Accessibility statement

Learning and teaching workshops

These workshops are open to all colleagues involved in teaching and learning support across the University. Please remember to book in advance using the forms provided below.

Autumn Term

Workshop 1: Equipping and empowering students with digital skills for the workplace

Date:         Monday 22 November 2021
Time:         12.30pm to 2pm
Location:   Online
Speakers:  Arielle Redman and Ellie Drew

Equipping and empowering students with digital skills for the workplace

As we gravitate toward an era of hybrid working, the expectations of the digital skills of the workforce will increase and be continually put to the test. Students need to prepare for this reality: a digital workplace where learning and innovating with new and essential technologies is essential and can be a creative delight. The Teaching and Learning team is working on an extensive project to empower students with the digital skills they need for their first job and their last job, whatever they might look like. 
This workshop will explore current themes in the literature surrounding the digital divide and digital skills in the workplace, considering the impact this has on the demands on graduates. These vital skills can be embedded inclusively into the pedagogy of all disciplines and levels, regardless of our own position and proficiency with technology.
This is an ideal opportunity to reflect on how we can feed digital skills into our practice to promote resilience, growth and confidence in students as they handle technology. 

Reflections on Learning and Teaching in the Autumn Term 2021

Date:          14 December 2021
Time:          2 to 3.30pm
Location:  Online
Speakers:  Paulina Melichova, Irene García, Jessica Hargreaves, Géraldine Bengsch,
                  Richard Walker

Organised by the Learning and Teaching Forum in collaboration with PDLT, this session follows on from last year’s Learning and Teaching @ York in the Coronavirus Pandemic workshops and aim to provide participants with an opportunity to listen to, reflect on and discuss experiences of learning and teaching this term:

How have experiences gained during the remote teaching phases of the Pandemic informed approaches? What has worked well? What has been challenging? What next?

There will be five short (3-4 minute) summaries from staff and students followed by opportunities for comments and questions. This will be followed by breakout room discussions giving an opportunity for further conversation on some of the issues raised in the light of your own experiences this term.

Please see the following session webpage for the programme.

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Spring Term

Workshop 2: Designing and implementing an interdisciplinary Data Science Degree Apprenticeship

Date:          Wednesday 9 March 2022   
Time:          12.30pm to 2pm
Location:    Online
Speakers:   Dr Pierre-Philippe Dechant, Mathematical Sciences, York St John University

Designing and implementing an interdisciplinary Data Science Degree Apprenticeship


We will discuss our experience of setting up a Degree Apprenticeship in Data Science at York St John University, the first of its kind in England. Data Science is a very interdisciplinary field at the intersection of mathematics, computing and communication, as well as other subject areas, and touching on contemporary topics such as artificial intelligence and complex systems. This degree apprenticeship is thus a "hard-wired" interdisciplinary programme, designed in collaboration with industry. As a degree apprenticeship, the YSK programme also needs to map onto external frameworks such as the Occupational Standard from the Institute for Apprenticeships (as well as QAA Benchmarks). This framework posed some challenges for the YSJ programme design framework consisting of 20-credit modules and semesters, which we will examine in an interactive workshop, along with how stage-level learning outcomes relate to Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours from the Standard. 

The tripartite relationship between learner, employer and university has significant potential for synergies but also brings its own challenges and constraints. We discuss the support measures we have put in place, mainly through our dedicated work-based learning tutors. They support the learners in linking work-based learning with academic concepts, tools and techniques, accessing wider support services, and in balancing the challenges of a largely online programme with their professional responsibilities and personal constraints. The more vocational orientation of the degree apprenticeship necessitated a fresh approach to authentic assessments, with a focus on reflective practice, reports, presentations and portfolio creation instead of exams. The aim of these assessments is to create dialogue and shared resources within and between cohorts, as well as evidence of what the learners are able to do

The programme is very learner focused, backed up by evidence-based literature on cognition, active learning and group intelligence; we have longer asynchronous, online transmissive phases interspersed with intense and interaction-rich, hackathon/studio-style contact weeks. We have impact measures in place in order to evidence and quantify the individual distance travelled, both for monitoring learner progress for our own teaching and learning support, as well as for compliance with Ofsted and ESFA requirements. According to these regulators, a degree apprenticeship is a very individual learning journey. Our approach to learning and assessment balances learning general data science concepts, tools and techniques with exploring individual and employer interest in assignments. 

