Reading Club

11 May 2022

Thanks to those who were able to come along to the Reading Club meeting on 11 May 2022, where we discussed Arina Cirstea’s paper ‘Engaging students online: an analysis of students’ motivations for seeking individual learning development support’ from March edition of the journal. The full paper is available here, the questions we used available here.

 We discussed the author’s definition of student engagement (which combined emotional, behavioural and cognitive aspects, see Henrie et al 2016) and unpicked some of the key findings from this small scale, mixed methods research project.  We reflected on the importance and value of individual tutorials and the significance and connotations of the labels (consultation, appointment, workshop, tutorial) we use for individual LD service delivery. There was an interesting comparison of service parameters (time and frequency of appointments offered) and discussion of why particular services appealed to particular student groups and the implications of this for hard to reach students. This discussion of student groups led to sharing of links to resources which outlined meta language we use to take discussions of criticality further; see Leicester De Montfort University Critical thinking Toolkit and Four Feathers Writing Guide by Elder Shirley Alphonse, Elder Nadine Charles, and Theresa Bell (Royal Roads University, British Columbia, Canada). Please see footnote regarding permissions 1.  Discussion focused on profiles of student users of one to one appointments, both in this research and the generalisability of findings to the wider student populations and it was evident there was much more to discuss here, particularly concerning different cultural norms and expectations. We were lucky to have the author in attendance and the opportunity to hear a more detailed rationale and some of the thinking behind different elements of the paper.

Towards the end we moved to considering further research and there was interest in both the use of discourse analysis to explore LD consultations and longitudinal explorations of student development, particularly those ‘frequent flyers’ with whom we develop more established relationships.

 

1 - Please note that the creators of the Four Feathers Writing Guide obtained permission from Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers to include Traditional Knowledge in the guide. This Traditional Knowledge should not be re-used without explicit permission from the Nation.

 

Our next group meeting will be Wednesday 13th July at 5:30pm. We will be in touch in advance with a selection of JLDHE articles for you to vote from. We will then confirm the piece with the most votes (!) and share the zoom link a week before the event. Please contact Jenny if you'd like to be included in the email.

 

8th March 2022

Thanks to all who came along to our March Reading Club and joined in our discussions of the 12 papers which make up the ‘Fostering Student Engagement’ theme of the Compendium of Innovative Practice: Learning Development in a Time of Disruption.

We had a wide-ranging discussion, sparked by the different ideas and themes across these 12 papers. As with all discussions about student engagement in live online sessions, we talked about students’ use or non-use of webcams. However, we quickly agreed that this was students’ choice, and shared ideas on how students can show their engagement in other ways – using emojis, Chat, using polls and other tools. In this discussion, we all praised Karen Symons’ metaphor of the iceberg of student engagement in online classes from her paper, “Can you hear me? Are you there?”: Student Engagement in an Online Environment’.

Following this, prompted by Vicky Collins’ and Sue Blackett’s phrase of feeling ‘flipped out’ in their paper, ‘How it Adds Up: Dual Reflections on the Online Engagement on One Cohort of Accounting Students’, we discussed the limitations of the flipped approach in engaging students, We shared examples of the struggles we had all experienced in encouraging students to engage with our flipped, asynchronous materials before a live class, and discussed how this may likely be due to the different relationship we, as Learning Developers, have with a cohort or group of students compared to the subject-lecturer. We came to the conclusion that flipped learning may not be the best approach for embedded learning development sessions.

Lastly, we discussed some of the things we miss about online teaching now that we have mostly gone back to predominantly on-campus teaching again.

Our next Reading Club will be held on Wednesday 11th May at 5:30pm.

We will be in touch in advance of the meeting with a selection of JLDHE articles for you to choose from. We will then confirm the piece with the most votes and share the zoom link before the day. Please contact Jenny if you would like to be added to the Reading Club mailing list.

 

12 January 2022

Thanks to those who were able to come along to the Reading Club meeting on 12 January 2022, where we discussed a section of the JLDHE compendium focused on ‘Prioritising wellbeing through community and connection’ – available here.

Attendees shared personal experiences of, and encounters with, different manifestations of staff and student wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our reflections were also shaped, in part, by responses in the HE sector to the spread of a new variant of COVID – which we now know as Omicron. This nature of our discussions at this Reading Club meeting served as a reminder that our community of Learning Development practitioners are a valuable source of peer support during challenging times. In addition to all of the care we show our students in LD, through continuous innovation and sharing of good practice, we must also remember to show this care and support to ourselves, and to each other.

Our next group meeting will be Wednesday 9th March at 5:30pm where we will discuss papers in the ‘Fostering student engagement’ section of the JLDHE Compendium. Please contact Jenny if you'd like to be included in the email list.

 

10 November

Thank you to everyone who attended our November Reading Club. At this event we discussed Camilia Devis-Rozental’s and Susanne Clarke’s case study: ‘HE staff’s attitudes and expectations about their role in induction activities’ from Issue 21. We would like to thank both Camilia and Susanne for coming along to the session, their passion for their work and supporting their students helped to make for a really positive and informative session.

