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Talking Learning and Teaching

Talking Learning and Teaching

By Kevin L. Merry
Welcome to Talking Learning and Teaching, a new Podcast all about learning and teaching in Higher Education. During each episode, we will be speaking to a teacher about a different topic related to learning and teaching in UK Higher Education. Whether it's practical ideas that can be used to support student learning, sharing of perspectives on key topics, or insights into future developments, there is something here for everyone with a passion for learning and teaching.
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Episode 14: Assessment with Sally Brown

Talking Learning and Teaching

Episode 15: Block Teaching with John Weldon
Associate Professor John Weldon from Victoria University, Melbourne provides us with a fascinating insight into the world of block teaching. Having played an intimate role in developing VU's pioneering block approach, John provides some fascinating insights into the way in which block teaching differs from traditional termly or semester structures. John discusses the benefits of block for learners and staff, as well as describing how block teaching changes the role of the teacher by placing them at the center of a team of colleagues tasked with supporting effective learning in a lean and targeted way. Finally, John discusses the manner in which assessment supports learning in the block teaching model, discussing how assessment is more aligned with the process than the product of learning. This is a truly fascinating episode that anyone with an interest in learning, teaching and assessment in higher education should listen to. Enjoy!
August 02, 2022
Episode 14: Assessment with Sally Brown
In this exceptional episode, we discuss all things assessment with the amazing Professor Sally Brown. Sally is an Independent Consultant in Learning, Teaching and Assessment, and Emerita Professor at Leeds Beckett University where she was, until 2010, Pro-Vice-Chancellor. She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) Senior Fellow, and a National Teaching Fellow. Irrespective of the formal accolades she has received, Sally is perhaps one of the most important voices when it comes to issues surrounding assessment in UK higher education today, particularly from an educational development perspective. Sally's work has influenced countless educators at home and abroad, and continues to be a powerful influence on assessment practices in higher education in the post-Covid world. This podcast is essential listening for anyone teaching or supporting student learning in higher education. 
July 17, 2022
Episode 13: AHEAD with Dara Ryder
In this episode, AHEAD CEO Dara Ryder talks to us about all things accessibility and inclusion. AHEAD is an Irish, independent non-profit organisation working to create inclusive environments in education and employment for people with disabilities.  AHEAD provides information to students and graduates with disabilities, teachers, guidance counsellors and parents on disability issues in education. AHEAD also undertake national research relating to the inclusion of students with disabilities, contribute to Irish national policy forums and provide professional development opportunities to develop the capacity of staff in higher education to be more inclusive. Dara provides some fascinating insights into the work of AHEAD as well as provides information and links on the many wonderful CPD resources and opportunities provided by AHEAD for teachers working in further education and training, higher education and graduate employment, many of which are grounded in Universal Design for Learning (UDL). This is a must listen for anyone interested in inclusive, accessible and equitable education. 
June 27, 2022
Ask the Expert: Approaching UDL Assessment
In another short podcast, Kevin Merry provides some advice and guidance on approaching assessment from a UDL perspective. 
June 21, 2022
Ask the Expert: Tips for UDL Implementation
In this very short podcast, Kevin Merry shares his top tips for UDL implementation in higher education. 
June 21, 2022
Ask the Expert: What is an Expert Learner?
In this very short podcast, Kevin Merry explains the concept of the Expert Learner from a UDL perspective. 
June 16, 2022
The Elephant in the Room: UDL Assessment
This short episode explores some of the key ideas when assessing from a UDL perspective. The episode discusses the core purpose of assessment, the key elements required by inclusive assessments, as well as identifying some important limitations when creating inclusive assessments. Finally, the episode explores some useful ways to evaluate new and existing assessment approaches. 
June 14, 2022
Episode 12: Antiracism and UDL with Tesha Fitzgerald
In this brilliant episode, internationally renowned speaker, author and consultant, Tesha Fitzgerald talks to us about the Antiracism agenda and the place of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a critical means of supporting and developing awareness and practice around it. With a passion for UDL, Culturally Responsive Teaching and Antiracism, Tesha has become a trailblazer for the antiracist agenda in education, modelling expert learning, while equipping others to do the same. She is the author of brilliant book, Antiracism and Universal Design for Learning: Building Expressways to Success, and so Tesha's insights into this critical topic are as valuable as they get. This is a must listen for anyone interested in social justice, inclusion, fairness, access and equity. 
