Sunday, October 26, 2008

Swapping Ideas on Teaching in Higher Education

Mick HealeyOn Friday Professor Mick Healey, Co-Director of the Centre for Active Learning (CeAL), University of Gloucestershire, conducted a "Linking Research and Teaching Swap Shop" at the ANU Festival of Teaching in Canberra. About thirty people attended. We divided into groups of between three and six people. The members of each group then took turns to present a teaching idea. Each person had five minutes to talk and then five minutes of questions. We then swapped groups and repeated the process.

This produced some interesting ideas:such as inviting an ex-senator to be an on-line moderator for a course on law and having the students use a wiki to create resources for a course. My contribution for the swap shop is: "Blended Learning: Using a Learning Management System Live in the Classroom".

The following panel discussion brought up more interesting ideas, including peer learning, flexible spaces and the mixing of staff and students at Earth Sciences, Oxford Unviersity. There was also mention of a book on "Education for Sustainability" from the UK. Unfortunately I couldn't find exactly which book was being referred to, but this seems a useful phrase: "education for sustainability".

One aspect this brought out was the need for appropriate resources for group learning. While ANU has many excellent teaching venues for group work, The Hall of University House, where this swap shop was held, is not one of them. This historic space is a wonderful venue for dinner, concert or speech, but as it can hold 500 people is not ideal for small group work.

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