Below, Dr Victoria James, a former Lecturer in Marketing & Strategy at Cardiff Business School outlines her experiences of PCUTL. As mentioned above, the programme structure has changed since Victoria wrote this piece about PCUTL but the overall ethos remain unchanged:
“I completed PCUTL Module one in the summer of 2008 and since January 2009 have been doing Module two.
“Like many who start the PCUTL course I was sceptical of its ability to improve my teaching especially as I’d been teaching for a few years already. However the friendliness and enthusiasm from the PCUTL staff was fantastic and I found I learnt a lot about teaching from day one. However the main benefit I have seen is that it really encouraged me to continuously think and reflect on my teaching. It wasn’t so much that it taught me a particular skill but that it encouraged me to question what I was teaching and why I was teaching it the way I was. PCUTL takes time and effort and it’s probably now, a couple of years after completing Module one that I can really see how it’s helped change my teaching- and most importantly my attitude towards teaching.
“The most interesting aspect of PCUTL to me has been the project work. For our Module one project we looked at the influence of physical facilities (lecture rooms, computer rooms) on students using a framework called ‘Servicescape’. I’ve continued this theme in Module two and am currently extending this study looking at a wider range of physical situations and a wider range of student reactions from engagement (or lack of) to emotions.
“One of the benefits of PCUTL has been to meet and work with colleagues from across many of the University departments. It is really interesting to find out about the experiences of staff in other departments and be able to compare and contrast different teaching methods and approaches.”
PCUTL Module two: My experience so far…
“I’ve been on Module two for about a year and it’s a very different experience to Module one. Overall PCUTL module two is much more individual and flexible and doesn’t involve workshops or regular meetings. The direction and the output is determined in collaboration between the PCUTL team, a mentor (who can come from anywhere in the University) and the participant. This has allowed me to choose a project that brings my research area (the affects of the physical environment on consumers) into an educational setting (looking at the affects of the teaching and learning environments on both students and staff). Although Module two can be a lonelier experience than Module one I’ve also continued to meet new people through the programme, such as my mentor, who is from the School of City and Regional Planning and a range of people from the UK learning space special interest group (SIG) – people who I certainly wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t done Module two.
“Some of my colleagues do think I’m mad- why would I do it when I don’t have to- but for me it’s extended my work, and research area and continues to give me a place to think more deeply about my teaching practice. Sometimes it’s hard to fit in the work for it around other commitments and demands- and needs some good self motivation- but the benefits I’m seeing from it far outweigh the costs of doing it.”
(Vicky completed the programme in 2011.)
In Module 3, participants work in small groups to undertake a small project exploring a self-selected area of teaching / learning support. The titles from past projects are available here..