MMU Business School Learning & Teaching Day
Thursday 27th of May was the third Learning & Teaching day held at MMUBS. Like its two predecessors it was thought provoking and offered insights into excellent practice in the University. This year it had a different structure including a very enjoyable debate, but more of that later.
The day kicked off with Dr Alan Fielding from Science and Engineering showing how in Biology the drivers for success in the NSS Student Survey were not those you would expect. Feedback and prompt return of assignments had little or no effect on the final rating but the most important one was question “The course is well organised and is running smoothly.” This echoed with findings from Dr Kathrynn Kinmound from MMU Cheshire who presented later in day a longitudinal survey of students doing Joint honours whose main areas of concern are non-academic matters. Defiantly food for thought.
The Debate “All Undergraduate units should be intellectually stimulating” was stimulating with Richard Warren given an impassioned presentation why they should be and Brian Leigh giving an equally impassioned one why it is not always necessary.
One quote from each to give a flavour
Richard “Would you make a weekly appointment to be bored, I know I wouldn’t so why should we expect the students”
Brian “The Golden Rule of Accounting the Sum of credits must equal the sum of debits”
Brain and Jane Tonge made excellent arguments why Business wants and needs people who can do and not just those who can theorise. While Richard and Liz Walley argued the case for thought, action without thought is dangerous.
The motion was carried when it was put to the attendees. From my prospective a mixture of both is needed.
The keynote speaker was Professor Katryan Ecclestone from Birmingham University who talked about “On intellectually stimulating teaching/courses” The stand out issue for me was the changing demand of students and how to align staff and student expectations.
Lunch and time to network, it was good to touch base with my ex colleagues and catch up with the gossip.
After Lunch was Kathryn from MMU Cheshire, as I have mentioned a number of staff at Cheshire are involved in running a longitudinal survey on student expectations and experience of a number of joint honours students. They surveyed the student in the first week, later in the year and at the end of the academic year. The first survey in induction week confirmed that we do over burden students with information in the first week and tend to over timetable them. The student’s worries again are what we would expect “Will I fit in”, “Will I be able to cope” expectations are for hard work, good social life and to make friends. When the students where revisited later in the year money has raised its ugly head, the need for some students to juggle the need to work with being a student. As the students were surveyed again the non-academic issues came to the fore, car parking etc. An interesting point was the students valued highly the cleaning staff in halls, not only kept the place clean they acted as un-official counselling service
Now we came to “I’ve tried this and it works” part of the day it was kicked off with Jackie Brander-Brown who talk was entitled “Actively Embedding Commercial Awareness into the Curriculum” an excellent presentation on the need for students to be able to communicate about Business issues, the students really liked this approach and ran with it. They produced differing media mediums but all addressed the central issues well. Please contact Jackie for more details
Next was Angela Hall with ”Sex, drugs and the ASA” again an excellent talk highlighting the need to keep up to date in the advertising industry and how students gained from this approach of reserving 15 minutes from the lectures to talk about trends in the industry.
I came next I think I will skip this bit and move on to Angel Salazar talk on the “Innovation in Plain English” and how staff should spend time working on the prose style for more effective communication. And as a by-product they may write a novel! And finally in this section Jeff McCarthy give a an excellent talk about using Google groups to foster group work and promote team work Jeff give some excellent examples and the students took part with a very positive aptitude.
Next up was Dr Dominic Medway from MBS who give a compare and contrast talk of the two Business Schools. Lots of ideas we can use and it was good to see Dominic had implemented ways of doing things that were second nature to him when he was at MMUBS. Sometimes I think we believe other places always do things better than we do.
The final part of the day was Robert Ready, he give an excellent summary of the day and offered a next approach to each speaker which was thought provoking.
All in all an excellent day and thank you to John, Linda, Nick, Robin and Ruth