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Engaging students in learning: Making my teaching sessions more active

Professor Mick Healey and Dr Ruth Healey

June 9, 2020 @ 8:45 am 10:30 am

08:45 – 10.30 (Edinburgh), 11:45 – 13.30 (Dubai), and 15:45 – 17.30 (Malaysia)

This keynote will be presented by Professor Mick Healey and Dr Ruth Healey as an interactive webinar on Blackboard Collaborate. There will be a handout to download and read parts of BEFORE the session. This will be sent in advance to all participants registering for the keynote. The reading should take you no more than 10-15 minutes.

Pre Session Reading

Before the session, please skim read the table in Section B (p2) and ONE of the four case studies in Section C (pp3-9) of the Active Learning Handout below. You will need this handout during the session

Venue: Join online via Collaborate We recommend you access the Collaborate room using Chrome. Other browsers may limit the quality of the participant experience.


Tell me and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand.” Confucius 450BC

The idea of active learning has been around for a long time; but many people find it challenging to put it into practice in higher education. The 50-minute or longer lecture remains king. However, when people are asked about how they learnt to become good at something, they rarely say they were taught it in a lecture. Our argument is that student learning can be enhanced, and learning made more enjoyable, if we break up lectures with well-designed activities; and sometimes replace lecture sessions with longer activities, such as inquiry based learning, problem solving, discussions, debates, simulations, and other activities appropriate for your subject. The handout illustrates a range of practical activities and case studies of practices that you can consider implementing in your teaching sessions. We shall try to ‘walk the talk’ during the session and engage you in a variety of activities, including polling, commenting, reflecting and discussing, as well as listening and thinking. Many of the examples we will share were developed for a face-to-face context, but, where applicable, can be adapted for an online context. Our focus will be on the principles and practices of active learning rather than on the teaching context (i.e. the session will be driven by the pedagogy). We hope you will enjoy the session as much as we have in putting it together, and we trust that you will join in the session in a spirit of experimentation and sharing.

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