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Improving the Student Experience

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The Humanities, Languages and Social Science Learning Teaching event, 23rd April 2013, MMU
Late in the Spring term, the Faculty of HLSS enjoyed a day sharing areas of positive learning and teaching practice from across the Faculty. Colleagues from all Departments provided a fascinating showcase of their learning and teaching innovations, giving colleagues an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which the Faculty can continue to improve the student experience.

The showcase was opened by Dr Jess Edwards (Associate Dean, Student Experience) and Dr Annabel Kiernan (Faculty Learning and Teaching Fellow). In his opening remarks, Dr Edwards highlighted that the Faculty had been shortlisted in both the overall Teacher of the Year (Debora Green) and overall Department of the year (won by History, Politics & Philosophy) categories in the 2013 MMUnion teaching awards, setting the tone for celebrating the thoughtful work of colleagues across all of our programmes.
The showcase event comprised three themes: e-learning, internationalisation and employability and a presentation on Research Methods by Dr Julie Scott-Jones & Dr John Goldring, Sociology ‘TCP:  Soothing away the barriers to student learning of quantitative methods’. Colleagues presented snapshots of their practice within each theme, leaving time for questions and broad discussion reflecting on what works well, identifying challenges and identifying ways to further develop good practice.
Theme 1: E-Learning
The Faculty continues to add to the diversity of learning and teaching delivery through innovating in e-learning; from developing online courses to enabling different learning styles through technology-enhanced provision.
In this session, presentations were given on ‘Using Social Media to Extend and Enhance Teaching’ (Dr John Scanlan, Sociology) The Virtual Writing School: MMU’s International Online MA in Creative Writing (Dr James Draper, English) and ‘Podcasting Lectures: The Lessons of History’ (Dr Gervaise Phillips, History)

Theme 2: Employability and Curriculum Enrichment

Graduate employability is a priority for our students and as a Faculty we encourage students to take advantage of the employability and curriculum enrichment activities on offer. These range from placement working to volunteering roles and improving professional skills.
Presentations were given on ‘English in Practice: Learning from our mistakes’ (Dr Lucy Burke, English), Politics and the workplace’ (Dr Janet Mather, Politics) and ‘Developing Employability Skills by using Structured Ethical Reflection’ (Roz Fox, Public Services)
Theme 3: Internationalisation
This session provided a showcase of some of the international collaborations we have in the Faculty at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. The Faculty continues to internationalise the learning experience through opportunities for study abroad, collaborative curricula and international research projects.
Presentations were given on Transatlantic Public Administration and Policy (Mr Frank Carr, Public Services), ‘It’s not what you say, it’s the way that you say it’ (Jon Wright, Languages& Info Comms) ‘MA European Urban Cultures – the challenges and benefits of teaching collaboratively with other European universities’ (Dr Katie Milestone & Dr Robert Grimm, Sociology), and Making the obvious strange: teaching philosophy’ (Professor Joanna Hodge & Dr Anna Bergqvist, Philosophy)
‘Talking Tables’

As part of the showcase event colleagues were given the opportunity to follow-up on the themes of the day and to explore ways of further enhancing the learning and teaching practice in all programmes in the Faculty. Discussion forums were facilitated on the day by a series of ‘talking tables’ on:
·         The student journey (facilitated by Steph Taylor and Sam Connolly)
·         Feedback & Assessment (facilitated by Aiden Arrowsmith)
·         Retention (facilitated by Paula Ierston)
·         International Collaboration in teaching & Learning (facilitated by Stephanie Aldred)
·         Employability & Curriculum Enrichment (facilitated by Lucy Burke)
·         Digital, Online & Social Media (facilitated by Richard Eskins)
·         Inclusivity (facilitated by Jess Edwards
The event was a great showcase of the ways in which colleagues reflect on their practice and innovate their learning and teaching to constantly improve the student experience.
Over 100 colleagues participated in the events across the day and, as a Faculty-wide event, it also offered a good opportunity to welcome new colleagues and to identify areas for more cross-Departmental collaborative working.

The Faculty will host further learning and teaching events, in both the Autumn and Spring terms – everyone welcome!

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