College lecturers present papers at major international conference

Published on 11/06/2019 by nmoo

The high standard of teaching at Blackpool and The Fylde College has been confirmed by the selection of three of its lecturers to present papers at a major international education conference.

The prestigious European Conference on Education taking place in London in July attracts academics from around the world who want to share best practice and improve teaching standards at all levels of education.

Following an intensive process of review by a panel of experts along with ‘blind peer’ reviews, papers based on studies carried out by B&FC lecturers Margarita Georgieva, Nicole Dean and Gavin Tyrrell have been chosen for presentation at the conference. The three are members of the engineering staff based in the Advanced Technology Centre on the Bispham campus.

Margarita Georgieva is the project leader for ‘back to work’ engineering degree courses and her paper – entitled STEM* Women in College and their support networks - is based on a study of women on engineering courses between 2016 and 2018. She examines the profiles of women enrolling in engineering and looks at their aspirations from the outset and their ultimate achievements and considers a range of factors that drive women and which make them successful in studying engineering at a higher education level, including the networks that support them.

“My paper also compares the profile of these women with those of the generation who teach them and looks in particular at those from a STEM background,” says Margarita. “This provides some useful insights into why women chose to leave STEM and others choose to stay.”

Engineering lecturer Nicole Dean gathered data over two years for her paper, which examines the attitude and opinions of students across secondary schools on The Fylde around STEM*. Using interviews, surveys and personal information gathered by a team of five researchers, it looks at the balance between boys and girls and helps to identify any differences in their engagement with studies in these areas.

“Interviews were also carried out with their teachers to look at both conventional academic and classroom-based approaches to STEM along with more informal game-based views of teaching and learning,” says Nicole. “My paper presents a range of ways to present STEM theory and the best strategies to involve and engage with secondary school students.”

The use of a diverse range of visual technologies and stimuli in the engineering classroom are explored in the paper to be presented by Gavin Tyrrell, who is the leader for Level 3 studies covering robotics, intelligent control technologies, and fluid power systems.

His paper sets out the case for using a variety of prompts and visual stimuli in the classroom, as highlighted by numerous academic studies. It is focussed around an educational video developed for students and which make it suitable for multiple purposes. The video can be used with students from Levels 3,4 and 5 in various engineering disciplines with their experience being evaluated through feedback gathered from surveys and classroom interaction and on which the characteristics for a successful educational video can be based.

Blackpool and The Fylde College sees the involvement of its lecturers in studies such as these and their participation in major educational conferences as having a direct bearing on the level of training and education that the college delivers.

“Conferences like The European Conference on Education provide a forum in which our teaching staff can learn about new developments and best practice across all levels of education,” says Mandy Pritchard, Head of Engineering and Science at B&FC.

“Such events can be very inspirational and can help us to stay at the forefront in understanding what it is that drives people into particular areas of higher and further studies as well as what barriers they may be encountering and how they can be overcome. The contributions made by our own lecturers are helping to raise the bar in terms of educational standards and best practice and I congratulate each of them on their achievements.”