Effects of applying for the Top Level Courses project
These last years, because of TLCP, we’re continually improving, the teaching materials. We’re not using that book anymore, it’s a series. Actually the course has been expanded to a series of courses. We got very good results in last years teaching evaluation. We got first price in XXX first class. We also applied for national TLCP, but didn’t get it.
With the guidance from MoE and specifically from the academic affairs office here’s guidance, we have made some improvements.
We are a teaching team, 5 teachers. Before, it was just me teaching the class, but TLCP rquired a teaching team. That’s part of the goal, to train young teachers to continue teaching the class, and involve older teachers in undergraduate teaching.
My biggest outcome was becoming more aware of course construction, clearer about the goal of course development, This also pushed the development of our other courses forwards.
We always had a teaching team even before we did TLCP.
The process of developing the course has given me more awareness, constantly improving according to certain guidelines, very systematical. Otherwise I might just do things randomly, without considering why I am doing them.
Since we began with TLCP, it has opened our eyes a bit, before we just used the teaching material we had and taught to the local studnets. Because of the “five first-class” required by the government, we have to continously explore, and improve our course, it is a motivation for us to improve, and it also tied the teachers int he course closer together. This is also how we started with experimental teaching reform. For example, we might allot a whole day for experiments, students have to set it up themselves, much better than having it all set up already, and just asking you to move two things to do the experiment. More inquiry based, trains initiative. Only by doing it themselves, do students understand that doing experiments is so interesting.
Now that there are much more educational resources online, that the students can visit, that also changed they way they can learn, makes it more flexxible. We can’t just lecture after the book anymore. This year we had a class which was entirely recorded, and a number of colleagues helped lecture, I also lectured. Lecturing there is very different from what we do normally, it’s more inspiring. Reflects the developments of the field, brings problems and theories into the classroom. If you don’t give the students anything interesting to respond to, they won’t respond .
We would still have done the big reorganization of courses even if it hadn’t been for TLCP. The impact of TLCP was not very big, it was just a badge. We weren’t planning to apply for TLCP, just wanted to improve our class, but because the department put a lot of weight on it, wanted this honor. It took us some time.
XXX: Before teaching wasn’t that important for being a PhD supervisor, now they will take a TLCP into consideration.
XXX: It’s an honour to get the prize.
XXX: We began to notice that a lot of courses in this topic, even that applied to be TLCP, had used our thinking, even our direct expressions sometimes. Some told us, some didn’t.
XXX: At that time students needed a password, not anymore.
Without TLCP, we wouldn’t have such a fancy website. We need recordings of every lecture for national level TLCP. Student evaluations are very important, and they are published. We often visit other sites from other disciplines to see how they do it. Received a lot of inspiration from seeing other classes.
TLCP has not changed my way of teaching. A colleague asked me if we should find someone to help us “polish” the class, because we use a very oral and informal language. I said there is no point, it’s just a reflection of reality, if students interrupt and ask a question, it’s because they want to know something. We shouldn’t make it too fake.