Sixty-seven newly appointed academics from all 10 faculties gathered for the first interfaculty contact session of PREDAC (Professional Educational Development for Academics) on 22 May 2019 at STIAS. The theme of the day was Teaching & Learning at SU “out of the box". The day was designed to illustrate how learning can be fun and active, and to maximize networking opportunities, to allow participants to engage with each other and to reflect on their own teaching.
The newly designed PREDAC programme consists of seven phases. During phase 1 participants completed their own online Teaching Perspectives Inventory, reflected on their results and had online discussions about their results with peers.
The second phase provided participants with the opportunity to unpack the teaching, learning, and assessment of their modules in a visual way. The STIAS contact session was phase 3 and focused on the design of learning opportunities.
“Wonderful ways of engaging with the content.
Definitely fun ways of understanding the
core functions of teaching and learning."
Upon arrival at STIAS, participants were surprised with a caricature artist, ready to draw each of them in support of the idea that learning should be fun. Boxes with colourful flowers and sweet treats added to the visualization of the “out of the box" theme, inspiring participants to think about their own teaching in a different way.
A concept artist made visual summaries of the input during sessions, to clarify ideas in a visual way.
“The golden thread of 'learning in fun' throughout
the whole day, including the caricatures.
Nico's drawings and the activities."
During the first session, Dr Antoinette van der Merwe (Senior Director: Division for Teaching and Learning Enhancement) officially welcomed the newly appointed academics at the institution and she shared with them how SU is creating an enabling environment for teaching and learning to flourish.
For the following session, participants were asked to imagine they were students in a Teaching 101 class. Students had to follow “the lecturer" while she folded an origami box and make a box themselves. This experience was then debriefed according to the principles of experiential learning, self-determination theory and active learning approaches. The session ended when participants had to reflect on this learning experience and making it applicable to their own teaching context.
“I am learning way more than I expected to
and cannot wait to implement some of
the things in my module."
After refreshments, participants engaged in a cooperative learning activity when they read and discussed academic articles about the principles, theories, and approaches they experienced during the morning session. During the afternoon session participants worked in their faculty groups and used what they have learned up to that point to design learning opportunities for their modules to address possible areas of concern, which they had identified when they unpacked their modules during phase 2.
The day ended with a networking opportunity where participants had time to make connections, reflect on the day, and have refreshments “out of the box" … while listening to a marimba band. Participants will continue with phase 4 of PREDAC after the semester break and meet again at STIAS on 9 September for the second interfaculty contact session.
For more information on PREDAC, contact Claudia Swart-Jansen van Vuuren at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here .
Photo 1: PREDAC participants at work in an active learning session on 22 May 2019.
Photos 2 & 3: The caricature artist and the concept artist provide opportunities for light reflection.
Photo 4: Dr Antoinette van der Merwe engages with a PREDAC participant on the balance of academics' research and teaching roles.
Photos 5 & 6: PREDAC participants work together in the morning's cooperative learning session and relaxed together afterwards.
Quotations in red italics are from PREDAC participants' anonymous feedback on 22 May 2019.