Tag Archives: difference

291 – Course diversity: best practice is not good practice – Neil Challis, Michael Robinson

Presenter: Dr Mike Robinson (m.robinson@shu.ac.uk) and Prof Neil Challis (n.challis@shu.ac.uk) Strand: Course identity Anticipated outcomes: A better shared understanding of lessons drawn from the More Math Grads project and experience with our own Mathematics course. Session outline:  Every course is different. Subjects are by their very nature different. The students they tend to attract have different outlooks – as do staff who teach on them.  Few would disagree that this diversity is a good thing. At course level, subject-specific diversity can be reflected in all aspects, and as professionals and experts in our field, we try to match the requirements of our subject, the needs and motivations of our students, the skills and motivations of our staff,  to every aspect of our provision: timetable, teaching and learning styles, assessment types, course management, online presence… Such careful course design leads to a good course, which works well, and which students appreciate (and rate highly). Students understand why their course is different from others; far from denigrating this, they often wear it as a badge of pride and as part of their sense of course identity. Inevitably, successful ideas are shared;  copied, adapted, modified, developed. No-one could possibly oppose the spread of good ideas… until someone, somewhere decides it’s officially “best practice”. Instantly, development of ideas stops. New ideas are killed at birth; because they’re at odds with “best practice”. Modification to individual circumstances is severely restricted – meaning that what was once carefully constructed to meet individual needs is now “one size fits all” and suits almost no-one. The irony is that every part of “best practice” began with someone trying something different, at odds with their institutional norm, and ends with stifling the innovation which keeps it fresh. True good practice recognises this, and encourages and celebrates the diversity

Click to view:  291 course diversity – best practice is not good practice

271 – Transnational Collaboration: Mapping and tracking course experiences of Tutors and Thai teachers of English on a jointly delivered Masters – Alice Oxholm

Last year in my role as programme leader, I was in the privileged position of working with colleagues at SHU and a university in Thailand to map, approve and teach a Masters course to a first cohort of 25 Thai English language teachers working in schools around Bangkok. The process was initially led by the need to understand and apply terms such as “risk assessment”, “credit rating” and “articulation”. This took priority over developing a sense of the individuals who would either be stepping over from a Thai delivered phase to ours or, from a SHU perspective, who would be co-supervising students working and studying in an unfamiliar context.   This session will draw on some selected principles since identified from literature on shared  transnational pedagogy:  care of the participants , communicating expectations, valuing difference of what is already known,  (Dashwood et al 2008).  These will be discussed in relation to the feedback and reflections from the people involved , staff and students, and how this will inform future planning.

Click to view presentation:  271 Working Transnationally with Colleagues final version