Journal club for lecturer development

One of the ways in which we have been sharing practice on the PgC Teaching & Supporting Learning in Higher Education is through a series of journal clubs. These sessions are optional, and individuals are encouraged to attend sessions that they find relevant and interesting. Participation can contribute to the individual continuing professional development component of the programme (a portion of the second module is devoted to self-determined professional development).  The journal club is ‘hosted’ by a ‘facilitator’ who comes from the university’s academic or learner support staff. Colleagues are invited to facilitate, or may request to host, a session. As programme leader, I do not pre-determine the topic to be addressed. Allowing freedom for the facilitator to choose the paper for review enables the programme to benefit from a range of expertise and to achieve unplanned outcomes. It adds unthought-of variety. Last year we covered the effectiveness of Powerpoint in classes, clickers in classes, space management, and ‘the second year slump’. These specific topics are not in the formal curriculum and thus the facilitators own choices add breadth. The PgC participants get the benefit of encountering a range of practitioners, who have different experiences and perspectives, and in this way the experience helps with professional networking. For the facilitators, this is an opportunity to actively read and seek out current research, or in some cases, to present their own research. It also provides an activity which can link in to a Senior Fellowship claim as the facilitation of these sessions is one way to demonstrate pedagogic leadership and influence. The sessions are open to all staff and not just PgC students. I am a little bias, but the format works well and participants report that they benefit from seeing what others are interested in.

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