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RUSTLE Summer Term 2009

Who wants to be a … student? Using clickers to 'ask the audience' They are called different things: Student Response Systems, Classroom Response Systems, Personal Response Pads or 'clickers' but whatever you call them, they are gaining in popularity across Higher Education. Similar to the system used in the TV quiz Who Wants to be a Millionaire to ‘ask the audience’ a Student Response System (SRS) consists of a receiver which connects to a computer, a set of hand-held 'clickers' for the students, and a software package.

difficult concept or alerts them when they need to seek extra help from mentors or academic advisors. The SRS can also help lecturers respond to student diversity, because with the right demographic information input to the system it is possible to identify aspects of the course which are challenging particular groups of students who can then be given additional support. All of this is important, because as Gerry says: ‘The first term first year is key to progression – you want them going home for Christmas feeling they are successful and that their needs have been met - that they are not swimming upstream on their own’ and using 'clickers' can contribute to that.

Gerry Lawless (Chemistry) has been trying out a SRS and is very enthusiastic about the benefits for students and lecturers.

A SRS also increases participation - more of the group take part because students who would be too intimidated to speak up in a large group can respond 'privately', so it is usual to get a response from all the students when a question is asked. As Gerry says, when the 'clickers' are being used it is a much more interesting learning environment, 'students feel part of something, they are engaged … they can’t fall asleep’.

Gerry introduced the 'clickers' to first years in a pub quiz in week 0 and they loved using them - scores were displayed at the end of each round and everyone could see how their team was doing. Once term started the more serious applications came to the fore with some week 1 questions to find out how the students were experiencing university life; what they were most anxious about, how much they already knew and how many hours they were spending studying. This instant audit of knowledge is something which you would not easily get from a questionnaire – and because the 'clickers' provide immediate results lecturers can focus on areas that are most conceptually difficult for the students.

For the second years, 'clickers' were used in a revision activity to quickly test students on what they should have learnt in the first year, and fresh back from the Summer vacation it was a great way to check that the previous year's learning was being carried forward. The second year students, who already had clear expectations of what learning at university was like were slightly more apprehensive, but soon warmed to the SRS.

As the course continues the use of a SRS offers reassurance to students that they are not alone when they do not understand a

Gerry has found the SRS to be a really rewarding, engaging technology that is ...continued on page 3

Teaching & Learning Innovations: RUSTLE brings you regular reports on interesting and exciting teaching at Sussex. It might be news of technological innovation in learning, or new ways to stimulate student learning in traditional settings. If you have any suggestions for future articles please contact a.hole@sussex.ac.uk

☼☼☼☼☼ Bumper Double Summer Edition ☼☼☼☼☼ ☼ Conference News ☼ Who wants to be a … student? Using ‘clickers’ to ask the audience ☼ ☼ Skillclouds forming over Sussex ☼ Teaching Tips ☼ ☼ Learning to Work Together: The Interprofessional Student Conference ☼ ☼ Sussex Summer word search ☼ Award winner profile ☼ Technology Tips ☼ ☼ Introducing GEES ☼ TLDU events for the Summer term ☼ AHEA success for ATs ☼ RUSTLE is also available online at www.sussex.ac.uk/tldu/RUSTLE


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Skillclouds forming over Sussex ‘You’ve got to work hard [at developing skills]; they don’t drop in your lap…’ ‘I think it’s quite hard to think about yourself in terms of your skills, especially when writing a CV and trying to sell yourself to employers– if someone asks what skills you’ve got - I don’t know! Like I’m friendly and can write an essay!’ The ability to identify and apply successfully for employment is increasingly important for university students who are facing debts when they graduate in an employment market that is shrinking in the current recession. However, as these quotes indicate, students and staff often find it difficult to articulate the skills that a degree programme contains. Could technologies help to improve the visibility of skills in the curriculum and support a dialogue between learners Q. What is a tag cloud? and teachers? A team from the Teaching and Learning Development Unit and IT Services has spent the last year working on the JISC-funded Skillclouds project, exploring the idea that tags and tag clouds might be a visually appealing way of presenting skills information to students. The project was supporting an objective in the University’s Teaching Quality and Enhancement Fund plan.

A. Tags are labels that can be applied to web pages, photos, or other resources to help locate them again. A tag cloud can be created to display all the tags that relate to a particular site or set of resources. The size of each tag can show the number of resources it contains or frequency of use. Each tag in the cloud is a link, usually to a list of all the resources with that tag. Tag clouds therefore let you see the major themes of a given web site in a single visual representation.

