Category academic development

Quectures: Learning by questions

A student (we shall call him Homer) emailed me a few weeks ago saying that he had not attended my lecture and was watching the video but could not make out what I had said between minutes 37 and 40. Could I please tell him? I was perturbed for quite a few reasons, one of […]

Innovation! Innovation! Innovation!

One of my favourite New Yorker cartoons shows two disgruntled-looking dogs walking along the road. One says to the other “It’s always, ‘Sit!’ ‘Stay!’ ‘Heel!’ – Never ‘think’, ‘innovate,’ ‘be yourself.’” Unlike the New Yorker dogs, university teachers are constantly being urged to innovate, innovate, innovate, but this often makes us feel equally disgruntled. We […]

The Neuroscience of Learning

As teachers and learners we know that the human brain is a wonderful thing, but many of us are a bit vague about how it actually works. So it was great to have the opportunity to spend a whole day in the company of Patricia Riddell, Professor of Applied Neuroscience at the University of Reading.  […]

Join us for a conversation about assessment and feedback!

Over the past couple of years, we’ve been involved in organising a reading group for colleagues here at the University of Edinburgh who are interested in assessment and feedback.  The reading group was developed to critique literature and to think about new ideas that could be applied in our settings at the University.  And it’s […]

Tutorial teaching: Some Hints and Tips

This post first appeared as part of the Pubs and Publications blog site in the College for Humanities and Social Sciences and is reprinted with their permission.  You can find the original post here. For the past eighteen months, I’ve been working in the Institute for Academic Development as part of a team supporting tutors […]

Improving reflective and critical thinking on a postgraduate taught programme

Before I worked at the university I worked in a Further Education college in Manchester in Wythenshawe, one of the largest council house estates in Europe. It was a bit of a shock to find myself at the foot of Arthur’s Seat and my first introduction to post-structuralism made me take up smoking again, temporarily. […]

Delivering excellence in teaching

Teaching is firmly on the agenda at the moment.  The publication of the Green Paper, paving the way for a Teaching Excellence Framework, has ignited conversations about what we mean by excellence in teaching, and how we might demonstrate this in practice.  Here at the University of Edinburgh – where Senior Vice-Principal Professor Charlie Jeffery […]

What do academic developers do?

creativecommons.wikimedia   I’ve been an academic developer for several years now and friends and family still ask What is it you do again? I usually say that I help university lecturers to improve their learning and teaching. But “develop” is such a slippery word. What exactly does it mean? A colleague and I recently posed […]

‘Teachable moments’: creating active learning in exams

For Simon Bates one of the conundrums of scholarship on student learning and engagement is the limited attention paid to exams.  Why is it that we spend so much time thinking about how to promote active learning in the classroom, but very little on how we might similarly engage students during exams?  This was the […]

Developing feedback as dialogue

Hazel Christie  Is there more to feedback than just giving written comments on students’ work?  This was the provocative question that David Carless posed at the start of his seminar on feedback here at the IAD last week, and the answer for him was a resounding ‘yes’.  In a lively session, drawing on his many […]