Identifying confident and engaging approaches to course-based teaching

Caroline Heaton, Andrew Middleton & Nathaniel Pickering
@andrewmid / @nathaniel_P

Parallel session 3, CoLab 3.3

Short Abstract
Focussing on the context of course teams and ideas about confident and consistent teaching, this workshop aims to test and develop the findings of recent research into staff and student views of what constitutes ‘good’ teaching. Workshop outputs will contribute to a CPD resource for academic staff.

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Detailed Outline
In 2013/14 we began to clarify what we mean by “good, inspirational teaching” at Sheffield Hallam University in order to inform the professional development of our teachers.

As well as exploring the literature on teaching excellence and learner engagement, researchers in QESS carried out an analysis of student comments on teaching (submitted as part of the National Student Survey, 2013) and the results of a survey about the practice of our Inspirational Teachers.

Similar themes emerged from both student and staff feedback, and our findings suggested that we value confident teachers, who challenge students, whilst providing support and encouragement which enables them to develop and take risks. Our research, for example, recognises the need for,
• clarity to ensure that all students have a sound understanding of what is expected of them, and for
• course-based consistency to facilitate an equitable student experience and to reduce confusion and disengagement.

Our ongoing research, being conducted in Semester 2 (2014/15), involves us working with staff and students in four academic disciplines within the University in order to assess our findings. This CoLab workshop will build on this work with faculties, and will enable participants to peer review our concept of good teaching.

Attendees will be asked to work in groups to address questions relating to one or more of our identified themes, reviewing their validity and identifying associated values and characteristics which can be used to develop teaching that is high quality, engaging and course-focused.

Based on the outcomes of these activities, we aim to produce a brief handbook and rich media resource for staff which describes Good, Inspirational Teaching.