#LTHEchat 254: Hybrid working: new frontiers in professional practice. Led by @MarenDeepwell

Image of a team leader doing a team review with his team virtually.
Image of a team leader doing a team review with his team virtually. (Source: iStock)

For #LTHEChat 254 we are going to shift our focus from learning to work. We will explore ways in which learning and teaching practices can inspire a more sustainable and equitable hybrid workplace.

Digital technologies enable remote and hybrid working in new and more connected ways, but it is by no means a new practice. Many industries have depended on home working over the centuries. In the UK we are at the beginning of a new era of widespread homeworking, prompting urgent questions about the rights of hybrid workers, working conditions, and how new working practices may increase inequality. Some workers may now have more flexibility working from home, but the pressures of competing demands such as caring for children or other family members whilst earning an income remain constant. Other issues such as the increasing digital surveillance of employees and privacy concerns around hybrid working practices further highlight the need for a careful and considered approach to setting out policies for the future of working remotely.  

One indicator of the changes in how we work is new laws and policies that seek to formally express how the relationship between employers and their digitally connected and increasingly distributed workforce is changing.  For example, in the UK we have not yet seen an introduction of a code that would give employees a legal right to disconnect, whilst other countries, including France (2016), Italy (2017), Spain (2018), and Portugal (2021) have introduced such policies over the past five years and others including Ireland are working towards doing so. 

We invite you to share your experiences of hybrid working and critically reflect on some of the downsides alongside the positives. What do we gain when we move beyond simply translating office-based practices and envisage a truly hybrid way of working? How can we help create welcoming and warm hybrid places to work that help sustain well-being and work/life balance? How can we empower ourselves and others in making hybrid working an equitable and engaging reality that benefits the organisation and the individual alike? 

We are at a watershed moment for remote working in the sense that we have an opportunity to set out a vision for what is ahead that is informed by lessons from the past, as well as, the shift in perspective that the pandemic has brought about. 

In 2017, I set out to find creative and fun ways to work and build meaningful relationships in the virtual workplace. The resulting Open Access book, Leading Virtual Teams, brings together case studies and practical advice to build on. This LTHEchat #254 offers an opportunity for a conversation about current practices and how things are changing. 

Join us to share your own inspiration, questions, and prompts for reflection. From recruitment and induction to establishing effective and sustainable ways of working in the hybrid workplace we will explore the highs and lows of what it means to work in hybrid organisations in the long term. 

Guest biography

Dr Maren Deepwell @MarenDeepwell is the CEO of the Association for Learning Technology and a professional coach, working with organisations and emerging leaders in education and the not-for-profit sector. 

Profile picture of Dr Maren Deepwell
Profile picture of Dr Maren Deepwell

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#LTHEchat 253: Sustainable lifestyle and wellness in higher education. Led by @halehmoravej @SalsMiyan & @abeckyi

People doing gardening in an allotment
Multiracial group of young men and young women gather as volunteers to plant vegetables in community garden with mature woman project manager advice and teamwork

Balanced nutrition, wellness, and sustainability awareness are important for staff in higher education for similar reasons as they are for students. 

A healthy and well-nourished staff is more likely to perform better, which can benefit the institution. Providing staff with access to healthy food options and nutritional information can help to improve their mental and physical well-being. 

As sustainability awareness is an increasingly important issue, it is important for higher education institutions to lead by example and demonstrate their commitment to environmental stewardship. By promoting sustainable practices among staff, such as reducing energy consumption, and waste and switching to plant-based food options, institutions can set an example for their students and the wider community.

Staff who are aware of the importance of mental and physical health, nutrition and sustainability can act as role models for students and other staff members, leading to a more sustainable and healthier community in the higher education.

Overall, promoting wellness, balanced nutrition, and sustainability awareness among staff can help to create a more positive and productive work environment, and can contribute to the overall success of the educational institutions. 