We used a range of research methods to find out how students felt about skills, whether tag clouds would be an engaging interface and the kinds of information that should be contained within the cloud. Our interviews showed that the students’ lack of engagement with skills seems to be linked to how information is communicated to them and something about the lack of relevance, credibility and personalisation of skills information they receive.

We had to think carefully about the benefits and costs of creating a high degree of individuality within a Skillcloud. How could a highly personalised tool be developed that would scale-up effectively across an institution? We tried to meet this requirement in a number of ways. A student’s Skillcloud is located within Sussex Direct , so it was possible to aggregate information about a student’s courses, their assessments and any online feedback that related to a particular skill. We also investigated whether a facility for users to generate their own content would be useful. Students were generally enthusiastic about being able to see a link between skills and their courses and assessments. There was, however, some reticence about creating their own content to add to the cloud. The ‘your skills’ page gives the student an overview of the skills that they can acquire from their degree programme. Clicking on a tag , a pop-up box appears that contains links to three sets of information: (i) what the skill encompasses; (ii) information pulled in from the student database on the courses taken, overall marks, and particular assessments that map to the skill and (iii) how they might demonstrate that skill on a CV. As we started to evaluate the use of Skillclouds with students, an unexpected outcome emerged. The academic advising role is one where staff would welcome resources to support their meetings with students. We had not considered that Skillclouds could provide this support until the idea was raised by academic staff. The value of the presentational style of the Skillcloud and the underlying information is something that staff were enthusiastic about. The University has now committed further funding to roll out Skillclouds across Sussex with an emphasis on using it as a tool to help academic advisors work with students around identifying their longer term goals and objectives. The Skillclouds team will work closely with a small team of academic staff in each department to identify how Skillclouds will be most effectively deployed in their context. Funding will be used to support further technical development and integration of Skillclouds; the creation of further skills information resources to support students and the running of sessions with academic staff. We have also had interest in the project and its outcomes from a number of universities (both in the UK and overseas). We have been discussing Skillclouds with a representative from the UN who is exploring how it could be adapted for her setting. We are liaising with these institutions to see how they might wish to use Skillclouds in their contexts. Project team: John Davies from TLDU, Carol Shergold and Stuart Lamour from IT Services. Judith Good, Head of the IDEAS Lab at the University of Sussex (consultant), Amy Waldron (project manager). Members of staff in CDEC also contributed to the project through supporting the pilots and creating resources for the Skillclouds. The Skillclouds Project was funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC).

For more information, screencasts, project team blog and a range of publications and presentations that arose from the project see www.sussex.ac.uk/skillclouds Bowl of clouds image by Kevin Dooley @ www.flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/


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Your Top Teaching Tips Small Ad Exercise On a course which addresses 'identity' a colleague asks students at the start of the course to post a small ad on the Study Direct forum for the course – this is in the same format as personal ads, though obviously for different purposes. This is a creative way of getting students to think about an important theme of the course at the same time as introducing them to each other and getting the forum off to a good start. With a little imagination this could be adapted for many different courses.

Speed Dating Sometimes a break in the middle of a course such as the Spring holiday, placements in industry or overseas trips can have a negative impact on the learning community. One lecturer runs a ‘speeddating’ activity in the first session after a break to reacquaint students. Half the group stay seated and the other half move around the room, talking to each seated student in turn for 2 minutes. Questions related to the course are set, and these are changed after every 4 moves so that it does not get boring. You can limit the total number of moves to suit group size and time available. This activity gives students the opportunity to talk to those not in their immediate friendship group and perhaps share what they have learnt since the last classroom session.

If you have a favourite activity or technique that you would like to share with colleagues please contact a.hole@sussex.ac.uk

Setting Up Groups Getting students into groups can be time-consuming and quite difficult, especially if you want to have particular students together, or apart. One colleague overcomes this challenge by standing at the door as students come in and handing each a sweet in a coloured wrapper. He then asks students to get into groups depending on the colour of their sweet wrapper. This makes it easier to put everyone in different groups and a sweet also helps wake up tired students.

