Collaborative approach to teaching and learning focus of guest lecture

A leading innovator in approaches to teaching will share his insights at the University of the Fraser Valley on Feb 27.

Dr. Peter Looker is the next speaker in the President’s Leadership Lecture Series. His presentation will take place at 4:30 pm in the Abbotsford campus lecture theatre (B101). Admission is free and the public is welcome.

Drawing on direct experience of the changing teaching and learning practices at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore, Looker’s talk will address the way that changed physical teaching spaces, increased use of new technology, and new understandings of what makes for effective learning both result from and create a collaborative approach to curriculum development and the tenor of the overall learning environment.

Looker is currently Head of the Teaching, Learning, and Pedagogy Division at NTU, and has been working in learning and teaching development since 2002. His main areas of interest are in the development of sustainable learning and teaching cultures, policy development, learning space design, and student assessment.

The title of his talk is Blended Learning, Blended Expertise: the collaborative nature of the higher education learning environment.

“I will be using the notion of ‘blending’ to cover a number of aspects of the contemporary learning environment — not just the normal way blended learning is used to refer to the blending of face-to-face teaching and technology, but the blending of learning spaces, the blending of professional types of expertise in course development — faculty, learning designers, technologists, faculty developers — and the blending of research expertise and student learning,” notes Looker.

Nanyang Technological University is well known for being innovative in the area of pedagogy, and Looker will draw on examples from his home university in his speech.

“The intention is to use what we are doing at NTU as a point of departure for considering a number of significant changes to the way learning happens in higher education, some of the resistances to the changes, and some thoughts about a possible way ahead. One consideration will be faculty identity as subject experts in relation to styles of teaching,” he notes.

Dr. Maureen Wideman, UFV Associate VP of Teaching and Learning, met Dr. Looker in Singapore last year and thought that it would be interesting to bring him to UFV to share his insights.

“The classroom learning spaces at NTU are quite innovative and very student-focused,” she notes. “Having Dr. Looker visit will help us with ways that we need to think about how learning happens.”

She noted that classrooms at NTU have no corners and no podium.

“It’s an approach that put the learner at the centre at sees the teacher as facilitator and the space as a place where they work together to get learning done.”

In addition to his lecture, Looker will be meeting with several groups on campus during his visit.

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