1st August 2014: I finished employment at Glyndwr University yesterday. My educational development unit, the CLTA, disappeared as part of the massive restructuring to save pay costs. This is the Vice Chancellor's response to the financial crisis caused by his disastrous financial management, recently detailed in the Times Higher Education (see Glyndwr UCU Facebook for details). Ironically, Glyndwr's web page is now celebrating a massive leap up The Guardian league tables - based on last year's NSS results - while the university just scrapped the strategic and operational resources for teaching quality enhancement that arguably were responsible for them.
17 August: 2014 NSS results are out and Glyndwr drops 4% in student 'overall satisfaction', 6% below its benchmark. The worst scores are for learning resources (as always) but also now for teaching staff enthusiasm and their availability. What did the VC expect: getting rid of the PVC L&T and the Centre for learning and teaching, issuing 'at risk' of redundancy letters to many academics, and threatening the rest with reduced academic contracts. I suspect this is a spiral of decline unless the university changes course.
Meanwhile, I continue as co-chair of SEDA. I may be tempted to do interesting educational or staff development work, so do call.
Experience and qualifications
I am an experienced and well qualified academic developer in higher education. For 35 years I have researched, taught and supervised at every level in universities, as a biologist, an adult educator, and a learning technologist . Finally, for the last 15 years I have been an academic developer, providing academic staff development, leading two educational development units, writing or contributing to institutional regulations, policy and strategy for teaching, assessing and learning, and giving conference papers and writing publicly. My qualifications include a BSc and PhD (Manchester), a PG Cert Ed (Wolverhampton), and an MSc in IT and Learning (Lancaster). I am a National Teaching Fellow, a Fellow of the HE Academy, and a Senior Fellow of my professional body SEDA, the Staff and Educational Development Association. I am currently one of the two co-chairs of SEDA.
My main interests and experiences are:
- Learning technology - I have taught with computer technologies for 30 years. I wrote the 2007 SEDA publication, e-Teaching. I founded and led for ten years at Keele University a postgraduate certificate, Teaching and Learning with Technology. I led the strategic development of the institutional virtual learning environment at Keele and Glyndwr universities. I have designed and taught blended and wholly online courses. I have promoted, and trained academics on, classroom technologies such as interactive whiteboards and clickers. I invented Communicubes.
- Assessment and feedback - I was the Project Manager of a one-year, JISC-funded project in 2010-11, on institution-wide change in assessment and feedback processes using technology. Here is the blog for Project STAF: Technology supporting assessment and feedback. I wrote the Glyndwr University staff guide to assessment and feedback.
- Teaching excellence - I won a National Teaching Fellowship in 2008. I founded a development programme for institutional nominees and aspiring nominees; in four years of my managing the nominations, Keele won four NTFs. I also organised institutional teaching excellence awards, teaching innovation project funding, and institutional teaching innovation symposia at both Keele and Glyndwr universities.
- Professional development and programme accreditation - I was a member of and then chaired the SEDA professional development framework committee, which accredits many programmes in the UK and overseas; I am a SEDA recogniser of such programmes and I have trained other recognisers. I founded and led the Keele University MA in Learning and Teaching in HE, which included the HEA-accredited postgraduate certificate for new academics. At Glyndwr University (2011-14) I wrote and taught the accredited staff course Supporting Student Learning and managed the scheme for accrediting continuing professional development.
- Curriculum development - After retiring as head of the educational development unit, I was the Academic Lead on Keele's institution-wide curriculum development project, involving graduate attributes, employability, sustainability and international perspective. I developed the employability strategy at GLyndwr University including the Glyndwr Graduate definition of attributes and key skills. I am a member of the Welsh Future Directions group on Distrinctive Graduates.
- Plagiarism - I wrote Keele University's plagiarism regulation and its policy on the use of Turnitin originality reporting. I provided academic professional development about student writing and plagiarism. I have made presentations at plagiarism conferences.
- External examining - I am an external examiner at Sheffield and Leicester universities. For three years I lead the online, SEDA-accredited, course Professional Development in External Examining, and I have provided external examiner inductions. I was a member of the QAA Advisory Group revising the Code of Practice on External Examining.
- Action research and evaluation - I have taught a postgraduate action research course and have supervised many academic staff researching their practice, often for a postgraduate award. I have been an evaluator or critical friend of teaching innovation projects.
- Sustainability - I was a member of the Keele Green Curriculum team, which was a member of the Green Academy in 2011. I was a member of the Keele project group awarded £200 000 over 2010-2014 from the national NTFS fund, for the project “Hybrid PBL; a scalable approach to sustainability education”.
- International consultancy - I have provided academic consultancy on curriculum development, and academic professional development workshops, in Canada, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia.
This web site contains some of my work that is free to use under a Creative Commons licence (see below). On this site:
- Some of my documents and some of my slides and other workshop materials
- e-Teaching: engaging students
through technology 2007 (SEDA Paper
- I invented CommuniCubes, the
economical way to support individual student participation and feedback in
face-to-face teaching with small and large groups. There are pictures on my Flickr site in the folder CommuniCubes. Copyright on Communicubes is NOT Creative Commons; all rights are reserved.
- Personal stuff: My favourite toy; my wife's brother, Rob Pohl, In Memoriam; my Flickr photos; and archives of some of my older web sites and of possible historical interest (at least to me).
Web presence: You won't find me on Facebook, I only use that for the family. I am on LinkedIn but please don't endorse me and create more spam email! LinkedIn tinyurl.com/SBlinkedin , tweeting occasionally from @stephen_bostock