It was meetings, meetings meetings today!
This morning started with a quick scan of the inbox and finishing up a reading list. The first meeting of the day was to discuss reading material for a new programme. I was really pleasantly surprised to see that most of the units already have reading lists - this will give us a good head start on resourcing books - and having a bit of time on this one will make it easier to make sure that we make as much use of our electronic resources as possible...
I've been thinking quite a bit recently about how to encourage more use of our ereserves facility (scanned chapters). It's a great way to make literature easily accessible on our VLE but it does take a bit of work from academics to identify material to be scanned in (within copyright limits) and place the requests for material. I've been walking a couple of units through the process to try and get a better understanding of what might be involved for an academic interested in using it. I think sometimes it's good to try and see our services through the eyes of our users... One of the other problems is just finding time to do things like identifying reading. I'm wondering about setting up some staff development sessions over the summer to go through the technical process of requesting scanned chapters but also to set aside time for our academic colleagues to identify the material.
Next I had a brief chat with a colleague about a project we've been working on to identify and make available copyright cleared media resources that are available on the web. Every so often I get enquiries about using images or films in teaching materials or course marketing etc. The idea of this resource is to have subject specific lists of media resources that are cleared for use in education and to provide copyright guidance at the point of use.
Last meeting of the morning was a referencing tutorial - really common at this time of year. Alot of our first years have had feedback from their first assignments and want to improve their skills before handing in the next assignment. It's actually one of the bits of my job that I really enjoy - especially when students are motivated enough to arrange a tutorial and are genuinely interested in improving their skills.
Most of the afternoon was taken up with a school quality meeting. I don't have that much to contribute but it's quite interesting to get some insight into the mechanics of higher education - it's also a good source of info on any changes to programmes or frameworks that can guide how we provide learning resources and support.
Back at home I finished off with a bit of preparation for tomorrow. I'm studying for a PGCert in Educational Practice at the moment and we have our seminar in the morning. This evening I watched a lecture by Stephen Heppell on what education might look like in 2016. Interesting take. The main thing I got from it was his idea that the world in the 21st century is quite a different place and that education needs to change to meet the needs of 21st century learners. A lot of it made sense but I did wonder whether you can apply this thinking directly to your teaching - or if this sort of change has to come through strategy and curriculum development. The outcomes Heppell describes (things like creativity, collaboration, critical skills and communication) are very different to the traditional outcomes of education. Still have some reading to do for the seminar but I'll do that over a strong coffee first thing in the morning!