Introducing Microsoft Teams to EH4102
Val Lawrenson – Senior Lecturer in Academic Development (CELT)
UCLan has various policies that reference the need for academics to utilise learning technologies within their learning teaching and assessment practices. As an Academic Developer, one of the responsibilities is to facilitate the implementation of institutional strategy and being a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy there is an obligation to advocate for the appropriate integration of learning technologies. The role of Course Leader on a CPD programme for new academics, also creates an obligation to ensure technology is integrated (where appropriate) to enhance the student learning experience.
The opportunity for novice academics to engage with different learning technologies as part of the experiential component of PGCert enables them to; evaluate their effectiveness; consider the strategy from the student’s perspective and to make evidence informed decisions about the inclusion of technology within their teaching practice.
While achieving ‘DigiLearn Practitioner’ the positive impact that MS Teams had on that learning process was noted. The opportunity to discuss ideas about embedding technology with colleagues who had already made the jump was invaluable. Consequently, on 31st October 2018, Microsoft Teams was included in the final module of the PGCert Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. the experience of using Microsoft Innovative Educator certificate provided the confidence undertake the initial set up of the Teams site and discussions with colleagues from TELT enhanced the platform through the inclusion of links to blackboard and E3Hub.
There was an awareness that some participants on EH4102 would be familiar with the concept of communication and collaboration using MS Teams but others would not. In order to facilitate learning, Chris Melia from TELT was asked to demonstrate the Teams application. Collaborating in the classroom with a colleague from TELT meant that any technical difficulties were dealt with effectively. This reduced some of the stress experienced by those less confident with technology thus helping to maintain motivation.
A learning activity was subsequently designed that required participants to engage with the Teams application during the timetabled session. This meant that those with experience were able to assist colleagues with little or no experience. The activity was very successful and the opportunity to experiment with TeamsS generated good discussion with colleagues from across the university sharing their ideas, hints and tips.
Throughout the module it was intended that a range of different learning activities would be designed that would encourage and support participants on the PGCert as they develop increased confidence and competence with MS Teams. In doing this the strategic requirement of the role of an academic developer is being fulfilled. It’s also hoped that the philosophy of social constructivism in which we learn through interacting with others, will be reinforced. Some of the assumptions underpinning the concept of adult learning including Kolb’s experiential learning will also be addressed. Most importantly, a digital platform will be provided to facilitate the development of a learning community that has the potential to continue hosting discussions about learning teaching and assessment long after the programme has finished.