Academic Practice Workshops 2007-2008

24 June 2008, 'Academic Practice Group's Curriculum Development', EUI Staff


4 June 2008, Large Project Management (Workshop Description), Fabrice Larat, Connex, University of Mannheim, Ingo Linsenmann, RSCAS, EUI


28 May 2008, 'Measuring the Impact of Scientific Publications?

An academic career is largely a function of scientific output. The "impact" one makes on scientific debates through  publications will largely determine one's success as a scholar, including the chances of securing top academic positions. But how is this "impact" measured in the various disciplines? What are the emerging trends in academic practice in this regard? These questions, which are a key to adopting a successful publishing strategy, will be discussed at the joint Academic Practice Group on May 28, 2008, from 9 to 10.30.


14 May 2008, Angus Wrenn, LSE, 'Creativity and Plagiarism in Academic Writing'

In this workshop the range of  factors which give rise to plagiarism in various academic contexts will be considered. Topics for group work and discussion will include: plagiarism within a research context; tackling plagiarism from the point of view of the teacher; plagiarism in the context of students or researchers working in a second language; ‘inadvertent’ plagiarism; self-plagiarism; and use of internet programs in plagiarism detection. 


April 30th, 2008

Mary Scott, Institute of Education, London

  • Evaluating and Commenting on the Work of Students

Evaluating and commenting on students’ written work and oral presentations is seen as an essential pedagogic practice in institutions of higher education.  In the UK, for example, the Quality Assurance Agency, a national body that reviews the quality of teaching and learning, requires institutions of higher education to ensure that appropriate comments are provided to students in ways that promote learning in the students’ fields of study.

In this seminar we will initially consider the different audiences, purposes and timing of teachers’ comments on students’ written work, with brief reference also to students’ oral presentations and multimodal texts. The primary focus of the session will, however, be on the  ways in which teachers’ comments (feedback) on students’ written work (or diagrams/images, etc) might contribute to students’ learning in the different fields of study that concern you.

To enhance the relevance of the seminar to your current and/or intended future teaching contexts it will be helpful if you can complete the activities (i) (ii) and (iii) below in advance of the seminar and can bring your example and notes to the seminar.

(i) Select an example of evaluative comments you have received, or have yourself given, on a sample (final version or draft) of student work in a particular genre (e.g. a written assignment such as an essay, a critical review of a journal article; an essay outline; a diagram; a multimodal text, i.e a text that uses not only language but also,  or instead of language, modes such as image and/or sound);.

(ii) Write down in note form what were or might have been the  aims and intended learning outcomes of the teacher/examiner who set the piece of student work.

(iii) List the issues/questions raised for you by the comments on the sample you have selected and briefly state how you might address such issues as teachers.

In the course of this seminar discussion you will also be introduced to themes and issues in the relevant literature on evaluating and commenting on student work. These might include: the diversity of student expectations and responses; the language of comments; structured vs open-ended formats; where and how comments are presented; what to do about errors in the technicalities of language (grammar and spelling); developing dialogues – an exchange of views - between teachers and students; use of spoken comments; individual versus group feedback; evaluating and commenting by peers.

You will have the opportunity to sign up for afternoon tutorials at which you can discuss issues further, perhaps with a view to including in your Academic Portfolio a personal reflection on evaluating and commenting on student work.


April 23rd & 24th, 2008

Lynn McAlpine, Director of the Centre for Excellence, Preparing for Academic Practice, University of Oxford

  • On the Importance of Curriculum Development

The overall goal of the seminar and workshops is to provide opportunities for participants to think about and apply a principled approach to curriculum/course and teaching development, one that is based on current theories of teaching and learning.

Interactive Lecture: Academic practice: Where/ how does teaching ‘fit’?

The seminar on Wednesday provides an overview of the nature of teaching and its centrality to academic practice. Questions such as the following would be explored:

a) What exactly do we mean by teaching?

b) What ‘essential questions’ – ways of thinking - underpin effective teaching?

c) How can we become better teachers?

This seminar provides a shared framework for the workshops that follow; it is hoped that those participating in the workshops will attend. There is no limit on numbers participating.

