Supporting colleges as academic session 23-24 gets underway

Sandy MacLean

During August the CDN team have already been providing a wide range of support to hundreds of college colleagues as the new session gets underway. Here’s a taste of what they’ve been up through August.

Highly respected across the sector for the depth of her knowledge and experience around mental health and wellbeing, Sandy MacLean, Lead for Learning, Teaching and Wellbeing, joined staff at UHI Moray to explore neurodiversity. Sandy has developed a new workshop designed for all college staff, Neurodiversity: An introduction for those working in a college setting. She delivered this new workshop to colleagues at UHI Moray on 16 and 17 August.

Dr Gail Toms

The following week Sandy hot footed it down the country to Ayrshire College, to deliver a two-day Mental Health First Aid Training course – the second of three sessions on this important topic that she is providing to colleagues there.

Another brand-new workshop for the new sessions comes from Dr Gail Toms, Lead for Learning, Teaching and Equalities. Gail is piloting her new workshops on the topic of Challenging Privilege and Bias at Dundee and Angus College on 24 August. Entitled ‘I Come From…’ these highly interactive sessions involve poetry, puzzles, postcards and a whole lot of professional learning.

Kenji Lamb

Kenji Lamb, Lead for Learning, Teaching and Digital, is well known and highly regarded across the sector for his expertise in digital learning and edtech. Currently, he is supporting the sector around the evolving challenges and opportunities related to AI. He has gained valuable insight on how AI impacts assessment. Kenji delivered three workshops at Forth Valley College, on the subject of AI, along with college colleagues Laurence Fergusson and Brian Banks. Our AI in College Education event, which takes place next month, is now fully subscribed but it’s not too late to join the waiting list. Keep an eye on our website for latest support in this area over the coming weeks.

Dr Paula Christie, Lead in Research and Enhancement, supported Forth Valley College’s Academic Staff Development Conference with workshops related to her ongoing activity there around Step Forward, CDN’s action research programme, with colleagues exploring ‘The Changing Learner’.

Dr Paula Christie

Paula also delivered four sessions on why Trauma Informed Practice matters at West College Scotland to curriculum staff at their staff development Day. She has been instrumental in the development of CDN’s newly launched Trauma Informed College Programme, which is already receiving a huge amount of interest.

Jo Turbitt, Lead for Learning and Teaching, is driving curriculum innovation using the lever of ideation. At Dumfries and Galloway College, she continued work from last session to cultivate curiosity and encourage confidence in developing learning, teaching and assessment approaches. Her latest workshop there, for the new session, focused on convergent strategies, decision making and developing interdisciplinary resourceful approaches across the college.

Jo Turbitt

Mandy Wallace, Learning and Teaching Innovations Manager at Dumfries and Galloway College said:

“Jo Turbitt’s workshops reinvigorated our approach to curriculum design and ideation. Through her guidance, our Action Plans transformed from concepts into reality, fostering impactful learning experiences for our students. The educational journey at Dumfries and Galloway College has been forever shaped by Jo’s expertise and dedication. As we move forward, her influence will undoubtedly continue to make a lasting impact.”

At West College Scotland she worked with more than 500 staff to ‘explore and apply ideation in your practice’. These introductory sessions presented the concepts, strategies and approaches that ideation employs to inject creative/ innovative developments for learning, teaching and assessment approaches. It provided space and time for staff to collaborate, supporting them in recognising they have the agency to design learning, teaching and assessment experiences that are valuable to their students.

Jo also spent time at Fife College introducing the concept of ideation to managers, allowing them to experience and learn what ideation is, what’s involved and what the session can do for their staff. Lecturers within one faculty then used the session to focus on curriculum development in connection with their strategy. Curriculum areas focused on projects, on ideas, on reducing assessment and how to enrich (not eschew) quality of learning, to impact both engagement but also their motivations too.

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