News and Views

Strongroom to Seminar: archives and teaching in higher education

Jamie Wood, History UK’s Media Officer, took part in an event on using archives in teaching in HE at the National Archives at the end of February. Jamie, along with other participants in the event, has recently published a post on the TNA blog – follow this link if you’d like to know more.

HUK are hoping to develop further links with the TNA in future – so watch this space…!

Historians on Brexit

Universities face much uncertainty over the coming years because of Brexit. We want your help to spread information about how Brexit is affecting you!

Brexit EU pictureThe aim of this blog is not to take sides in debates about Brexit. Instead, we wish to present this as a platform where historians can exchange information about how Brexit is affecting us personally and professionally, as individuals and within our departments and universities more broadly. Groups like Scientists for EU have very successfully gained wider coverage about scientists’ views on Brexit. This means that much of the coverage and government interest in Brexit and Higher Education has focused on how these issues affect scientists. While we admire their success, we partly wish to provide an alternative voice, to remind politicians and the general public that Britain’s university sector is a diverse community.

This has inspired us at History UK to offer a platform for historians and History programmes throughout the UK to express their views. In order to do this, we need your help. All you have to do is send us a short email or tweet. This can be anecdotal evidence about your experiences or links to relevant research or articles. We want to know about how Brexit is affecting funding, travel, and future plans, both at an institutional level and at a personal level. We will use this blog and our Twitter feed to provide a forum for the exchange of such information (anonymously, if desired).

History UK will also draw on your evidence to inform our activities as we negotiate Brexit, the upcoming REF, the introduction of Teaching Excellence Framework, and a variety of other proposed changes to Higher Education in the UK.

This will help us present History experiences and views to the wider public and policy makers, ensuring these potentially seismic shifts in Higher Education recognise the importance of one of the most popular subjects in the UK.

Rachel Bright
11 April 2017

HEA Innovative Teaching Workshop in UG History

Higher Education Academy Innovative Teaching Workshop in Undergraduate History
Location: Canterburry Christ Church University
Date: Thursday, 27 April, 2017, 13:45
In November 2016, I was delighted to receive the Times Higher Education Most Innovative Teacher of the Year award for my delivery of early modern history courses at Canterbury Christ Church University. On 27 April, I am hosting a free Higher Education Academy fellow-led workshop to share some of the underpinning ideas behind my successful application. Although I am an early modern historian, the workshop is aimed at graduate teaching assistants, early career academics, teaching fellows and lecturers working in History and the Humanities more generally. 
 
Academics working in the UK Higher Educational sector today cannot avoid the national focus on teaching excellence, whether it is in relation to the Teaching Excellence Framework or discussions over the future of the National Student Survey. The afternoon will introduce delegates to some key innovations within my courses where I seek to challenge my students, as well as to address broader concerns surrounding graduate skills and holistic development. I will demonstrate how I have used online assessments; the workshop model to encourage shared learning; role-play and re-enactments to understand key historical events; and embedding of employability skills within assessment. 
 
Delegates attending the event will also hear from Professor Maureen Meikle, Leeds Trinity University, on the benefits of the workshop model for undergraduate history teaching. The afternoon will be interactive with a seminar reconstruction that uses Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library. The day will end with a ‘live’ student assessment, as delegates attend the launch of my second year student exhibition, Sex, Deviance and Death in Early Modern Britain. This event will be accompanied by a wine reception sponsored by Dr. Keith McLay, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.
 
This free event is focused on assisting scholars who wish to explore different methods of teaching and assessment away from the traditional lecture model or essay assignment. People applying for Associate Fellowship, Fellowship or Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy may also find this workshop helpful, although seeking HEA fellowship status is not a requirement to attend.
 
