The Learning Institute has a regular public seminar programme on higher education each term. The seminars are open to everyone and there is no need to book in advance.
The Michaelmas seminars run during term time on Thursdays (4.00 to 5.30 pm), on the dates below and take place on Level 2 of Littlegate House in St. Ebbe's Street.
If you would like to be added to the research seminar mailing list, please contact us on research or (01865) 2-86811.
View the archive of previous seminars run for the previous 2 years.
The speakers for MT 2013 are:
Professor Sally Brown, Leeds Metropolitan University
Week 1 - Thursday 17 October 2013
Changing the experiences of Masters level learning through improving assessment.
Assimilate was UK National Teaching Fellowship £20,000 project based at Leeds Metropolitan University, designed to explore UK and international approaches to Masters-level assessment, a little- researched area of HE pedagogy. There is a growing interest globally in improving the experiences of students at postgraduate level in a highly competitive global environment, with assessment seen as a key aspect of the Masters-level student experience. Authentic, fit-for-purpose assessment practices are likely to enhance the attractiveness of these programmes.
Most assessment in current use at this level relies principally on traditional methods e.g. unseen time-constrained exams, essays, theses and other written assessments. Using face-to-face and phone interviews, the team assembled 34 UK and international case studies of Masters level assessment demonstrating innovative approaches that:
- Propose alternatives to traditional dissertations;
- Offer significant formative feedback opportunities;
- Use digital and other technologies;
- Provide enhanced opportunities for peer support and group work;
- Foster enhanced employability for Masters graduates.
This seminar will explore the principal findings of this project and provide opportunities for discussion about how innovative Masters level assessment can genuinely enhance learning and engagement.
Dr David Lewin, Liverpool Hope University
Week 2 - Thursday 24 October 2013
Behold: Silence and attention in education
In this presentation I will examine some of the relations between attention and education. In educational circles it is often asked: what can be done to engage students or capture their attention? These questions are unhelpful because they assume that attention is in the control of the student. From recent studies of the use of silence in schools, to more reflective considerations of thinkers such as Simone Weil and Iris Murdoch, I will argue for a conception of attention that problematises the notion that teachers can simply expect students to pay attention. Although I acknowledge the vital significance of attention in education, I suggest that it is also extremely delicate. Its delicacy is a consequence of the philosophical question of agency: that attention is not something that we (or our students) simply control.
I will reflect on the somewhat archaic term ‘behold’ which, I suggest, may be the educator’s essential word. Whatever else teachers do, they draw the attention of students to things; they bear witness. But the student must see for herself. Behold is an interesting term that captures the event of education by drawing together the 3 dimensions of education: the teacher, the student, and the world. I will draw on Heidegger’s philosophy to say something about the manner in which this event is a mode of world-disclosure fundamentally related to attention.
Mr Malcolm Fialho, University of Western Australia
Week 3 - Thursday 31 October 2013
Deepening the ‘conversation’: Privilege, power and Racial Unconscious bias
Traditional cultural diversity training approaches are often uni-dimensional and can reinforce stereotypes (e.g. ‘Chinese’ are like this, ‘Indians’ are like that). They are generally compliance driven and focus primarily on the ‘business’ case, thereby missing a key conceptual element, namely, the analysis of power and privilege. Consequently, staff engage superficially with issues of race and cultural diversity resulting in the ‘status quo’ being maintained and, in some instances, augmented.
In 2009, The University of Western Australia (UWA) implemented a transformative cultural competence program, ‘Courageous Conversations about Race’ (CCAR), based on a successful North American Model. The development of cultural competence is critical in the mix of graduate attributes required to function effectively in a global professional context.
The CCAR Program is currently being implemented across 15 Universities in Australiaand New Zealand. The Program challenges members of the University community to think through the various ways Race affects both their life and professional practice. Participants are provided with a unique opportunity to unpack their own unique racial story, better understand the concept of white race ‘privilege’ and utilise the insights gained to drive culturally inclusive practice.
This paper will describe the process of deepening both the conversation and practice around Race across UWA and the broader higher education sector. Examples will be provided that illustrate meaningful and sustainable engagement with issues of race and cultural diversity across the teaching and learning environment.
Professor Charlotte Rees, University of Dundee
Week 4 - Thursday 7 November 2013
Language matters: Analysing talk to understand student-patient-teacher relationships within medical education
Medical students develop communication, physical examination and procedural skills, clinical reasoning and professionalism on their journeys to becoming full-fledged doctors through their supervised interactions with patients within the medical workplace (Rees et al. 2013). While much research has examined the doctor-patient relationship, few have explored the ‘triadic’ learning relationship between student, patient and doctor (Pomerantz et al. 1995, Wynn 1996). How students, patients and doctors talk to and about one another can help shed light onto the various ways in which they conceptualise themselves, others, and their relationships (Rees et al. 2007; Rees & Monrouxe 2008). Drawing on hers and colleagues’ 10-year programme of research from a social constructionist perspective, (Monrouxe et al. 2009; Rees & Monrouxe 2008; 2010; Rees et al. 2013). Charlotte will illustrate how we can better understand the student-patient-teacher relationship by analysing multiple stakeholders’ language, paralanguage and non-verbal communication. Specifically, Charlotte will illuminate key findings from two different types of study (interview and observational studies), which have employed multiple types of analysis (e.g. systematic metaphor analysis, pronominal analysis, laughter analysis, critical discourse analysis etc.). She will discuss the challenges associated with this ‘multi-layered’ approach to analysis, and will talk about the implications for further research.
