The Global Classroom

Last week, I travelled to London with my colleagues @TraceyMadden and @FabioNemetz to attend the #ESLTIS16 conference. The conference was fascinating (some thoughts below).  Tracey and I presented some work that we have done with @DanishMishra on using Social Network Analysis to look at learning in MOOC. Looking at 2 different FutureLearn MOOCs, we show that the one designed to be more connectivist has a more participant-led pattern of interaction. Interestingly, over repeated presentations of the MOOCs, the interaction patterns converge to some extent, as tutors take more of a back seat role.

#ESLTIS16 itself follows an inaugural meeting last year (in Durham). It highlights research and innovation in university education undertaken by academic staff who have a teaching focus (e.g. teaching fellows). Contributions to the conference are welcome from across the HE sector worldwide, regardless of subject discipline.

Some key themes, as I saw them (full programme will appear in due course of the conference website #ESLTIS16). Other views can be found on twitter and the blogosphere

Research led teaching

  • teaching ‘leadership’ roles are often (perceived as) reduced to management and admin – therefore resistance to moving to this role.
  • We need to assess the holistic capacity of the team – not the individual.
  • How important is ‘scholarship’. Do students want to be taught be people the ‘wrote the book, not just read the book’ ? Or do they just value ‘good teaching’. Does pedagogical research ‘count’
  • Research led teaching: does this mean teaching by experts? OR can it mean building up research skills, using research to learn (learning thru research). Perhaps we should use the phrase ‘research immersed’?


  • Students need time to assimilate feedback (‘grief curve’) before they can meaningfully engage with a discussion on the feedback. Particularly if they (i) have tried very hard and/or (ii) have never failed before.
  • Students learn to ignore repeated error (hence “I keep telling them….”)
  • Curriculum should focus on threshold concepts – we can pare down curriculum.
  • Can we make students co-owners of their assessment – can we get them to fill out the assessment matrix?
  • Can we make formative work compulsory – need to do to get access to other resources
  • Students marking assessment – this is NOT useful if students aren’t ready to give meaningful feedback – better for students to reflect on their feedback.
  • Some useful examples of programme level assessment (portfolio)

Approaches to Teaching

  • Peer Teaching; And ‘near peer’ teaching
  • Flipping; Appropriate use of tools like socrativ and kahoot
  • Interdisciplinary teaching; Eg Ethics for chemists, entrepreneurship…
  • Experiential learning – including a residential critical analysis “reading party” with no mobile reception or wifi!!!
  • E learning –a move to digital artefacts encounters staff resistance but great student feedback.

Looking after Students

  • Graduate attributes – a pyramid from ‘generic’ to highly topic specific, giving a sense of belonging to a community.
  • Transitions into HE including pre induction MOOCS for UG and PGT
  • Mature Learners – their challenges including guidance on ‘how hard to work’.

Our presentation can be downloaded here: Structure of the Global Classroom – Mishra, Madden, Cayzer

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1 Response to The Global Classroom

  1. nyamapfene says:

    Reblogged this on Engineering Learning & Teaching and commented:
    #ESLTIS Post Conference Review by @stevecayzer

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