When considering what is taught and how, the UWL pedagogic model is based on that of Laurillard’s conversational framework[1] with face to face activities being scaffolded through on-line activities outside of the classroom. A full-time student should study for the equivalent of 40 hours per week over a 30-week period (1200 hours of study, with each individual credit being awarded for 10 hours of study). At UWL modules are 20 credits or multiples thereof and you are encouraged to consider long thin modules to allow our students the time to assimilate, practice and apply their knowledge and understanding. Students who face barriers to study (as many widening participation students do) may need time to catch-up and develop; a challenge if small, condensed, modules of study are designed. However, this will vary between disciplines. You can download some resources to help you think about the 6 learning activities included in the conversational framework here.

Face to face tuition should consist of a balance of activities and these should be developed through those that students complete online (learning anytime, anyplace, so that it is convenient for them). We also expect staff to stop ‘teaching them the facts’ (facts today may be wrong or obsolete tomorrow) or ‘telling them what they need to know’ (we are there to develop a thirst for knowledge and to teach students how to learn, not how to memorise).

It is important therefore to communicate our high expectations of the students, and also to explain that they are with us to ‘learn to learn’, and that we encourage exploration, and mastery, of the subject.

Therefore, we must be bold enough to teach the threshold concepts (with which many students struggle) and have the confidence to allow the students to explore in more depth those aspects of the subject/discipline which interests them.  Encouraging inquiry develops essential skills and supports engagement.

This  approach can have an outstanding impact on our student success, leading to fewer resists and lower dropout rates.

[1] Laurillard, D. (2013) Rethinking University Teaching: A Conversational Framework for the Effective Use of Learning Technologies. Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315012940