Teaching in Practice Sessions (TiPS) Initiative: Improving and diversifying teaching


Are you looking to improve and diversify your teaching skills and gain more knowledge on new techniques?

The Sustainable Business Initiative (SBI) at the University of Edinburgh Business School (UEBS) has been working towards improving teaching skills at the UEBS and beyond. Teaching is an essential element of scholarship and enhancing teaching skills across the school and university is invaluable. SBI has adopted an innovative approach in the development the “Teaching in Practice Sessions” (TiPS) initiative – an informal platform for knowledge sharing in the area of teaching. TiPS runs two to three times a term and comprises of sessions to share teaching ideas in the broadest sense across UG, PG and Executive Education.

TiPS 3 will take place in Autumn 2016 and is open to all teaching staff at the University of Edinburgh. TiPS 3 will focus on what it takes to be the winner of a best course award.

TiPS 1 was titled Excellence in Big Group Teaching. Attendees were invited to reflect on what is needed to successfully deliver big group teaching. The group were privileged to welcome Professor Kevin Morrell. He set the scene by saying he felt that ‘stamina, self-belief and resilience’ were required.

Using an undergraduate course he taught to more than 400 students as a case study, he considered how the lessons he learnt might apply to TiPS attendees’ own field of teaching and personal techniques. Professor Morrell covered topics of interests such as diversity, assessment techniques, language and terminology, peer assessment and student anxieties, as well as teaching anxiety and how recruiting a colleague to support could be useful.  The group took away some great, fresh ideas to implement into their big group teaching scenarios.

At TiPS 2 attention was focused on Blended Learning and Learning Communities. It was led by Professor Jamie Fleck. He looked at new ways to incorporate digital materials into teaching and how these can enhance and improve student experience and teaching effectiveness. He looked at models for learning and teaching where they have (and haven’t!) been successful. Issues were then explored such as the role of technology and how pedagogy must lead in that technology is not a substitute.

Furthermore, the role of face-to-face (F2F) was considered in a sense that it is still vital and has an important role but where relevant, online engagement and interactions can replace F2F. It is a matter of ‘horses for courses’ as evidence has shown there is no significant difference if used in the correct way. Professor Fleck is positive about the future of blended learning and the opportunities that are available to UEBS.

Thus far, attendees have been very positive about the TiPS initiative and have welcomed such a platform. If you are interested in reading more please visit the Business School teaching pages. More in-depth blogs can be found on the SBI site.

For all University of Edinburgh staff who are interested in attending future TiPS events or would like to view resources via the associated Learn site – such as videos and slides – please email sbi@ed.ac.uk for more information.

Kenneth Amaeshi

Dr Kenneth Amaeshi is the Head of the Strategy Group, a Reader in Strategy & International Business, and the Director of the Sustainable Business Initiative. Kenneth has pioneered the Teaching in Practice Sessions (TiPS) initiative in an attempt to ensure teaching skills and techniques are shared and discussed.

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