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July 2016 showcase

Humanities Teaching and Learning Showcase: 5 July 2016

showcase images, The University of Manchester

The 2016 Humanities Teaching and Learning Showcase

The showcase took place on:

  • Date: Tuesday 5 July 2016
  • Time: 9.45am to 3pm, full details in the timetable.
  • Location: ground floor teaching rooms and atrium, Alliance Manchester Business School East.
  • Lunch is included in the event from12.50 to 1.50pm in the atrium.
  • The event is open to academic and PSS staff from across the faculty. The event will be of interest to colleagues with a background or interest in teaching and learning.


Registration is now closed.  The next Humanities Teaching and Learning Showcase will take place on Thursday, 12 January 2017 in Alliance Manchester Business School East. Please check this site for further updates.

The 21st Century Campus

Higher Education in the UK continues to evolve in response to different student groups, advances in technology, to national policy, and to issues and standards in teaching and learning. As a result, the new campus of the 21st Century has developed beyond the traditional "bricks and mortar" model. The sessions in this Showcase highlight a number of areas where these changes are evident; and reflect the developments which are taking place to accommodate them.

These include:

  • teaching and supporting international students
  • student expectation as leaners/clients
  • the use of social media in learning and support
  • course unit delivery “in the field”
  • the impact of new technology on Higher Education

Keynote Speaker - Professor Andrew Westwood, Associate Vice-President for Public Affairs: A Political and Digital Revolution?

From a new HE white paper and Bill to wider economic and social trends and the prospect of a new industrial revolution, how is political and technological change affecting higher education?


30 minute presentations

Jennifer O'Brien (School of Education, Environment and Development) - In-field teaching: Lessons from the Himalayas

GEOG36661: Understanding the Himalayan Landscape is unique in its pedagogic approach as all of the teaching occurs in the field. The 20 credit interdisciplinary module is available to all final year physical and human Geographers in the summer before their final year, at an additional cost. Beyond a pre-departure briefing session and an extended reading list, the module is delivered through a two week expedition whilst the majestic Himalayan mountain range becomes the classroom.

In Leh, the capital of Ladakh, the students spend a week undertaking group research developed with their own interests, but to a set of broad research areas outlined by the staff. After flying over the Himalayas, the students deliver their rudimentary research findings in an assessed presentation at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. The research is written up for submission six weeks after returning to the UK.

This unique model pushed the boundaries of fieldwork - and was a phenomenal teaching and learning experience - but in turn posed a number of difficult practical and pedagogic questions. Beyond issues of health and safety and risk, assessing what many students called a 'once in a lifetime experience' posed significant problems. The session will share experiences and critically evaluate the course in hope to stimulate other infield taught modules. 

Please note that this session will now only be delivered once, from 11.40am to 12.10pm.

Paul Middleditch (School of Social Sciences)

Teaching with Twitter: An extension to the learning environment (HNAP unit S4, New Approaches to Teaching)

This interactive workshop will present early evidence from a research project interested with the pedagogical benefits of using the social media platform, Twitter, as an extension to the learning environment. The technology has been introduced on three different core courses for Macroeconomics at the University of Manchester since 2013/2014.

We will discuss how the students coped with the 140 character limit for course communication and how the new methods of use presented themselves from the students' own innovations. What was the student perception of the success of Twitter as a form of engagement?

The talk concludes with open comments from the students and recommendations for those considering adopting social media as an in and out of classroom form of engagement.

Peter Backus (School of Social Sciences) - Lectures Not Lectures (HNAP unit S10, Creative Teaching)

Peter will  present on the innovative techniques he uses to transform his lecture time to move away from the traditional lecture model. His presentation will include:

  • student lead discussions
  • a new approach to revision lectures
  • how to encourage students to ask questions

Chris Perkins and Jana Wendler (School of Education, Environment and Development) - Evaluating playful learning (HNAP unit S4, New Approaches to Teaching)

Shouldn't learning be fun? Our paper suggests that a systematic engagement with play can change field experiences and deliver significant outcomes, whilst also engaging students in the process of learning. From 2014/15 to 2016/17 an Erasmus+ initiative has fully funded an interdisciplinary field programme available for final year Manchester undergraduates, in which eight different disciplines from five European universities come together to use critical and personalised playful approaches to the construction of knowledge.

