Author:  Val Lawarenson, SFHEA Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching

One of my responsibilities as an Academic Developer in CELT is to facilitate implementation of institutional policy. As Course Leader on a CPD programme for new academics l believe l also have an obligation to introduce technology (where appropriate) to enhance the student learning experience.   

The opportunity for novice academics to engage with different technologies as part of the experiential component of PGCert enables them to; evaluate their effectiveness; consider the strategy from the student’s perspective and make evidence informed decisions about embedding technology within their teaching practice.  

As part of the digital capabilities pathway and subsequent CPD activities I have joined different learning communities across the university. Engagement with these communities via the Microsoft Teams application has provided the opportunity to explore practice issues with colleagues who in many cases have already found a solution to my dilemma. These discussions have had a positive impact on my teaching and assessment practice as I now plan to introduce Mars and explore the blackboard discussion tool in more depth.  

On 31st October 2018 I introduced Microsoft Teams to the final module of the PGCert Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. l was aware that some participants would be familiar with the concept i.e. some were already using it, others would have heard of it, but also that many were likely to have no previous knowledge of the application.  The decision to introduce TEAMS was underpinned by my understanding of adult learning theory in which learning is considered more effective if its relevance is clear and what is learned can be applied to practice.  The principles of social constructivism and Kolb’s experiential learning also underpinned the decision. However, most importantly the application will provide a platform from which   multi-professional pedagogic dialogue can be facilitated after the PGCert has finished.  

 I’ve been out and about this week with Kevan Williams. It’s something we do reasonably regularly. Do drop by to say Hi If you see us.  

Kev was facilitating one of the dropin sessions facilitated by colleagues from TELT at different venues across the university. This session was in Darwen Lecture theatre. It’s a very impressive venue and a fantastic example of technology at its best.  Kev was there amongst other things to test out the Dolby surround sound. That was awesome as was the rise and fall podium and the range of different technologies available on the podium. I would have to confess to being over whelmed by the choices. It was good to see Kev checking out all the technology and making recordings to help lecturers who might deliver in these technology rich environments.  

The day before the drop-in I had an unnerving experience with video clips in PowerPointThey didn’t play. It was very stressful made even worse because the “students” in my class are academic colleagues. They empathised and were really supportive and generous with their patience and some shared their technology traumas. So, the opportunity for me to attend a TELT drop in was timely. 

As part of the experience I learned the importance of checking the internet connection first. It does not happen automatically when the Surface pro is docked. I also found out about the default “duplicate presentation” feature. There’s more in these links about lecture theatre display settings video and  classroom technologies. I also now know that I colleagues from technical services are on hand to provide support to anyone experiencing technical challenges in the classroom. 


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