Professional Learning: Evidence of changes in teaching, learning and assessment practices
The project team recognised the need for continuous, consistent, and coherent communication in relation to the production and promotion of online VLE resources. A key finding is that the production of these VLE resources can be interpreted as a replacement for face to face support whereas the intention is they are complementary resources. In response to this a classroom session titled ‘developing a search strategy’ was developed. This served the same dual purposes as the VLE page: firstly it would be used to engage with tutors to promote the wider services of the LRC staff and secondly provide a resource for tutors to use with students.
Two versions were planned. The first was delivered to the LRC team during a staff conference day. Much of the LRC’s role involves staffing the LRCs where students approach staff with questions regarding assignments. This session provided an opportunity for LRC staff to consider how they can support students with their academic skills in one-to-one situations. The session resources included a PowerPoint presentation, a handout and a ‘Curriculum Support’ document. The Support document was evaluated during the session, providing valuable contributions from the wider LRC team. This feedback informed the final document available as part of the study skills VLE page. This is a valuable resource to ensure tutors and LRC staff have a shared understanding of how they can support their students’ academic skills.
The second version of this session was to be delivered to tutors. Unfortunately, despite the best attempts of the team, this has yet to happen.
Not to be deterred, we have a new plan for approaching CAMs directly to deliver the session directly to curriculum teams.
However, this session, ‘developing a search strategy’, has had a positive impact on the professional learning of the Advanced Teaching and Learning Coach on the team. She adapted and delivered to session for a new course she was delivering, the L5 in Observation of Teaching and Learning. This provides an excellent case study for how useful this session is, as the tutor reflects on how central it has been to support students’ understanding of the requirements of a level 5 assignment and set expectations to engage with relevant wider reading.
Through the promotion of the VLE page, it was discovered that a change in the way LRC inductions took place at the beginning of term was misinterpreted. Online inductions had been created with the intention of ensuring all learners received induction. Previously, face to face inductions focused on full time students, so the online resource was developed to make the inductions more accessible. In addition, it was thought that freeing up the LRC staff from delivering repetitive inductions to small groups would provide more time for specific support to curriculum teams.
However, the project team discovered that tutors thought they were now unable to access the LRC subject librarians for face to face classroom contact for students. There are two examples of the impact of the project in response to this. Firstly, a ‘Supporting Curriculum’ document was developed and secondly, an LRC subject librarian met with a science tutor to discuss a specific upcoming assignment requiring the students to engage with journal articles.
This is an excellent example of how the project team, made up of a tutor and LRC staff, enabled a change in TLA. It also highlights the theme of communication which has become evident throughout the project.