is to consider open-ended problems in your discipline, problems that can’t be answered with a quick internet search. PBL also succeeds when it is taught in flexible scenarios where discussion, groupwork and feedback are iterative. Students move through problem-solving to research and reflection multiple times during the PBL process. Approaches that incorporate a sense of trial-and-error can ensure that students develop skills and attitudes that foster resilience in both their learning and their approach to real-life problems. Outputs from PBL can be in virtually any format, from presentations, to conference posters and infographics, annotated diagrams, workbooks and portfolios, videos, blogs, consultancy documents and formal reports. 

Practically, flat-bed teaching spaces with wifi and suitable seating arrangements support PBL best. Students succeed best when they have easy access to group-working tools and dedicated, frequent timeslots for collaboration. Part of the teaching should also focus on team-working, communication and delegation skills. To ensure students commit to the PBL process, they also need to be confident that the ways they are marked, in particular group work marks, are perceived as fair. Formative peer-review marking can support this. Marks can be awarded for subject knowledge, presentation, and skills such as record keeping, range of appropriate methods employed, teamwork and communication.  

PBL doesn’t need to be constrained to later years of degree programmes. Indeed, elements of PBL can be introduced early in a degree programme and developed year-on-year to invite a sense of programme cohesion for students who grow through greater levels of PBL complexity as their degree progresses. PBL also succeeds when it is delivered in learning intensive situations, such as one-week “bootcamps”. 

Once PBL becomes a comfortable model for teaching and learning, instructors can also invite students to co-create the curriculum where they suggest or dictate the content. Our research community can also be a source of PBL ideas, which supports the University’s aim for research-led teaching.  

Ash Tierney

References and supportive reading 

Dart, J. 2014 “Learning and Teaching Guides: Problem Based Learning in Sport, Leisure and Social Sciences” https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/learning-and-teaching-guides-problem-based-learning-sport-leisure-and-social-sciences 

Dolmans, D. J. H. M., Loyens, S. M. M., Marcq, H. & Gijbels, D. 2015 “Deep and surface learning in problem-based learning: a review of the literature”, Advances in Health Sciences Education 21(5) pp:1087–1112 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10459-015-9645-6 

Garner, P. & Padley, S. 2017. ‘Utilizing problem and scenario based learning to develop transformational leadership qualities and employability attributes in students through undergraduate teaching’. [PowerPoint Presentation] HEA Annual Conference 2017. 

https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/utilising-problem-and-scenario-based-learning-develop-transformational-leadership (Accessed on: April 18, 2019)  

Heitzmann, N., Fischer, F. & Fischer, M.R. 2018. “Worked examples with errors: when self-explanation prompts hinder learning of teachers diagnostic competences on problem-based learning” Instructional Science 46(2) pp.245-271 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11251-017-9432-2 

Savin-Baden, M. 2000 “Problem-Based Learning In Higher Education: Untold Stories: Untold Stories” (McGraw-Hill Education). 

Walker, A.E., Leary, H., Hmelo-Silver, C.E. &  Ertmer, P.A. (Eds) 2015 “Essential readings in problem-based learning” (Purdue University Press) 

Yew, E. H. J. & Goh, K. 2016 “Problem-Based Learning: An Overview of its Process and Impact on Learning”, Health Professions Education 2(2) pp: 75-79, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hpe.2016.01.004 



Teaching Stories

Five Things to Try in your Teaching Next Year

We sent round bookmarks to academic staff outlining five new things they could try in their teaching – this post includes more detail about those things and where you can get support to try them.

1. Get Moving – Spend five minutes of your session moving the furniture around to create a more dynamic learning environment and energise your students.

2. Live Lecture Polling – Introduce online polling for instant learner feedback and to encourage active learning.

The Digital Education Office exist to support with this sort of activity – get in touch with them to find out more here.

This comprehensive bibliography on classroom responses systems includes subject-specific examples.

3. Start a Podcast – Create informal engagement with your subject by starting a podcast and invite your students to take part.

We can help you set up your podcast using our equipment and advise you on any purchases you may want to make, as well as how to make the podcast available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. We can also put you in touch with staff who have set up podcasts for their subject to provide additional support.

4. Explore the City – Students love to feel connected to our city and it makes learning memorable when concepts are connected to reality.

The Engaged Learning team exist to support academics in partnering with community organisations and businesses.

There are many examples where academics have used the city and its history to connect learning to a space. Two excellent examples are the MAP Bristol project, undertaken with a BILT grant in 2017/18 by Chris Adams, and the Bristol Futures open units.

5. Gamify Learning – Whether it is a points-based system for engagement or a tailored card game, games can make difficult content more accessible and enjoyable to learn.