If you would like to attend, please note that spaces are limited and booking is via https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/training-events/teaching-innovation-undergraduate-history
Please address any queries to sara.wolfson@canterbury.ac.uk
The exhibition flyer can be downloaded here: Sex, Deviance and Death in Early Modern England

I look forward to seeing you there,
Sara

History UK – Looking Forward

Heather Shore – Co-convenor of History UK

heathershoreIn the last few months History UK (HUK) has undergone a few changes and it is with these in mind that I write this post, as one of the new co-convenors, along with Lucie Matthews-Jones (Liverpool John Moores University), a long-time member of the HUK Steering Committee who stepped up to the co-convenor role in February. In the last few months we have said goodbye and thank-you to our previous co-convenors Marcus Collins and Kate Bradley, and we’ve extended our Executive. Along with the co-convenors, secretary (Daniel Grey) and treasurer (Richard Hawkins), we are very pleased to welcome our Media Officer (Jamie Wood) and Education Officer (Peter D’Sena).

In our last two blog posts, participants in the Academic Boot camp (held in May) and the New to Teaching event (held in September) wrote about their experiences and the benefits that they gained from attending these events. We hope that the events that we are currently planning will provide similar opportunities and benefits for historians, irrespective of whatever stages of their career they are at.

The first event will take place on the 22nd March at Liverpool John Moores University. HUK is very pleased to welcome the Digital History Lab Roadshow to a joint event between HUK and LJMU. We have a great line-up of speakers including, James Barker (Sussex), Bob Nicholson (Edge Hill), Claire Taylor (Liverpool) and Joanna Taylor (Lancaster) talking about their digital humanities projects. On the 20th May, we will be hosting our very successful Academic Boot Camp at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) again.

In the spring we will be collaborating with History Lab Plus on another event at the IHR, Life After PhD. History Lab Plus have run this successful event for the last few years, exploring the burning questions that postgraduates finishing their PhDs, and those who have recently completed, have in mind. In previous years the event has explored: the transition from PhD, getting grants, getting published and careers outside academia. Limited bursaries will be available for those travelling from outside the South-east (more information will be available soon). In September we will be collaborating with the IHR and the Royal Historical Society, to host the annual New to Teaching event, at the IHR, and aimed at recent graduates. Participants at this one-day event will develop their understanding of innovations in teaching and learning, curriculum design, assessment and feedback, quality assurance, teaching seminar groups, using digital technology in the undergraduate classroom and preparing for the academic job market.

History UK Steering Committee members will be participating in these events, and we very much look forward to a busy few months ahead, and to planning further events for the future. In particular, we are gearing up for our Autumn 2017 Plenary, which, this year, will focus on the theme of collaboration – in research, in funding, across disciplines and across the sector. Do please feel free to contact us if you want any information on any of these forthcoming events, or if there are other ways in which History UK might be involved in supporting historians in UK Higher Education.

Heather Shore (Leeds Beckett University)

History New to Teaching, September 2016, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, London

On the 15th September around 40 postgraduates and early career researchers attended the New to Teaching event at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) at Senate House London; which was co-sponsored by the IHR, History UK and the Royal Historical Society. The purpose of the day was to allow those new to teaching history in higher education, the opportunity to gain advice on different pedagogies from established academics from institutions across the UK. It also provided an opportunity for the attendees to meet peers who were also new to teaching, and share experiences, hopes and fears about the path ahead. A number of attendees (including ourselves) were granted travel bursaries sponsored by History UK, making event attendance possible to those from outside of London.

For the first session of the day, Dr Marcus Collins, from Loughborough University spoke about curriculum design, quality assurance and the student experience. Marcus asked small groups to design their own curriculum for an undergraduate history degree, encouraging us to think about how we would strike a balance between what modules students may want, with those that are less desirable but nonetheless essential to their understanding of history.

Jamie Wood, from the University of Lincoln, then led a session on small group teaching which provided some great tips on classroom management and ideas for activities.  What was especially useful, was that we learned how to manage and teach small groups in a practical way.  Jamie demonstrated the key techniques through teaching us.  We were shown some activities to elicit discussion and encourage peer-to-peer teaching.  Overall, the session on small group teaching has enabled us to plan engaging activities and encourage participation.  We have found the tips very easily transferable to the real seminar environment and now feel much more confident in our roles as a seminar instructors.

