Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Teaching Differently: New Programmes, New Delivery

Every year, the University of Sheffield devotes a day to its Learning and Teaching (LeTs) Conference. It's a chance to see what innovative practice is happening throughout the University, and to think about what new things can be done to improve our own teaching practice. While the RAT group focuses on research, we're also interested in teaching future healthcare practitioners about telehealth and changing healthcare practice, as we've talked about before. In the future, we're looking at running a distance learning module on telehealth and telecare, perhaps collaborating with our colleagues at the University of Western Ontario.

At the LeTs conference, after some thoughts from colleagues local and international, I attended some sessions on using technology in distance learning, and group work. Danny Monaghan and Chris Stokes spoke informatively on the way that for current university students, technology is normal, and students are quite happy to make a podcast on their phone and upload it our Virtual Learning Environment (MOLE2). Bringing creativity to our teaching brings creativity to the outputs that our students produce, and it allows students to take part in peer assessment and reflective practice as well as gaining knowledge and skills.

In another very relevant session, Peter Bath and Claire Beecroft talked about their integration of online learning into a distance learning Postgraduate programme using the Wimba software to run interactive, international online lectures. All in all, I took away some excellent ideas that I hope to share with my colleagues in the RAT research group so we can all work to teach in an interesting, innovative and informative manner.

[written by Liz Brewster]

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