It's already been seven months since my move from FE to HE, it's been an interesting change and I've crossed cultures and codes. The aims remain the same though, to ensure that the student experience is exceptional. I've been working with academic teams to create resources that they can use in their teaching and to encourage more blended and flipped learning.
In a Russel Group University, research is central to activity and the challenge is to ensure education is given equal status, the thinking being that research and education should be closer allies, one informing the other, the other feeding back. I sometimes hear that the gap between high level research and education is too far apart to be relevant, but that's not always the case. I also hear that teaching in HE isn't like other teaching. I'm not sure how helpful it is to think in these terms.
Amongst academic teams I'm meeting are individuals who care very deeply about the student experience, they're looking at exciting and innovative new ways to engage their learners, increasing the use of new technology, using students as co-creators and collaborators, challenging conventional curriculum design and making learning fun.
One of the ways we're promoting blended learning is in the creation of a series of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) which we've launched through Future Learn with the most recent "Understanding Language Learning" reaching thousands and providing new opportunities for the institution, in teaching, recruitment and research. I work with dedicated colleagues, supportive of each other and keen to do well.
I'm working hard to establish my networks and talk to colleagues across institutions about the work they're undertaking. I'm working with a colleague on a new podcast #FBKSoton and I'm using twitter to chat and make good connections, would recommend #LTHEChat on Wednesday evenings between 8-9pm.
I should also add that I'm not burning my bridges with FE and I'm totally signed up to the aims of #TMconnectED who meet frequently to share best practice across all sectors, from primary to HE. The recent TeachMeet at Gilbert White's House has been captured here via Storify. A wonderful evening of teacher CPD, opportunity to share experience and ideas.
So, it's been a busy start, it's really interesting to see what can be achieved when the pressure isn't constricting, I'm hugely excited about the prospects ahead and I know that i've made a good move.