Introducing the Subject Centres: GEES HEA Subject Centres work with colleagues nationally to encourage and support learning and teaching. GEES acts as a central point for those involved in teaching Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences nationally and internationally to share knowledge. GEES is also ‘a voice for the discipline communities, contributing to government consultations and policy developments’. The Subject Centre also provides online resources and publishes Planet, a bi-annual ‘magazine’ which includes case studies, discussion of learning and teaching ideas and news of GEES activities. Based at the University of Plymouth, GEES hosts events across the UK and as Catherine Senger from the Geography department here at Sussex says ‘GEES Subject Centre is all-inclusive, it involves not only faculty but also support staff working in the

GEES disciplines, teachers, Royal Geographical Society (RGS) Student Ambassadors and other interested students’. Sussex colleagues have received funding from GEES which they have been able to use for their own subjectrelated development, such as conference attendance, training courses and towards the costs of attending overseas field classes amongst other things. So if you are involved in Geography, Earth or Environmental Science have a look at the GEES website – and for other disciplines there are 25 other Subject Centres many offering funding for small discipline-specific teaching and learning projects.

Web Links: GEES: www.gees.ac.uk/ Other Subject Centres: www.heacademy.ac.uk

Each edition of RUSTLE will be profiling one of the 26 HEA Subject Centres so if you would like yours to be next please e-mail a.hole@sussex.ac.uk

Using clickers to 'ask the audience' continued

If you are interested in Student Response Systems and would easy to use and robust. The main challenge to using it effectively like to find out more about how 'clickers' are being used in HE is writing good questions, but increasingly academics are creat- these links will get you started. ing question banks for use in virtual learning environments (VLEs) like Study Direct and these can be used with a SRS too. Web Links: Sussex e-learning page : www.sussex.ac.uk/elearning So what next for 'clickers' at Sus-

‘There is no faster feedback system than this one – it is instant’

sex? Gerry wants to carry on using the SRS, other colleagues are keen to try it and the system will be used to collect feedback on the Teaching and Learning Conference on 2nd June. With feedback to students high on the agenda the SRS seems to have a role to play because as Gerry says, ‘timely feedback is where these things excel’.

Evaluation of interactive teaching in bioscience degree courses

www.bioscience.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/ projects/mattey.aspx Classroom Response Systems ("Clickers")

www.vanderbilt.edu/cft/resources/ teaching_resources/technology/crs.htm


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Learning to Work Together: The Interprofessional Student Conference for pre-qualifying teachers and social workers. At the University of Sussex we are breaking new ground nationally by developing strategies to bring together pre-qualifying teachers and social workers in an Interprofessional Student Conference which prepares them with knowledge and skills for working in integrated children’s services. This is in response to the government agenda which, beginning with Every Child Matters (2003) set out a programme of comprehensive change to improve outcomes for children. The recent Children’s Plan called for, ‘...system wide reforms to the way services for children and young people work together...by building capacity to work across professional boundaries’ (Department of Children, Schools and Families 2007: 8). The Interprofessional Conference is one example of how teaching and research in the new School of Education and Social Work has the potential to improve outcomes for children. The annual day-long Conference was launched in 2007 and this year over 200 students attended. The conference aims to introduce students to the changing policy and practice context, and support them to explore the new roles and tasks expected of teachers and social workers, and consider the opportunities and challenges they present. Student evaluations reveal a high level of enthusiasm for the conference and participants are particularly enthusiastic about the workshops co-facilitated by Education and Social Work staff, where students work in mixed groups to explore their misapprehensions and perceptions of each other’s roles and tasks and then examine these in relation to a case study. A social work student commented on the value of working on a shared case study and the ‘very useful insight into teachers' perceptions of their role, lack of partnership working and realisation of why this should change’. A student teacher commented, 'I found the workshops very rewarding and worthwhile, talking to social workers in small groups allowed us to get more involved’. Students are given the opportunity following the conference to pair up and shadow each other in their respective placements. Students would like more of this kind of work and plans for 2010 include bringing in Year 4 Medical Students who want to be involved. Organising this type of learning opportunity presents some practical and pedagogic challenges. For example, accommodating over 200 students in a large lecture space with sufficient break out rooms is difficult - using the Conference Centre is an ideal but expensive option. Inevitably student teachers significantly outnumber student social workers. And, co-facilitating student groups from disciplines we feel inexperienced working with and resourcing this co-facilitation for 10-12 workshops with approx 20 students each is also challenging. However, student feedback proves this event to be well worth the effort.

