New Lecturers

New lecturers of all ages and career stages give me some of the best experiences of my job. For the very most part these people are (or are seriously trying to appear to be) at the top of their games, hot off of PhDs or fresh out of “industry” and into the profession of academia (whatever that may be). It is a big identity moment for many of the participants on the New Lecturers Programme at Brookes. And, institutional cynicism has not yet set in! In this week we have one-to-one tutorials and run microteaching sessions. I learned so much. International collaboration: universities in Tehran, Istanbul, Cairo and Rabat are working on urban planning for “compact cities and neighbourhoods”; Genomic evolution: did you know that a high proportion of our human genome is derived from retroviral RNA? I didn’t. A pediatric nurse turned paramedic explained how to assess ill children without touching them. When did “modern” biotechnology start? 1665 when Robert Hooke named the “cell”. How do diamond sellers use gift and exchange concepts from anthropology to promote their wares – or was it the other way? Can we use anthropological concepts to understand American diamond advertising. And there are a number of key learning and teaching themes that are emerging already. You can use learning outcomes as a design tool but you don’t have to tell students at the start of each lecture: “the outcomes from todays session will be…” Teachers are evidently using outcome statements to signal movement to higher/deeper learning. Students are (finally) using and being encouraged to use their mobile devices in class. There is still a debate about how much information to provide in advance of teaching sessions and how much to post afterward. Teachers appear to be using academic multimedia more and more but there is wide diversity of practices and most teachers don’t “roll their own”. This will be a long lasting and slow growing aspect of academic life (so says my crystal ball). All in all and inspiring week and its not over yet!

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About the author

George Roberts

George has been at Oxford Brookes since 2000 and joined OCSLD in June 2006 as an Educational Developer (e-Learning). In his previous role he advised the Head of e-Learning and the Senior Management Team of the University on policy for off-campus e-learning and e-learning partnerships.

He leads the MA Education (Higher Education) and teaches on the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (PCTHE) as well as conducting Course Design Intensives (CDIs) and other educational development activities: workshops and consultancies.

He leads the organisation of the annual Brookes Learning and Teaching Conference (BLTC) and is Managing Editor of the Higher Education Journal of Learning and Teaching.

George is a visiting Lecturer at Cranfield University and a Visiting Fellow of Edge Hill University.

He wrote his doctorate (July 2011) at the University of Southampton on biographical narratives of adult users of a community IT centre on a large social housing estate.

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