LDC Blog

LDC Blog May 2011


Welcome to the May LDC blog. In the blog this month:


  • Student Voice Awards 2010-11
  • Learning at City Conference Update
  • Good Morning City – The Good Life: Managing Change for Learning Development
  • Good Morning City – Neighbours: Meeting the needs of International Students
  • Researcher Development Materials
  • Dates for your diary


Student Voice Awards 2010-11 Now Open

The Students’ Union and the LDC will soon be giving out prizes to staff members based on their work over the last year, and the prize winners will be chosen by the student body. Over the past month, students have been offered the chance to nominate members of staff, both academic and professional, and there are still 10 days left before the nominations process closes. A panel from the Student’s Union will then decide the winners from the full list of nominees.

The awards will be handed out during the upcoming ‘Learning at City Conference’ which will take place on the 23rd of June. The Student Voice Awards scheme has been running now for three years and is always a great opportunity to show deserved appreciation to staff members whose work exemplifies good practice.

As well as recognition of their efforts, and an official certificate confirming the prize, award winners will each receive £1000. Amish Patel, President of the Students’ Union says “It’s excellent that City recognises the importance of the student voice when it comes to excellence in teaching. The award process highlights those who have stood out and encourages good practice across the University in teaching and student support.”

If you wish to find out more about the Student Voice Awards scheme, you can view further information here – or e-mail any questions to



Learning at City Conference Update

Following the excellent response to last month’s call for abstracts, the programme for the 3rd annual Learning at City Conference is currently being finalised and will be made available via the LDC website shortly. The Conference will be taking place on the 23rd June 2011 and we will start taking attendance bookings very soon. Those interested in attending should keep an eye on the LDC website for online registration and further details –


Good Morning City – The Good Life: Managing Change for Learning Development

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

Charles Darwin

Join us to explore some models and strategies for managing changes to learning development.  The session includes case studies from your colleagues that have experienced and implemented curriculum design or learning technology changes.

The session will be facilitated by Uma Patel and Anise Bullimore, with additional guest speakers. Refreshments will be provided and places are limited, so book now at to avoid disappointment.


All colleagues at City are warmly invited to attend this session, which takes place between 8.30am-9.30am, on Wednesday 18th May, in Room E201 (The MILL). If you would like to join us, please email Similarly, if you have any perspectives or ideas that you would like us to be aware of before the seminar, please email using the above address.

We hope to see you there!



Good Morning City – Neighbours: Meeting the needs of International Students

April’s Good morning city event was on the subject of International Students, and supporting international students is essential to the University’s policy that we should be “celebrated as London’s premier internationalist University for professional policy, practice and applied research, dedicated to preparing students for global careers, and working with global practitioners, research and educational partners.”

Challenges for Learning, Teaching and Assessment Activities

International students can arrive enthusiastic about their programme but with some challenges that may differ from our home students. Their previous experiences of education will influence some of their views and anxieties but also be responsible for some of the challenges. Students may arrive unaware of the expectations of their programme but also of study in the UK. They may not have experienced education that requires them to engage in the journey of discovery we expect many students to undertake. Often they might have come from systems where education is very traditional and the lecturer provides the content of each session in a lecture style without invitation to ask questions. They will also have differing experience of personal tutoring processes. Students way well be studying in a second language and words we commonly use in higher education are unfamiliar and students need time to get used to these. This sometimes shows as them being unable to answer questions however this might also be due to a lack of understanding the terms and/or needing more time to think about the question and read papers when given in class.

In terms of assessment, many will be used to examinations that test their ability to rote learn rather than their ability to analyse, problem solve and apply material to practical issues. In addition in some cultures it is considered necessary and indeed honourable to copy words of professors and authors and use these in essays sometimes not correctly referenced. There are also differing cultural norms about how to communicate with people including body language. Some cultures find speaking out in a group difficult. It is also worth noting that occasionally we use examples in class of ‘real life’ or from popular programmes and films and students from different cultures may not be familiar with these examples and so miss their meaning. Lastly there are issues about being away from home and losing their support network of family and friends and not being able to identify how to get help even though there are places to get support. Whilst it is difficult to make allowances for all these issues in classes there are some things that can be done to start to make these students feel included and to help them gain insight into expectations of the programme and study.

 Practical advice on managing the challenges

When students first arrive as part of the induction it would be useful to provide some outline of the types of learning, teaching and assessment activities they will be expected to engage in and why. Providing a summary of this in programme handbooks is also useful. Explain why it is important they are actively engaged in their learning and how they can do this. Also provide information about how to seek help and what a personal tutor does.

In terms of students studying in a second language it is helpful to remember to speak clearly and slowly and explain key terms and concepts and use glossaries in handbooks where necessary. Providing slides or handouts before sessions so students can read these and bring them to class and ask questions or add notes is also helpful. Remember to provide additional time to read papers in a mixed cultural class and give extra time to answer questions. Provide some explanation of the types of assessments and expectations of students when undertaking these. Discuss how to use the work of others in an acceptable manner and discuss what working together means. Providing formative assessment opportunities helps students gain insight into the skills they need for assessments and an understanding of what is required.

Try to reassure students about how to refer to you and others by name and do not always assume a student is not listening or is disinterested if they do not look at you when speaking. Remember that some of the examples you use in class may be unfamiliar to them. In terms of support for a range of personal issues ensure students do gain information about both the student centre and the student union and in a manner that is seen as providing support not remedial help.

Two helpful websites:

The Higher Education Academy

Preparing for success is a site that provides a lot of advice and has videos of students and quizzes


Researcher Development Materials

As a follow-up to the success of the Researcher’s Development Day held last month, we have now uploaded several accompanying materials and presentations from the sessions to a resource library hosted on Moodle. Those who attended the day should be able to see this in their course list when they log in to Moodle, and may view and download all the available material from there.

For more resources and materials for researchers, sign up to attend the Researcher’s Symposium on the 22nd June using the link on our website –



Dates for your diary

Good Morning City: The Good Life – Managing Change for Learning Development — Wednesday 18th May

Researcher’s Symposium – Wednesday 22nd June

Learning at City Conference – Engaging Students in Learning – Thursday 23rd June

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.

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