Reflections on the #ucustrike

We are now at the end of (the first) 4 weeks of an industrial dispute between the Universities UK (UUK) and the University and College Union (UCU). I thought it useful to reflect on the dispute for the benefit of anyone interested, particularly my students.

In summary – the dispute should be seen in a wider context in terms of:

  • stakeholders (staff and students);
  • time (longer term trends and issues); and
  • scope (university governance, fairness, representation and even the philosophical standing of Higher Education).

I provide a list of actions that interested individuals (particularly students) can take depending on their point of view.

Of course all opinions are my own and not the University’s (nor indeed UCUs).

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Masters programmes in Engineering Management @UniOfBath

Context: this is a blog post describing a new MSc course for 2018. Therefore it is somewhat less objective than my usual posts – I have led the development of this course, and I am very proud of it! In addition it will be mainly of interest to potential students. The course, Engineering Business Management (EBM), is an interdisciplinary offering in the Engineering Management space. It joins our existing masters in Innovation and Technology Management. For more details, read on…

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The TODAY folder

For some years I have been using what I call the ‘zero tolerance inbox’ . This avoids the visual and cognitive distraction of a bunch of emails vying, cuckoo-like, for your attention. In order to achieve this you need to triage (quadrage?) email ruthlessly:

  1. Delete emails that have no relevance for you
  2. File/archive information that needs no action but may need to be referred to later
  3. Turn emails into actions (you can use inbuilt tools eg Outlook tasks, I have my homebrew spreadsheet solution).
  4. Or if it can be dealt with immediately in under 2 minutes then do it then and there.

So this is the approved way of Getting Things Done.

However I found this is not optimal for a number of reasons – in this post I will describe my solutions

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Launch of new MSc: Engineering Business Management

A couple of weeks ago I went to Thailand to launch our new MSc programme on Engineering Business Management.  This has been consuming most of my summer, it’s shaping up to be quite an exciting development (in my view anyway) and this post gives some more details

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Setting up a marking portal in Moodle

This quick post gives a few details on a marking portal using a moodle database, with some useful features. If this interests you, read on

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ESLTIS: A conference for teaching focussed academics

From July 19-21 I was in the beautiful city of Sheffield attending #ESLTIS2017 (Enhancing Student Learning through Innovative Scholarship).

It was great to connect again with a national community of teaching focussed academics. There were some interesting talks although for me the most productive sessions were hands on workshops: one dealing with embedding external partnerships within the curriculum(enterprise @sheffielduni); one on team based learning . Both will directly inform my activities over the next year. Themes of most resonance to me:

  1. Programme Level Assessment
  2. Enterprise Engagement
  3. Peer Learning
  4. MOOCs
  5. Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL)

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Circular Economy and Sustainable Lifestyles (conference report)

From 27-29 June, I was at a conference on the Circular Economy (CE). More specifically, it was titled “Sustainable Lifestyles, Livelihoods and the Circular Economy” –  hosted by the Global Research Forum at the University of Sussex (SPRU/IDS).

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An educational FLAN

On Friday I went to the FutureLearn Academic Network (FLAN) meeting in Milton Keynes to present my work with Bath Mechanical Engineering graduate Simon Coton.

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Dr Fox and effective feedback

Today’s Conversation with Cake involved a look at a recent paper reappraising the Dr Fox phenomenon. This led onto a discussion of meaningful student feedback – that is, feedback that informs and improves our teaching

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The Big Rocks Board

I’ve taken to using my whiteboard as an information radiator.

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