We had our first Learning and Teaching Podcast Discussion Club back in August, and since then we have had fruitful and engaging discussions about a wide range of L&T topics.

To recap, the Learning and Teaching Podcast Discussion Club is like a book club, but for podcasts. We listen to a selected episode of a podcast pertaining to a university learning and teaching in our own time before the session. We provide discussion questions to provoke thinking and prompt discussion, then host a one hour meeting (to date via Zoom) where we discuss the ideas and issues raised in the episode.

As a summary, here are the episodes we’ve had a look at for each month:

5 August, 2020 episode: The New Social Contract Episode 5 – Universities and the nation’s workforce. 

We talked about the outcomes of higher education; combining vocational training, workplace skill development and universities; and proposed reforms to university funding arrangements, based on identified labour market priority areas (such as nursing, health occupations, teaching and IT). There were provocative comments in the podcast that stimulated our discussion. For example, micro-credentialling is described by one of the guests as “the last  dying gasping breath of the neoliberalisation of education”!

2nd September, 2020 episode: HybridPod: Connection.

Comments in the podcast that guided our discussion included thoughts about how online teaching can feel ‘empty’ and ‘transactional’, factors that may make students (or teachers) more vulnerable to struggling during online learning, and the importance of experiencing frustration or failure as an aspect of education. The guest in this podcast, primary school physical education teacher Sherri Spelic shared a 2 minute physical education video she made for her school students. We discussed how teachers in higher education can bring their presence, embodied learning and/or the outside world into the online classroom.

Wednesday, 14th October, 2020 episode: Radical Hope: A Teaching Manifesto.

We shared our thoughts on students as allies or adversaries and how this might play out across the university. Another point of discussion revolved around being equitable rather than having equal treatment of students. We then discussed Kevin Gannon’s notion that teachers need to make themselves smaller to make space for students, and the struggles of this in practice.

Wednesday, 4th November, 2020 episode: Perspectives in Parryville: Student Reflection (Ep. 16).

We had Associate Professor Marina Harvey (UNSW) and Mark Parry (AFTRS) attend the discussion session and join a conversation about the value of higher-order thinking skills, such as reflection, in a rapidly changing world. Marina prompted us to think about how reflection might be viewed as being (not only) a cognitive process but also a somatic or whole of body experience. We touched on the purpose and value of reflection in a higher education context, our experiences with reflection for learning, and instances where we have used creative approaches to reflection.

2nd December, 2020 [The last one for 2020!] episode: RMIT Open Classrooms: Authentic assessment in engineering education.

The questions that guided our discussion centred around how to get international students (with language and cultural barriers) more engaged in their groups, especially virtually, and our understandings of ‘authentic’ assessment and how to approach it. We talked about soft skills, working in a team and communication as being important in developing ‘ready-for-work’ students and shared our experiences in embedding these skills in the learning outcomes.

If you were unable to attend these sessions, we do not record the discussion but you are welcome to listen to the podcasts. Stay tuned for more discussion club sessions in 2021!

Please do not hesitate to contact us at professional.learning@mq.edu.au if you have any questions

Posted by Fidel Fernando

I am a Learning Designer constantly curious about how to design and facilitate learning through the use of stories, art and technology. I am also inexplicably fond of ferrets.

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