Yesterday I attended the Learning Innovations Networks symposium at the DIT Grangegorman campus.
The keynote speaker, Dr David Baume, International Educational Consultant & Researcher, presented and led discussion on ‘How can core values be embedded effectively within the curriculum’, later in the afternoon he explored ‘What is the curriculum?’ with the participants.
I think there is huge importance around the area of professional values in teaching and learning. Values in education are investigated in DIT’s Postgraduate cert in 3rd level teaching and learning. Professional values in professions such as medicine engineering are fostered in education , in work, and in continuous professional development. Dr Baume made the point that if teaching at third level is to be professionalised then professional values need to be investigated. He asked us to discuss what professional values we consider significant as educators. He then compared our list of values to that which the LIN project works by. Courage was a value which I was interested in. It takes courage in several areas to be a teacher, courage to try new things/methods with classes, courage to look for evaluation, courage to accept constructive criticism, courage to make changes for improvement.
The overview of the LIN project and the collaborative academic professional development modules developed by the Institutes of Technology around Ireland demonstrated a highly collaborative and fruitful project. Dr Baume remarked that this was one of the first successful collaborative projects for academic professional development if its kind, he commented on a similar project started in the area of London which unfortunately did not thrive. The LIN modules for academic professional development specially address teaching and learning needs of 3rd level teaching academics. Modules have been developed in the areas of assessment, technology enhanced learning, enquiry based learning etc. A teaching academic can undertake these modules in a self-paced manner and then when 30 ECTS credits are accumulated they can obtain a Post-graduate certificate in teaching and learning.
Hopefully even with strategic innovation funding (SIF) cuts that this project can be continued. Muiris O’Connor of the Higher Education Authority (HEA) was keen to see sustainability for this project. Models for continuation of the project were also discussed by conference participants, some proposals indicated that close ties be made with other Irish national teaching and learning projects in order to achieve sustainability in to the future; also a community of practice of educational developers has been formed and this should hopefully continue into the future, keeping the LIN APD modules active.