April 05, 2022
Autism Awareness Week Special: Chris Knifton
In this fascinating episode, De Montfort University's Chris Knifton provides some enlightening insights about the experiences of autistic learners in Higher Education, and provides some important tips, hints and guidance on how to support them. Chris is an Associate Professor of learning and teaching with a specific focus on dementia studies and cognitive care. Chris is also an Admiral Nurse, specialising in dementia care, as well as being a registered learning disability nurse and social worker. Chris is the co-chair of the Higher Education Dementia network, co-editor for the Journal of Cognitive Care, and is also a Senior Fellow of Advance HE. As such, Chris brings a wealth of experience and expertise in relation to supporting autistic learners. This is a must listen for anyone interested in supporting diverse groups of learners. Enjoy!
March 30, 2022
NTF Special: Julia Reeve
In this engaging episode, DMU's newest National Teaching Fellow, Julia Reeve discusses her "long and winding road" to National Teaching Fellowship. Julia provides some fascinating insights into how applying for a National Teaching Fellowship stimulated intense reflection that caused her to learn things about herself as a teacher that she previously was not aware of. Julia also discusses the importance of finding a mentor that not only knows about the technical aspects of writing a successful NTFS application, but can also be a shoulder to cry on as well as a personal cheerleader, supporting the application process effectively on those dark days when doubt creeps in. This is a must listen for anyone interested in one day becoming a National Teaching Fellow, as well as anyone that has an interest in learning and teaching. 
March 29, 2022
Episode 11: Ripples on a Pond with Phil Race
In this episode we talk to the phenomenal Phil Race about his Ripples on a Pond model of how people really learn. Phil helps us to unpick some of the key aspects of the Ripples on a Pond model, including the importance of understanding learner motivation, the criticality of learning by doing, and the position of assessment and feedback as central features of the learning process. As one of the most important learning and teaching voices in UK Higher Education, Phil's insights into such central aspects of learning and teaching are a must for anyone interested in enhancing their teaching practice. It was a great pleasure and privilege to talk learning and teaching with Phil. This is one to enjoy!
March 24, 2022
Episode 10: Talking Learning & Teaching with Geoff Petty
In this episode we talk to the legend that is Geoff Petty. As one of the UK’s leading experts on learning and teaching, Geoff has gained an international reputation with his his best-selling books which include Teaching Today and Evidence-Based Teaching. As a teacher with over 28 years’ experience and a former teacher trainer, Geoff has worked with over 500 colleges and schools, as well as several national and international education bodies in the pursuit of improving teaching practice. It gives me great pleasure to welcome Geoff Petty onto the show. This is an absolute must listen for anyone with an interest in learning and teaching. Enjoy!
March 08, 2022
NTF Special: Alasdair Blair
In this insightful episode, De Montfort University's Associate PVC Academic, Alasdair Blair, tells his story about becoming a National Teaching Fellow. In a typically self-effacing way, Alasdair provides some fascinating insights into the importance of taking critical opportunities that may later support a successful NTFS application. Alasdair also goes on to discuss the opportunities that have come to him as a result of being a National Teaching Fellow, and the positive impact these have had on his career. This is a must listen for anyone interested in one day becoming an NTF, or anyone interested in hearing an absorbing story about the development of a successful academic career. 
February 18, 2022
Episode 9: All things UDL with Katie Novak
In this episode the legend that is Katie Novak shares her insights into Universal Design for Learning. Specifically, Katie discusses her own personal journey into UDL, providing revealing insights into how her interest in UDL began. Katie then goes on to unpick some important UDL related topics including engagement, challenge, metacognition, differentiated instruction, and the place of learners as partners in developing effective UDL practice to name but a few areas of discussion. This podcast is a must for anyone interested in effective learning and teaching practice with a UDL lens applied to it. Enjoy!
February 16, 2022
NTF Special: Angela O'Sullivan
The brilliant Professor Angela O'Sullivan, provides her insights into what it takes to become a National Teaching Fellow. Angela, who is also a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) winning team leader, and Principal Fellow of the HEA (PFHEA), provides some valuable reflections and advice on the NTF application process, including the need to identify the "gems" in the application. This is a must listen for anyone interested in one day becoming a National Teaching Fellow. 