Since 2011 globally recognised Advance HE CATE winners of 2020 MetMUnch team have brought Nutritional Science out of the lecture theatre and to the public. MetMUnch lead the way in innovative, exciting, and engaging nutrition events by combining the incredible facilities at Manchester Metropolitan University with the keen creative minds of our students and graduates. 

We’ve opened an Apple Store to promote rare, unappreciated, and locally sourced apples. We’ve created an entire pop-up kitchen from recyclable cardboard in a shopping centre. We’ve published recipe books for students, designed augmented reality clothing that triggers recipe videos on mobile devices and so much more. 

MetMUnch are available as creative consultants, project managers, idea generators and event planners. 

We can create and run tailored pop-ups, presentations and performances. If you would like to work with MetMUnch, please visit and contact us on:  www.metmunch.com

Team:

Salma Miyan

Rebecca Butler: a third year Nutritional Sciences student passionate about public health and sustainability 

Haleh Moravej – @halehmoravej – is a multi-award-winning senior lecturer in Nutritional Sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University and a creative social entrepreneur. Haleh is the recipient of the Advance HE National Teaching Fellowship (2018) and Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (2020) for the MetMUnch social enterprise project. Haleh has received an Honorary Fellowship from the British Science Association (2021) for outstanding contribution to public engagement and communication on climate science and sustainability and for challenging the stereotype of what a scientist should look like, furthering the inclusion and diversity of science in society.

Wakelet from this week’s chat:

https://wakelet.com/wake/kURlJz6sMc77Lu0SKmx9l

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#LTHEchat 252: Digitally accessible learning and resource design: How can we prevent this from being another unrealised new year’s resolution? Led by @mart_compton & @shaps_b

Image of red dots on a black screen. Image from public domain (pixabay)
Image from pixabay, public domain

In LTHEChat #250 @xlearn encouraged us to think about our personal perspectives and approaches to digital accessibility, and this week’s chat can be seen very much as a continuation of that. In our respective roles in academic development (Martin) and student wellbeing support (Shapna) we have both been long-time advocates of effective digital accessibility practices, always trying to model equitable, accessible practices in our own resource design and teaching materials. Whilst legislation (Equality Act, 2010 and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1, 2018) offer imperatives and drivers that have focussed the attention of senior education leaders and led to policy creation, we have always personally favoured focussing where possible on values and ethics: We should do this not only because it is a legal duty but because it is the right thing to do.

In our respective roles, we rarely encounter resistance to effective digital accessibility practices in principle, but we are often confronted with resistance on practical or resourcing grounds. How then to turn positive values into a new year’s resolution that can normalise effective digitally accessible practices? How much is it about growing knowledge of what ‘digital accessibility’ means in practical terms? How much is it about turning good intentions and growing knowledge into routine practice?

At both our institutions, we are working to build on practices such as the adoption of Blackboard Ally, institutional and departmental auditing (for example, via AbilityNet), generic and discipline-targeted workshops and ‘campaigns’ targeted at raising awareness and skills in specific areas (e.g. Writing alternative text or captioning media content). Like many across the sector, we emphasise the importance of embedding equitable and inclusive practices at the design stage. Rather than thinking digital accessibility is something that needs adding when students with defined learning needs or a specific disability are identified, we are encouraging colleagues to draw on universal design principles and assume digital accessibility is a norm that will have potential benefits to all.  In addition, at UCL (working in concert with the Head of Digital Accessibility @Access_Watson, Ben Watson), to help facilitate this approach, we are developing a tool that will challenge colleagues to consider their values, knowledge and behaviours in terms of a broad commitment to digital accessibility and according to 12 indicative practices. The idea is that colleagues answer a series of questions that suggest where they are currently, pushing them toward targeted and personalised developmental resources. Although still very much in development, colleagues may wish to see the (evolving) engagement model and answer the anonymous ‘behaviours’ questions.

