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Teaching Enhancement Unit

Support & Advice

The very essence of the TEU is that we are a service unit, here to provide support and advice to staff in order to improve the learner experience for our students. This page outlines some examples of the type of support that we offer. If you would like more information please click on the various sections below or contact teaching.enhancement@dcu.ie - we are delighted to help wherever we can.

Assessment & Feedback Advice

In the majority of the cases students will focus on material that will be examined. This may not necessarily coincide with the material that a lecturer wants to teach. In order to ensure what a student learns is close to what a lecturer wants to teach, considerable effort should be put into obtaining a proper assessment structure in every education programme. Whether teaching traditional classroom based (full time or part time) or distance learning, an assessment strategy is vital. With the development of technology, online tools can and should, where appropriate, transform the way you teach and the way your students learn. The advent of these new technologies will also allow lecturers to increase the flexibility of their assessments. In addition to the assessment type and how it is delviered the feedback provided for the assessment is vital to students, so that they can be praised for what they do well, learn from their mistakes and improve their performance on the basis of your feedback.

We can provide advice to programme teams for both assessment and feedback strategies; how to optimise both assessment and feedback, both in terms of your time and your students’ learning. We also offer support to individual lecturers when requested 

 Learning Design

Moving a curriculum from classroom-based to online or blended learning involves often radical changes and typically a significant revamp is required. Whether it is a new programme for fully online delivery, or a curriculum redesign to incorporate some online aspects, the Teaching Enhancement Unit offers a range of supports to assist. For these types of projects, we aim to follow processes informed by research such as the 7Cs of Learning Design, a framework that “illustrates the key stages involved in the design process, from initial conceptualisation of a learning intervention through to trialling and evaluating it in a real learning context” (Conole, 2014). We also endorse a team-based curriculum development approach, such as that described by  Burrell, Cavanagh, Young, & Carter (2015). By engaging with the Teaching Enhancement Unit at an early stage, we can work together to:

  • Adopt a collaborative process for the design and development of learning experiences
  • Discover online approaches that map to what you want to achieve as a teacher
  • Identify potential assessment and collaborative learning strategies for your project
  • Support the development of learning experiences, particularly with respect to technologies that may be new
  • Discuss a suitable evaluation process, and how it might be approached
  • Collaborate on educational research outputs for conferences and journal publication
  • Assist in usage of Open Educational Resources such as free images & video, and follow best practice in terms of copyright law
  • Assist in the project management of the process
  • Collaborative projects to date include:
  • Design and development of a new online MA in Irish Studies
  • Redesign and development of a multimedia module for a new online MA in Biomedical Diagnostics
  • Design and development of an Irish Language MOOC
  • Design and development of a Revolutionary Generation MOOC

References

Conole, G. (2014). The 7Cs of Learning Design – a new approach to rethinking design practice. (pp. 502-509). Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Networked Learning, April 7-9, Edinburgh.

Burrell, A. R., Cavanagh, M., Young, S., & Carter, H. (2015). Team-based curriculum design as an agent of change. Teaching in Higher Education, 2517(September), 1–14. doi:10.1080/13562517.2015.1085856

Example of a collaboration between DCU’s Biomedical Diagnostics Institute and the Teaching Enhancement Unit

 Classroom Coaching

Classroom Coaching – why do it?

Teachers can be understandably cautious about allowing ‘outsiders’ into their classrooms (actual or online). This may be because of shyness, concern about the reasons an ‘outsider’ may be there or to what use their reflections may be put, or anxiety about not having ‘formal teaching qualifications’.

This is why a classroom coaching session can help you. You could invite a peer from your area to watch your teaching and share a follow-up conversation; you could request a Teaching Enhancement Unit staff member to come in and do the same, if you want perspectives on the way you are teaching as well as what you are teaching. We have a lot of experience in giving very positive feedback, as well as a few suggestions for doing things differently if you are open to these.

We recommend meeting with your ‘outsider’ before they come in, telling them exactly what you hope to achieve through the coaching session, or letting them know they have a ‘blank slate’ to reflect on what they are seeing. It is important that the reflection is confined to the ‘outsider’ and the teacher unless otherwise suggested by the teacher (e.g., you might want a ‘public report’ on the class for promotion or portfolio purposes).

 

If you want to invite a colleague to coach you, and you are looking for some ideas about possible structure, the TEU can help you with this too. Please contact Dr Pip Ferguson, pip.ferguson@dcu.ie for examples.

Feedback from a recently-coached teacher, Marlene McCarthy of St Patrick's campus and used with permission:

"I very much appreciated the feedback and logistical tips (which I will use) and of course it was good to recognise the positive aspects of what I do."

 Coffee Conversations 

 Coffee Conversations

We are more than willing to meet you over coffee to chat about any items that you wish to raise about your teaching. Whether it is  just a general chat about teahcing and learning or if you have specific questions or issues that you would like us to help you with - please do not hsitate to contact us. Feel free to contact any of the team and we can arrange a mutually convenient time to meet. If we can't help you directly we will find someone who can.

Teaching Portfolio Development 

 Developing a teaching portfolio can be an essential component for the academic who wishes to demonstrate documented evidence of teaching from a variety of sources

Teaching portfolios:

  • start a process of selecting and organizing material inspiring reflection on improvement of one’s teaching
  • are a step toward a more professional view of teaching as a scholarly activity
  • can play a role in career development and personal practice
  • enable collaboration across the disciplines
  • can open up research and shared discussions on teaching and learning practice 

Each year a course is held in conjunction with Human Resources  Training & Development (http://www4.dcu.ie/hr/training/ResearcherDevProgramme/professionalportfolio.shtml).  This course aims to provide an introduction to teaching portfolios, what are they, what they can do for you, what they can look like, and how to get started.  E-portfolios and traditional teaching portfolios are also explored in this course.