Workshop 1 & 2: Conceptual tools and strategies for thinking about and planning teaching: applying them to your own teaching context

Workshop 1: Wednesday 14.00-16.00

What exactly is the subject matter of the course/module? Participants will be introduced to a strategy for defining and analyzing the subject matter of any course. They will then apply it to a course they would like to teach or have taught, and get feedback from others.


Workshop 2: Thursday 9.00-11.00

What do I hope others will learn? Participants will be introduced to a conceptual framework on ways in which students can engage with their subject matter; they will apply this to a course (ideally the one focused on in the first workshop), and get feedback from other participants.

Both workshops will end with opportunities to critique and modify the tools used.


April 9, 2008

  • Working Papers and the Use of Cadmus (Database of EUI Publications)

A demonstration on the EUI repository Cadmus will be given, along with information on the following specific areas.

I. The EUI repository Cadmus

  • What to submit
  • What not to submit
  • Who can submit
  • How to submit
  • How to search the Repository
  • Some Statistics  

II. Toolbox for Authors 

III. Future developments / Content and IT

Veerle Deckmyn, Head of Library, EUI


March 12th, 2008

Graham Gibbs

  • Preparing for Academic Practice

A doctorate, on its own, is a somewhat limited preparation for the full range of practices academics engage in. Researchers leaving Oxford for academic posts have described the experiences that they believe have best prepared them - and many of these involve active involvement in the 'community of practice' of more experienced academics, and gaining first hand experience of a wide range of academic tasks, including drafting grant applications, teaching, supervision, organisation of symposia, and so on. The most effective preparation appears to involve 'learning by doing' and also 'cognitive apprenticeship': learning by seeing experts do what they do and hearing them make the basis of their professional judgements explicit. For developing teaching there is clearly no substitute for broad teaching experience, but there is also evidence from international studies that formal training in teaching improves both teaching and student learning, and that those who are not trained to teach actually get worse over the early years of their teaching. The University of Oxford has a 'Centre for Excellence in Preparing for Academic Practice' and provides funding and consultancy to every academic department to provide support, experience and training for doctoral candidates and post-doctoral researchers. About 60% of doctorates from Oxford go on to academic positions. This session will explain the approach that Oxford takes and its basis in research evidence. Participants will use a tool developed at Oxford for reviewing their own level of experience and preparation for a wide range of academic practices, and will discuss their personal development priorities.

Professor Graham Gibbs was Director of the Oxford Learning Institute from 2004-7. He has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Utrecht for his international leadership of the development of university teaching.


February 27th, 2008

Tony Molho, History Department, EUI &

Ingo Linsenmann, RSCAS, EUI

  • Making a Proposal for the European Research Council

The session will be an introduction to the Starting Independent Researcher Grant of the European Research Council. ERC Starting Grants aim to support young, up-and-coming researchers who are about to establish or consolidate an independent research team or to start conducting independent research in Europe. The second call for Starting Grant proposals will be published in the second half of 2008. The presentation will give an overview on the structure and objectives of this scheme, the application procedure and on the evaluation of proposals. The presentation will also include some information on the first call for the Starting Grant in 2007.


February 21st, 2008

David Bowskill, Humboldt University, Berlin

  • Seminar Management Skills

In terms of size and learning/teaching styles the seminar occupies a space in higher education between the lecture and the tutorial. Both teachers and participants are expected to contribute in this learning/teaching space, on the one hand by presenting their ideas and knowledge coherently (comparable with a lecture) and, on the other hand, discussing them in a structured way (comparable with a tutorial). In this workshop we will examine how these activities can be combined to make the most effective use of the (often) limited time available in a seminar. Participants will be asked to bring to the workshop a draft curriculum and timetable for a seminar in their discipline at bachelor level. This will be a basis for a discussion of time and content management at both the macro and micro levels. We will continue with a discussion of how to help students develop good presentation skills, incorporating appropriate audio-visual and written support (handouts) into their presentations. Leading on from this we will discuss criteria for judging student presentations and providing presenters with meaningful feedback. Finally we will look at the discussion as an integral part of a seminar from the perspectives of both the discussion leader/facilitator and the participants. Various discussion schemata and their possible outcomes will be analysed. The focus will be on the role of the facilitator in ensuring a focussed discussion with a satisfactory learning outcome.


