We have been busy in Aveiro since our last meeting! Our idea for our project was to set up a Forum in the university to provide a space for discussing and sharing issues related to the quality of teaching and learning. We held our first meeting at the end of February with a small group of volunteers, including members from the three ‘circles’, and we had an engaging discussion of how the forum might work and how it could be organised. Our second work session was held on 15th March with the objective of identifying key issues which would form the basis of topic-based mini-forums. We were very pleased to have attracted considerably more participants for this second meeting, despite the fact that it was held on a Friday afternoon at 16.00!! Our on-line forum is also set up and will be launched this week. Our next step, as proposed in the last work session, will be to hold a workshop in April for joined up work on some of the key issues identified.
In the meantime, we prepared a presentation, entitled The importance of dialogue in the enhancement of quality in teaching and learning, for the International Conference on Learning and Teaching in Higher Education which was held last week (21st and 22nd March) in Évora, Portugal.
Pro-rector, University of Aveiro
A lot happened in the SPEAQ project since our last blog post. Before the Christmas break, partners met again for the 3rd project meeting in the lovely Portuguese town of Aveiro. Despite the unusual wet weather, partners spent two days discussing their project for year 2.
Dr Anca Greere and her colleague Iulia Bobaila from the University of Babes-Bolyai, Romania, took this opportunity to present their project which had already started in September. The project focuses on peer-to-peer student mentoring and aims to set up a system involving second year undergraduate students acting as mentors and first year undergraduate students acting as mentees. The key objective is to help first year students adjust to the challenges of university life by facilitating closer interaction with other students who have already gone through similar experiences. It has received the support of the University and had already been very successful by the time Anca and Iulia presented the project to the SPEAQ partners.
The other partners discussed their project concepts with the group and by the end of the meeting, all had produced a project plan for the next 6 months. Project themes include: teaching students about the complexity of quality assurance in HE (Hungary); introducing a new course evaluation methodology and procedures (Denmark); giving international students a voice to enhance their learning experience (Italy); enhancing quality through professional co-operations in the areas of assessment and cross-curricular networking (Austria); enhancing the quality of study programmes through interaction of the three quality circles (Spain); enhancing pedagogical and interactive skills of non-native content teachers teaching through English (Finland); creating a forum for the discussion of quality issues related to the enhancement of teaching and learning on an institutional (policy) level and a practical level (Portugal); developing resources for improving the quality of feedback (UK).
The projects are now all under way and each partner will write a short post about their progress in the months to come. So keep reading the SPEAQ blog for more updates!