February 07, 2022
NTF Special: Gabriel Egan
In this episode, Director of DMU's Centre for Textual Studies, Professor Gabriel Egan discusses his journey to National Teaching Fellowship. Specifically, Gabriel discusses the electronic techniques that he has pioneered within the study of English Literature, and also talks about how he became one of the first educators in UK HE to build a large repository of digital materials for teaching and research purposes. This is a genuinely fascinating listen for anyone interested in supporting student learning in HE or anyone interested in applying for a National Teaching Fellowship. 
February 06, 2022
NTF Special: Leisa Nichols-Drew
In this special episode, De Montfort University National Teaching Fellow, Leisa Nichols-Drew shares her journey to becoming an NTF. Leisa provides some fascinating insights into how she has risen to become a prominent learning and teaching figure at DMU and beyond, providing important advice, ideas and reflections on her path to NTF. This is a must listen for anyone interested in learning and teaching and anyone thinking about one day becoming a National Teaching Fellow. 
January 29, 2022
Episode 8: The Journey with Leisa Nichols-Drew
In this episode DMU Teacher Fellow, National Teaching Fellow, CATE Award winner and Churchill Fellow, Leisa Nichols-Drew shares her fascinating journey as a teacher in Higher Education. Leisa discusses how her journey to teaching excellence began, discusses her most important influences and advice, and tells us about the things that inspire her as a teacher. This is a must-listen for anyone interested in learning and teaching in Higher Education. 
December 21, 2021
Episode 7: Playful Learning with Julia Reeve
In this episode, DMU Teacher Fellow and National Teaching Fellow Julia Reeve discusses the emergence of her playful learning approach. Specifically, Julia discusses some of the key influences and drivers behind her approach, addresses the key benefits for staff and students, and provides some excellent practical hints, tips and advice on taking a more playful approach to learning and teaching. 
November 25, 2021
Episode 6: UDL and Technology with Steve Nordmark
In this episode, Steve Nordmark from the Centre for Special Assistive Technology (CAST) discusses the place of technology when applying UDL. Specifically, Steve discusses the importance of technology to UDL and takes us into the future by sharing his thoughts on the future of educational technology and UDL. 
November 24, 2021
Episode 5: Sustainable Development with Andrew Reeves
In this episode, DMU Teacher Fellow Andrew Reeves talks to us about Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Specifically, Andrew explores the importance of ESD in modern Higher Education, and the potential benefits for students, staff and the wider community.  Transcription 
November 24, 2021
Episode 4: UDL and Teacher Education with Eric Moore
In this fascinating episode, we speak to the Director of Learning Technology for the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Dr Eric J Moore about UDL and its place within Teacher Education. Eric discusses the challenges of getting teachers onboard with UDL, as well as providing some excellent insights into how we can support teachers with UDL in relation to issues such as instructional design, assessment and technology. This is a must for educational developers and anyone with an interest in UDL. 
November 05, 2021
Episode 3: Wellbeing with Nicola Ward
Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice, and DMU Teacher Fellow Nicola Ward gives a fascinating insight into how wellbeing can be embedded into the curriculum. Specifically, Nicola discusses the involvement of academic staff in student wellbeing, the benefits of embedding wellbeing in the curriculum, and provides some great hints, tips and pointers on on how to embed wellbeing if you're just starting out. This show is a must for anyone supporting student learning in HE today. 
November 03, 2021
Episode 2: Inclusive Practice with Angela O'Sullivan
In this episode, Professor Angela O'Sullivan discusses the importance of inclusive learning and teaching practices, as well as discussing her own journey to becoming an inclusive practitioner. Angela is a National Teaching Fellow, successful Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence team leader and Principal Fellow of Advance HE, as well as being a Professor of inclusive practice. Hence, Angela's experience and expertise with inclusive practice is beyond compare, and as such, this episode is a must for anyone wishing to better implement inclusive learning and teaching practices.
October 18, 2021
Episode 1: UDL with Kevin Merry
In this episode, our first episode, we talk to Dr Kevin Merry about Universal Design for Learning. Kevin is the lead for Academic Professional Development at De Montfort University and has become known for his work on Universal Design for Learning.  In this episode, Kevin provides some fascinating insights into how UDL can be applied as part of a broader approach, which includes mixing the UDL principles with existing pedagogic ideas.
April 16, 2021