University of York Annual Learning and Teaching Conference 2017

The York Pedagogy – making it work

Tuesday 20 June

CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS
We are inviting colleagues to contribute workshops and poster presentations.  Deadline for workshop submissions is Wednesday 15 February 2017 and for poster submissions, Thursday 6 April 2017.

The York Pedagogy will shape the ways in which we consider our programmes, our teaching and assessment for years to come, defining our institution’s learning culture and setting performance expectations.  All programmes will have distinctive and clear objectives, and modules will be designed to offer progress towards them.  Student work will also support progress towards these objectives and assessments, though largely delivered at module level, will ultimately demonstrate attainment of overarching objectives.  Interactions between students and staff will propel students’ work and programmes will define what students can expect from their department and university.  The 2017 conference will provide an excellent opportunity for discussion of how departments are managing these changes to their programmes, exploring challenges, opportunities and benefits as a result of implementation.

Making learning authentic: ‘real-world’ assessments for Masters level study

Dr Jude Brereton, Department of Electronics, will report on recent ‘real-world’ assessment tasks incorporated into a new masters level programme in Audio and Music Technology.

Four different types of ‘real-world’ tasks will be presented:

  • a research blog
  • a data-gathering exercise made available to the wider research community
  • a science communication event for school students
  • a self-promotion video.

Please bring your own laptop to the workshop, and to register, use the booking form.

360° Employability Skills: Understanding, Cultivating and Applying Professional and Continual Development Skills

Workshop presented by Carmen Álvarez-Mayo, Associate Lecturer and Spanish & Portuguese Coordinator, Languages for All, Department of Language and Linguistic Science. 31 October 2016.

The term employability as we know it has been around since the 1980s, when international corporations, global competition/trade and technology cemented the foundations for a new economic environment. The influx of new technologies set the pace of change, and has been shaping communication and trade ever since. We live in a global world where IT keeps on developing faster and faster, highly impacting in our lives and determining the employability skills required for a successful career. It is essential to understand this in order to develop the motivation and skills required to be able to keep on evolving along its side.

Education itself no longer defines learning, but rather technology does. To set out on a prosperous career, now more than ever it is necessary to keep on learning and developing good independent/self study skills and CPD competencies. It is paramount to instil in our students a taste for trying out and doing new things – that, learning is fun; exploring and discovering new ways is not only fun but necessary. In the 21st century reading and writing are not enough; IT literacy skills and an understanding of IT’s ongoing development are essential in order to be able to keep up with progress and change, and to be successful.

Furthermore, in a global world, developing intercultural competence and communication will equip graduates and postgraduates with international skills to augment their potential and scope for work opportunities and prosper. Such skills can only be acquired through learning and using a foreign language, either spending long periods of time immersed in the culture: living/studying/working abroad, or through an international bilingual collaborative e-learning project like TANGO.

Therefore, current student work and assessment practice should be reviewed and updated in order to ensure that all skills, traditional and ‘new’ can be tested – as well as to allow equal opportunities of assessment ensuring inclusivity and accessibility. We need to make sure that our graduates and postgraduates are fully equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century job market, who need to be all-rounders and possess the full range of skills, 360° skills.

A more holistic approach to the York Pedagogy and employability would be appropriate to ensure that all the good principles and ideas endorsed in the Pedagogy are taken into account and applied, sharing them effectively with our students to allow for a successful implementation of the University’s approach to excellence in education, thereby having a positive impact in society – as underpinned in the five values of the Learning & Teaching Strategy.

Summary by Carmen Álvarez-Mayo

An Interdisciplinary Summer for Interdisciplinary Students

Our latest monthly post from the Forum committee, Dr Glenn Hurst from the Department of Chemistry reflects on working collaboratively to facilitate active learning.

Following their FORUM workshop on active learning, Glenn Hurst and Jill Webb, from the York Management School worked together once again to facilitate a component of the new summer activity for students studying Natural Sciences in Chemistry. Glenn and Jill specifically designed this activity to help students to apply their understanding of first year chemistry to establish and run a sustainable chemical company.