20 February 2008, David Bowskill, Humboldt University, Berlin, '-Learning in Support of Lectures and Seminars'

In this workshop we will examine the role that e-learning tools and web-based learning platforms can play in support of both lectures and seminars. Firstly we will consider how effectively course content can be delivered and/or complemented online (dedicated course websites, additional materials (audio-visual and textual) online links). After this we will discuss the efficacy of learning platforms for administering courses and assessing learning (assignments, forums, online lessons/workshops and tests). Finally we will examine the role of communication tools in facilitating the communication between tutor and student and between course participants (chat, e-mail discussion lists/forums and instant messaging). In this final aspect the role of e-learning tools in developing the social cohesion of learner groups will also be considered.


February 13th & 14th, 2008

Nick Byrne and Neil McLean, LSE

Wednesday 13th:


1) Different Cultures of Teaching and Learning

A workshop contrasting academic cultures and demonstrating the adaptation typically required in taking a job at a UK university.  This will include the implementation of an outcomes based approach to learning and teaching and the use of constructive alignment in course design.  The aim of the session is to describe how the UK's independent study / critical thinking model is delivered in practice and how this presents challenges to tutors coming from other academic cultures.


2) Nick Byrne: Managing Spaces & Classroom Management

In this practical session the focus will be on the classroom as a semiotic space in which multimodal resources can be used to construct teaching and learning opportunities.

  • New learning spaces: the latest examples
  • Layout of rooms
  • Classroom dynamics
  • Effective arrangement of students
  • Audibility and visibility issues.

Thursday 14th:


3) Neil McLean: Managing Large Groups; the Use of Powerpoint

In this practical session the focus will be on the lecture hall as academic theatre in which technology will play an ever increasing role, but a role that has to be managed.

  • Powerpoint – what helps and what hinders
  • Integrating images and sound
  • Dealing with the information overload on Powerpoint
  • The re-defined role of the actual Lecturer
  • Voice and presentation issues
  • Handouts
  • Getting feedback from students
  • Starting and finishing

4) Nick Byrne & Neil McLean: Tutorials

An opportunity for fellows to do a short 5 minute presentation with feedback and/or advice on specific problems.


January 30th, 2008

Angus Wrenn, LSE, Language Centre


  • Converting a Thesis into a Book

In this workshop the language aspects of converting a thesis submitted for academic accreditation into a publishable form will be examined. The seminar will include a discussion of the alternative routes (monograph v journal publication)and publishers’ requirements for proposals and sample chapters, as well as peer reviewing considerations. Examples of PhD abstracts and subsequent abstracts from books and journals will form a focus for discussion.


23-24 January, Angela O'Neill, College d'Europe, 'Reflections on Teaching Types and Teaching Skills - Coaching on the Basis of Presentations'


Effective communication in Teaching. Professionalising communication skills in order to become more confident and more effective teachers/lecturers and public speakers.

This workshop aims at raising awareness of best practice in communication skills which can be used effectively in academia. Fellows will be filmed in a teaching situation, and given concrete personalised feedback on how  to build on and improve communication and teaching techniques.The workshop will include an introductory session dealing with the fundamental theories of good effective oral communication related to the academic and a broader general context .A closing session deals with broader issues stemming from the feedback session, and aims at presenting different communication styles adopted by teachers.Certain tips and tricks will be given throughout regarding solid practical teacher skills.


16-17 January 2007, Bryan Cunningham, Institute of Education, University of London, 'Reflecting on and Refining Pedagogic Practice'

The session will comprise a mix of speaker input with opportunities for structured discursive learning. Participants will, ideally, be prepared to think outside of their subject specialisms to some extent, and to focus more on some key underlying principles of effective teaching and learning. Guidance will be given on approaches to documenting, portfolio style, how our practice has been informed by evaluation and reflection, and is evolving as a result of these processes.

