Personifying the King’s experience

The teacher’s role in summer business education

Dr Andrew McFaull is a Teaching Fellow in Accounting and Finance in the King’s Business School. In the Summer, Dr McFaull teaches Business Management, International  Business, Accounting and Finance in London and Hong Kong.

Over the past few years of delivering summer schools here at King’s, it has become clear to me that the role of the tutor is much more than just teaching and is about delivering a memorable learning experience. The challenge for us as tutors and those who support us as we seek to offer a great summer school is to be aware of what kind of learning experience we want to offer.

To answer this question, I believe we need to view it from our students’ perspective and ask ourselves why would someone be willing to travel great distances, often at considerable expense to enrol for only two to three weeks in one of our short summer courses? As a business tutor, I would put this in business speak and term it our value proposition. Yet, what is it? In essence, why do large numbers of students come from across the world to our summer schools each year? It seems to me the only way to deliver the best possible programme of summer learning is to exceed our students expectations and to do that, we must first understand why they enrol on a summer school course.

It’s clearly not us personally as tutors that attracts the students. Regardless of our doctorates and other various learned credentials, it is safe to assume that none of our students will have heard about our teaching and/or research prior to enrolling upon our courses. Instead, it is almost certainly the opportunity to gain an education from an esteemed institution with a global reputation that attracts students in their hundreds year upon year. Therefore, we can perhaps conclude that the role of a summer school tutor is to personify the anticipated experiences and related expectations that comes with receiving an education from somewhere like King’s College London.

“I notice how much more heterogeneous the expectations of our summer students are.”

What complicates this process further is that this personification of a King’s education is not the same for all students and this is something I have increasingly observed of as I have been delivering summer schools on behalf of the business school. When I contrast my summer school teaching with our conventional undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, which I also teach upon, I notice how much more heterogeneous the expectations of our students are and we only have two or three weeks to fulfil and
hopefully exceed these expectations.

“Helping achieve long-term personal and professional goals”

As a broad generalisation, some enrol on our summer school programmes to advance their CVs and ultimately their future careers. Others are visiting us to be challenged intellectually and want a scholarly experience from one of the world’s leading universities. Then there are those enrolled on our summer school programmes who might be termed educational tourists, who are attracted by studying in different city or country for a few weeks. All these expectations are perfectly reasonable. Yet, the predicament we face when seeking to meet students’ expectations and hopefully exceed them to deliver a good summer school, is how do you deliver one course which meets many expectations?

The answer hopefully lies in the fact that each of these expectations mentioned before are not directly in conflict with each other and therefore by delivering in one area, we are precluded from delivering in another. Ultimately, in my mind, our goal in the summer school is to build a programmes of learning which is intellectually challenging, but simultaneously brings in both the King ’s and wider London experience and allows students to achieve their long-term personal and professional goals.

This brings me back to my original point that the role of summer school tutor is much more than teaching, it’s about cultivating a memorable learning experience both inside and outside of the classroom and this needs to be co-produced with the student, because ultimately it’s their learning experience.

King’s Summer Programmes at BUTEX Winter workshop

Recent developments Global HE shows indicators of how short-term programming overseas is increasingly engaging non-traditional students. Short courses present nimble opportunities to broaden access and contribute significantly to the creative pedagogical range of international education.

Dr Sarah Williamson, Director of Summer Programmes, and Dr Alexander Heinz, Summer Education Programme Lead will be presenting the ‘Improving Inclusion: Short Courses as an Opportunity for International Education’ workshop at BUTEX Winter Workshop 2018.

BUTEX brings together universities, colleges and other HE institutions across the UK that have a shared interest in learning abroad.

Its aims include developing expertise and influence the future of international education.

We are very pleased to announce that an article in the next edition of EAIE Forum magazine will also discuss ‘Transnational Dialogues on Disability’.

 

Teaching International Relations for dynamic audiences

Dr Diana Bozhilova, Teaching Fellow Summer Programmes, brings her lively discussions on the theory and practice of International Relations to our London programmes through her annual contribution to the King’s Summer School Programmes. 

 

Political events “crowd” our lives with increasing dynamism. This leads to greater interest in the study of International Relations (IR) as a means to explaining ethical questions, consequentialist and deontological reasoning. As a result, normative IR is still very relevant but how do we teach it within short courses for highly mobile and technologically astute young audiences for whom time is of the essence?

