The First TeaLab Meeting

The first TeaLab meeting took place in Gipsy Lane campus on 4th October. 15 staff members, mostly educational developers, but also faculty members, attended so that we could discuss the future development of Teaching and Learning at Brookes, or TeaLab for short.

As a recent graduate of the university, as well as someone who has a general interest in education and the interaction between teacher and student, and a new employee as an intern in OCSLD who has been involved in the planning of TeaLab, I feel like I have multiple perspectives towards this project.

TeaLab as a concept is a grassroots movement, but to get it started off the first meeting was facilitated by George Roberts, although he made it clear that he wanted other people to lead and take responsibility for any future sessions.

As not everybody could attend, the session was simultaneously run using Wimba Classroom. It actually worked! There was a distance attendee who was able to interact with us as effectively as she would have been if she was in the physical room (although she didn’t get any free tea and cake).

After a quick introduction around the room so that everybody knew who was who, we went into a discussion about recording lectures and the implications it holds, as well as the university’s policy on it and that it’s practically impossible to police. The current policy is that recording for personal use is allowed without any need for explicit permission, but sharing with someone else is not. This then caused a discussion about what to do with people sharing the recordings within a group project. It was also noted that there is tension from faculty members that being recorded will significantly impact on their teaching style and that brings discomfort, but the general consensus was that academics need to embrace the technology and force it upon themselves to appreciate the changing teaching culture.

George then thought that we should discuss ways to get feedback on teaching and tools for sorting groups of students. He had prepared 8 cards with a different technique and, in small groups of 2-4, we discussed the pros and cons and implications and uses of each of the cards that we had before sharing it with the wider group.

The next meeting is going to be about a style called ‘Flip Teaching’ where lectures and assignments are done as homework, with problem sets and practice tasks being done in the classroom with teacher supervision and guidance. Looking forward to updating you then.

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About the author

James Genn

James graduated from Oxford Brookes with a 2:1 (Hons) BA in Business Management and Publishing Media in June 2013. He is currently at OCSLD as the intern of the Human Resources Directorate.

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