This month I interviewed Terry Mayes, Emeritus Professor at Glasgow Caledonian University. I did my very best to put Terry off with my rambling questions and changing the subject just as Terry was about to reveal an expert insight into the current status and direction of higher education. Despite this I hope you can find some gems in this months interview:
Interview with Terry Mayes
Duration: 18 minutes
01:15 – Terry mentioned the Pathfinder Special Interest Groups including Podcasting for Pedagogic Purposes SIG. Terry also briefly talks about the Enhancement Academy – cross between pathfinder and change academy. This programme is for institutions who were a part of the e-benchmarking but weren’t eligible for pathfinder funding.
03:45 – We touch upon strategic transformation of institutions leading on to managing expectations of staff and students. Terry believes there is a shift from push to pull approaches to teaching and learning being led from bottom up and enabled by current technology. (We both mention the SFC e-Learning Transformation Programme (including TESEP and REAP)).
06:45 – Expectations of students – Terry talked about his experiences chairing the Enhancement Themes – First Year Experience programme. In particular he highlights that a common recommendation was to rethink what we mean by induction. To preparing students for higher education Terry believes we have to personalise the approach, looking at every individual student and prepare them by looking at their particular needs. Terry believes we should shift more resources to the front end. The first few weeks are critical and requires seamless integration with schools and colleges.
10:00 – Terry believes primary schools are rich with examples of constructivist teaching. It is when students progress into secondary and tertiary education that they experience the ‘dead hand of subjects’. Fundamental divide between subject based learning and learning in a more holistic way i.e. the fundamentals of learning how to learn.
12:00 – Terry believes there is greater awareness of constructivist pedagogy. Practitioners might not know the jargon but they understand the processes required to make teaching effective. Terry however believes practitioners identity is with their subject not necessarily with students needing to become lifelong learners. Widening access also means students who entering higher education lack some of the fundamental skills to get them through their courses (including basic language skills). Terry believes most teachers don’t see it as part of their role to deal with students at that level. At point do we choose to reconfigure the systems to deal with the situation. Terry talked about how technology has added a new subplot around learner created content. For the learner to explore a subject and the teacher to facilitate this.
15:00 – I raise the idea that Open Educational Resources (OER) is the investment in content and not community. Terry noted that the name of the initiative was changed from Open Educational Content at least now it is Open Educational Resources, which implies slightly more awareness. Terry wondered if this was another example of Groundhog Day (Terry used the plot of this film “as a metaphor to describe how the experience of living through the excitement about technology in education always ended the same way – in disappointingly little change” See Groundhog Day again?). Terry has mixed feelings that there is a danger that we will spend a lot of time and effort creating a subject specific base of courseware. But if this is used as an acknowledgement that learners can create and seek and find their own content it may be beneficial. For main stream teaching it may allow a shift from focusing on content to providing feedback. The key is to see how it is used.