UCL News


'Talking and Learning' podcast launched

27 July 2016

A new UCL podcast that discusses the hot topics in higher education launches today.

UCL Teaching and Learning podcast graphic

The 'Talking and Learning' podcast, for staff and students at UCL, has been produced by UCL's Office of the Vice-Provost (Education & Student Affairs).

So far, there are three podcasts in the series, with more on the horizon. 

In the first one, Professor Anthony Smith, Vice-Provost (Education & Student Affairs), and former UCLU sabbatical officer Wahida Samie explain what a research-based education means and how it "speaks to our changing relationship with the body of knowledge".

"It is not about saying that the ways that students have been taught in the past are wrong or different to what they need to be," Professor Smith says, "it's about a focus on questioning and inquiry." Professor Smith says staff are increasingly seeing students as a "wonderful, creative intellectual source and a great way of crowdsourcing and testing ideas".

In the second podcast, Professor Smith discusses proposals to make teaching and education leadership as important as research when it comes to academics' promotion prospects. 

He talks to Professor Dilly Fung, Director of UCL's Centre for Advancing Learning and Teaching, about the proposals. "We want this to be a genuine change. We see this as a really key enabler of UCL's long-term strategy," Professor Smith says. 

Professor Fung explains how, in the traditional academic roles, the gender split is 70% men and 30% women, while in education-focused roles, the gender split is 54% women and 46% men. 

"Traditionally, these groups have had different levels of opportunities and most of the reward, recognition and opportunity for senior roles has been with the male-dominated group," Professor Fung says. "This is even more the case for BME colleagues." Professor Smith and Professor Fung discuss how UCL, and most other universities in the Russell Group, are beginning to address this imbalance.

In the third podcast, we tackle the thorny issue of student feedback. Dr Fiona Strawbridge, Head of Digital Education at UCL, and Dr Simon Banks, Faculty Tutor in UCL Engineering Sciences, talk about the My Feedback report. This new tool, developed at UCL, enables students to see many of their grades and assessments all on one screen. 

Dr Banks says the tool, which has been tested by about 700 engineering students, helps identify students' strengths and areas for development across an entire programme. Dr Banks explains how some students want to see the tool give them a ranking against their peers. Other universities are watching the development of the tool closely, Dr Strawbridge says.

Tune into our podcast and email us at: teaching.learning@ucl.ac.uk to let us know what you think of it, which topics you'd like us to cover and who you'd like to hear discuss them.

The Office of the Vice-Provost (Education & Student Affairs)