The eLearn Center attends the Red Estatal de Docencia Universitaria (RED-U) conference

By Cris Girona and Marta Merino

As members of the eLearn Center’s Learning Processes team, on 22 and 23 November, we attended the Red Estatal de Docencia Universitaria (Spanish Network for University Teaching, RED-U) conference entitled Salir del armario: de la invisibilidad al reconocimiento de la buena docencia (Coming out of the closet: from the invisibility to recognition of good teaching), which was held in Jaen and also included the RED-U members’ assembly.

The Universitat Oberta de Catalunya has been a member of this network since last year through the eLearn Center. It forms part of the International Consortium of Educational Development (ICED), which also encompasses other networks in 30 countries worldwide.

The conference addressed the recognition of teaching and how to establish mechanisms that will both allow good practices to be promoted and made visible and effect an international change to balance teaching and research. Modifying this state of affairs concerns prevailing academic culture, a lack of institutional educational models and existing university and quality policies. Experts and participants contributed to this issue from various viewpoints: the aspects debated included the need to act with academic criteria (also) in teaching with the proposal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL); defining benchmark educational projects and models in universities; establishing mechanisms that foster collaboration among teachers and the exchange of knowledge and experiences, and promoting teaching assessment systems and projects aimed to effect change in teaching culture.

Similarly, the topics discussed involved different levels of analysis depending on the agents involved:

–National policies:  the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science is establishing working boards to revise the teaching and research staff charter, organize official university teaching and promote the internationalization of Spanish universities.

–Quality agencies: they must ascertain whether the programmes started to guarantee the education and skills of teaching staff (Docentia), really allow their aims to be achieved.

–Universities: they have to determine which existing mechanisms allow an impact to be made on teaching quality, what new initiatives or projects need to be launched and the leadership necessary to bring about these changes.

–Faculty members: we need to move away from simplistic visions of what teaching means and incorporate methods that allow academic reflection on the actual teaching.


The conference also acted as a meeting point for members taking part in defining a professional teaching development framework for university faculty members promoted by RED-U. The final aim is to create an agreed reference framework that serves to establish a shared vision of what it means to be ‘a good professor’. This vision has to be the basis for the teacher training and assessment systems that are put in place in universities.

Taking part in this forum, together with the Margalida Comas programme in Catalonia, provides us with the framework to define the faculty development programme for teaching staff at the UOC, improve it and ensure that it meets existing needs outside the University as well.

 

 

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Cristina Girona on Twitter
Cristina Girona
e-learning designer in Higher Education; specialist in digital education and teacher training. Member of the eLearn Center Learning Processes team. Postgraduate in Audiovisual Communication applied to the training by Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Degree in Education Sciences by the Universitat de Barcelona. I have been working at the UOC since 1998 and I am a specialist in training design. I have been a teacher at the university in face-to-face and online modalities in the field of digital education. I have trained teaching teams in Catalan, Spanish and and other countries universities, and have participated in consultancy projects for the implementation of online training in Latin American higher education institutions. I trained teachers and managers of the UOC for adaptation to the EHEA. I am a teacher counselor in pedagogical design of subjects and programs, activities and strategies of online learning and evaluation of competences, and I have some publications in this field. I am part of the organizing committee of the international congress on university teaching and innovation CIDUI. I like adding value to teaching from didactics and team working to learn more and better.
Marta Merino on Twitter
Marta Merino
e-learning designer in Higher Education; specialist in digital education and teacher training. Member of the eLearn Center Learning Processes team.
Master's Degree in Education and ICT from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. Degree in History from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. I have worked on virtual training projects for companies, public bodies and associations with different profiles: pedagogical coordination, training advice and development of learning resources. Currently, counseling teachers on pedagogical design of subjects and programs, activities and strategies for online learning and assessment of competences.

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