Core concepts

My experience of teaching IR has been one of focusing on core concepts and methods. Short courses allow for selecting “relevant” blocks on which to scope attention in order to critically appraise a particularly impactful development in international relations. Take Brexit, Russia or China for example – separately, they challenge aspects of the liberal international order established during the “American” century and contribute to the sense that something rather big is afoot. For normative IR, this means a conceptual and methodological shift being under way.

Roadmaps

The learning outcomes for short courses in IR centre on developing critical thinking and analytical capacities that enable students to transform information flows into knowledge. I would never forget how on one of my travels to India and whilst occupied with thoughts about the impact of technology on the study of IR, a friend from Mumbai remarked: “Google cannot help find your slippers in the temple.” Technology is an information enabler but normative IR provides roadmaps that transform data flows into meaningful building blocks.

Application

Games and simulations increasingly infiltrate IR pedagogy. On the one hand, those opposed to such dynamic teaching models emphasise their inevitably reductionist approach to understanding normative IR through diminution of variables, thus confining discussions to basics at the expense of the vastness of paradigms and approaches that exist in the discipline. On the other hand, their great utility lies in adapting static theories to dynamic teaching models. This has a particular advantage for international audiences who would like to see how theories apply within different geographic and institutional settings. Simulations can involve structural constructs from diplomacy and negotiations, economic development and governance reforms, management of warfare and environmental crises. They are well suited to short courses, dedicated sessions, and blended learning models.

King’s Summer Programmes at EAIE 2018

King’s Summer Programmes will be participating at the 30th Annual EAIE Conference and Exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland which will take place from 11th to 14th September 2018.

Dr Sarah Williamson, Director Summer Programmes, will be speaking at a leadership and strategy workshop titled Summer school euros: costs, resources and business models, where she will discuss different business models for summer schools, including their relative advantages and disadvantages and how to determine which model fits best with your institution’s strategic objectives. Dr Williamson is also a speaker at the session titled All eyes on us: how established summer programmes overcome challenges which looks at challenges facing successful summer schools.

Joint summer schools: Win-win or double trouble? is the title of our poster presentation by Dr Alexander Heinz, Education Programme Lead Summer Programmes, showcasing a live London–Amsterdam case study. He will also be participating in a networking and learning event known as the Summer Schools health clinic as a summer school doctor. We are very proud to announce that Dr Heinz has been voted as the incoming Vice Chair of the Summer Schools expert community, an EAIE forum for all things related to running and establishing summer programmes.

Ian Fielding, Deputy Director Summer Programmes, will be meeting with partners to discuss feedback and provide updates and developments on the undergraduate summer school and summer exchange programme. Ian would also be delighted to hear from other universities interested in our partnership agreements or our Summer School and Education Abroad planning and design services. Make sure you drop by our Summer at King’s exhibition stand (G22).

If you are not physically attending the EAIE conference and exhibition but still want to stay updated with our news you can follow us on Twitter @KingSummer. Further information about EAIE can be found here.

3D Printing in Summer Health Education

Kawal Rhode, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and head of Education for Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences, talks to us about 3D printing, as a new aspect on the Undergraduate Healthcare & Technology, as well as Human Anatomy & Physiology Summer School courses.

I carry out research and teaching at King’s and have been working in the exciting area of additive manufacturing or 3D printing, as it is commonly known. 3D printing is used at King’s for research, education and also for clinical work at our partner hospitals. The technology has progressed rapidly over the last years and it enables 3D computer models to be translated into real physical models. For example, we see below how a computer model of a decorative ring has been used to produce the actual ring:

We have recently created a 3D Printing Education Laboratory at our campus at Guy’s Hospital for use by our healthcare students:

A series of hands-on sessions about 3D printing will be included in both of my 2018 Summer School modules. We will learn how to create both anatomical models from medical images and engineering models from computer-aided design (CAD) software:

Here are examples of heart models that were created by our current undergraduate students from CT images:

I am really looking forward to teaching our Summer School students about this exciting technology and seeing the 3D models that will be created by them.

