Posted by: Kellyann Geurts, Senior Advisor, Learning and Teaching, Design and Social Context College, RMIT University.
This year, there are three projects that we at the DSC have united under the banner of ‘Developing Your Teaching’. The projects focus on developing teaching practice and providing staff with many opportunities to engage in hands-on, practical professional learning. Schools will also be able to customise sessions to suit their teaching needs. The projects address university strategic directions, namely teaching in new learning spaces, inclusive teaching and particularly support the professional learning of sessional staff in the DSC.
Sessional staff are key players in a productive and engaging learning and teaching environment but many are positioned in uncertainty. This uncertainty is pressured with increased demands on compliance, increased student numbers, changes in accommodation and new educational technologies, shifts in course offerings to accommodate student diversity, student expectations and industry needs. In this demanding environment, accommodating the needs of sessional staff in the teaching and learning space is critical. Connecting with a community of learners to advance practice is a priority to improve both staff and student satisfaction.
1. Connecting Sessional Staff
The Connecting Sessional Staff project will provide paid professional development for sessional academic and teaching staff and is to begin in Semester 2. With staff and School guidance, a symposium and School workshops will be designed to:
- address individual learning and teaching needs
- share, present, discuss and reflect on teaching and learning experiences
- support collaboration, peer partnerships and mentoring
- connect with learning networks across the University
- link to the online modules from the Professional Development for Tertiary Teaching Practice (PDTTP) program designed for sessional staff.
2. New Learning Spaces
School-based peer learning networks will be offered in all DSC Schools for all staff teaching in New Learning Spaces in Semester 2 2013. Staff teaching in these spaces will be invited to join a School network that will run regular meetings, facilitated by the Senior Advisor, Learning and Teaching. These meetings will include support for staff to trial new ideas and invite expert speakers to talk about their teaching practice. Additionally, staff will have the opportunity to undertake one of four approaches to enhance their professional learning. These include:
- self-directed study supported by extensive web resources
- peer partnership program
- peer review of teaching
- a module from the Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Education.
3. Inclusive Teaching and Assessment Practices
This project addresses the needs of a diverse student population through an ‘inclusive approach’ to curriculum design, teaching delivery and assessment. The project team will work collaboratively with academic and teaching staff to:
- design and trial existing and new inclusive teaching approaches, learning activities and assessment tasks
- produce hands-on teaching resources and assessment materials which support inclusive teaching practice
- provide and assist with professional development resources and delivery in inclusive teaching.
- promote the principles for inclusive teaching practice across the university.
The six principles developed are: Design Intentional Curriculum; Offer Flexible Assessment and Delivery; Build a Community of Learners; Teach Explicitly; Develop a ‘Feedback Rich’ Environment; and Practice Reflectively.
All three projects are in their planning phases and now is a good opportunity to ‘feed forward’ about what areas of learning and teaching most need developing, enhancing or advancing.
1. Connecting Sessional Staff: A Google survey form will be posted from your School’s L&T committees in the next fortnight to gather your ideas. Results from this survey will launch us into arranging schedules, themes and facilitators. We will keep you posted.
2. New Learning Spaces: L&T Committees will soon be advised and Program Managers and staff timetabled into these spaces will receive email notifications early in Semester 2.
3. Inclusive Teaching and Assessment Practices: This project and its website will launch on 7 June. Andrea Wallace will be providing an update in a future post on the tomtom.
If you have any questions please share them in the comments section or contact me (Kellyann Geurts) or your School’s Senior Advisor, Learning and Teaching.
L&T events coming up in the City and in Bundoora:
If you want to learn more about how to ditch your PowerPoints and teach like a pirate, James Arvanitakis (recipient of the 2012 Prime Minister’s Australian University Teacher of the year) will be sharing his stories and model practices in a series of workshops (11 and 12 June) to coincide with the lunchtime launch of the Inclusive Teaching and Assessment Practices project.
Tuesday 11 June 10.00-11.30, City Campus 080.02.003
Wednesday 12 June 10.00-11.30 and 1:30-3:00, Bundoora Campus – 205.3.10
Register now with DevelopMe.