The landscape of our work is constantly changing and in this issue of Educational Developments we have included some of the features which will be prominent in the next few years. One of the genuine pleasures of recent times has been to see the growth of interest in how to achieve the best quality in educational improvement. New colleagues and new groupings are appearing frequently, and the experience and expertise of SEDA’s members is in great demand. For us, the key words must be Collaboration and Co-operation, and so we have carried in this issue reports of meetings and conferences that are important to SEDA’s core purpose.
As founding members of the International Consortium for Educational Development (ICED) SEDA enthusiastically embraces the international dimension to our activities. The recent ICED Council and Conference showed the world-wide health of educational development and will provide further opportunities for both collaboration and co-operation. ICED was preceded by the Improving University Teaching conference, also in Germany, so we include a report on that event. We also look forward to having Angela Brew, President of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) and a SEDA Fellowship holder, as a keynote speaker at our November conference to further the international theme.
Similarly, with devolution within the UK, SEDA has been keen to support local activity within the home nations. After its re-launch last year SEDA Scotland has followed up with another successful conference. We look forward to holding the main SEDA conference in Scotland next year.
Perhaps another key word for us is Networking and SEDA has been pleased to participate in the activities of the Heads of Educational Development Group (HEDG). Meeting three times a year, this group acts as a useful source of shared information and experience, as well as acting as a consultation and support forum for others such as the Learning and Teaching Support Network (LTSN). As an informal network representing those with a mandate which includes implementing policy on learning and teaching in higher education, HEDG has been able to get the ear of those central to the determination of those policies.
Having been actively involved in early discussion about the formation of the Institute for Learning and Teaching (ILT), and not least the move towards the professionalisation of teachers in higher education, we are pleased to report the first round of appointments to the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme. Many of the recipients are familiar to SEDA events and publications and we hope they will continue to see their role as developers within their educational contexts.
One of the main ways SEDA members build up their professional expertise is through the annual November conference. This is the meeting-place for many people from different backgrounds but with the central interest in educational and staff development. On the one hand there are participants from subject departments, perhaps whose concern for success in Subject Review has stimulated an interest in staff development – organising workshops, running local action research projects, improving the response to student feedback, and so on. On the other there are colleagues who are developing a specialised interest which depends on sound educational principles – enthusiasts for incorporating e-mail and the web in their teaching, leaders of professional development programmes for new and established staff, or colleagues with responsibilities for delivering institutional strategies for learning and teaching.
When we meet at the SEDA conference we learn so much from the different perspectives and the common interests that it has become the essential annual event. This year it will be supported by a preceding development day for acquiring explicit expertise in (a choice from) twelve aspects of educational development work. We are a learning society, or at least, a learning association. The stronger and more skilled we can become in our professional expertise, the more we will have to offer in collaboration and cooperation with others through a variety of networking opportunities.
Ranald Macdonald and James Wisdom
This issue contains articles on:
The Implications of the National Teaching Fellowships Scheme (NTFS) for Staff and Educational Developers
Sally Brown FSEDA, Director of Membership Services, Institute for Learning and Teaching
Strengthening Action-Research for Educational Development
Glynis Cousin, Centre for Higher Education Development, Coventry University
Reflecting on Innovating the Academic Architecture for the 21st Century: A Singapore Perspective
Tan Oon Seng FSEDA, Director of the Temasek Centre for Problem-Based Learning, Temasek Polytechnic
A Review of Web Resources on Using Presentation Software
Manuella Essaka, Application of Presentation Technologies (APT), UMIST
A Developer’s Guide to Major National Initiatives: Part 2 SHEFC
Jean Ritchie, C&IT Programme Co-ordinator, SHEFC
Managing Large Student Groups
Professor Jennifer Rowley, School of Management and Social Sciences, Edge Hill College of Higher Education
Thoughts about the Research Assessment Exercise Dialogues: Assessment
David Baume FSEDA, Director of Courses, Centre for Higher Education Practice, The Open University