Dr Rebecca Turner, University of Plymouth
Week 5 - Thursday 14 November 2013
“About writing - Fear of the unknown? Fear of criticism?” An exploration of writing development for professional academics
Writing is the prevailing form of communication used by academics to publicise ideas, apply for research funds and demonstrate their expert knowledge. However, the breadth of its application and the forms in which writing can be employed are regularly overlooked, and primarily support focuses on developing individuals’ technical knowledge and practical expertise in writing (e.g. Caffarella & Barnett, 2000; Murray et al., 2008). Whilst this reflects what is required by most academics and research students, it does not meet the needs of a growing number who teach in higher education as a result of their professional rather than research expertise (Boud, 1999). These individuals deliver courses in professional disciplines such healthcare and education, and perceive engaging with research as an essential aspect of their university role (Boyd & Harris, 2010).
Following a brief introduction to the professional context in which this work was grounded, I will discuss how a group of professional educators were introduced to the practices of academic writing through the use of writing as a reflective medium. This approach was informed by Peseta (2007) and Richardson (2001), who present writing as method of inquiry that allows individuals to examine the self and produce meaning in relation to the context in which they are operating. I will demonstrate how using writing in this way introduced the professional educators to the more traditional technical skills of writing, but also allowed exploration of alternate forms of written expression. Drawing on work that was produced through this project I will consider how they developed their emergent voices as writers and a growing sense of academic legitimacy. I will conclude by considering the potential for this approach to be used with newer academics, and the possible challenges of acceptance by more traditional academic audiences.
Professor Shireen Davies, University of Glasgow
Week 6 - Thursday 21 November 2013
Developing a strategic leadership programme for BME staff in Scottish Universities
The increasingly global market for Higher Education in the 21st century requires increased internationalisation and development of brand strategies, diversification and delivery by Higher Education Institutes (HEIs). The deployment of talented ethnically diverse staff within HEIs is critical in these efforts. The contribution of these staff will be enhanced by tailored strategic development programmes for leadership and management; which will also fulfill the long-term Equality and Diversity remit for HEIs, the Funding Councils and Government. The development of such an executive leadership programme for ethnically diverse staff in Scottish HEIs will be the first such programme in Scotland, and will help provide a leading edge for participating institutions and key individuals, in the new global marketplace.
Professor Allison Littlejohn, Glasgow Caledonian University
Week 7 - Thursday 28 November 2013
Technology-enhanced professional learning: a new domain for learning
The Open Courseware Initiative (OCW) ostensibly was a gamechanger. Launched in 2002 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this initiative shifted expectations of how courseware and learning resources could be offered to learners throughout the world (Livingston-Vale and Long, 2003). Despite its success, OCW was widely criticised for not offering learners interaction with its faculty, nor the possibility of obtaining an MIT qualification (Daniel, 2012).
Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, have received attention as a means of providing learning to large numbers of people around the world. MOOCs aim at large-scale interactive participation and open access to university education via the web.
However, little is known about learning in these environments (Milligan, Littlejohn & Margaryan, 2013). This presentation describes a series of research studies designed to surface, describe and systematise the activities and strategies that adult learners use to self-regulate their learning in the context of a MOOC. The focus was on adult learners’ practices and strategies to plan, attain and reflect upon their learning goals. In this context, the term self-regulation refers to “self-generated thoughts, feelings and actions that are planned and cyclically adapted to the attainment of personal goals” (Zimmerman, 2005, p. 14). The presentation is based around an analysis of how learners in a MOOC planned, implemented and reflected upon their learning goals. The research identified similarities and differences in learning behaviours by learners positioned on different points on the spectrum of SRL aptitude. There will be opportunity to discuss issues arising from these findings.
Dr David Mills, University of Oxford
Week 8 - Thursday, 5 December 2013
Lively bureaucracy: The ESRC, UK universities and doctoral training
This presentation, drawing on a research project led by Professor Ingrid Lunt, focuses on the changing relationship between the UK government, its research councils and universities, focusing on the governing, funding and organization of doctoral training. The national research councils increasingly see themselves as active and ‘empowered’ partners of universities, working with a select network of institutional 'investments' to prioritise current government agendas.
Drawing on interviews carried out with Directors of the 21 Doctoral Training Centres (DTCs) funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the presentation describes the diverse ranges of responses to this shifting and dynamic governance culture. This paper highlights the growing number of institutional collaborations and interdisciplinary initiatives that are emerging, and draws on recent work in science governance to show how an increasingly ‘lively’ Research Council bureaucracy is reshaping the social sciences in the UK.