So, please join us to share your own digital accessibility resolutions; let us know what you think the major barriers will be as we look ahead to 2023 and, above all, share your ideas, plans and tried and tested techniques to help you and your colleagues keep to those resolutions.

Guest biographies

Martin Compton is an Associate Professor at the Arena Centre for Research-Based Education at University College London. For the last 20 years or so, he has worked primarily in teacher and academic development, including 5 years running an online PGCert HE.

Shapna Compton is an Assistant Head of the Student Wellbeing Service at the University of Greenwich. She has worked in education for over twenty years, specialising in specific learning difficulties, disabilities and equity of access.

Wakelet: https://wakelet.com/wake/vmFUGJX9brDsFJj14Tw8I

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#LTHEchat 251: Working in the third space to support learning and teaching. Led by @dixxyd and @emilythemac 8pm UK.

Image by LaSu1923 from Pixabay

What is the ‘third space’?

Third space is a term used in a HE context primarily to describe activity taking place between academic and professional settings (Whitchurch, 2008 and 2013) – in contemporary HE more and more roles have been and are being developed that are based in this third space (e.g. retention support officers, widening participation and access staff, employability roles, learning developers, educational developers, learning technologists etc), but many academics (e.g discipline specific lecturers) and professional staff (e.g counsellors, librarians, disability advisors) also do key work in this third space to support student learning, and enhance teaching practice. 

Within HE settings and in media discussion about HE there is sometimes a tension between academic and professional settings, which can lead to limitations on effective working across silos. If we want to enhance teaching and support learning and student experiences more effectively, we would argue that we need to value the third spaces we engage in. So for example projects to support retention or employability are likely to take place in this third space drawing on professional staff, academic staff, students and others to develop enhanced practices and approaches – these developments can only really be effective if third space activity is valued and recognised.

Using the term ‘integrated practice’

Earlier this year we published an edited collection exploring third space working (McIntosh and Nutt, 2022a), drawing on the accounts and experiences of a range of staff working in HE talking about their work in third spaces. In exploring the many ways in which staff and students are working together ‘in-between’ academic and professional settings we have argued for the term ‘integrated practice’ as a useful way of defining what we are doing and why it is important that we work together across the conventional line markers in HE.
Our own particular perspective on third space working and integrated practice is that networking, and working together is key to success (McIntosh and Nutt, 2002b). We would argue that building relationships with others across silo boundaries enables us to enhance student learning experiences.


This is the final LTHEChat before Christmas, so we encourage you to come join us in working and thinking together, in sharing experiences and learning and in the spirit of Christmas, perhaps to wear your Christmas hats and jumpers (even if we cant see them!) and nibble on a mince pie while we consider the possibilities of third space working together.

References

McIntosh, E. and Nutt, D. (2022a) (editors) The Impact of the Integrated Practitioner in Higher Education: studies in the third space London: Routledge.

McIntosh, E. and Nutt, D. (2022b). The Impact of the Integrated Practitioner: Perspectives on Integrated Practice to Enhance Student Success. Student Success13(2), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.5204/ssj.2430

Whitchurch, C. (2008) Shifting Identities and Blurring Boundaries: The emergence of third space professionals in UK higher education, Higher Education Quarterly 62 (4) 377-396

Whitchurch, C. (2012) Reconstructing Identities in Higher Education: The Rise of Third Space Professionals (London, Routledge).

Guest biographies

Dr Emily McIntosh has held a variety of senior management roles in learning, teaching and the student experience in several UK universities. She is joining the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) as Director of Student Success in January 2023. Her expertise includes institutional leadership for learning, teaching and student success, including student transition, technology enhanced learning (TEL), academic practice, equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), academic advising, and student engagement. Emily is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA, 2017) and a National Teaching Fellow (NTF, 2021). She was a founding Board member and Trustee of UK Advising and Tutoring (UKAT) from 2016-2021 is Academic Board Member of the NACADA Center for Research at Kansas State University, United States. She is also an Independent Member of the Board of Corporation for the Trafford College Group. Emily has always had a keen interest in all things student success and has published monographs, chapters and articles on a wide variety of topics from academic advising, personal tutoring and peer learning to integrated practice. She is on twitter: @emilythemac.