These playful methods entailed:

  • novel mobile methodologies
  • an open ended creative focus on student-led design of learning structures
  • emphasis on critical reflection
  • a focus on emergent and changing practice
  • a recognition that knowledge can be playfully co-constructed by engaging learners from different disciplines and national backgrounds

Recommendations for disseminating best practice across other disciplines emerged from our work, and we show how other field-based learning might benefit from our practice.

Rebecca Gilbertson and Mariola Yankova (SoSS Centre for Innovation in Pedagogy) - A student perspective of the learning environment at the University of Manchester

Rebecca Gilbertson and Mariola Yankova are two Student Innovation Officers from the SoSS Centre for Innovation in Pedagogy. They will present highlights from the recent CIP workshop on "Partnering with Students in Teaching Innovation". The talk will include a 'student view' of the learning environment with suggestions for improvement in the taught course at Manchester.

1 hour presentations 

Paul Smith (School of Social Sciences) - Engaging with the Teaching and Learning of Chinese Students (HNAP unit S4, New Approaches to Teaching)

This presentation will be based around Paul’s research into the perceived problems of engaging with large numbers of Chinese students, and will cover:

  • A short account of the perceived problems
  • Some methodology
  • An account of the research
  • New reflections and conceptual extensions
  • Some teaching and learning recommendations
  • Questions and comments

  • Download Paul's presentation slides

Michael O'Donoghue (School of Education, Environment and Development), Sally Hickson and Nicola Ollevant (School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work)

Select studies from the PG Certificate in Higher Education (S10, Creative Teaching)

This one hour presentation introduced by Mike O'Donoghue is comprised of two presentations by participants from the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education:

  • Sally Hickson: Approaches to curriculum design in the 21st Century - Developing Best Practice
    The session will focus on the process of going about designing a curriculum by looking at teamwork, different management methodologies and infrastructures. In the 21st Century there is a wealth of information and new approaches to working that the University can embrace in order to ensure that curricula are designed in a more effective way, making use of the best tools, resources and people. Using these new approaches will result in more robust curricula, staff committed to change and a better experience for our students.
  • Nicola Ollevant: What is the value of the undergraduate dissertation?
    Tradition has meant that many faculties still use the dissertation as a method of assessment for undergraduate final year students. In nursing the use of a research dissertation has remained mostly unchanged since its inception in the early 1980s. With the rapidly changing agenda of both Universities and students, particularly with the need for an increased reliance on employability of graduating students, can the dissertation in its current format remain a suitable method of assessment in a new 21st century campus? My presentation will draw on my research and findings on this theme which forms part of my assessment portfolio for my PG Cert HE.

    Download Michael, Sally and Nicola's presentation slides

Ralf Becker (School of Social Sciences) - Learning from MOOCs (HNAP unit S9, eLearning)

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become very popular over the last few years. They deliver material to students without the need for any face to face lectures. We have attempted to learn from how MOOCs deliver deliver material and achieve student engagement and adopt some of its elements.

The purpose was not to replace face to face lectures, but rather to make it a more useful contribution to the learning process. A large second year unit (app 250 students) was re-designed. The biggest challenge proved to be the changing of student behaviour away from a lecture focused approach to a more integrated approach.

Linda Irish and Jonny Crook (Humanities eLearning Team) - Editing Audio for Teaching and Learning  (HNAP unit S9, eLearning)

Stalls in the foyer

Throughout the day colleagues from across the Faculty will be on hand in the foyer to provide information and demonstrations relating to Teaching and Learning in Humanities. Stalls will include representatives from:

  • Humanities eLearning,
  • The Library
  • Student Support and Advice (formerly The Atrium, University Place)
  • Alumni Relations
  • Peer Support 
  • Manchester Enterprise Centre
  • Association of University Administrators