Article by: Barry Luckock, Duncan Mackrill, Simon Thompson and Imogen Taylor

Associate Tutors Celebrate AHEA Success Nine associate tutors from across campus have become Associates of the Higher Education Academy (AHEA) as a result of successfully completing the AHEA Portfolio course run by TLDU in the Spring term. Congratulations go to Sam BeardsmoreRust (Engineering & Design), Linda Berkvens (Media & Film), Jimmy Billingham (Media & Film), Kleber Celadon (SPRU), Suzanne Dash (Psychology), Colette Duke (Media & Film), Clare Jonas (Psychology), Shrijit Mukherjee (Engineering & Design) and Shova Thapa (SPRU). AHEA status is a portable asset that has UK-wide relevance, recognising a tutor's commitment to professionalism in teaching and learning in Higher Education and demonstrating that their practice is aligned with the UK Professional Standards Framework (PSF). The entitlement to use the post-nominal AHEA provides an indicaKleber, Suzanne, Shova and Colette tor of professional identity and the link with the HEA facilitates participation in professional networks, including the discipline based network of Subject Centres. HEA recognition is also available to other members of staff through completion of approved programmes, such as the Sussex PGCertHE, or on the basis of experience in teaching and learning.

Sam, Linda and Shrijit

If you are interested in HEA recognition the web links below will give you more details and if you would like to talk about the AHEA Portfolio course please contact Tina O’Donnell on extension 8452.

Web Links: Sussex Associate Tutor Training Programme: www.sussex.ac.uk/tldu/associatetutors HEA news, events and recognition schemes: www.sussex.ac.uk/tldu/HEA Higher Education Academy: www.heacademy.ac.uk


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Sussex Stars: profiling winners of Sussex Teaching Awards and National Teaching Fellowships Catherine Reynolds from the Career Development and Employment Centre (CDEC) won a Sussex Teaching Award in 2005 and was then supported by TLDU in her successful application for a National Teaching Fellowship in 2006. Currently she is working on projects at Sussex and in collaboration with the Centre for Career Management Skills (CCMS) at Reading University – an opportunity that came about because of her National Teaching Fellowship. Catherine has always been a teacher and began her teaching education with a PGCE at Southampton in the mid-1980s which gave her an ability to reflect creatively on her teaching. Much of that course, she says, was about ’okay, that’s how you have done it and now how will you do it better? – a continuous cycle of improvement’ and it is that approach to teaching practice which stood Catherine in good stead when it came to putting together portfolios for the teaching awards. ‘Much of the process of winning awards like this is writing reflectively about what you do – thinking about always improving, always building on good practice, always thinking about the diverse range of students you are working with and how to meet their needs’ and this professional habit leads to real development and improvement. When Catherine looked back systematically at her teaching she says she became aware of ‘how much I had done, and how much I had done that was different each year rather than getting set in any particular groove - different ways of going about teaching ... different ways of approaching it’. And reviewing her professional practice for the application process also gave Catherine useful insights into how not only her own teaching, but the field of careers education had changed over time. The awards themselves were a very positive experience for Catherine, who says that getting recognition really ‘cheers you up, because you realise that what you have been doing is worth doing’. As she points out, ‘we don’t give teachers lots of recognition, it doesn’t happen very much’ and for Catherine, receiving this recognition was ‘a joyful moment … mixed with a sort of embarrassment of course’. Winning a Sussex Teaching Award and going on to become a National Teaching Fellow has had a considerable impact on Catherine’s teaching and career. The awards increased her confidence ‘to try different things and to be a bit more inventive - take some more risks’, but it also brought her to the attention of other people who have asked her to do all sorts of interesting things.

The Higher Education Academy are very keen that the National Teaching Fellows should have an impact beyond their own teaching and Catherine found that happened quite naturally, partly through engagement with the Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETLs). Her Fellowship has made the InQbate creativity zone here at Sussex accessible, and she is very enthusiastic about the courses she teaches using this ‘liberating’ teaching space. ‘I try to model good teaching practice for the DPhil researchers on the course so they become the next generation of confident, engaged teachers’. Other CETLs, like the Reading Centre for Career Management Skills asked Catherine to do some joint work with them and she has also worked with her professional body, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services. ‘NTF Symposia are always interesting too because they take you out of your own academic world into a very multi disciplinary world with the other Teaching Fellows and that is a very useful exchange of ideas – I have learnt a lot about how other subjects are taught and what the other Fellows are doing and because employability (my world) seeps across the whole curriculum it is very interesting to hear what is at the cutting edge across the country and then to be able to think about that back at Sussex and how it can influence what we do here for the better’. Catherine is busier than ever since becoming a National Teaching Fellow, but is enjoying the projects she has been able to be involved with. At Sussex, she is working to develop careers education and professional development for D.Phil researchers, and she has worked with CCMS to produce a new style of careers information resource for doctoral students, Beyond the PhD, led by student voices. Her next projects are on International students’ career development experience and new web resources for undergraduates. Catherine and CCMS have successfully passed the first round selection of a bid they submitted to the HEA for a £200,000 project, developing innovative approaches to teaching careers studies; the funding for this will be announced in July. Sussex students benefit from the collaboration with CCMS but as Catherine points out, ‘I only had access to the CETL at Reading because of the National Teaching Fellowship’. We asked Catherine if she had any ‘teaching tips’ to pass on to RUSTLE readers and she laughed -‘stay cheerful’ and ‘take the risk, it’ll be okay’, but the most important message she wanted to share was how important and productive it is to ‘talk to other people about how you teach, we probably don’t talk enough, ask questions enough, interrogate other people’s practice enough’.