Dr Diane Nutt (PFHEA) is an Independent HE Consultant based in York, UK. Diane established the European First Year Experience Network and Annual Conference Series in 2006. She was chair of the network and organising committee until 2021. She is also on the International Advisory Board for the USA National Resource Center for First Year Experience and Students in Transition. She has been a bookseller, a Sociology lecturer, an educational developer and head of a student retention team. In 2015 she set up as an independent HE consultant, often describing herself as having two heads: one focused on student first year experiences and transitions; the other directing her passion for career development for staff working in higher education in a variety of roles spanning academic, professional and third space settings. On twitter @dixxyd (and now also on mastodon @dixxyd@ohai.social)

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#LTHEchat 250: Digital Accessibility: it’s personal. Led by @xlearn. Wed 14th December, 8pm UK.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Digital Accessibility: it’s personal.

Forgive me if this blog post is a little different from other #LTHE chat blog posts. I was looking through last week’s chat and other recent discussions about accessibility and wondering what I could bring to the table to add value. I’ve decided that all I can do is to share my own drivers and philosophy and see where that takes us!

In my role as Education Adviser with responsibility for digital accessibility, I help to drive awareness on making accessible resources at the University of York. I also work with interns and departments on accessibility projects, run user research sessions with disabled students and promote a range of tools for checking accessibility or generating alternative formats.

When I deliver training to staff on digital accessibility, I often show them what an accessible document can do for them personally, regardless of accessibility needs. Apart from teaching the basics on how to make a document accessible, I demonstrate how it makes something more readable or easily navigable and how easy it is to change the format of the resource.

We look at tools that help them to use these features of an accessible document. It amazes me how the things I take for granted and use every day can be totally unknown to others. 

Here’s a comment from someone I will call Jenny who attended one of my training sessions:

“I showed my mum Screen Shader as she has very bad visual stress and she cried from being able to read her work forms! So thank you, she’s thrilled with it.”

And that is why I deliver digital accessibility workshops personally. For me, it’s about communicating that it’s so much more than structuring a document, adding alt text or descriptive hyperlinks. There are a whole host of practices that surround digital accessibility that have to be demonstrated and communicated in person. There is joy in taking back control, personalising, overcoming the little annoyances like trying to read a PDF on a tiny screen. By the end of the training session, people know how to create an accessible document and they know they have to practise those skills, but they have also gained some additional tools and strategies they can use themselves or share with others.I do think these accessibility life hacks play an important part in persuading people to create accessible documents. Although they care about accommodating all students, when they can relate the usability of a document to their own experiences or to people they know, it makes it something they are actually ‘excited’ to do.

I also gain a lot from interacting directly with people as they learn to make things accessible. Our exchange of questions and personal examples creates that space and dialogue that no ‘online training programme’ can replace. I learn as much from each group as they do from the session. With each event, I change a little as a person and my own understanding expands and grows. This in turn makes me even more committed to investing time with people over creating more resources. There are more resources on making things accessible than we can possible look through in any given day but time spent with people is a completely unique and shared experience that, for me, has greater resonance. What I’ve learned from training staff or doing user research with our disabled students is that part of who I am comes out as I communicate with others, whether that’s in a meeting or a training session or just a conversation. So the more I interact with staff and students and work with them, the more I naturally communicate their experiences.  

It’s through these conversations and the feedback I get that I find out what the impact is of the work that I’m doing. Without the feedback, how do we really know if we’re doing enough of the right thing? So in this LTHE chat, I’m going to ask people to think about their personal experiences, stories, practice and life hacks, and hope it’s a conversation we can all enjoy and take forward into our own relationships.

