This is the first CHEER to be published as part of a new partnership. As reported in previous issues the funding for the Computers in Teaching Initiative (CTI) ended in the New Year following recommendations made by a review commissioned by the four funding bodies for UK higher education (HE). The review acknowledged the success of the CTI, but concluded that it should be succeeded by an initiative that encompasses all aspects of learning and teaching activity and not just those related to technology. The funding bodies have since committed £30 million over five years to establishing a new Learning and Teaching Support Network (LTSN) to promote high quality learning, teaching and assessment practices within HE subject communities. Mirroring the structure of the CTI the network consists of 24 subject centres, hosted by universities and colleges across the UK, expected to provide their own communities with a means of improving and giving recognition to the quality of learning and teaching.
The Economics LTSN centre is based at the Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT) at the University of Bristol and brings together expertise and experience from the Universities of Bristol, UWE and Portsmouth and from the former CTI Centre for Economics. Its principal aims are to:
Those of us with a CTI heritage are particularly pleased to be able to continue our involvement with CHEER through the Economics LTSN centre. Readers may notice little more than a change of logo in this issue but the significance of the transition goes much further. The intention is to build the LTSN programme into a long-term support structure for learning and teaching in HE. Through a range of advice and guidance activities and by facilitating channels where lecturers can communicate with each other the centre hopes to provide tailored support to accommodate contrasting needs.
In particular the centre can offer:
In the near future the centre will be developing many other new resources. An Assessment Question Bank is planned, offering access to a store of assessment questions such as multiple-choice and multiple-response as well as exercises, simulations, etc. that have widespread use in economics for reinforcing learning, assessment and revision. The centre will be inviting academics to submit a sample of questions to the central bank, where they would be administered in a common format and catalogued according to topic, level and type. It will also be hosting Internet Economist, a Web-based tutorial designed to help economics lecturers and students derive maximum benefits from the Internet. Internet Economist would take them step-by-step through using the Internet to support their learning and teaching. Other forthcoming projects include a catalogue of books for learning and teaching (including textbooks and books of readings) and a series of print and online advice sheets.
If you are interested in finding out more about the centre or wish to be added to its mailing list then please contact the centre at the contact details given on the inside back cover or look at the centre's Web site.Chris Mitchell
Telephone: +44 (O)117 928 7197
Fax: +44 (O)117 928 7112