Members of staff from the University of Aberdeen along with colleagues from the Robert Gordon University attended the Centre for Academic Development's sixth annual Learning and Teaching Symposium last week (Wednesday, January 15.)
The Symposium, which had the theme Learning for All, provided a forum for staff to hear about current practice and to discuss issues around student background, internationalisation, transition to Higher Education, flexible delivery, distance learning and equality and diversity.
The keynote speaker this year was Professor Frank Coton, Vice-Principal for Learning & Teaching at the University of Glasgow. Professor Coton described two different approaches to improving writing skills among students at the University of Glasgow. The Academic Writing Skills Programme involved a direct intervention upon entry to the University, initially for Arts students, and the Writing for Results project provided scalable online support, initially for Science based students in their later years. He went on to discuss the importance of writing skills in relation to student retention, how this is being recognised across the institution and, in response, how academic staff are beginning to develop interventions to enhance writing skills amongst the student body.
Dr Paul Davidson from the University of Aberdeen’s School of Engineering described the MSc in Oil and Gas Structural Engineering which is delivered to professionals across the world, highlighting challenges and how they have been overcome.
Dr Yvonne Bain and Sarah Cornelius from the University of Aberdeen’s School of Education discussed the use of Blackboard Collaborate to support distance learners in four different situations, and considered the benefits and issues in each context.
Parallel discussion sessions were held during the Symposium, with contributions from:
- Professor Peter McGeorge, Vice-Principal for Learning & Teaching
- Dr Debbi Marais, Applied Health Sciences
- Dr Colin Calder, Centre for Academic Development
- Dr Lucy Foley, Head of Student Support
- Janine Chalmers, Policy, Planning & Governance
The Symposium ended with a Panel Session comprising speakers from the Symposium and Megan Dunn, President of Aberdeen University Students’ Association.
Professor Peter McGeorge, Vice-Principal for Learning and Teaching said: “We aim to attract talented students from the widest possible range of backgrounds. This means we must consider how we attract, retain and support a diverse range of learners. Hearing about the approaches and the novel and exciting ways in which colleagues from the Universities of Aberdeen and Glasgow are approaching these issues highlights the learner-centred approach that the sector is now taking.”
For more details on this event, please go to the Centre for Academic Development’s Symposium webpage.