Guest Biography

Lilian Joy @xlearn is an E-Learning Advisor at the University of York and one of the hosts of Future Teacher UK. You can see more about her work here.

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#LTHEchat 249 Supporting disabled students to fulfil their potential in H.E – transforming attitudes, processes and provision. Led by @DrEllieDavison, @jocopson_ and disabled students from the University of Lincoln. Wednesday 7th December 2022 at 20:00 UK.

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Almost one in five Higher Education students is disabled (Office for Students, 2022a) and disabled students are statistically less likely than non-disabled students to complete their course or to graduate with first or upper second class degrees (Office for Students, 2022b).  

The general perception of disabilities may steer towards physical conditions, such as mobility issues, visual or hearing impairments. However, disability is far more diverse and includes mental health conditions, such as anxiety, and specific learning differences such as dyslexia, processing disorders and ADHD (HESA, 2022).  Thus, ensuring that Higher Education is accessible to all is vital to support the complex and often hidden nature of the challenges many students face.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, disabled students reported that shifts in practice, such as an increase in the availability of lecture recordings, remote access to teaching sessions, and flexible assessments and extension policies were of significant benefit to them.  However, less than a quarter of disabled students felt that they had received the support they required to fully access their studies (Disabled Students UK, 2022).

Furthermore, the Disabled Students’ Commission (2022) noted that while beneficial adjustments such as the provision of captions, have been implemented in some areas of the sector, these are often limited to ‘pockets of good practice’. The Commission have opened a consultation to produce a Disabled Student Commitment. This Commitment will create a sector-wide standard for inclusive provision Disabled Student Commitment Consultation.

This unique LTHE chat is a co-created partnership between students, academic and professional staff. It includes voices of disabled individuals and disability allies. This is an opportunity to explore the challenges in transforming attitudes, processes and provision, as well as to share innovative and equitable practices that support disabled students to fully realise their potential.  

Guest Biographies.

Dr Ellie Davison (NTF) has a background in molecular genetics research and is a qualified
teacher, with extensive experience developing and delivering science curricular in secondary
schools. She is currently Director of Teaching and Learning for the University of Lincoln’s
CATE winning Foundation Studies Centre, providing an alternative entry route into the
College of Science, where she supports a diverse student cohort to thrive in Higher
Education.


Jo Copson is the Widening Participation Officer at the University of Lincoln Careers and
Employability centre. They are currently completing a Masters’ degree focusing on the
impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the experiences of disabled university students and
has recently spoken at TEDxYouth@BrayfordPool about their experience as a disabled
individual.

References.

Disabled Students Commission and Borkin, H. (2022) Exploring the impact of Covid-19 on
disabled students’ experiences: in-depth qualitative report.  Available at: https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/exploring-impact-covid-19-disabled-students-
experiences-depth-qualitative-report.
 


Disabled Students UK (2022) Going back is not a choice.  Available at:
https://disabledstudents.co.uk/not-a-choice/


Higher Education Statistics Agency (2022) UK domiciled student enrolments by disability
and sex 2014/15 to 2020/21. Available at:  https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/table-15

 
Office for Students (2022a) Equality, diversity and student characteristic data. Available at: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/media/79a7bb57-83cf-4c50-a358-6bcfe80f165c/ofs2022_29.pdf


Office for Students (2022b) Access and participation data dashboard. Available at:
https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/data-and-analysis/access-and-participation-data-
dashboard/

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#LTHEchat 248: Digital capabilities. Led by @sumingkhoo Wed 23rd November 8pm UK.

