Resource Spotlight

Getting outside the lecture theatre for better engagement

Declaration: I live in the luxurious situation, where we can take our students away for two nights. We put them in a hostel in a beautiful rural area in the UK and do teambuilding exercises with them. While the first day is ‘designed’ and includes exercises for cultural inclusion, team building, and communication exercises, the second day focuses on a treasure hunt. Sometimes we have excellent weather and sometimes it is pouring with rain. It is a very low-budget way (it could be a treasure hunt in a local town focusing on the topic of the studies). The de-brief focuses on: how did you work as a team, what you were good at as a team, and what could be improved. Why was that the case? There are two outcomes for the faculty. Even though we make a point of staying in another village, we build a solid connection to the students. They indeed build a strong bond with each other. But as well, we have strong indications as well on who will need what support. Who is quieter and who will be always talking and must be reminded to let others speak. Here is an interesting article to foster class connections and engagement

Feeling frustrated with your students?

Certainly! I get very frustrated, especially when I can see a lot of ability, but no Drive! I started to adapt for myself that I need to understand my students more and what they want from their studies. Many have family pressures, finance pressures, fear about the future, experiencing bullying or racism are carers for family members and and and. Interestingly the one on finance pressure appreciate a budget lunch and are great company. The ones who are family carers or have time limits through sports scholarships are super well organised and may struggle to turn up, but not really to find time to study

Value in getting a higher education

Not everywhere in the world is the same, but EDUCATION IS EXPENSIVE! So my question is often, how can we provide value? Students have diverse learning styles and preferences, which makes things even more complicated. I started to have a session with my students (course level, but may work on a lecture level too). I ask them to research value in higher education and then reflect on how they are taking value out of the master course they are enrolled in. Feedback is that most articles are useless and general. But there is evidence that one earns more in a lifetime after having done Master's level education (good for us!!). However, everything else that is valuable is what we do not often focus on in learning interactions. Better presentation skills, social capital, a community of peers, gaining in-depth insights, having an advantage on the job market, personal growth, improving oneself and changing one's perspective or strengthening it were some of the things mentioned. But all of them were not directly assessed examinations – I am now trying to focus on value for the students, as well as assessment. Below are two articles that inspired me…