Web Links: Careers Development and Employment Centre: www.sussex.ac.uk/cdec Postgraduate Researchers pages: www.sussex.ac.uk/cdec/postgraduate_researchers.php InQbate: www.inqbate.co.uk Centre for Career Management Skills: www.reading.ac.uk/ccms Beyond the PhD: www.beyondthephd.co.uk


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Teaching and Learning Conference 2nd June 2009 How am I doing? New approaches to providing academic feedback and advice Students have high expectations of feedback and advice on their learning and, as the numbers on courses show no sign of diminishing, meeting these expectations can prove a challenge. This year's Teaching and Learning conference at the University of Sussex Conference Centre on 2nd June 2009 explores new ways to engage with students in assessing their academic progress.

There is no charge for attending this event, which is open to all colleagues at Sussex and our partner colleges and you can choose to attend the morning, afternoon, or all day. If you book for the whole day a buffet lunch will be provided. The conference will be opened by Joanne Wright, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) and will feature two nationally-renowned keynote speakers alongside an exciting range of sessions led by Sussex colleagues, as well as the announcement of the winners of the Sussex Teaching Awards 2009.

Keynote: Professor David Nicol, Principles into Practice: enhancing feedback in HE David Nicol (pictured) joins us from the University of Strathclyde. He is the author of many books and articles on assessment and feedback issues including formative assessment and technology-supported assessment. David’s keynote will introduce the principles underpinning the recent Re-Engineering Assessment Practice (REAP) project and draw on examples from the redesign of large-enrolment first year classes across a range of disciplines to signal a rethink of how we might conceptualise formative assessment and feedback.

Keynote: Dr Kate Exley, Giving Great Feedback ... but that's just half the story Based at the University of Leeds, Kate Exley (pictured) is a National Teaching Fellow and series editor and author of the Routledge series Effective Teaching in Higher Education. Her keynote will discuss ways of supporting students to make better use of the feedback they receive, getting greater progression and development between occasions of receiving feedback and introducing elements of reviewing and planning forward from feedback within our teaching sessions and course design.

Papers and Workshops • Mike Barrow, Using online quizzes to provide feedback to students • Pat Drake, Peer formative assessment at doctoral level through the VLE • David Nicol, Putting the principles into our practice • Nicola Yuill and Katerina Avramides, 'We're not allowed to put our own opinions in'. Using workshops and a software tool to foster critical thinking • Kate Exley, Giving really useful feedback • Nicholas McKay and Björn Heile, The integration of e-feedback and academic advising in practice • Paul Newbury & Phil Watten, Enhancing feedback and learning support with digital video

Throughout the day, John Smith’s bookshop will be displaying a range of titles related to Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, including books by our two keynote speakers and GV Multi-media will be exhibiting a selection of innovative learning technologies. At the end of the day there will be a short plenary session with refreshments when participants will get the opportunity to give feedback on the conference using the personal response 'clickers' that are becoming popular as a means of providing feedback to students and lecturers (see the article about a Sussex trial of these on page 1).

Web Link: Details including outlines of all the sessions and a link to online booking: www.sussex.ac.uk/tldu/conference


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Useful Web Link... Improving feedback & assessment www.sussex.ac.uk/tldu/1-3-3.html In the most recent National Student Survey fewer than half the students surveyed considered that feedback on their written work helped them to understand better. Someone - maybe you - had put time and effort into writing that feedback, so TLDU have brought together some advice and resources on improving feedback and assessment as an Enhancement Theme for 2008-9. The web pages include:

• Succinct guides to the principles that underpin effective feedback and assessment • Examples, drawn from Sussex and elsewhere, of how to provide better quality and more timely feedback in practice • Some frequently asked questions about feedback If there is a topic you would particularly like to see included on the feedback and assessment pages, or covered in more detail, please email tldu@sussex.ac.uk

