Educating the educators for innovative practice
An academic masterclass
Educating academics for the collaborative teaching and learning environment
Collaborative teaching and learning, mentoring, coaching, teamwork
Dr Julia Prior’s project is expanding IT teaching academics' capabilities and innovative practices in using the new collaborative learning environments.
What the project is about
Teaching and learning innovations across UTS are becoming increasingly collaborative, bringing to bear different and oftentimes new academic practices. The new collaborative classrooms and studios have been designed to support these practices. The aim of this project is to enhance academic capabilities so they are equipped to operate in these learning spaces.
The project is developing teaching materials and skills to build staff’s capacity to:
- Effectively coach and mentor students in a collaborative, practice-based, studio environment, a new approach to teaching for many staff who are used to teaching in a more traditional lecture/tutorial/lab manner
- Incorporate and effectively use freely available online content for their discipline and subjects in a collaborative teaching and learning environment
- Incorporate and effectively use technologies, such as virtual environments, for their discipline and subjects in a collaborative teaching and learning environment.
Why the project is being introduced
Until now, there appears to have been very little specific and pragmatic consideration given to the requirements and experiences of teaching academics who are expected to implement these new approaches. Most of the consideration seems to focus on the students’ learning and experience in implementing new models of teaching and learning, particularly collaborative and problem-based approaches that take advantage of the myriad materials available online to support face-to-face time.
As stated in the UTS Strategic Plan, UTS is striving to become “a world leading university in technology” as it continues “to advance knowledge and learning to progress the professions, industry and communities of the world.” To achieve this, Dr Prior believes that it is crucial to provide deliberate and well-structured professional development for academics to equip them with the skills and capacities for teaching effectively in a rapidly changing and challenging educational environment.
How the project is being implemented
Dr Prior’s project consists of the following four steps:
- An appropriate model for academic mentoring and coaching in a collaborative teaching and learning environment will be developed and prototyped
- A diagnostic tool will be selected to allow both staff and students to learn and teach, mentor and coach, and build teamwork
- Necessary academic development materials in effective coaching and mentoring in collaborative learning environments are identified and purchased
- Preliminary material for mentoring, coaching and team building for use in collaborative learning environments are identified and developed
Predominantly focusing on software development in this project, Dr Prior notes that learning mainly occurs in groups working on projects in the collaborative spaces, but also allows a provision for students to work away from UTS using the Remote Labs facilities in FEIT.
UTS Strategic Plan 2009-2018
Delving even deeper
Jensen, K. & Folley, S. (2011). Teaching with Technology in Higher Education: Exploring how lecturers at the University of Huddersfield use technology in teaching. Teaching and Learning Institute Working Paper No.1. University of Huddersfield.
Filigree Consulting. (2012). Instructional technology and collaborative learning best practices: Global report and recommendations.