Open Door


“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.” – Terry Pratchett (1990 – Truckers)

Excellent teaching

What is the open door programme ?

The Open Door programme matches teachers with teachers, to facilitate the development of skills, knowledge and confidence.

Teachers with questions, issues, ideas or stumbling blocks get the opportunity to sit in on sessions delivered by colleagues who are known for certain aspects of their teaching. They can pick the sort of session they’d like to sit in on, where possible they can pick the discipline. Afterwards they can talk to the Open Door Teacher to discuss how it went and why.

The programme does not promise to offer perfect sessions without fault, it merely offers examples for you to observe and think about.

When is it starting ?

The programme is launching in February 2018 and the sessions will commence in Teaching Block 2 with an initial selection of Open Door Teachers and sessions from both campuses.

Who are the Open Door Teachers ?

Click on the name of the teacher for more information and to see the sessions (as details become available) they are offering:

Ute Keller-Jenkins (Arts and Humanities – Modern Languages)

Ute won the Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Award in 2013, which coincided with her third win of the Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award (or its precursor the Distinguished Teaching Award). She is known for her interactive approach to teaching, involving her students in the session at every opportunity. She is highly organised and clearly has the respect of her students !

Having watched her teach, Ute directly engages her students and uses many features of performance in her teaching. She uses the room and the available space, physical motion and voice modulation. Ute is very supportive of her students and involves each one with carefully directed questioning. She uses group activity in the classes too, facilitating it by rearranging the students’ seating if necessary.


Sian Rees (Arts and Humanities – Media and Communication)

Sian won a Distinguished Teaching Award (the precursor to the Excellence in Learning and Teaching Awards) in 2011 and receives further nominations every year ! Always highlighted is her clarity and the obviously high standard of her presentation / handouts / case study notes etc.

Having watched Sian teach, she is highly prepared and organised and really gets her students involved with the content she is delivering. She uses a range of hooks keep the student’s attention throughout the session, drawing them back in, time and time again. Visual aids, video clips, case studies, individualised questioning, short group activities even in large lectures, discussions … Sian engages her students with the subject, her approach and her attention to detail.


Dr John Knight (Human and Health Sciences – Interprofessional Studies)

John won an Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award in 2014 and has been repeatedly nominated ever since. His students always emphasise his ability to make the really difficult things seem interesting and understandable, and the way uses his deep subject knowledge, smooth delivery and sense of humour to make his sessions something to really look forward to.

Having watched John teach, he carefully guides his students through the material, referencing previous work and stated objectives. He uses stepped progressions and regular recaps to keep the students all up to speed, with gentle questioning to check understanding. He uses clear and simple visuals, encouraging active listening in his students. He includes all the students in the learning process and has a very calm and welcoming atmosphere in his sessions.


Professor Danny McCarroll (Science – Geography)

Danny won an Excellence in Learning and Teaching award in 2013 and is known for his light hearted style and easy manner. His students highlighted his enthusiasm and his willingness to help and support them in their studies. He has recently delivered a SALT seminar on his work teaching statistics to 240 rather reluctant, geography students !

Having watched him teach (the actual group mentioned above), Danny sets a relaxed atmosphere from the start and then uses a mix of activity (including physical), talk and discussion to steer his students through. He doesn’t take himself too seriously and manages to create a friendly, supportive, non-threatening environment, while keeping the students engaged, with regular attention grabs during which you can feel all eyes and ears focussed on him.

Danny will be offering sessions in Semester 1, 2018 – 19.


Professor Derek Connon (Arts and Humanities – Modern Languages)

Derek was awarded a highly prestigious National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy in 2014 (he is one of only two we currently have) in recognition of the excellence of his practice. He has been a key driver of pedagogic enhancement at Swansea University, both within his own area of Modern Languages and across the institution as a whole.

In his teaching, Derek uses a strong narrative line to hook and hold attention. He is highly sympathetic to his subject and to his students, engaging them in his delivery very effectively. Derek is an excellent example of teaching as performance, being a strong orator and highly charismatic. He leads his students through the subject with simple but effective visuals (we saw French Culture in the 18th Century), and a delightfully conspiratorial involvement that had all eyes and ears focussed on him !

Derek will be offering sessions in Semester 1, 2018 – 19.


How can I get involved ?

As one of the Open Door Teachers ? …
We are grateful for your enthusiasm, and salute you for it ! However, at the start of this initiative, so we can manage it and enable it to grow in a sustainable manner, SALT is working with just a selection of contacts within Colleges to establish the necessary processes and get them working for everyone. So for now, it is an invitation only job ! We have plans though for nomination processes in the future (including self nomination).

As one of the observers ? …
Once we’ve launched in January, the selection of sessions to observe will become availble here, on our website, along with details of the process for attending.

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