February saw the launch of Sussex’s new Teaching and Learning Toolkit, a new Study Direct site designed to bring together resources, research and ideas for people teaching at Sussex. As ADQE’s very own Teaching Fellow, I’ve co-ordinated putting the Toolkit together in response to requests and feedback from across the University.
What is the Teaching and Learning Toolkit?
As the module convenor for the Starting to Teach module and tutor on the PGCertHE, I’ve been hearing from PhD students through to Directors of Teaching and Learning about what kind of teaching and learning resources people would like to see at Sussex.
New teachers and PhD students were asking for more support with preparing for their first classes. Experienced staff were looking for new ideas about teaching and how to better support our students. And everyone felt there needed to be a central place where we can find out what teaching training and services there are for staff and students.
So last Summer term, ADQE and the Technology Enhanced Learning team sat down and plotted out the best way to create a space that everyone teaching at the University can use. Study Direct gave us everything we needed – a space where we could provide information, but also include resources and activities – and it was central and easy to find.
Next, we set about gathering together volunteers and experts from across the University to come and share their insights into teaching and learning. PhD students and early career teachers talked to us about what it’s like to teach for the first time and offered lots of tips and tricks those first few weeks. Lecturers came to talk us through the process of peer observation – how do it, how to use it effectively and the benefits of having someone else watch your teaching. And Clare Hardman from Skills Hub joined lecturers in sharing their expertise in embedding study skills in our teaching to help students develop their academic practice across their degrees.
We put this all together to create videos and activities, templates and checklists, and pooled together resources and top tips from teachers for teachers – and voila, we have the start of the Teaching and Learning Toolkit.
And we’re off!
The Toolkit went live on 6th February 2017, with the launch marked by the Teaching and Learning Fiesta, where all of us involved in supporting teaching at Sussex got together to showcase what’s on offer, including Skills Hub, Technology Enhanced Learning, The Library, Staff Development Unit and TaLES.
All teaching staff and PhD students were subscribed to the Toolkit automatically – and we’ve already had hundreds of you exploring what’s on offer!
It’s your Toolkit – what kind of tools do you want in it?
We’ve launched the Toolkit with a few core areas developed, including:
- Teaching for the first time
- Peer observation of teaching
- Teaching study skills
As well as centralised lists of useful resources for:
- Services and support for students at Sussex
- Teaching and learning training and communities at Sussex
Now we’ve created the Toolkit, we’re continuing to develop it with teachers from across the University. Currently we’re working with staff and students on pages covering:
- Inclusive teaching
- Supporting international students
- Marking and feedback
- Designing assessment
The Toolkit is designed for teachers, by teachers – and so we want to hear from you.What do you want to see covered in the Toolkit? Have some ideas and expertise you want to contribute? Then let us know – we’d love to hear from you. So drop me an email via L.Sage@sussex.ac.uk with any feedback or suggestions you have about the next steps for the Toolkit.