On Monday 6th September, teaching started with the students based at Qingdau Agricultural University (QAU). For the last six months, the Digital Innovation team has been preparing for September. For the Learning Technology team, (@husnaahmed @chantalschipperraut and Peter Tolley) this took a variety of forms:
- Creation of a dedicated SharePoint to act as a document repository for staff
- Setting up of assessment and feedback workflow using Turnitin
- Creation of pre-recorded lectures using Panopto
- Scheduling of interactive sessions using Zoom with dedicated Zoom Pro licences
We also welcomed new staff from China to the team who have provided support for the preparations for September. Khloe, Hayley, Kara and Sherry for SDAU and Leah and Amber for QAU. One member of the new China team, Leah introduces herself and shares her ideas about teaching and learning:
“My name is Leah and I was born in a small city of Yantai, Shandong Province. I had an experience of studying in the UK for two years. I have a Master of Science in Project Management from the University of Sussex in the UK. I have deep affection for the UK, and I am honored to have this opportunity work for RAU. About teaching, I think one ofthe significant differences between British education and Chinese education is that it is that the British apprach is highly interactive. I learned that the function in zoom called poll is a good way to achieve it. At the same time, it is good to could check the students’ understanding of the main points and to encourage students to pay more attention on learning“.
At RAU, we welcomed new staff to teach the modules. Michael Heasman, International Teaching Fellow in Agri-Food Studies is teaching Principles of Marketing and Introduction to the Agri Food Industry. Michael Morris is teaching Species & Ecosystems. Stephen Chadd is also teaching Introduction to the Agri Food Industry and Maxwell Mutema is teaching Principles of Marketing. Michael Heasman co-authored a a book entitled Food Wars the Global Battle for Mouths, Minds and Markets with Tim Lang.
A range of induction sessions for students were delivered using Zoom where an example lecture in Panopto was played and a poll was used to engage the students. Additionally, Lecturers talked through how the modules would work and there was an opportunity for students to ask questions at the end.
During his induction presentation, Michael Heasman referred to the television programme The Great British Bakeoff as an example of British food culture. Check out the #EdTechBakeOff on Twitter where the Learning Technology community came together to share their creations. Perhaps a virtual bakeoff would be a creative way to engage students. A Thousand Gateaux?
Our China team were trained on how to schedule Zoom meetings for the online interactive sessions. This provided us with an opportunity to work on getting the workflow right. We started the training session with a quiz about the RAU.
Preparing for teaching for the QAU project enabled us to reflect on our other transnational projects particularly in terms of workflow, assessment, feedback and processes. For example, developments in exploring automated marking of multiple choice questionnaires (MCQs) for QAU could help us with improving teaching and learning with Shandong Agricultural University (SDAU). With regard to the interactive sessions in Zoom, it was important to reflect on enabling both co-hosts and alternate hosts in case the meeting host was not available.
Ensuring the interactive sessions on Zoom are really interactive is an ongoing problem particularly in virtue of Leah’s pedagogical reflection on interaction being one of the core differences between education in the UK and China. What is the relationship between interaction and engagement? Independent of the learning context, whether it is face-to-face or not, it is always important to ask ‘are students engaged?’. We must never “…confuse online engagement with logging in” (Headleand, 2021). We should also aim to ask the question “What does ‘student engagement’ mean to you? And you? And you?” (Headleand, 2021). Chris Headleand is also organising a Practical Pedgogy conference in September 2021. It is possible to find out more and sign up here. One of the most powerful tweets from the conference itself was:
Don’t just deliver: Teach. This seems like pluasibdle approach to pedagogy. Perhaps we need to reflect on our expectations of what we consider good teachers do in a wider sense and also what good teachers do in online settings? If good teachers differentiate, do Lecturers who teach in an online capacity provide opportunities for digital differentiation? What could digital differentiation mean? How is it different to non-digital differentiation? Do we need to be aware of trying too hard to provide engagement activities or ‘over-engagement?’. Perhaps the majority of conversations about learning technology are really just about learning. When does (digital) teaching become (digital) learning? The blog post title makes explicit reference to “expectations” drawing on the Dickensian narrative (Dickens, 2016). Managing expectations has been a significant part of the transnational projects. A Dickensian digital Journey?