Image by Free Photos from Pixabay

It’s been a bit of a rush to get this blog out this week as it’s that busy time of the semester, when teaching duties run up against administrative and research deadlines. Thanks to Tim Fawns for kindly swapping with me and giving me some extra time to prepare! My own experience in the past few years, and more especially since the sudden pandemic pivot has been one of accelerated digitalization and heavier workloads to accommodate the switch to online and digital working. There was an even more sudden return to in-person teaching in September 2021 and an official end put to hybrid provisions in September 2022, which felt brutally regressive and uncaring. The pandemic has been terrible and it is still ongoing, but there is no longer any public mention of the toll of death and illness on people everywhere. COVID-19 placed a magnifying glass on inequalities, injustices, needs and deprivations. The pandemic teaching pivot offered digital possibilities to foster more creativity and flexibility amongst both academics and students. Terrible as the pandemic has been, it has opened up potential for inclusiveness, commonsense, kindness and care, but what are we doing with that increased awareness now?

My educator experiences have in fact been more exhausting, more frustrating and more inequitable. The intensification of digitalization has increased work, and also brought a rising sense of dread and cynicism, that conditions for academic work and study are not going in the right direction. There is an infodemic about the plague of academic cheating, resulting in panicked official responses in the form of statements, trainings and products to detect and control breaches of ‘academic integrity’, but there is little conversation about what academic integrity is for. I can’t help feeling, both for academics and students, that we are not keeping up with being the necessary persons, capable of doing the right things.

The topic of this LTHE tweetchat ‘Digital Capabilities’ comes up at point when our digital tweetchat platform might well be melting down. But what are the alternatives? Most of us have some reservations about most social media platforms, but have carried on using them anyway because of the ways that social media enables us to exist in the digital world and allows us to find information, connect with people and do things. As many flee or prepare to flee a platform in disarray, others do not want to leave, or do not want to be forced to leave, even if they can see their connections and communities going elsewhere.

I come to the topic of digital capabilities from my subject matter – I am a human development and capabilities person and many of my people are members of the Human Development and Capabilities Association (HDCA). There are two distinct sectors interested in ‘capabilities’ –

  • the HDCA’s (humanistic) human development
  • and capabilities approach and a largely unrelated, business-focused field of organizational capabilities.

The two should not be confused. In the business and management space, there are those who work on ‘dynamic capabilities’ which are about harnessing resources and competences in order to generate higher than expected profits for a commercial organization. The human development and capabilities approach is an ethically focused, humanistic perspective which focuses on the expansion of people’s beings and doings, taking ‘people as the real wealth of a nation’. Digital capabilities take on different meanings, depending on whether you are situating your education within a business-focused approach or within a human-centred approach. This distinction is relevant for the SOTL community, underpinning deeper questions of what, and whom we are educating for. We are often confused and ambivalent about the critical purposes of higher education, especially within the contexts of business schools and business-oriented education.

The human development and capabilities approach sees education in terms of an open ended and pluralistic process – different people have different reasons for valuing different ways of being and different types of doings. In an educational world that is both increasingly narrow and more strictly instrumentalized, humanized digital capabilities ought to concern the development of a variety of ways of being and doing. They should remain open-ended and treat people always as an end and never as a means. Students and educators are in the space of higher education to develop as human beings with a plurality of values and reasons, they must never be treated merely instrumentally – as merely a means for generating profits.

Guest biography

 Su-ming is an Associate Professor and Head of Sociology at the University of Galway, Ireland and Visiting Professor at CriSHET, Critical Studies in Higher Education and Transformation at Nelson Mandela University, South Africa. She is Principal Investigator in the Irish Research Council funded project, BCAUSE (Building Collaborative Approaches to University Strategies against Exclusion in Ireland and Africa: pedagogies for quality Higher Education and inclusive global citizenship).

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#LTHEchat 247 Entangled pedagogy in design and institutional collaboration. Led by @timbocop Wed 16th November 8pm UK.

Crossed wires by @warwicklanguage CC BY

“Entangled pedagogy” is a way of thinking about complexity in education, and how different elements combine to in emergent activity. 

