One of the things new academics are often encouraged to do is a course in higher education teaching. These grew in focus with the advent of fees in the UK, and increasing pressure to think about the way we teach in universities (argued, e.g. here). The TEF is continuing that pressure in the UK, and there have been similar pressures internationally including in Australia. WonkHE have a nice ‘The history of efforts to improve university teaching‘ (in the UK, where i am right now). In England in 2015 47% of academic staff held a teachning qualification (I couldn’t quickly find an Aus figure).
Given my research is in education, I’m interested in how courses like this can or do support academics both in accrediting their skills for recognition, and in upskilling them. I’m already a qualified high school teacher, but I hadn’t had any opportunity to teach while doing my PhD. For many in an increasingly casualised workforce this creates a dual burden; needing to excel at research through publications in a 3 year PhD, while also obtaining teaching experience often in a context where you have little control over the teaching content or style (e.g. because you’re a tutor).
In any case, I’m very grateful to the hardworking team from UTS Institute for Interactive Media & Learning (IML) who run the course, for the various sessions that exemplified high quality HE teaching, and for the useful discussions about putting the portfolio together. Alongside some reflections (on teaching, and on my sabbatical application) this comprises:
- A published article on calibration tasks (discussed at link)
- An article (currently under review) on a subject modification and implementation of a technology to support learning statistics (in short, it distributes a copy of a dataset to all students, but adds a little random noise, so we can talk about the shared shape of the dataset, but I can set quizzes for which their answers are slightly different and thus must be computed on their dataset)
- An unpublished little ‘research’ thing to look at revising some writing assignments to align better with professional practice (which used lots of bits I’ve previously posted on this site e.g. here and here)
I’m not sure it’s terribly useful (and I did remove a couple of bits), but the portfolio can be accessed here in google drive, and navigated using this doc, just on the off chance someone finds it informative.