News Article

Partnership in Teaching and Learning Conference

Partnership in Teaching and Learning Conference

Press Release:             Partnership in Teaching and Learning Conference  
Release Date:               Tuesday 19th March 2014  

Tuesday 18th March 2014 saw Reading University Students’ Union (RUSU) hold the first Partnership in Teaching and Learning Conference to ever have been organised by the student-body in any UK university. The event was funded by a joint project involving the Higher Education Academy and the National Union of Students.

The Conference gave members of academic staff, who had the previous week been given a prestigious RUSU Excellence Award after being nominated by students, the opportunity to share their best practice with staff and students from across the University.

The Conference was attended by over eighty staff and students. Talks were given on topics ranging from Technological Innovation in Teaching, where Dr Karsten Oster Lundqvist spoke about how he uses a flipped classroom method which allows students to learn using videos which they watch before coming to class, to personal tutors, where Dr Becky Thomas encouraged academics to engage with their tutees right from the start of their academic career.

Students also gave talks on Partnership in Learning and Teaching projects, such as a breakfast liaison club for students and staff in the Politics Department or research into the students experience of trainee teachers at the Institute of Education, that they had created in partnership with staff with the aim of improving the student experience.

The Conference was very well received by guests; staff and students could be heard saying how they felt inspired to incorporate what had been discussed into their own work.

It was felt by all that this event really emphasised the importance of a collaborative effort, involving both students and University staff, within the UK Higher Education Sector. RUSU Education Officer, Emma Jackson, who organised the Conference said “Today’s event marks our commitment as a Students’ Union to ensuring that the student-staff educational partnership will continue to be strengthened across our institution. It is our priority that to ensure the student voice is central to the ever-changing teaching and learning environment.”


List of Speakers

Dr Karsten Oster Lundqvist, a lecturer in the School of Systems Engineering and winner of the Technological Innovation in Teaching RUSU Excellence Award, spoke about technology enhanced learning generally and focused on his use of the flipped classroom method – where he delivers lectures using videos which the students watch before coming to class. In class the students build upon what they have learnt from the videos to undertake practical work under Karsten’s supervision. Karsten spoke about how the students found the flipped classroom method useful when revising for examinations as they are able to re-watch the videos. Karsten is the senior academic lead in the ‘Begin Programming’ Massive Open Online Course which has been designed by the University of Reading and now has 48,000 participants worldwide.

Dr Emma Mayhew, from the School of Politics, Economics and International Relations, spoke about her use of screencasts. Screencasts are where someone records what is happening on their computer screen and makes it into a video. Emma does this to teach her students and adds voice recordings for explanation. Emma has expanded her use of screencasts in her pastoral role as her School’s Senior Tutor to communicate information to students relating to topics such as how to fill in an extenuating circumstances form.

Dr Emily West from the Department of History, who won the Research Inspired Teaching Award, spoke about how she encourages her students to learn through research. She explained how she uses the problem based learning method and brings in primary sources, such as original documents from the American Civil War, so the students can learn by analysing the primary sources themselves.

Dr Becky Thomas from the School of Biological Sciences, who won the Personal Tutor RUSU Excellence Award, spoke about what she does to make herself an outstanding personal tutor. Becky showed a video that she had made in which she asks students what they want from a personal tutor; the responses she received included comments relating to tutors being available and to a need for better knowledge of the role of personal tutor. Becky advised academic colleagues to build a relationship with their tutees from day one.

Media Contact
Christine Whitburn
Marketing & Events Manager
Reading University Students’ Union
Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AZ
T: 0118 378 4100

Elected Officer Contact
Mark Kelleher
Reading University Students’ Union
Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AZ
T: 0118 378 4133