Play and Creative Leadership

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Michal Ben-David, Tutor –  London: Creativity, Innovation and Leadership for Beijing Normal University students –, explains the value of play in some of her workshops.

In general, people understand play as something that only kids do. The common view is that kids play, and adults do serious stuff, such as work and study. If adults play at work they may be accused of not behaving “professionally” enough, as they are supposed to produce results, and not spend their precious time on kids’ stuff, such as play. Nonetheless, I strongly believe in the power of play to unlock creative potential, and therefore I introduced the Lego Serious Play method, to my students from Beijing Normal University, during the King’s College London Summer Programme of 2017.

Lego Serious Play is a unique and innovative methodology, that utilises the same bricks that kids play with, in educational and organisational contexts, in order to unlock creative potential. While LEGO is mostly related to the world of kids, and while kids mostly build models of the tangible world, the Lego Serious Play is a method used by adults, to build models of the intangible world, hence of abstract ideas and concepts. In our workshop in August 2017, we addressed the topic of Creative Leadership. The students worked in teams and built models from the bricks, to represent their view of what creative leadership is. Each of their models was telling a different unique story, and at the end of the workshop, all the models and stories were connected together to create a shared narrative of leadership. I bring here this inspiring narrative, as it was told by the students:

“Our shared identity of creative leadership is based on values such as: bravery, kindness, communication and collaboration. We believe that a creative leader should encourage people’s exploration, freedom, and partnership. We value leadership that sees knowledge as important and helps people to be motivated, by fostering a family atmosphere, a great working environment and an amiable but strict authority. We believe that a good leader should have a clear vision and an ‘out of the box’ creative thinking. While freedom and democracy are important to us, law and order should be enforced by the leader. A good leader takes care and looks after the people’s needs in all aspects of life. While the leader has power, it is a controlled and checked power, which maintains an honest leadership.”

Although I have been a Lego Serious Play instructor for few years now, this particular workshop was special for me because of the sheer authenticity expressed through the stories of the students. While they were ‘playing’ the whole day, they were also unlocking their creative potential and discovering new things about themselves, as future creative leaders.

 

Learning Ancient Languages in London

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Dr Fiona Haarer, FSA

The Classics Department has a long tradition of running Summer Schools. For over forty years, we’ve hosted (in alternate years with UCL) the London Summer School in Classics and we usually get about 250 students of all ages. But though the students could study Greek or Latin at any level, the course lasts for only eight days, and UK students were forced to travel to Cork or the States if they wanted a comprehensive summer course which allowed them to go from complete Beginners to being able to read simple texts in the original. And so, with opportunities for studying Ancient Greek and Latin at school in decline (although happily the trend is now turning for Latin), we realised we should offer BA, Masters and Doctoral students and newly qualified teachers the opportunity to use their summer to make up some of this gap. So we organised a six-week course, which could be taken in two halves, Beginners and Intermediate, allowing students to take just the first period, or to join half way through.

We were delighted to offer Ancient Greek and Latin to just half a dozen students as part of the first cohort in 2010. This year nearly fifty students enrolled. As in previous years they came from a wide range of countries including Australia, Brazil, China, India, Japan, Norway Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, the USA and many parts of Europe, with a wide range of educational backgrounds, and many with the additional challenge of learning an ancient language via a language which is not their first.  Last year saw the introduction of another initiative: the use of the Intermediate courses to allow Classics Department students who have no previous knowledge of Greek and Latin to achieve a Classics degree by using the summer school courses to accelerate their language learning. Several students have chosen this Access Pathway and it has allowed King’s to follow Oxford, Cambridge and other Russell group universities in widening access and making it possible for students with no A Level in Greek and Latin to graduate with a Classics degree.

Although the Undergraduate Summer School courses are intensive in name and by nature, there is still time for extras. We offer lectures on key skills such as epigraphy and papyrology from visiting experts, and arrange ‘behind the scenes’ visits to the British Museum, where the students enjoy guided tours by curators, and an introduction to the research activities of the Departments of Greece and Rome, and Coins and Medals. A variety of learning environments and instructors allows the students to put their new language skills into practice, puzzling over inscriptions, legends on coins, and papyri.