Dàjiā hǎo yùn
Good luck everyone
Dickens, C (2020) Oliver Twist (Ottawa: East India Publishing Company)
Dickens, C (2016) Great Expectations (Los Angeles: Enhanced Media Publishing)
Garnham, W [@DrWGarnham] (2021, 13th September) “THOSE WHO CAN, TEACH. THOSE WHO CAN’T DELIVER CONTENT” EXCELLENT QUOTEFROM @ALEJANDROA [Tweet]. Twitter. Available at: https://twitter.com/DrWGarnham/status/1437388930840662021
Heasman, M & Lang, T (2015) Food Wars the Global Battle for Mouths, Minds and Markets. 2nd ed.(Oxon: Routledge)
Headleand, C (2021) We shouldn’t confuse online engagement with logging in. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/campus. Higher Education Blog [blog] Available at: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/campus/we-shouldnt-confuse-online-engagement-logging [Accessed: 9 September 2021]
Headleand, C (2021) What does ‘student engagement’ mean to you https://www.timeshighereducation.com/campus. Higher Education Blog [blog] Available at: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/campus/what-does-student-engagement-mean-you-and-you-and-you [Accessed: 9 September 2021]
Headleand, C (2021) Practical Pedagogy (Online) Available at: https://chrisheadleand.com/practical-pedagogy/ [Accessed: 9 September 2021] [Accessed: 9 September 2021]
Armellini, A (n.d.) Don’t Just Deliver: Teach. https://europe.educationtechnologyinsights.com Technology blog, [blog] (Online) Available at: /https://learning-management-system-europe.educationtechnologyinsights.com/cxoinsights/don-t-just-deliver-teach-nid-1542.html [Accessed: 30 September 2021]
Whitton, F., 2009. Conservationists are not making themselves heard. Guardian.co.uk Science blog, [blog] 18 June. Available at: <http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2009/jun/18/conservation-extinction-open-ground> [Accessed 23 June 2009].
Love Productions (2021) The Great British Bakeoff (Online) Available at: https://thegreatbritishbakeoff.co.uk/ [Accessed 7 September 2021] Qingdau Agricultural University (QAU) (n.d.) Qingdau Agricultural University (Online) Available at: https://www.qau.edu.cn/ [Accessed 7 September 2021]
Presenter Media (2021) Presenter Media (Online) Available at: https://www.presentermedia.com [Accessed 7 September 2021]
Royal Agricultural University (RAU) (n.d.) Michael Heasman (Online) Available at: https://www.rau.ac.uk/about/organisation/staff/dr-michael-heasman [Accessed 7 September 2021]
Shandong Agricultural University (SDAU) (n.d.) Shandong Agricultural University (Online) Available at: http://www.sdau.edu.cn/ [Accessed 7 September 2021]
Sidebottom K. (2021) A Thousand Gateaux: Rethinking Deleuze and Guattari Through The Great British Bake Off. In: Barnes N., Bedford A. (eds) Unlocking Social Theory with Popular Culture. Critical Studies of Education, vol 15. Springer, Cham. (Online) Available at: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-77011-2_12 [Accessed 7 September 2021]
Twitter (2021) #EdTechBakeOff (Online) Available at: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23EdTechBakeOff&lang=en [Accessed 7 September 2021]
Wong, P [@puiyin] (2021, 30th August) LADIES & GENTS, THE JUDGES, @JATENAS @LEOHAVEMANN@JOSTROUD@LORNAMCAMPBELL AND I HAVE MADE OUR DECISIONS! #EDTECHBAKEOFF [Tweet]. Twitter. Available at: https://twitter.com/Puiyin/status/1432468163288084493