In his session, Adam Crymble from the University of Hertfordshire, talked to us about the multiple ways that he uses digital history in his teaching. Adam explained one of these in detail; as part of his module Adam gets his students to work collectively to data mine from the Old Bailey online database and create Excel spreadsheets. The purpose of this is to get students familiar with using online resources, and to teach them how to use different software and gain skills that may be useful for their dissertation research and also in their future careers.

Marcus Collins delivered his second session of the day, this time on assessment and feedback. Marcus gave us an assessment that had been marked and asked us as groups to critique the marking. By doing this we could see the types of positive feedback that we could use ourselves, and also how feedback can be too negative and potentially demoralising for a student. The main point that we took away from this session was to try to give an overall positive feel to our feedback. To do this, we should focus on highlighting what students did well and need to continue doing, and highlight one element that was poor, but provide practical feedback on how this could be improved in the future.

Melodee Beals (from Loughborough University) gave a session on peer-to-peer teaching which provided us with great advice on classroom management and how to use digital tools to encourage students to interact with each other.  She highlighted the importance of the physical layout of the room, and the difference seating arrangements can make in delivering an effective seminar.  We now think about the layout of the class and take time to position the students in a manner to encourage talking and discussion in our own seminars.

For the final session of the day, Dr Catherine Armstrong (also from Loughborough University) ran a session on building an academic career. Catherine began by discussing ways in which PhD students can begin to develop their career, helping us to think about what we can do now to help increase our chances of getting an academic job in the future. Catherine also gave us some really useful advice about writing an academic CV, as well as some ‘golden rules’ for the interview process.

The New to Teaching event really helped us to develop our skills as seminar instructors and offered great advice on facilitating lessons and planning activities, much of which we have already successfully put into practice.  We left the event feeling motivated, confident, and looking forward to the academic year ahead.

Resources:

By Abigail Dorr, Rachel Yemm and Diane Ranyard

 

Abigail Dorr is in the third year of her PhD in the School of History and Heritage at the University of Lincoln, working with the Common Fund Accounts of Lincoln Cathedral in the fourteenth century.  Her research analyses on how the quantity and type of gifts, both given by and to the cathedral, were affected by the wider economic and social climate.  Abi is also the treasurer of the Women in Academia Postgraduate Research Group at the University of Lincoln and has co-founded a regional history network for postgraduates in the East Midlands.  She is an Associate Lecturer on a Level 1 survey module – The Medieval World and soon to begin teaching a Level 1 module at Bishop Grosseteste University on church history.

Abi’s Twitter: @Abi_Dorr

East Midlands History Network’s Twitter: @EM_HistoryNet

Rachel Yemm is a third year PhD student in the School of History and Heritage at the University of Lincoln. She is working on the impact of local media on public perceptions of immigration in the Midlands from 1960-1990. Rachel works with the Media Archive for Central England (MACE), situated within the University of Lincoln. She is also the President of Women in Academia, a Postgraduate Research Group at the University of Lincoln. Rachel is an Associate Lecturer on the Level 2 module New Directions in History.

Mace Archive Website: http://macearchive.org/

Women in Academia’s Website: http://wiapg.co.uk

Rachel’s Twitter: @rachelyemm

Diane Ranyard is a second year PhD student in the School of History and Heritage at the University of Lincoln. She is working on gendered representations of marital behavior within the Divorce Court of England and Wales, between 1909 and 1937. Diane is also the current Treasurer for History Lab at the Institute of Historical Research and has worked as a Student Ambassador on the HEA funded Making Digital History Project for three years. Diane is an Associate Lecturer on the Level 1 module Forging the Modern State, 1750-1979.

History Labs Website: http://www.history.ac.uk/historylab

Making Digital History Website: http://makingdigitalhistory.co.uk/

Diane’s Twitter: @dianeranyard

 

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