Bryan Cunningham is an academic at the Institute of Education, University of London. Here he is Director of Quality Assurance and Enhancement for the Faculty of Policy and Society, and a former Course Leader for the Certificate, Diploma and Master's in Teaching and Learning in Higher and Professional Education. He continues to contribute to this programme, and also leads the first module of the Institute's Doctor in Education course, Foundations of Professionalism. He has special interests in the area of mentoring, and his text Mentoring Teachers in Post-Compulsory Education was the first-available 'effective practice' guide for teachers in UK Further Education colleges. He is presently editing a collection of papers Exploring Professionalism (for publication April 2008), which includes his own contribution on Critical Incidents in Professional Life and Learning. Over recent years, Bryan has worked with lecturers/trainers from fields as diverse as science, medical education, economics, languages and music.


19 December 2007, Deirdre McCloskey, Departments of History, Economics, English, and Communication, University of Illinois at Chicago, 'The Virtues of Proper Academic Writing'

Professor McCloskey is known as one of the best writers in economics.  She discusses here the way to write well.  Links to her courses at her website provide materials, as does her pamphlet, Economical Writing.


12 December 2007, 'Interview Skills Training and Feedback on the Mock-Interviews', Susan Goldie and Terry Jones, The Careers Group, University of London

Introductory and contextual remarks

The process of selection of candidates for jobs in significant large organisations has been undergoing major developments in the UK and elsewhere. The drivers for these developments have included:

  • The pressure of international competition
  • Recognition of the importance of people as the carriers of the values and the value of an organisation
  • The pressure, reinforced by legislation for equality, diversity and social justice within recruitment processes


For a variety of reasons, ‘Academia’ has stood to the side of some of these developments. Accompanying these new moves to identify the ‘best’ talent within the society has been an increased interest in ‘skills’ (variously termed as competence, capability or employability). Significant parts of Academia remain sceptical of the ‘skills agenda’ as it has been called. They link it to a process in Higher Education described as ‘managerialism’. The fact that UK governments and other agencies such as the UK Research Councils have strongly promoted ‘skills’ strategies has increased suspicion in some quarters. Weak and contradictory definitions of ‘skills’ has added to sense of confusion and distrust.


This workshop takes a skills-based approach.

The underlying assumptions of its method and content are:

  • that the ability to make a case for him/herself in a job selection process can be trained and developed in an early-years researcher
  • that such development is an integral part of the broader development of the professional skills of an academic
  • that an understanding of the principles of selection in recruitment is an important foundation for improved practice
  • that experiment and simulation with structured feedback can provide enriched learning opportunities for the growth of understanding, self knowledge and confidence.


14 November 2007, 'Publishing Strategies and Refereeing Practice

Workshop by EUI Faculty', Peter Mair (SPS), Martin van Gelderen (HEC), Neil Walker (LAW), Ramon Marimon (ECO)


10 October 2007, David Bowskill, The Language Centre, Humboldt University, Berlin, 'Academic Communication'

The workshop will begin with a consideration of the various text types in paper communication (short bio sketches for conference proceedings or publications, funding or job applications, invitation to give a paper etc.) with an emphasis on formal and cultural/discipline specific requirements. This will be accompanied by a practical exercise in drafting an application for a post in higher education. In the latter part of the workshop we will be looking at problems of e-communication where different rules may exist with regard to form and style. The analysis will again be based on text types (e-mails to colleagues and/or students and contributions to discussion forums etc.). The emphasis will again be on degrees of formality and cultural/discipline requirements. Additionally the rules of netiquette will be introduced and discussed. Participants in this workshop will be able to submit sample letters of application, CVs and other related texts after the workshop for feedback from the workshop facilitator.

David Bowskill joined the Language Centre of the Humboldt University Berlin in 1994. Born in 1959, he graduated from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1982 in German Language and Literature (with Danish and Politics as subsidiary subjects). He has since obtained several postgraduate qualifications in teaching English as a Foreign Language and German.

Since graduating he has taught English as a Foreign Language and German in secondary, further and higher education in Germany and the UK. From 1987 – 1993 he was a lecturer in English Language and British Background Studies in the Institute of Anglo-American Studies at the Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf. In his present position as a lecturer in English for Academic and Legal Purposes at the Humboldt University he teaches courses in English Law and legal English alongside advanced courses in English for General Academic Purposes with an emphasis on academic writing and presentation skills.

He is particularly interested in the application of educational technology in language learning and has undertaken advanced studies in this area at the University of Manchester.


Page last updated on 26 June 2019

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