Sussex Summer Word Search Word Searches for Learning You might want to think about using word searches with your students as a fun way to get to grips with unfamiliar terminology. Why not hide 10 new words from the course and ask students to find them and define them? There are numerous websites that will turn a list of words into a puzzle for you - we used www.word-search-world.griddler.co.uk/ to create this example. This grid includes 20 words, ranging from 4 to 17 letters each. Half are words from this edition of RUSTLE and the others are words that describe Summer on the Sussex campus. Can you find them all? The solution is on the TLDU website at www.sussex.ac.uk/tldu/RUSTLE

… Another Useful Web Link E-learning at Sussex www.sussex.ac.uk/elearning/ This site aims to give you a flavour of the ways that technology is being used to enhance learning and teaching at Sussex, and some jumping off points for you to explore further. It includes information on: Study Direct, Podcasting, SPLASH blogs, web conferencing tools, Personal Response Systems, Turnitin and assessment tools, blogs, wikis, twitter and second life as well as showcasing how people are using technology to support learning at Sussex and outlining projects which seek to embed e-learning at Sussex.


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Teaching and Learning Development Events for the Summer Term At the start of the academic year TLDU launched an exciting new programme of seminars and workshops on a wide range of topics related to teaching, learning, assessment, supervision and innovation. These events have been designed to be of value to all staff with teaching or tutoring responsibilities and are varied in terms of format, timing and location, as well as content, so that as many colleagues as possible can take part. This is the list of events for the remainder of the Summer term:

☼ Learning by Enquiry, Thursday 7th May, 11am -2pm ☼ ☼ Podcasting and Digital Audio, Tuesday 12th May, 12-2pm ☼ ☼ Learning in Large Groups, Wednesday 13th May, 2-4pm ☼ ☼ Academic Advising, Friday 15th May, 12-2pm ☼ ☼ Advanced Teaching Online, Thursday 21st May, 12-2pm ☼ ☼ Finding and Using the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), Tuesday 26th May, 12-2pm ☼ ☼ Student-Centred Learning, Wednesday 27th May, 2-4pm ☼ ☼ Prevention of Plagiarism, Monday 8th June, 12-2pm ☼ ☼ Forum: Researching Teaching Practice, Wednesday 10th June, 2-3.30pm ☼ ☼ Preparing a Teaching Portfolio, Wednesday 17th June, 2-4pm ☼ ☼ Mental Health Awareness, Wednesday 24th June, 10.45-11.45am ☼ ☼ An Introduction to Asperger’s Syndrome, Wednesday 24th June, 12–1pm ☼ These events are free and everyone is welcome, but we would appreciate you booking your place in advance as numbers are sometimes restricted – and we want to make sure enough resources and refreshments are provided. For details of sessions and how to book see www.sussex.ac.uk/tldu/tldevents

TLDU are now planning the programme for the next academic year, so if you have any requests or suggestions for topics, please e-mail tldu@sussex.ac.uk

Technology Tip Did you know that Study Direct doesn't have to be used just for course sites for students? We can also use this virtual learning environment to support other activities. For example, since last year associate tutors in at least eight departments have been using SyD to share resources and experiences related to their teaching. With some initial support from TLDU, sites were designed to meet the needs of particular groups of tutors with resources on teaching and learning methods, subject-specific teaching ideas and materials, and opportunities to share experiences and resources on particular courses. For associate tutors who do not often get the opportunity to get together in the 'real world' a virtual space like SyD can provide news and group communication that helps to create a sense of community. If you have any interesting uses of SyD, or technology tips you would like share with colleagues please e-mail

a.hole@sussex.ac.uk

Contributions to Study Skills Website Wanted Study Success at Sussex (S3) is for all first-year undergraduates at Sussex, offering support with study skills whether students are coming to Sussex straight from school or college, or returning to education after a break. Designed with help from students and staff, the website is still being developed, and Clare Hardman is looking for input from teaching staff and students on two new parts of the site: Examples of excellent student work are needed so that extracts can be used to illustrate some of the advice on S3. If any of your students have produced excellent work that they are willing to share with new students Clare would love to hear from you. Ideas about critical thinking. Tutors from different departments are wanted to contribute to some very short video clips about critical thinking at university. These will be used alongside resources and guides to help new students think about what is meant by critical thinking. If you can help with either of these S3 projects, please get in touch with Clare on c.l.m.hardman@sussex.ac.uk or 01273 873657. Study Success at Sussex can be found at www.sussex.ac.uk/s3

RUSTLE issue 2  

Summer 2009