Monday, September 17, 2018

Training Tech Professionals to Teach: Part 14

In Part 13 I looked at  "Guidelines for Teaching @MIT and Beyond".  But teacher training do universities require their new teachers to have? The first teaching someone is likely to do at university is tutoring. The School of Mathematics and Physics at University of Queensland require new tutors to undertake five hours of training.  However, details of what is in the training is not provided on the UQ website.

The ANU offers Principles of Tutoring and Demonstrating (PTD) for new tutors,. with ten modules:
  1. Setting the Scene Reflective Practice
  2. Student Learning
  3. Planning a Tutorial
  4. Teaching Groups & Individuals
  5. Dynamics and Diversity
  6. Peer Observation
  7. Intro to Wattle for Tutors
  8. Assessment and Marking
  9. Evaluation
  10. Troubleshooting (The Tutorial Toolkit)
Each module is two hours long, making a total of  20 hours. That is equivalent to half a week full time study and four times as long as the UQ course. The students don't get a recognized AQF qualification at the end of the program, but can apply for Associate Fellow status with the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA).

The Higher Education Academy use the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) for early career academics, higher degree students who are tutoring, part-timers, learning technologists, learning developers and  library staff.

This requires "successful engagement" with two of five Areas of Activity:
  1. Design and plan learning activities and/or programmes of study
  2. Teach and/or support learning
  3. Assess and give feedback to learners
  4. Develop effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance
  5. Engage in continuing professional development in subjects/disciplines and their pedagogy, incorporating
    research, scholarship and the evaluation of professional practices 
It is curious that the HEA would require any two of these for a beginner. It would be usual for a beginner to start with teaching (2), then assessment (3), and some planning (1). Only after some training and experience would it make sense to undertake design (1). Also professional development (5) is not applicable to someone who has not yet undertaken their initial training (and so is not yet a professional). But the UKPSF could still be useful for framing teaching.

For the AFHEA the applicant also requires "Core Knowledge" of the subject material they are teaching. In the case of a university teacher, this would normally be obvious from their qualifications (in this case in computing). Of more interest is the requirement for "Appropriate methods for teaching, learning and assessing in the subject area and at the level of the
academic programme" (K2). The applicant also requires "relevant professional practices, subject and pedagogic research and/or scholarship within the above activities".

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