Association of National Teaching Fellows (ANTF) Roadshow – September 2014
Last week, the ANTF roadshow visited the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol. The Association is more than happy to run such events from time to time, to talk about the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme, and to give advice to budding applicants. The roadshows are also excuses for fellows to talk about their work and share innovative practices, and this session was no exception with a violin and cello workshop led by Laura Ritchie, and a discussion on open online learning by Jonathan Worth. Viv Rolfe began with a brief introduction to the Association, as summarised in this short video.
The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme is in its 15th year and the next round is due to open for applicants in October. The UWE workshop run by Laura (University of Chichester) and Viv (UWE) involved a chat with budding applicants to explore approaches to completing the application. Viv talked about the importance of finding your own voice and telling a clear story of how your teaching practices evolved; as a scientist Viv found this style of writing quite difficult and was lucky to be mentored by people from different disciplines. Laura talked about the importance of meeting the application criteria and writing three equally balanced sections.
Next, came the rather amazing violin and cello workshop led by Laura, who very cleverly used the creation of music as a metaphor for aspects of learning and collaboration. It was a wild amount of fun and hugely enjoyed by the UWE participants, and as well as Laura’s bubbling enthusiasm, her amazing talent for the cello shone through in the short excerpts that we were privileged to hear. Laura coached the group into performing an entire piece of music, and also helped us explore other sounds on the instruments that were surprisingly beautiful.
Following on in the afternoon we were joined by Jonathan Worth via the internet. Jonathan is a photographer and was awarded his teaching fellowship in 2013. He runs an open undergraduate photography class called Phonar.org at the University of Coventry that has reached global participants and met with huge acclaim. Much of the learning takes place collaboratively and in the totally free space of the web, with participants connecting via the hashtag #phonar. If you are quick, you can run and catch #phonar 14.
Jonathan also talked about a new initiative called ConnectedCourses, and I would encourage anyone in education, whether you are a student or academic / faculty member, to experiment with some of these open courses and go ride the crest of the wave! From my perspective as a science educator, I see increasingly teaching and learning moving beyond the constraining walls of classrooms and virtual learning environments onto the open web. Participating in an open course will help students experiment with new ways of learning, and most importantly allow educators to enhance their ideas and work methods in safe, informative and fun spaces.
The goal for Connected Courses is to build an inclusive and expansive network of teachers and students, and provide educational offerings that make high quality, meaningful, and socially connected learning available to everyone. The go-at-your-own-pace collaborative course is free and open to all.
It was a fabulous and fun day with the National Teaching Fellows at UWE. A huge thanks to Dr Marie-Annick Gournet for inviting us and for being a very enthusiastic violinist.