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Summer Term

Workshop 3: CANCELLED


Date:          TBC
Time:         12.30pm to 2pm
Location:   Online
Speaker:    Richard Cotterill, Lecturer - Business and Management, International Pathway College

Unlocking meaning: using visual metaphors in lectures


Metaphorical communication has long been used by writers to convey meaning in a powerful and compressed manner, but it can also be used by teachers to support knowledge acquisition and understanding. When students are encountering complex, abstract concepts, metaphors are a way to help make the unfamiliar seem familiar. Using an image to represent a metaphor may further increase accessibility.

My research has involved using an action research approach to assess the effectiveness of using visual metaphors in lectures to help unlock the meaning of abstract concepts. Images have been incorporated into the lectures I have delivered to international students and used as vehicles for basic analogical reasoning. My findings indicate that the technique can be an effective way for students to increase access to lecture content in real time by reducing the need to process text or spoken words.

In this workshop, I will outline the theoretical foundations of metaphor use and explain why this use is fundamental to the way in which we create meaning and understand abstract concepts. I will suggest, based on the literature and using examples from my own research, how visual metaphors can be used in teaching, principally in the context of lectures, for greatest impact. Attendees will have an opportunity to try out the technique and to discuss its potential value. 


Workshop 4: Integrating outside spaces into learning and teaching

Date:          Monday 9 May 2022
Time:          12.30pm to 2.00pm
Speakers:   Dr Steph Piper and Dr Andy Needham, Department of Archaeology
Venue:        Outdoors, York Experimental Archaeology Research (YEAR) Centre

The disruption of traditional classroom-based teaching practices during the global pandemic has encouraged innovative teaching and learning strategies, principally in online learning. A parallel development is the increased use of outdoor learning, which has recognised pedagogic and mental health benefits and allows students to work together safely face to face.

In this workshop, we invite colleagues to consider and discuss the pedagogic opportunities and challenges of the outdoor classroom. To facilitate this, we draw on our recent pre- and peri-pandemic experiences of delivering outdoor workshops to Year 1 Undergraduate students at the York Experimental Archaeology Research (YEAR) Centre, the Archaeology Department’s dedicated outdoor research and teaching facility.

Through the weekly practical workshops delivered as part of the Artefacts and Materials course held in the Autumn Term, students foster deep learning and critical engagement with artefacts. This provides a gateway to understanding unfamiliar theoretical concepts and time periods, which are introduced in indoor lectures and seminars. The outdoor component of the course has proven to be an important means of building community, promoting mental wellbeing, and participation from students who may not contribute as readily in conventional seminars or lectures. These benefits were particularly emphasised while teaching during the pandemic, where Artefacts and Materials was one of very few opportunities for students to work together face-to-face during Covid-19 restrictions.

The workshop will take place by the fireside at the YEAR Centre, where we invite colleagues to share and explore best practice, and ideas for how the potentials of outdoor learning environments might be harnessed in tertiary education settings, whether generally or as part of their own teaching practices.

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Workshop 5: Embedding EDI Practice in your Department

Date:        Friday 20 May 2022
Time:       12.30pm to 2pm
Speaker:  Dr Leonie Jones, Employability and Diversity Officer and Co-Chair of Chemistry
                 Equality and Diversity Group, Department of Chemistry
Venue:     Online

Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) has become an essential professional skill with key employers increasingly signalling the value they place on EDI. This workshop will give an overview of how EDI has been embedded in both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in the Department of Chemistry.[1] The evolution of the training in response to the changing EDI landscape and the needs and expectations of students and employers will be considered.

There will be lots of highly applicable examples of good practice highlighted and opportunities to consider how EDI can be more fully embedded into your own department. For example: 

  • Connecting EDI principles with subject-specific knowledge

  • Enhancing transferable skills, professionalism and leadership training by incorporating EDI

  • Embedding EDI principles into your own teaching and the wider curriculum

  • Ensuring students have opportunities to apply their EDI skills during their degree

This workshop is timely as many of us are reviewing what we teach during semesterisation and many departments are also thinking about decolonising and diversifying their curricula. A set of videos and online resources was produced during the pandemic, and these are available in the supporting information of the publication below.

[1.] What Makes a Professional Chemist? Embedding Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion into Chemistry Skills Training for Undergraduates, Leonie C. Jones, Julia P. Sarju, Caroline E. H. Dessent, Avtar S. Matharu, and David K. Smith, J. Chem. Educ., October 15 2021, 

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