Exciting events and opportunities coming up for the Active Learning Network

Workshops, webinars, book collaborations and more!

Large Class Teaching – a proposal for a working group or workshop – expressions of interest required!

Dr Victoria Walden is interested to explore methods for large class teaching in Media, Film and Music (as our maximum seminar group sizes have just increased). I’m hoping to run a working group or workshop day sometime during the Autumn, for which I would like to bring together media/film educational specialists and, hopefully, members of Technology Enhanced Learning, Academic Development and members of the active learning group to help bring their expertise together to mindmap some ideas, which would lead to some guest speakers running an away day for our faculty in January 2021.

If you would be interested in contributing in some way to this, please contact Viki on V.Walden@sussex.ac.uk or on 01273 877646

Embedding study skills in the arts and humanities – expressions of interest required!

Viki is also interested in the idea of putting together a co-authored e-book on ’embedding study skills in the arts and humanities’. The ethos of the book would be a cohesive textbook, rather than diverse chapters, that talks through strategies for embedding study skills into content teaching. Thus it aims to challenge pedagogical debates about knowledge v skills, aiming instead to think about the ways these two can be intertwined! I would like to do this very much as a book sprint activity again over a series of days: Day 1 would be a mindmapping day, in which contributors define the contents and structure of the book, then days 2-4 would be writing content, and day 5 an initial peer-review stage. If you would be interested in contributing in some way to this, please contact Viki on V.Walden@sussex.ac.uk or 01273 877646

SOLENT Active Learning Network meet up:

I’m (not) an academic- get me out of here! A workshop promoting high-quality academic reading through active learning.

3-5pm Wednesday, 11th March, SMX24

Yes, you are an academic: you just don’t know it yet.
The problem is that students aren’t reading (research tells us that 27 per cent of expectations is a high estimate) and they’re afraid to engage with some of the reading we recommend.
That’s a problem because: we want our students to become good at writing; because critical thinking emerges through academic writing; but before writing comes reading.
So, this workshop aims to offer an active learning approach to getting students reading high-quality academic sources, understanding their structure, and helping them with comprehension, interpretation, paraphrasing, and synthesis.
The session doesn’t require anything other than highlighters, a white board and copies of a relevant published article.
The workshop employs an active learning approach to demonstrate a method for the collective reading, interpretation and synthesis of a complex academic work.
The approach is highly flexible and can be adapted to a range of other contexts including books, book chapters, etc. In this instance the workshop focuses on getting students to engage with, and make use of, a peer-reviewed journal article.
The workshop uses models reading as a practice – this is how students will learn to write academically, critically, in depth, and from an informed viewpoint.
It significantly contributes to conquering the fears students have of engaging with what they think of as material too complex for them to comprehend.
But, through this group-based, active learning, approach students discover that they can understand, and apply, that which they thought they couldn’t.
Workshop facilitators Paul Stevens & Roy Hanney.

For more information contact: roy.hanney@solent.ac.uk 07894 899 044

Booking: https://solent_active_learning_network_meetup.eventbrite.com

Wed 26th Feb 2020, 11:00am-12:00pm (GMT)

Online Masterclass in Teaching and Supporting International Students

Active Learning Network www.activelearningnetwork.com 

Do you want to understand more about how to create a positive learning environment for overseas students? In many countries, the number of international students has increased dramatically in recent years. For example, in 2017-18, around 36% of all postgraduate students in UK universities were overseas students and this number has continued to increase. Moreover, these students are not evenly distributed from different nations: for example, almost 1/4 of the 458,490 total overseas students in the UK come from China. This provides a range of amazing opportunities as well as a number of challenges. How can we make the most of these opportunities and create an educational environment in which people from all international backgrounds feel welcome? What are some of the challenges which students face and how can we mitigate or address these challenges? In this online masterclass we will discuss research findings and strategies which can help to create an inclusive environment for international students. The session will begin with a short presentation, and then move into interactive tasks in which participants work in small groups to share ideas and experiences, before feeding back to the whole group. A handout with tips for teaching or supporting international students will be provided. Students, teachers, student support staff and everyone in between welcome.

Book a place (limited spaces): Click here to book

Join Zoom Meeting (click the link below):


Meeting ID: 319 409 700

Look out for more masterclasses coming up in March , April and May!

Sussex Active Learning Network Meet-ups

Active Learning Network Meetings at Sussex

1st Friday of every month, 12-1.30pm Meeting House Quiet Room, University of Sussex

Our meetings are open to all staff, students, and anyone interested in education and innovative pedagogy. Join us for discussion, break-out activities and sharing of resources on the following dates:

Friday 6th March

Robert James and Irene Dallaway-Gonzalez, School of Education and Social Work

“Linking personal experience to theory using video assessment”

This session will be about our experience of using video assessments for students on an elective.  Rather than a stand up presentation the students were asked to produce a 10 minute video presentation.  The module involved theory and practice including a volunteer placement in a local community group.  They needed to demonstrate reflexivity and link their own experiences and learning to the theoretical parts of the module in the self-made video. We will discuss the good and bad aspects of this, the technological skills required by students and staff, and some pedagogical aspects of this method as an assessment.

Friday 3rd April

Nimi Hoffman, School of Education and Social Work

“Peer assessment: developing a communal epistemic virtue among students”

In this session, I’ll talk about my experience of implementing peer assessment in a postgraduate module. There are several pedagogic reasons for using peer assessment, including internalising assessment criteria, strengthening formative assessment, and students’ learning to take a step back from their work in order to appraise it more carefully. However, to my mind these are all functions of a deeper purpose – developing an epistemic orientation orientated towards communal knowledge production. I’ll discuss the notion of epistemic virtues and why the ethos of communal knowledge production is an important epistemic virtue. I’ll then discuss how I structured peer assessment, how students experienced it and the mistakes I made along the way.

Friday 1st May

Joanna Richardson, School of Life Sciences

“Making active learning and dialogue possible in large group teaching.”

Many classes still take the form of traditional lectures, often with large groups that can make active learning a challenge. I will describe some simple techniques on how to make lectures more interactive, focusing on how to use Poll Everywhere to gather real-time student feedback on their own learning, using the ‘Muddiest Point’ metacognitive approach. Running these interactive polls over several lectures creates a classroom dialogue around topics that are interesting or challenging, even in a large cohort in which students are otherwise intimidated from asking questions. Additionally, it can be used to feed forward to later lectures, and ask students questions which test their prior learning. I will also describe the use of Padlet to set clinical case studies for students and provide feedback to stimulate class discussion.

The Annual Active Learning Network Conference – save the date!

Our annual conference is due to take place at Anglia Ruskin University, on Tuesday 8th September 2020 with masterclasses on Monday 7th September. We are pleased to announce that this year, the event will be sponsored by Talis Elevate.

Get your active learning stories ready to share!

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