Meeting by TOPAS project at Writtle University College: Teaching Techniques and Student Centred Learning

November 29, 2018

     Seventeen staff members from Partner Universities met at Writtle University College (WUC) between 12th and 14th November 2018 together with 9 representatives from programme countriesincluding two members of the host institution and two on Erasmus mobility programmes. National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine was presented by Prof. Dr. A. Dibrova, Dean of Faculty of Economics, Dr. O. Labenko, Educational and Scientific Center for International Activity, Dr. D. Kyryliuk, Assistant Professor of Department of Global Economics, Dr. K. Tuzhyk, Associate Professor of Department of Cybernetics Economics.

     The objective of the meeting was to introduce and demonstrate teaching and learning techniques, student support in the widest sense and preparation for employment, to universities still constrained by systems and methods designed in previous times.
     During the first day of the meeting Dr. J. Amory outlined how the final year dissertation works including the on line proposal submission, ethics forms and resource need which can be approved by individual tutors through the portal, Dr. A. Pereradelivered a presentation on how and why employability skills are integrated into the curriculum which was followed by M. Yates describing how as the WUC Careers Officer his role links students and the curriculum with companies and job opportunities, Dr. N. Van Veggel illustrated the idea of assessment for learning as compared to assessment of learning the latter of which uses summative tasks to test student’s knowledge and understanding at the end of a module, the morning concluded with Dr. R. Gowers demonstrating the significance and impact of recent world events in economics and why students need to have an appreciation of the subsequent effects on all sectors and how he achieves this within his teaching, a variety of subjects and delivery methods; including seminars, case studies, process analysis, practicals and debates.

     The beginning of the morning session on Tuesday 13th November was concerned with two main aspects of the sustainability of the project. Prof. Dr. R. Schlauderer led the discussion on dissemination and the meeting agreed on targets in the areas of social media, attendance at fairs and exhibitions, meeting newsletters, and website design and content. Dr. A. Aristakesyan then followed with an outline of how the website will be developed and the requirement of both the programme and partner universities to supply appropriate photographs for inclusion by the end of the month.

     Building on the first day contributions from WUC lecturers, C. Flanagan described how new approaches to assessment design across modules encouraged more integrated learning and holistic understanding of the programmes not individual subjects. Dr. Z. Barker then discussed how she embeds e-learning into her teaching through the use of free sites such as Padlet, Socrative, Kahoot and Zotero. Tracey Coop and Claire Cross completed the morning session with an explanation of the WUC support system for students with additional needs.

     The afternoon saw participants carry out further observations of WUC teaching staff and this included Design (Dr. S. Terry), Business (Dr. R. Gowers), Animal Nutrition (Dr. S. Chikunya) and Sports Science (Dr. G. Deacon).
     Proceedings began on 14th November with a meeting of The Steering Group. Key issues discussed included: dissemination and its importance, the upcoming training of staff and students at programme institutions particularly with reference to their timing and content, the next meeting.

     The meeting concluded with clear objectives set for the next phase of the project and the opportunity to discuss further collaboration both in bi-lateral agreements and further project opportunities.
     For more information: https://erasmus-topas.eu

Henry Matthews,
Senior Lecturer in Agriculture and Farm Management
Acting Course Manager Agriculture, Writtle University College
Kateryna Tyzhyk,
Associate Professor of Department of Cybernetics Economics,
National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine

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