In his approach to an innovative, research-led teaching practice Dr Wrighton has developed a personal and professional Philosophy of Teaching and pioneers the latest advances in digital pedagogy in his Teaching Goals, Strategies, and Evaluation Methods.
TEACHING GOALS, STRATEGIES, AND EVALUATION METHODS
In working towards a philosophy of community, enquiry, and responsibility in his teaching practice, Dr Wrighton is committed to the development of research-led pedagogic frameworks that enhance and diversify student learning opportunities across all levels. In particular, he explores innovative learning strategies to provide transferable skills through stepped progression, and works to facilitate the integration of blended learning utilizing e-technologies in constructive alignment with curriculum delivery and learning outcomes.
A dynamic mix of lectures (bite-size, 15 to 20 minutes, or full length, up to 1.5 hours, with class interaction and Q&A), whole-group and small-group discussion, team-work, individual and group presentations, and workshop activities (writing and creative exercises), forms the core class contact-time of Dr Wrighton’s teaching. The balance of these activities and modes of learning is co-constructed with the course curriculum and learning outcomes and tailored to the particular needs of the students in order to maximize suitable learning opportunities. The modes of learning are designed such that students experience the various ways in which knowledge is transferred, analyzed and evaluated, and actively engage in the critical skills of argumentation and discussion. Topics are introduced using varied theoretical approaches and critical lenses and students are encouraged to challenge given ideas and to breakdown structures of epistemology, historiography and narratology, and to reflect on the process of learning itself offered by the course structure.
Information is presented using the multiple media of visual, aural, and written forms, and students are guided in the analysis and translation of meaning across and between media. An innovative aspect of Dr Wrighton’s research-led teaching activities is the visualization of archival manuscripts and objects using a high-definition document camera in combination with an interactive SMART LCD screen. These tools enable students to explore new ideas collaboratively by juxtaposing and digitally annotating rare images and artifacts. In combination with annotated lecture-capture and digital flipcharts (i.e. Panopto CourseCast and Papershow), student discussion and tutor commentary can be recorded for wider dissemination and revision purposes.
As students are encouraged to be critical of various reading practices, so too are opportunities for reflective learning key to students’ self-awareness and personal development. Dr Wrighton thus provides his students with an individual Reflective Learning Journal as part of their Virtual Learning Environment for the course, and guide students through this ongoing process of reflective learning by periodically posting questions, responding to and commenting on student entries. Indeed, class contact-time is embedded as part of students’ overall learning activities which include one-to-one tutorial, structured peer-review and appraisal, online interactivity and peer-support, and regular feedback on formative and summative assessments.
The conventional written essay remains an important part of course assessment effective in the testing and development of core threshold concepts (i.e. synthesis of complex arguments) whilst allowing students to exploit its flexibility and openness by demonstrating originality and independent thinking. Dr Wrighton makes extensive use of the portfolio which helps students to break-down the elements of essay-writing, and bite-size critical or creative ‘interventions’ which develop problem-solving skills. His teaching also focuses on professional skills training through experiential learning in presentations, group-work, and practice-based activities in the community.