In the diagram above (which is more fully explained in the Entangled Pedagogy OER and journal paper), I try to show how putting technology or pedagogy first or last is an illusion. One reason is because both technology and pedagogy are always already there when we begin the design process. Pedagogy is already there, in the form of established practices, traditions, cultures and institutional structures. New technologies cannot steamroller over all of this; they must be integrated into what is already there and will quickly become entangled in the combination of elements. Technology is also always already there, in the form of entrenched systems, ubiquitous software (think of MS Word or Powerpoint, or email), security and ID protocols, the devices and apps that students use outside the classroom, and more. I would also count pens, paper, desks, chairs, and buildings among the technologies that are already present or available before any given educational activity is designed. 

Trying to put technology or pedagogy first is also indicative of technological or pedagogical determinism (the idea that either technologies or educators drive social change independently of other contributing factors). From an entangled view, outcomes and agency are negotiated between various stakeholders and elements. I suggest that, rather than thinking of a technology / pedagogy dichotomy (or of technology or pedagogy as driving education), we think of a mutual shaping of methods, technologies, purposes, values, and contexts. This gives more clarity around what to keep in mind as we iteratively attend to different aspects of design. The last column in the diagram above shows an aspirational view of how educational stakeholders can work together (through openness, honesty and an acceptance of uncertainty and imperfection) to generate distributed, responsive and ethical educational knowledge. I hope that this gives us a basis for an interesting and helpful chat about how these ideas might apply across a range of different educational setting. You may wish to try this activity before joining the chat on Wednesday evening:

Think of a specific educational activity where you are (e.g. an undergraduate lecture, a postgraduate seminar, PhD supervision, etc.). Make a list (the longer the better) of relevant people, methods, technologies, contextual factors, purposes, and values involved.

Note from organising team: this chat leads us on from #LTHEchat 245 Teaching Teams. See the tweets here.

Resources.

Fawns, T. (2022).  An Entangled Pedagogy: Looking Beyond the Pedagogy—Technology Dichotomy. Postdigital Science and Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-022-00302-7.

Fawns (2020). Entangled pedagogy diagrams Open Educational Resource: https://open.ed.ac.uk/an-entangled-pedagogy-views-of-the-relationship-between-technology-and-pedagogy/

Guest biography

Tim Fawns is a Senior Lecturer in the Edinburgh Medical School at the University of Edinburgh, and Co-Director of the MSc Clinical Education. His research interests are in clinical, digital, higher and postgraduate education. Tim is moving to the Monash Education Academy at Monash University in January 2023.

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#LTHEchat 246: Podcasting in Higher Education: Informing Practice or Just Podcrastination? Led by @MarkChilds and @JSecker Wed 9th November 8pm UK.

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

There are many, many podcasts about higher education out there. Feedspot lists their top 45 in the UK https://blog.feedspot.com/uk_education_podcasts/ which are a mix of discussions about higher education policy, advice to students and explorations of the role of technology in education. Sue Beckingham recommends her favourite ones here https://socialmediaforlearning.com/2020/12/22/easy-listening-a-collection-of-higher-education-podcasts/ . Some are produced as the official marketing by universities, others by professionals aiming to share their thoughts on topics. Some focus on conveying information, others lean more into the banter. 

In LTHEchat 246: Podcasting in Higher Education, we’d like to talk about the role that podcasts take in supporting your professional development. Do you just listen to them for fun, or is there an aspect of them that you find informative? What things make you want to listen more, and what makes you switch off?  

We’re hoping that this will be an opportunity for sharing with others the podcasts you like and also a chance to reflect on what actually it is that draws you to podcasts as a support for your work in HE. We’re also interested in the information literacy angle; is there something about the nature of podcasts that meets a need which isn’t being fulfilled by the alternative ways of accessing information?  

And maybe you’ll be inspired to start a podcast of your own.

Guest biographies.

