Looking forward to 2016/17

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It’s the start of a new academic year at HCA and I’m looking forward to our involvement in a range of scholarly activities,

Collaboration is high on our agenda as we work with our key partners at Gloscol and Sgloscol and with other colleges in the sector. I’m looking forward to talking with colleagues at Doncaster College and Blackpool college regarding whether we can work together to devise a collaborative action research methodology.

Our trial here is around Fenella Lloyd’s Academic Reading strategy which she developed as part of her Masters course. The strategy has proved very successful at supporting a range of learners at HCA in genuinely engaging with ‘difficult’ academic texts.

However, as a small specialist college we want to extend our trial to strengthen our evidence base and to open out and share what we think is a great idea that could really support learners. We will also be trialing this strategy in our FE student support team to bring in even richer data. You can read more about Fenella’s research project here.

With regard to the scholarship of teaching and learning I’m also excited about our forthcoming work with Gloscol and Sgloscol. Our project here looks at ideas of scholarly spaces on physical, digital and curricular/conceptual domains. We hope at the end of the year to have investigated ideas of the physical ‘scholarly space’ and their affects both in the curriculum (imagine having a ‘research wall’ in your teaching space) and as bespoke areas that aim to promote peer support and collaboration in a less-formal learning environment.

Plus, I’m currently undertaking some visual discourse analysis of physical scholarly spaces in the art college. More to follow on that one, but here’s one of the images taken over the Summer at HCA:


In terms of the ‘digital’ we’ll be looking at how we might create digital social learning environments that support scholarly practice for students and staff. I’m hoping to work directly with  student focus groups at Sgloscol and HCA to see what kind of digital learning environments best create a scholarly ‘hub’ and how these relate to physical spaces.

In terms of curriculum/conceptual spaces I am lucky enough to be working with an expert in action research at Gloscol who will be looking at models of action research she can embed through college and that are ‘workable’ for the busy tutor within the curriculum.

At the end of this work we’re hoping for some evidence upon which we can build a set of ‘Scholarly Curriculum’ principles that enable and support staff and students scholarly practice.

Finally, building on the amazing ‘research-warming lunch’ at the end of Summer Semester I’m hoping to set up a more formal staff scholarship group at HCA…and have a play around with Actor Network Theory and how this might help us explore those dynamic tensions between the digital and physical space within a social learning network. Thank-you Rhonda for recommending Latour as my Summer Read!

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