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Learning through the eyes of students

08 Feb 2024

Institute of Teaching and Learning Fellowship Project puts students at the heart of the creation of a course unit for third year undergraduates

Dr James Brooks

The project, undertaken by Institute of Teaching and Learning (ITL) Fellow Dr James Brooks, aimed to enhance students’ engagement in their own learning process and build our own institutional knowledge of how we can support students to succeed.

Working with a student partner and the ITL project team, James  focused on developing a course unit within the Faculty of Science and Engineering, with students developing their own learning materials on a topic of their choosing, thus handing over the choice and autonomy of their own independent learning.

As Programme Director for the online MSc in Sustainable Electrical Power Systems Engineering and the Academic Lead for Pedagogy for the Faculty of Science and Engineering, James found that working alongside the students was a fantastic opportunity to learn from them, as they developed independent learning, communication, and digital skills. He said:

 “To paraphrase Hattie and Yates (1984), I am a strong believer that learning works best when lecturers can see learning through the eyes of students and students see learning through the eyes of themselves as teachers.”

The main output of the project was the creation of the course unit for third year undergraduate students - Independent Study and Technical Explanations. For the course, students produced a collection of videos and documents teaching a wide range of interesting technical topics. And James hopes to create a repository of examples of the students’ work, to inspire other academics and also to use as outreach and examples to prospective students who are applying to Manchester.

ITL Fellowships are open to Academic and Professional Services colleagues. Fellows are appointed annually to develop and deliver a strategically-aligned project to enhance an aspect of teaching and learning across our University while working in partnership with students to effect positive change.

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