Coffee Notes: Enhancement Circles (3’12”)

This morning’s short coffee note identifies some of the functions, and their advantages, in establishing ‘enhancement circles’. For faculty working in a less than supportive context, this works well as a collegial mechanism for personal, and collective, enhancement.

Reaching out to colleagues outside your immediate sphere, from different disciplines or institutions, you can establish a personal supportive network. I think between three and six colleagues Is about the right number. This means you can usually find someone to exchange practice with but you won’t run out of people too quickly. Remember that peer observations do not necessarily have to be done in person. In theory, you could be observed by someone in a different country providing they have access to video recordings of your practice. Just make sure that you provide your observer with some specific guidance, requests of what it is you want them to comment on explicitly. Focusing on something specific in your practice will help you focus and deliver a better quality of the evaluative comments.

Remember that whilst it is important that Members of your enhancements circle or all practising at the same level of study, in other words, all undergraduate, postgraduate, pre-university level. The discipline is significantly less important in terms of identifying effective practice. I hope to hear back from some of you as to how effective this approach might be for you in your context.

 

Author: Simon Paul Atkinson

30 Years as an academic practitioner, educational developer, educational technologist, e-learning researcher, strategic advisor. Simon is now an Educational Strategst and Consultant. Experienced presenter and workshop facilitator. Formerly the Head of Learning Design at the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. Previous roles included Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning (BPP University), Academic Developer (London School of Economics), Director of Teaching and Learning (Massey University - College of Education), Head of Centre for Learning Development (University of Hull), Academic Developer (Open University UK)

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