The Ancient Languages students are a little different from the standard profile of the Summer School student. Some are taking the course for credit, some hold offers from their own universities which depend on successful completion of the course, some know that they won’t be able to read the relevant texts for their PhDs if they can’t master the language: they all come to King’s to work seriously and are therefore less attracted to the general summer school experience. On the other hand, this encourages a close and supportive esprit de corps within the classes as they bond over the experience.

If you want to learn a language you need a lot of concentration and consolidation, diligence and determination. To cover the same material in six weeks that regular courses would cover in a year or two needs an even greater degree of dedicated hard work and, while some struggle, the numbers who achieve high marks are impressive. It is also a testament to expertise of the team of language tutors, some of whom have been teaching these courses since 2010.

Finally, we are very grateful to the Classical Association which offers a grant every year to allow us to provide bursaries to students with particular financial hardship. In the discipline of Classics and the study of the Ancient World, we must we offer students every opportunity to acquire language skills, and the King’s College London Undergraduate Summer School is a great way to do this.

The “I” in Team: Catering for the individual in team-based projects

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By Jamie Barras

With this year’s UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), almost upon us, this seems a good moment to look back at the “Engineering: Creating Technologies to Help People” module that ran for the first time as part of the 2017 undergraduate summer school.  It seems particularly timely as the theme of this year’s IDPD – “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all” – chimes so well with the brief we had for the module project, which was centred on sustainable prosthetics.

Rising to the challenge of working with a diverse cohort
The challenge we faced in coming up with a teaching programme was how little we knew, and could know, about the students who would sign up for the module.  Yes, we could expect them to be studying an engineering subject at university, but we could make no assumptions as to where they were in their courses of study, the depth and breadth of their knowledge in any given engineering domain, nor the type of teaching they had experienced in their home countries.  This meant that the project brief would have to be quite open.

Serendipitously, an open brief matched up with one of the lessons about creating technologies that help people that we wanted to deliver: don’t start designing until after you’ve asked the people you’re trying to help what they actually need.  For our students and their prosthetics projects, that meant only getting down to work once they’d had a chance to sit down and talk (via skype) with a South-Africa-based double amputee.

The idea of asking people what they need can be found both in the principles of humanitarian engineering and in best practice in business.  And social entrepreneurship – using business techniques to achieve social good – was one of the secondary themes of the module.  An idea we returned to again and again was that there is an overlap between doing good and being a successful entrepreneur – which is not to say you need to be an entrepreneur to do good, but, rather, that there are some shared requirements that are worth keeping in mind:

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Just as serendipitously, we found in this list of shared requirements the final key to rising to the challenge of working with a diverse cohort: soliciting feedback.

The central role of soliciting feedback in meeting the needs of the individual
We talked to our students about their individual expectations and goals not just once but several times during the course of the module.  These one-to-one chats were our means of defining, monitoring and reviewing individual learning outcomes and associated goals for each student.  They also allowed us to identify the more reserved students, who could then be encouraged to take up additional roles in the project that would promote interactions with their team-mates – taking on administrative tasks, for example (organising meetings, checking schedules etc.).  A second group of students that we identified in this way were those further along in their studies than the rest of the cohort.  These students we encouraged to become mentors to their team-mates for a richer project experience.

And what formal feedback did we receive at module end?  That the thing the students liked most about the module was the chance to be part of a team.  But I’m sure we wouldn’t have had that feedback if we hadn’t have worked so hard to treat everybody in our teams as individuals.

Applied Maths Summer School

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By Dr Peter H. Charlton and Dr Jordi Alastruey

In our day-to-day research we dedicate much of our creative thinking to meeting the needs of patients and clinicians. It is unusual that we are given time to reflect on how best to inspire the next generation of engineers. A range of questions spring to mind upon doing so. How do you foster engineering mindsets capable of developing ingenious solutions to sometimes overwhelming problems? Which are the most important engineering tools to equip future engineers with? What is the best way to become fluent with these tools? Try coming up with insightful answers whilst juggling your daily work.

The Applied Maths Summer School was different.

A group of highly talented students travelled to London from across the globe, eager to apply their skills to challenging real-world problems. A syllabus was prepared covering the fundamentals of engineering – all the bricks required to lay a solid foundation. Our task was to instil in students the excitement of becoming inventors. We were to provide them with the necessary tools, and create an environment in which they could find the creativity within themselves to develop as applied mathematicians and engineers.