Suzi Well and Chrysanthi Tseloudi run a ‘Learning Games’ event, where staff come together to discuss their ideas and examples of game-based learning. Any upcoming events will be shared in the BILT Briefing.

The BILT Discretionary Seedcorn Funding is available for staff to apply for small amounts of money (up to £1500) – last year three games were developed from this funding.

Teaching Stories, Uncategorized

‘Snow’ days and the death of lecturing…

The following post was written by Alison Blaxter, a BILT Associate and Clinical Teaching Fellow in the Vet School.

It’s August and bright sunshine but time for reviewing my teaching year.  I was remembering the ‘snow days’ we have had over the last few years. The vet school in the heart of the Mendip Hills briefly closed its doors for business and students because of snow at the end of January. Those of us providing animal care stayed to deal with emergencies but I was also due to lecture that day and the undergraduate students missed my well-crafted lecture on reproduction in cats. Instead I recorded the lecture on mediasite at my desk and it was up on Blackboard the next day. In the case-based session at the end of the cat and dog reproduction course the students didn’t express any significant difficulty with the material, nor were there a disproportionate number of questions from the content of that lecture in comparison to the others in the series.

This and a fascinating keynote speech on the formation of memory at the VetEd, the veterinary education community’s annual symposium  (https://vetedsymposium.org/) by David Shanks at UCL started me thinking about the benefits of lecturing. Lectures are a way in which we can decide as instructors what knowledge our students need and deliver it in a relatively quick and easily produced way to classes of infinite size. We also know that students who have a learning style where listening is key to their development of memory and understanding this form of knowledge transfer may be highly appropriate.


However, we also know that active learning where the learner is engaged in activity associated with the material is a better model to aspire to. There is evidence that  such an approach improves, among other attributes, critical thinking, decision making and creativity (Freeman et al. (2014). My understanding from David Shanks keynote address is that memory formation and the ability to apply information increases where testing is an inherent part of the learning process, Fascinatingly, testing before, during and after novel information transfer improves memory formation.  (Yang C., Potts R., and Shanks D.R. (2018))

 We now routinely use audience response systems such as ‘Turning Point’ and ‘Mentimeter’ to deliver in-lecture quizzes, we use case-based-learning in medicine and veterinary medicine to apply knowledge immediately to specific professional contexts, we promote ‘flipped classroom’ teaching with students preparing in advance for whole cohort interactive teaching and team based learning where peer interaction is pivotal to the learning process or other forms of peer assisted learning are celebrated. Our new accelerated graduate entry programme for the vet course (AGEP) has adopted case-based learning with an emphasis on active participation in a self-directed environment as its core. Do traditional lectures still have a role?

There is also the issue that I don’t always enjoy lecturing. The majority of my teaching is in the work-place where I am fortunate to mentor and teach veterinary students at the end of their undergraduate career on a one to one basis. Dealing with illness and health in real patients, with all the uncertainty this entails is an exciting and stimulating teaching environment. When I lecture the sound of my own voice for a long period of time can feel tedious and I get bored without the great stimulus I get from face to face teaching, so I plan active participation throughout the 50 minutes and my ‘lectures’ can be  noisy and chaotic.  

So my vision of the future involves lectures being pre-recorded, perhaps divided into smaller chunks of material and delivered in the context of a whole variety of resources to a student – videos, audio, text, quizzes and tasks.  Once established our face-to-face time becomes available to guide and mentor students by cultivating their curiosity, facilitating creative application of knowledge and engaging them in a more direct and personal way.  Could lectures as we understand be obsolete?

Freeman et al. (2014), Active learning increases student performance in science engineering and mathematics PNAS 111 (2) 8410–8415

Yang C., Potts R., and Shanks D.R. (2018) Enhancing learning and retrieval of new information; a review of the forward testing effect. Science of Learning 3(1).

Bristol doctoral college logo

TA Talks- Doctoral Teacher peer-group: with BILT

Calling all doctoral researchers who teach!

Would you like the opportunity to network with and learn from your peers?

Would you like to learn more about the development opportunities and support on offer through the university?

Then you should come along to our TA Talks series!

These are loosely-themed sessions designed to allow for peer-networking as well as engagement with providers of support and development opportunities across the university.

They will take place in the new PGR Hub, a space designed for PGRs to meet outside of their faculty or department for a variety of their development and wellbeing needs.

For this third session in the TA Talks series our colleagues from the Bristol Institute for Learning and Teaching (BILT) will be bringing along a number of early career academics who can talk about how their own teaching experience influenced their research and career pathways.