Mark Childs is a Senior Learning Designer at Durham University. Previous universities he’s worked at include Wolverhampton, Warwick, Coventry, Loughborough, Worcester, KCL, Leicester, Oxford Brookes and Open, the plan being that if he keeps moving on quickly enough, he’ll never be found out. In 2021 he was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship for his research in virtual reality and videoconferencing. Mark is one of the two creators behind Pedagodzilla with Mike “@Pedagodzilla” Collins and has started Pedagogy Podium, a platform for people who just want to do one or two episodes of a podcast rather than start a whole series. 

 Jane Secker is Senior Lecturer in Educational Development at City, University of London. She leads the modules related to digital education and digital literacies and is Programme Director of the Masters in Academic Practice. She is Chair of the CILIP Information Literacy Group and a member of the Copyright Advisory Panel which is a governance group of the UK’s Intellectual Property Office. Along with Chris Morrison, Jane runs the website copyrightliteracy.org and the podcast Copyright Waffle, which is an archive of amazing chats with people whose lives have been touched by copyright!

See the Wakelet of this chat (450 tweets) here https://wakelet.com/wake/etvp4JnTF80VjxKihAvVs

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#LTHEchat 245: Teaching Teams  – Lecturers, Academic Developers, Learning Technologists, Learning Designers and Many Others! Led by @mphillpott

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Traditionally most courses in Higher Education institutions are devised predominantly by academic staff who are the experts on the subject that is going to be taught. It has long been recognised, however, that academics are not necessarily professionally trained in how students best learn. Much is left to the academic’s intuition and ‘what feels right’ when doing the teaching. 

A better way forward is to include teaching teams in the process of course design, so that different perspectives and expertise are brought into the designing of learning experiences. The academic is still front and centre, of course, but the inclusion of other voices ensure that the learning for students takes full advantage of the resources available and the best approaches for learning to take place.

In #LTHEchat 245: Teaching Teams, we take a look at the complexities of the relationships between the academic teachers, developers (such as learning designers and technologists), librarians, careers, health and wellbeing, and other services that can (or perhaps should) be part of a course design process.

This is a subject that I considered alongside David Baume for a forthcoming chapter on course design. Here, we thought about the tensions between the separate roles that might occur in a teaching team situation. We considered how learning designers and technologists (myself included) can sometimes struggle to collaborate well with the academic teachers, because we have different priorities for how the teaching might occur. A good working relationship can take time to form but often there just isn’t time to do that. In the chapter we wrote: 

The academic may retreat in apprehension back to the, perhaps relatively modest, range of learning and teaching methods with which they are familiar in in-person education. This may feel safe. However, not all methods used in in-person education have a natural, appropriate counterpart in the VLE. The long lecture is a good example, even when transcript and recording are provided. A long lecture can still be a somewhat pre-Gutenberg, let alone pre-worldwide web, experience, despite the use of PowerPoint. 
Also, not all of the methods used in in-person education may be particularly effective, or have a particularly sound educational rationale, even in person. These teaching methods may be familiar, even sometimes comfortable, to teacher and students, rather than being of proven effectiveness, so new and potentially valuable and appropriate teaching and learning methods may not be adopted online. The course, and the students, may be much poorer as a result. 
Alternatively, the academic may rush to embrace new methods, perhaps with mixed results in the absence of a sound rationale for choosing particular methods. A productive relationship between learning technologist or learning designer and lecturer may take some time and effort to develop and maintain. They cannot fully become members of each other’s world, but some mutual respect, preferably evidence-based respect, is essential for the development of good online education.

Mutual respect is important, but what else is needed? There are many questions here, and plenty of challenges. How do you already work with other roles in your institution? How might these collaborations become more effective and enjoyable? What would be the ideal? 

Guest Biography

Matthew Phillpott is a writer, educator, and historian with expertise in online, face-to-face, and hybrid training solutions and digital teaching practices. Matthew is currently working freelance, including at the University of the Arts London, and previously worked for the University of London. Matt is a Fellow of the University of London Centre for Online and Distance Education (CODE). You can find out more about Matt on his website or connect via Twitter @mphillpott.

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