Thursday, March 7, 2019

ANU Interactive Learning Project

Greetings from the Marie Reay Teaching Centre  at the Australian National Unvieristy, where the Interactive Learning Project (iLEAP), is being launched. This will be run by Dr Kim Blackmore.

The MC for the launch, Zyl Hovenga-Wauchope, President of the ANU Postgraduate and Research Students' Association (PARSA), likened new ways of teaching at university to his school days in a Steiner school. Such a comparison with school teaching I have found does not go down well with university academics, but I think it accurate.

Brian Schmidt, the ANU VC, commented he has not yet been trained in new teaching methods for the new building, but will be. He suggested that charisma of the lecturer was no longer sufficient in the age of the Internet. The VC was being modest, as he has used techniques such as writing mystery stories, games and even a whole online course for students. He commented it was easy to be "interact" with a small class, but not with sixty students.

As well as a series of specific iLeap workshops, the university will continue its online Coffee Course series. The next starts 25 March on Facilitating Effective Discussions. This is free, open and available worldwide.
However, I suggest the university needs to also encourage staff to undertake AQF aligned studies, and become formally qualified in education. I suggest ANU reintroduce certificate, diplomas, and degrees in education. These can use modern project based and blended techniques, so the students can experience the form of education it is being advocated they use. Such courses and programs should be offered to both students and staff.
I was one of the last students of ANU's previous Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, and supported the discontinuance of that program. However, since then new models have emerged.
"In 2019 the University will implement an Interactive Learning Project (iLEAP), aimed at enhancing the quality of University learning. The goal of iLEAP is to foster student interactivity, capitalising on the rich diversity we have at ANU, within our student body, amongst lecturers and tutors, and through the use of our high-quality scholarly resources.
This series of workshops will support the iLEAP project and assist those seeking to transform their practice through the development of interactivity in the classroom. We will explore the theoretical underpinnings of interaction in University classrooms and try out research-based strategies and approaches used to foster interactivity leading to deeper learning. There will also be support for those who are keen to experiment and to document the specific outcomes of approaches in their own courses.
  • Approaches to Interactive Teaching (IL1) Exploring contrasting approaches to Interactive Learning to facilitate interactivity.
  • (IL2) Details TBA
  • (IL3) Details TBA
  • (IL4) Details TBA

Register for a workshop"

ps: The more I learn about teaching, the more similarities I see with school, vocational and university teaching. I will be speaking on "Blend, Flip, and Back to the Classroom", at the ANU Marie Reay Teaching Centre, 1pm, 15 March 2019.

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