Short Courses on Student Learning
This year we are running two short courses on theories of student learning. These provide opportunities for exploring ideas and their applications to practice in more detail than is practical in a single CPD session. You do not have to attend the all of the sessions on either course, but you may find it more useful to do so. There will be a quick 'recap' at the beginning of each session. To book a place at either course or at the sessions within them please email email@example.com. For more information about these programmes please contact Anna (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Academic literacies - Wednesday 22 February, 14:00-16:00 (Edinburgh 413) and Wednesday 29 February, 14:00-16:00 (Edinburgh 401)
The `academic literacies¿ approach positions writing, including academic writing, as a socially and culturally situated practice rather than an individual cognitive skill. The `norms¿ of writing in different subject disciplines vary considerably, influenced by factors such as the history of the field, established norms and strategies, and typical discourse `tasks¿. Student writing is approached as a learning activity in itself, and students are encouraged to develop a critical awareness of writing in context, and the ability to write effectively in different settings.
Week 1 ¿ Introduction to academic literacies. This session introduces concept of `academic literacies¿, setting it within the context of `new literacy studies¿ and discourse studies, and contrasting it with some established approaches to the development of student writing. The relationship between textual features and their social and cultural context is explored. We examine issues of language and power in the university setting, and consider how writing operates as a learning activity and a site for `making meanings¿.
Week 2 ¿
Workshop. In this
session we discuss some applications of an `academic literacies¿ approach to
the development of student writing in different subject disciplines and higher
education contexts, including working with international and non-traditional
students. Participants will have an opportunity to explore applications and
implications for their own teaching.
Fridays from 9 March for 3 weeks, 13:00-15:00 (St Peter's Campus)
`A threshold concept can be considered as akin to a portal, opening up a new and previously inaccessible way of thinking about something. It represents a transformed way of understanding, or interpreting, or viewing something without which the learner cannot progress. As a consequence of comprehending a threshold concept there may thus be a transformed internal view of subject matter, subject landscape, or even world view. This transformation may be sudden or it may be protracted over a considerable period of time, with the transition to understanding proving troublesome.' (Meyer and Land 2003)
Week 1: Introduction to `threshold concepts' (Friday 9 March, 13:00-15:00, Reg Vardy 311)
An introduction to Meyer and Land¿s theory, and to the key features of `threshold concepts' as transformative, irreversible, bounded, integrative and troublesome. Participants will reflect on their own subject disciplines and teaching experience to identify the `threshold concepts' which are most important in their practice.
Week 2: Curriculum and classroom / workshopping opportunity 1
(Friday 16 March, 13:00-15:00, Reg Vardy 313a)
We will examine how the notion of `threshold concepts' can help us guide students through their curriculum. The relationship between threshold concepts, learning outcomes and assessment will be discussed. We will explore the implications of `transformative' knowledge for tutor and student identities and relationships, and look at ways to harness these to support learning.
Week 3: Handling difficulty and uncertainty / workshopping opportunity 2 (Friday 23 March, 13:00-15:00, David Goldman 313a)
This session focuses on two aspects of the `troublesome' nature of threshold concepts; their disruption of established beliefs, knowledge and ways of thinking, and the uncertain `liminal space' which students inhabit while testing and applying a new and `difficult' concept. Ways to handle these in order to achieve genuine and lasting learning will be explored.