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)

Unsurprisingly, all sessions are off for the time being!
When things have returned to normal, so shall we …

Please note, the Open Door Programme is currently only open to teaching staff.

Open Door

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.

Unsurprisingly, all sessions are off for the time being!
When things have returned to normal, so shall we …

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

Click here to find out how to book yourself in to observe one of the sessions

First, you need to pick the session you want to observe. You can search by teaching method, College, Campus (these three from the links on the top right of this page), or by looking at the sessions being offered by the individual Open Door Teachers below.

At the top of each session write up is a link that you can click to send an automatically addressed and subjected email to us at SALT to book you onto the session. There is also an indicator of how many more spaces are available for that session. We can’t book you onto a session that is full (as we’ve been given numbers by the Open Door teachers that are suitable for the room and size of the class), but we can try to get more sessions from that person / using that teaching method, etc., so feel free to send an email for that session even if it is fully booked.

We’ll reply confirming. You then just have to go along to the session (when and whereas stated) and watch. While you are watching please try to notice two things (at least) that were particularly noteworthy.

After the session the Open Door teacher will hopefully be available immediately to talk to observers about the session. How it went, what worked, what didn’t work, why they did what they did etc. and to answer any questions you may have. Those two noteworthy things might come in useful in the conversation …

Finally, send us an email to telling us which session you went to see and what your two noteworthy things were … just so we know!

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:

Dr Kevin Arbuckle (Science – Biosciences)

Kevin’s enthusiasm draws his students in and his knowledge and imaginative delivery keep them there. Having watched Kevin teach he talks very naturally to his students involving them all in the session. I saw a session on Dinosaur Palaeontology and Kevin used hooks from popular culture (you can probably guess the film), comparison to living animals, very clear image-based slides, humour, physical demonstrations, and a 4+ year old’s jigsaw lid to paint his pictures. Lots of questioning (with contribution rewarded by chocolate) and interaction, and a bit of group work and discussion! His first time with the group too. Lots of pointers for gaining and holding attention.

Kevin’s sessions will return …

Dr Luca Trenta (Arts and Humanities – Political and Cultural Studies)

Luca was one of this college’s nominees for Teacher of the Year 2018/19 and teaches very intriguing subject matters! I enjoyed watching Luca teach. I enjoyed it, even more, when I thought about what I was seeing. This wasn’t someone just telling me the way something was. This was someone presenting me with two, well-evidenced views of the same thing and then inviting me to go away and make up my own mind about it. Very good! Luca’s sessions for Open Door this year all revolve around a module where students deliver and devise the seminar programme.

Luca’s sessions will return …

Dr Mark Coleman (Engineering – Materials)

Mark is well known in his college (Engineering) or being able to teach large classes and he won an Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award in 2018 for doing just that! Having watched Mark teach, you can quickly see why he was nominated for an award. He is very engaging, very relaxed and very enthusiastic. He uses lots of little hooks to keep his students’ attention. Technology (Slido and others), questioning, humour, physical models, audience participation, moving around the (very large) room, voice modulation. He works hard! Lots to see here.

Mark’s sessions will return …

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.

Ute’s sessions will return …

Professor Simon Bott (Science – Chemistry)

Simon’s teaching career has seen him win 21 university-wide awards for teaching, student advising, and student engagement. He has spent the bulk of his time working in the USA and returned to Swansea in 2016 to open the new Chemistry department. During his time in America, he was able to develop a number of different strategies in class, many of which translate well to our new department here at Swansea. Simon is a very experienced practitioner using the Flipped Classroom approach.

Simon’s sessions will return …

Terry Filer (School of Management – Accounting and Finance)

Terry has just been awarded the Swansea Best Course Award 2019 for the Best Use of TEL in a module and is well known as an excellent teacher in her college. Having watched her teach, she is very clear in her delivery and uses plenty of authentic examples to cover theory and blends in lots of great skills-based work for employability. Lovely to see someone teach in a PC room keeping all the students engaged and actively supported. Very relaxed and very approachable.

Terry’s sessions will return …

Tanya May (Arts and Humanities – Modern Languages)

Tanya is a regular nominee for an Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award and this year was one of her college’s nominees for teacher of the year.

I enjoyed watching her teach, despite not understanding a word of it – as it was in Spanish! But I didn’t need to understand the words as I could see what she was doing. She carefully engages all the students, questioning, discussing, digging deeper, teasing the language out of them and moving around the room to make sure they are all involved. She had a mixed level class (one student was first language Spanish, another was first language French, one had only been learning Spanish for three years), but she interacted equally with them all and very subtly enhanced and corrected their language use. Very nice! Tanya had a great rapport with her students are if you are running language seminars, or any seminars really which rely on questioning and student involvement you would get something out of sitting in on one of Tanya’s sessions.

Tanya’s sessions will return …

Sharon Harvey (Human and Health – Nursing)

Sharon won an Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award in 2015 and is regularly nominated again! As she is the lead for the Education for the Health Professions programme, her students highlight her pedagogy especially and site her as being an inspiration to them in their teaching. Having watched Sharon teach she is very engaged with the students and the material and she makes sure the whole room is involved in the session. She is attentive, getting contributions from all students. She has a strong narrative, storytelling element to her teaching and drawing from her experience in the classroom and from her clinical practice.

Sharon’s sessions will return …

Dr Tom Hannant (Hilary Rodham Clinton School of Law)

Tom comes recommended by his Head of College, Heads of L&T and his students. Having watched him teach, I felt I had my eyes opened a bit! As a dialogically challenged engineer, I managed to get through the whole of my degree course (years ago) without ever being exposed to a seminar, so although I had an idea of what to expect it was a pleasure to see Tom in action and I really enjoyed it. He has a very easy-going style and uses careful questioning techniques to tease engagement from the students. If you want to see what seminars entail, go and watch Tom!

Tom’s sessions will return …

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 to 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.

Sian’s sessions will return …

Dr Peter Dorrington (Engineering)

Peter was awarded the title of Swansea University Teacher of the Year recently and is the College Teacher of the Year for Engineering. You don’t get those for nothing, and having seen him teach, running a design workshop, I watched a very engaged set of students exploring a design brief with group work, external specialists, physical aids, simulations, videos, and post-it notes. Not bad at all!
Peter’s sessions will return …

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.
John’s sessions will return …

Dr Joanne Hudson (Engineering – Sport Science)

Jo delivers almost hybrid sessions that are part lecture, part workshop and even have elements of a seminar about them (where student numbers are small enough). Having watched her teach, Jo has a clear structure in what she is doing and works carefully to keep the students on task and on track. She uses case studies, research, video clips and questioning techniques to grab the student’s attention and her sessions are sprinkled with group work, discussion and technology all of which clearly engage her audience. Jo recognises the role of student talk in the learning process and likes to get groups working collaboratively in her sessions. Lots to see here.

Click here to see a short video of Jo talking about her approach.

Jo’s sessions will return …

Trish Rees (Hilary Rodham Clinton School of Law)

Trish teaches on a range of modules across the Law School and is the module director for both Medical and Reproductive Law. Trish comes highly recommended by her Heads of L&T and is well known for her teaching. Having watched her teach, Trish has a relaxed style and handles potentially sensitive subject matter smoothly, and easily. Her use of Kahoot was outstanding, highlighting its use to gauge student opinion and benchmark it for revisiting further through the course. She uses questioning to provoke student response and to query student thinking. Very good example of how to navigate through quite polarising material.
Trish’s sessions will return …

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’s sessions will return …

Finally … how can I become 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-nominations).

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