During the event we spent a lot of time talking about the usefulness of the ‘tourist’ metaphor advanced by Camilia and Susanne in their case study. This is the idea that we should interact with new students during induction as we would a tourist visiting a new country for the first time; meaning that we should not assume students inherently know the buildings, language or expectations of university, but will need to be guided towards this understanding. From this we then discussed how we can support new students to go beyond feeling like a tourist and how we can help them feel a full and valued member of the university / higher education community.

As part of these discussions, we also chatted about how fundamental humanising ourselves and students is in feeling part of this wider community. We agreed that an important part of this was the need to normalise making mistakes, failing and taking risks, especially in extended induction periods (and the fact that marks in first year don’t tend to count towards final degree success!). Camilia and Susanne signposted us to their edited volume Humanising Higher Education as a useful place to continue thinking about these ideas.

You can follow Camilia and Susanne on Twitter.

Our next Reading Club will be held on Wednesday 12th January at 5:30pm

We will be in touch in advance of the meeting with a selection of JLDHE articles for you to choose from. We will then confirm the piece with the most votes and share the zoom link before the day. Please contact Jenny if you would like to be added to the Reading Club mailing list.

 

8 September 2021

Thank you to everyone who attended the latest JLDHE Reading Club. This time we discussed Sheryl Mansfield’s article ‘Changing the face of academic skills workshops’ from issue 17 (2020). We would like to thank Sheryl for coming along, answering our questions and giving us some great insight into how she approaches and utilises flipped learning (or active blended learning) to support students to engage in learning development workshops!

We started by discussing how the move to online learning since lockdown had resulted in more learning developers and institutions adopting flipped learning to support students and how this move had come about earlier for Sheryl and Northampton. Sheryl’s close collaboration with subject staff to create the asynchronous content and design the live session sparked an interesting discussion about how we all try to encourage similar levels of collaboration with academic staff when putting embedded sessions together. It was really great to hear the different approaches individuals and institutions take to this. We finished with Sheryl showcasing some of the asynchronous materials used in her flipped teaching, which inspired us all!

Our next Reading Club event will be Wednesday 10th November at 5:30pm

We will be in touch in advance of the meeting with a selection of JLDHE articles for you to choose from. We will then confirm the piece with the most votes and share the zoom link before the day. Please contact Jenny if you would like to be added to the Reading Club mailing list.

 

 

14 July 2021

Thanks to everyone who attended the latest JLDHE Reading Club, where we discussed Nathalie Sheridan’s (Tasler) article on creative teaching in higher education. Thank you to Nathalie for joining us and being so willing / happy to answer all our questions! We were a small group this time around, which meant we were able get into really interesting and detailed discussions about Nathalie’s paper.

We had interesting discussions around how Nathalie conducted her research. We were all interested in her use of Guerrilla Research Tactics (GRT) and how this added valuable insights into Nathalie’s evaluation / findings. Lee prompted an interesting discussion around how we often (over?) contextualise academic literacies within specific disciplines and subjects and related this to Nathalie’s de-contextualise / re-contextualise model of creative teaching. Our final thoughts, prompted by one of the paper’s case studies and Joe’s experience in his own role, turned to creative ways to provide students with feedback on their work. We shared our thoughts on audio feedback and links to other research that we thought would be useful for everyone.

For anyone who wanted to attend this event but couldn’t, Nathalie is happy to answer any questions or discuss your thoughts on her paper. You also follow her on Twitter

Our next group meeting will be Wednesday 8th September at 5:30pm.

We will be in touch in advance with a selection of JLDHE articles for you to vote from. We will then confirm the piece with the most votes (!) and share the zoom link a week before the event. Please contact Jenny if you'd like to be included in the email.

 

12 May 2021

Thanks to those who were able to come along to the launch of the JLDHE Reading Club, where we discussed Sam King’s article on metadiscourse. Thanks also to Sam for attending, engaging in the discussion and answering our questions so generously and comprehensively! We were delighted to be joined by colleagues in LD from across the UK, Ireland and Canada – which made for a rich, lively discussion.

Interesting questions were raised by attendees on metadiscourse and the different ways in which we teach it (or not) at our own institutions. Variations in disciplinary approaches to signposting in assignments was something we confronted, as well as the effects it may have on non-expert “experiences” of a text. The intersections with EAP work, highlighted by Sam, Ian and others, also seemed to be of considerable interest to us all. Some of the takeaways from Sam’s piece seem to have been the progression that students make in the “academic discourse community” when LD-ers provide instruction in metadiscourse, even if it does not appear to result in higher marks at levels 4 and 5 in certain disciplinary areas. As Jim and others highlighted, there is also the question as to whether, in teaching metadiscourse and its use, we are seeking to help students to “make disciplinary meanings”, or teaching them to write well.