Registration Open for Our AGM and Future Directions Event – 14th September 2022

Future Directions of University History Degree Programmes and the EMC

Online Event – Wednesday 14th September 2022 – 10am – 3:30pm

Deadline for suggestions for discussion and panel workshops: 1st September 2022

We need your views and ideas!

We’re delighted to announce that Northampton is the new host of the East Midlands Centre for History Teaching and Learning in HE!

Our inaugural event is designed to tackle some of the most pressing issues EMC members are facing, both now and in the future. We want to know how the EMC can support you!

What directions do you think we should be taking in response to the changing nature of History degrees and our new QAA Benchmark Statement for History? What are the concerns and challenges facing new researchers and university History teachers?

This event is not a traditional academic conference or standard video-call AGM: it is designed to be as a workshop and discussion forum. We want to hear from as many EMC members as possible, both established researchers and those newer to postgraduate historical research and teaching!

Participants will be able to opt for a number of suggested topics or discussion themes. We will then respond and arrange the event based on these. This feedback will then be used to help structure the EMC’s activities over the coming years.

There will be a number of ways to contribute and get your voice heard both before, and during, the event. You can either come on microphone during the event, use a monitored chat function, post to a discussion board, or email comments and materials in advance or during the workshop to the organizers. We want people to be able to contribute in whatever way they would like to.

How can I get Involved?

Reflections of a PGR on the EMC Teaching Scheme

Alex Riggs, University of Nottingham

Alex Riggs is a second-year PhD student researching politics and ideas of the American left, c. 1973-1988. In this blog, he reflects on his experience as a participant in the 2021/22 cohort of the EMC Training to Teach Workshops and the EMC PGR Mentoring Scheme.

For every PGR historian, the first teaching experience is a moment of particular trepidation. Having sat through plenty of seminars to get to this stage, teaching might seem the most familiar of all. Yet it might also be the most mysterious- what secret wisdom had our old tutors tapped into to appear knowledgeable about every subject and in command of every session? And when PGR teaching situations diverge from the norm of being assigned to a first-year module group, the enigma seems even more elusive. Those colleagues that find teaching opportunities elsewhere return from the faraway lands of Sheffield and Leicester with the aura of having cracked the code.

The EMC’s Teaching and Mentoring Scheme removes much of the mystery. Through workshops, mentoring, and practical experience, it becomes clear that for even the most experienced lecturers there is no magic formula. Rather, teaching itself is an ongoing learning process, one that requires an open-mind and a willingness to adapt. It may be cliched to say, but no two seminars are ever the same. Having been part of the EMC’s scheme, I feel far more confident in embracing that unpredictability. In this blog, I’ll explain the stages of the programme and what I found useful from them, before offering some brief reflections on teaching. None of them will be revelatory to experienced pedagogues, but I hope other seminar tutors-in-waiting will find them useful and reassuring.

Continue reading “Reflections of a PGR on the EMC Teaching Scheme”

Post-Pandemic Pedagogy: Identifying Best Practice for History Teaching after Covid

Dr Marcus Collins (University of Loughborough) and Professor Jamie Wood (University of Lincoln)

Opening slide from recent presentation about initial findings regarding assessment and feedback .

Universities are currently considering what teaching looks like after Covid and have explored teaching innovations necessitated by the pandemic. Less common, however, is an attempt to reconcile different perspectives of teachers and students. This project, initially funded by EMC and now also supported by History UK and the Royal Historical Society, seeks to collect evidence from students and staff about their experiences of teaching and learning during the pandemic with the intention of developing a series of discipline-specific recommendations for the future of History teaching at UK universities. The initial phase involved surveying staff and students from across the East Midlands. The survey received over 200 responses.

Continue reading “Post-Pandemic Pedagogy: Identifying Best Practice for History Teaching after Covid”

Food Sustainability and Security: Past, Present, and Future

Dr Carol Beardmore (De Montfort University) and Professor Steven King (Nottingham Trent)

Photo by Markus Spiske via Unsplash

This project, supported with EMC seedcorn funding, is a day workshop bringing together historians from across the East Midlands, landowners, and policymakers to explore the theme ‘Food Sustainability and Security: Past, Present, and Future’. The workshop also involves undergraduate, postgraduate taught, and postgraduate research students from across the EMC institutions. It offers students the opportunity to explore food sustainability and security with those who have expertise on the current issues and illustrates the role of history in debates about the present and the future. After the event, students will also conduct oral histories with participants. These interviews will be edited as podcasts reflecting on the role of history in shaping modern policy dilemmas like food sustainability and security. The project seeks to provide students with real world skills and experience and encourage further connections between students and staff across the EMC institutions.

The Study Group

Dr Joe Merton, University of Nottingham

In this blog, Dr Joe Merton reflects on approaching group-based discussions and collaborative learning in an online learning environment.

The problem

One of the pleasures of university teaching is the opportunity we have to create distinct “communities of practice” in the classroom. Through group-based discussions of historiography and primary evidence specific to our areas of expertise or student-led seminars on historical questions we ourselves are grappling with, we are able to develop disciplinary skills, share ideas and perspectives, and forge common bonds or objectives, deepening students’ engagement with their subject and their peer group while seeing themselves as independent but also collaborative learners. In my own teaching I have used strategies such as task-based learning, problem-solving, and collaborative seminars (the latter designed and delivered by students and myself in partnership) to foster this sense of shared enterprise and community.

But how can we create opportunities for peer group interaction and collaborative learning in the context of a pandemic, where students are working online or in a socially distanced classroom, and where group-based interactions and exchanges are not permissible or laden with risk?

Continue reading “The Study Group”