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How to effectively integrate guest/visiting lecturers into HEI provision.


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Presentation by Dr Gavin Bunting (University of Wales) at the Research-Teaching Practice in Wales Conference, 10th September 2013, at the University of Wales, Gregynog Hall. Slidecast edited by Professor Simon Haslett.

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How to effectively integrate guest/visiting lecturers into HEI provision.

  1. 1. How to effectively integrate guest /visiting lecturers into HEI provision Dr Gavin Bunting and Christopher House
  2. 2. Background  Lecturing at SMU as a Visiting Lecturer  Teaching a similar subject across a range of courses, modules and year groups, only teaching the same students once or twice a year.  Lecturers based on my knowledge and experiences from my professional career outside academia.
  3. 3. Challenges  How to get to know and identify diversity amongst the students and adapt my lectures accordingly, including :  Prior knowledge and learning  Cultural background  Learning styles  Interpersonal and communication skills  Disabilities  Language skills  Values  Experiences  Expectations and concerns of the subject
  4. 4. Background Action research questions:  What guidance and best practice is available for Guest Lecturers /Visiting Lecturers and how do I integrate this into my teaching practice? With a particular focus on:  How can I get to know and identify diversity amongst the students and tailor my lecture accordingly?
  5. 5. Role of Guest Lecturers  Help relate degree course content to the practical application of learning in graduate careers  Provide contemporary experiences which help students relate learning to real life situations.
  6. 6. Literature Review
  7. 7. Literature Review 1. Identify Students’ Backgrounds and Diversity Including: prior knowledge and learning, class dynamics, learning objectives for the session, engage with students prior to the lecture 2. Adapt the Lecture to Suit the Audience “Great lecturers, .....enter the room with plans, then listen carefully so they can adapt those plans as needed”. Yancey, (2011, p. 12)
  8. 8. Literature Review 3. Engagement of Students  A VL’s lecture can be seen as less important as they are not part of faculty staff.  The link to learning outcomes and assessment should be made explicit.  A Faculty member should enthusiastically introduce the VL, making these links explicit.  The introduction should also be made virtually a week before the lecture.  Faculty staff should ensure that VL’s lecturers are embedded in the programme design.  Students need to feel comfortable asking questions. Anderson, 1999; Biggs and Tang, 2007, Ament, 1990, p.20
  9. 9. Literature Review 4.    Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) Use of VLE to engage with students before the lecture. Accelerate openness Get to know the students before the lecture :Blackboard_logo.png 5. Ice Breakers  Enable the VL to quickly get to know the students and for them to get to know and feel comfortable engaging with the VL.  Link to learning outcomes Anderson, 1999; Biggs and Tang, 2007, Ament, 1990, p.20
  10. 10. Literature Review 6. Assessment Processes and Procedures  Key date, turnaround time for feedback, assessment criteria…… 7. Role of the Full Time Academic Staff  It has been argued that Faculty staff should work with VLs to: “co-develop, prepare and plan sessions” especially as they have a “duty of care to ensure that the principles of good course design are still followed”. 8. Staff Development  Feedback / mentoring support  VLs /GLs, may use lecturing as part of professional development
  11. 11. Action Research
  12. 12. Action Research Identifying the Students’ Background s and Diversity Engagemen t with students prior to a lecture Action Research Evaluation of Teaching Methods Ice-breakers Engagemen t with Students post Lecture
  13. 13. Findings 1. Engaging with Students  Difficult to get students to engage with pre lecture tasks.  It took encouragement from the Course Director to get students to participate.  Students have preferred methods of web-based engagement, which is not universal.
  14. 14. Findings 2. Identifying Students’ Backgrounds and Diversity  Reponses to pre-lectures tasks helped me prepare lectures at the right level.  Conversations with Faculty staff were very useful.  Both provided a partial picture.  Important to use a variety of techniques to help build an accurate profile of the students.
  15. 15. Findings 3. Ice-breakers  Helped me establish a good rapport.  Worked best when students had time to consider their response, or where the answer wasn’t seen as a test. 4. Engagement post Lecture  Difficult to get engagement post lecture  Probably due to lectures not being directly linked to assessments and because I was not based in the institution.
  16. 16. Findings 5. Success factors  Having a champion / support throughout the Faculty  Peer observation and feedback was invaluable  Adaptability  The importance of contingency material, shortcut options and being prepared to adapt in-situ and think on your feet.  Effective communication and interaction  Being able to quickly establish a good rapport with students.  Getting the support of Faculty staff.
  17. 17. Checklist
  18. 18. Checklist Preparation Area 1. Identifying the prior knowledge and learning of the students Preparation Detail a) Course / module syllabus b) Lecture notes from previous and future lectures c) Pre-requisites for the course d) Core texts e) Learning objectives /outcomes for the course / module f) Student profiles a) Number of students in the class 2. Identifying Class Dynamics 3. Engagement with the Students prior to the lecture b) Students' likely response to questions / interactive sessions c) Key individuals who are likely to dominate or not-contribute d) Preferred Learning Style a) Circulate the biography and /or some of the key work of the Practitioner 1-2 weeks prior to the lecture b) Pre-lecture assignment (identify activities that could be completed before the session) c) Is there a Virtual Learning Environment to use for engagement with the students? Can the Practitioner have access? d) Do the Students have a preferred method of online communication? e) Use this engagement to help identify the prior knowledge and learning of the students. Check (y/n)
  19. 19. Checklist a) What are the learning objectives for the session? (One per contact hour) b) How does the session link to the learning outcomes and assessment for the module /course? 4. Developing the Lecture c) Ensure a Faculty member introduces the lecturer, highlighting their expertise and making the link between their lecture and the rest of the course explicit. d) What ice-breakers can be used to facilitate engagement with the students? e) How do the ice-breakers link to the learning objectives of the lecture? f) Can the ice-breaker be part of a pre-lecture assignment? 5. Adapting the Lecture to Suit the Audience a) Have a range of options available to use during the lecture b) Contingency slides / learning material c) Learning material that can be cut out a) Key dates – examinations and exam boards 6. Assessment Processes and Procedures b) Turnaround time for feedback & feedback procedures c) Policies relating to extenuating circumstances, condonement, core modules & late submission d) Plagiarism policy e) Assessment criteria compensation,
  20. 20. Summary
  21. 21. Summary  A variety of techniques and information are needed to ensure that visiting/guest lectures form an integral part of the degree course, correlating with learning outcomes, assessment strategies and sufficiently engaging students to encourage deeper learning. It is important that Faculty members and GLs/VLs are aware of the preparation and facilitation needed.  The VL / GL situation is of particular relevance to academics teaching on transnational education programmes.