How do you foster engineering mindsets? Introduce students to the fore-fathers of modern engineering through a research assignment. Summer school students had the opportunity to study the great thinkers of the previous millennium, whose work will continue to form the basis of engineering solutions deep into this millennium. Ever wondered how you supply water to remote mountainous areas at times of drought? You’ll need to apply your knowledge of calculus, developed by Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz in the 17th century.

Which engineering tools are most important? Perhaps differentiation, which can be used by policy makers to decide how best to allocate taxpayers’ money. Perhaps integration, which is used to design cargo vessels which transport goods around the world. Maybe vector algebra, suitable for generating 3D virtual reality to enable robot-assisted surgery? On each day of the course the students were given a lecture on one of the fundamental mathematical tools, equipping them with a toolbox for solving engineering problems.

What is the best way for students to become fluent in these tools? Each lecture was followed by a problem class, in which a range of engineering problems and solutions were presented to students. They quickly became familiar with the pattern of using mathematical tools to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Each day finished with a group activity, in which students were challenged to apply the tools in new settings. During the course each student used differentiation to develop methods for heart rate monitoring, creating valuable tools for clinicians and fitness trackers alike. Students also applied integration to the problem of monitoring the delivery of oxygen to bodily organs – vital for life.

So, how can we best inspire the next generation of engineers? A summer school seems like a great starting point.

The Benefits of the IB World Student Conference

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By Dr Matt Edwards

During the summer, I had the pleasure of working with the King’s College London Summer School team on the IB World Student Conference, where 240 students from 23 different countries, all in their penultimate year of high school, explored the theme of ‘well-being in a healthy world: personal responsibility and global health’. The aim of the conference was for students to devise projects they could take back to their communities to help elicit positive change – no small task, but the IB asks students to be agents of positive change, and opportunities such as this conference are a great place to start.

The IB has been referred to as the ‘gold standard of education’; students not only have to study a Language, a Science, Maths, English and a Humanity, but also undertake Service in their community, write a 4,000 word Extended Essay on a novel piece of research and question how we know what we know in Theory of Knowledge. Anyone who has taught the IB knows just how powerful the programme is, and it is difficult not to sing its praises. The students at the IB conference were exercising many of the skills gained in their first year of the programme – one could see how they were questioning assumptions about Human Rights, the challenges of cultural relativism and how one can elicit genuine and sustainable change in one’s community. Their thoughtful and nuanced approach to the design of their projects reflected the skills they have already acquired from their IB Diploma. They were already aware of what makes projects successful having worked on a range of Service projects already back in their hometowns, and the insight shown by the students towards the shaping of meaningful projects was impressive. I know that their skills will only get stronger as all the students complete their programmes.

To paraphrase the famous quote, young people today live in exciting times – the increasingly globally-connected world gives us numerous possibilities, but at the same time, significant challenges. The conference explored some of those challenges with respect to well-being and asked the students to create tangible solutions. It asked a lot of these young people – to take responsibility, which can be difficult, even for an adult. King’s provided an excellent place to start their journey, with quality lectures on mental health in the young, the global refugee crisis and the social implications of an ageing population. Once the students had explored the problems, we moved on to solutions – further King’s lectures on social entrepreneurship and how students and staff at King’s were innovating solutions to these and other problems.

Students spent afternoons discussing various diverse topics including human rights, failure and project development, so they could move towards projects they could build themselves. The material provided by the lectures was invaluable in shaping these ideas. Over the course of the week, it was incredible to see young people from all parts of the world working together to tackle issues that were common to them all – parental pressure for success, the stigma of mental health around the world or tackling assumptions about race, gender and religion. Students made teaser videos of their projects to hone their message, and presented their project in a ‘dragon’s den’ style pitching session to members of the King’s team. It was a wonderfully fun week and there was a genuine buzz during the whole time.

Reflecting on the conference, I was thinking that these young people will soon be heading to university, voting for the first time and making decisions about their (and others) future; having a university-like experience at this age helps them to better understand what is available to them, and how they should value that opportunity and grab it with both hands. The time they spent at King’s has given them a set of skills to go and change the world for the better – and I was pleased to be a witness.