The half-day activity challenged students to work effectively in small groups (4-5) to build a business case that they pitched to the “dragons” in the hope of gaining an investment. Students had to manage their time very effectively in order to choose their product, design a synthetic route that was both green and scalable, consider costs and advertise the product to their target audience. Students even took the initiative to collaborate with other companies (other groups) to combine their expertise.

a

In order to further enhance their personal development skills, all communication between other groups and the instructors had to be made via a telephone call. Students identified that making telephone calls was “the most daunting form of communication; even more than doing presentations”. Being able to effectively communicate on the telephone is an essential skill for most forms of employment and we took this as a perfect opportunity to develop this further.

After the groups of students had formulated their business strategy, they prepared a short (10 min) presentation, which they then pitched to the dragons (to include Dr Brian Grievson, senior lecturer specialising in industrial placements for chemists). This proved to be an excellent opportunity for students to practise how to deliver presentations and communicate science to their peers in a fun and low-pressure environment, for which will form part of their summative assessment in second year.

Further to enhancing their personal development skills by working in groups and communicating effectively, the activity allowed students to contextualise their knowledge in the “real world” incorporating a strong business element to improve their commercial awareness. This activity was designed based on the requirements of companies wishing to recruit graduates. We hope that in completing this activity, it will contribute towards developing the employability skills of our students whilst enhancing the degree of constructive alignment within our degree programme.

A more detailed account of this component of the summer activity together with a discussion of the other constituents will be provided in the upcoming Autumn 2016 edition of our institutional FORUM magazine.

Glenn Hurst, Department of Chemistry

L&T Session C3: Greater than a sum of it parts? Adding value to combined honours programme design

Maeve Pearson (Academic Support Office), Scott Slorach (York Law School), Roddy Vann (Natural Sciences Programme Director), and Lisa O’Malley (Department of Social Policy and Social Work)

Abstract | Presentation | Recording

Do combined programmes have the capacity to “add value”
to students’ learning? This was the question posed by the panel in this insightful workshop at the Learning & Teaching conference 2016.

LT Event Talk 117.jpg

Jonathan, the student rep for Natural Sciences, shared his experiences of undertaking a combined degree across multiple departments. He felt that combined degrees certainly provided added value as he could approach problems from multiple perspectives, using tools from Maths, Chemistry and Physics. The design of the programme was a key factor in it’s success with all first year modules being core and then more flexibility in the second year once students were in a position to make
a more informed decision about choices.

The panel went on to discuss some of the practicalities of designing and delivering combined degrees. This was made difficult by the infrastructure being designed for single subject degrees. However, it was clear that the benefits of these programmes outweighed the issues and that a well designed combined programme could provide students with a an opportunity to approach problems from two or more perspectives.

 

L&T Session A3: The design and assessment of skills based learning points at York Law School

Chris Wilkinson and Patrick Gallimore, York Law School

Abstract | Presentation | Recording

What do our undergraduates do with degrees? In this workshop Chris Wilkinson and Patrick Gallimore explored the relevance of a law degree to wider education and employment.

The majority of students who embark on a law degree do so with the ambition of gaining employment in the legal sector. However, only about 50% of graduates pursue a career in law, with the other 50% choosing to look outside the legal sector. With this in mind how meaningful is a law degree to other professions and disciplines?

At York Law School thLT Event Talk 61.jpgey have introduced a Careers and Development Programme, which provides students with the opportunity to attend link days and employer events, as well as being involved in mentoring schemes and attending careers presentations and workshops. The Careers and Development Programme has been designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills that students need to make informed decisions about their future work, and the opportunities available to them. The programme aims to balance its appeal to both the students who would like work within the legal profession and those who want to work outside of it.    

Employability skills are also embedded in the core curriculum through the problem based learning that the students are engaged in and the legal skills modules. Students engage in collaborative learning through the student law firms to work on the weekly problems, which are linked to skills simulations which involve a collection of transactions taking place over a couple of weeks, for example a client interview, case evaluation, draft letter. The simulations provide students with the opportunity to apply legal theory and knowledge, through experience of different scenarios.

The presentation ended with a lively discussion about changes to the legal education and how other departments have approach employability.