What's your Current understanding of what being involved in an LC entails?
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN ESTABLISHING A LEARNING COMMUNITY (LC)?
A core mission of MTU’ s Teaching and Learning Unit is to promote excellence in Teaching and Learning at MTU by offering relevant, accessible and useful teaching and learning development and support to staff who are directly engaged in teaching and learning activities in MTU. A key activity, in pursuit of this mission, is the development and support of learning communities (LCs).
Since 2018/19, the TLU have issued an annual funding call, at the end of semester 2 each year, to fund the creation of learning communities. Such has been the level of interest among staff, that today MTU has 27 Learning Communities established involving 35 departments and in excess of 100 staff members within/across academic departments and central services..
The following information session was held November 24, 2021 as part of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education VIT&L Month:
What is a Learning Community (LC)?
A TLU supported Learning Community is a group of at least 5 individuals who work together on a structured basis to share ideas, experiences, new initiatives and approaches to teaching, learning, assessment and student engagement. Their focus is to improve practices and disseminate findings to the wider community of staff and students.
What is involved in running a LC?
A LC is a relatively informal set up where the participants meet on a pre-arranged basis (e.g. fortnightly), identify priority areas in teaching, learning, assessment and student engagement enhancement that require attention within a programme or department(s) and agree on initiating activities aimed at gathering new information or trialling new practices. This work may be supported by AnSEO/TLU expertise/experience or we may be able to direct LCs towards relevant resources.
What types of activities or practices are undertaken by a LC?
These can be varied and are at the discretion of the group but may be focused around gathering information from staff and/or students, introducing a new teaching, learning, assessment or student engagement practices, upskilling in a discipline specific area of pedagogy, supporting cross disciplinary teaching, learning, assessment or student engagement activities, attending relevant conferences or centres of excellence, etc. Over time, the group can set new agendas and priorities to allow for the natural growth of ideas and themes.
What kinds of AnSEO/TLU supports are available?
We will assist in helping to initiate and develop a LC including suggesting key areas to focus on from the outset if required. We may also connect you with like-minded individuals and groups who will share ideas, practices and experiences.
Is a LC time consuming or labour intensive?
These are voluntary and informal groups who largely set their own agendas and timelines. The objective of a LC is to invest a little time and effort initially to develop new knowledge and practices that ultimately make Teaching, Learning, Assessment and Student Engagement more time efficient and rewarding within the LC’s area of focus/discipline.