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Fine tuning your practice – getting ready for the new Academic Year 

Person holding piano tuning fork and tools against open piano

Piano Tuning Image by stalkerreklats from Pixabay

There’s been so much to think about in the past year.  At the forefront may be how you can adjust your assessment approaches to be more authentic and address concerns about potential (mis) use of Artificial Intelligence platforms. 

SALT offers a range of tips and resources to help you consider carefully your engagement with students about effective use of AI, preparing them for the realities of using AI in the workplace or indeed considering changes to your assessments.  There’s also the recordings of the webinars available to watch back. 

We have past recordings of Effective Practice sessions for you to consider aswell as more planned for the coming academic year – check out our Eventbrite page for details and to book.  And a range of resources about being an inclusive practitioner and building accessibility into your planning, delivery, learning environment and assessment approaches. Hopefully these resources give you some ideas for what might work for you in your context.  

In September 2022, I wrote a blogpost providing a range of tips to get yourself ready for the new academic year.  It was stimulated by the blogpost of a peer and developed further by crowdsourcing.  I did that via Twitter.  The changes since last year to that social media platform has caused me considerable reflection since Twitter (now ‘X’) was – still is – a major source of CPD for me.  I now wonder how my links to colleagues and resources are hampered and we consider switching to alternative such as Mastodon, BlueSky or Threads.  A post from an individual at LSE outlines the challenges of using social media to support the development of academic communities: Where now for academics on social media, post Twitter? | LSE Higher Education

Do reach out and find a network of supportive peers to help you develop your practice whether that’s online or in person! 

The categories offered in last year’s post about preparing for the new academic year however still apply and hope you find these useful reminders as you prepare to teach/support learning using effective and inclusive practices in 2023/24! 

Read on for the tips….

Plan, Plan, Plan 

Check your syllabus and prepare well. Consider how you can foster communication and develop belonging amongst your students and with you as their learning facilitator. Consider how you might build community among your learners – look at this Building Belonging resource – and make it fun e.g. a PADLET to collect photos/favourite music 

 Check over and enhance your Canvas course to support your Learners 

Use the Canvas Blueprint but consider other features to make it effective – listen to Episode 47 of a Pinch of SALT’s podcast where the TEL-Dev team explore their tips and/or watch the EP seminar from October 2021: Recordings of Previous Events – Swansea University 

Talk with your Programme Leader or School Education Lead– are there effective practices from your colleagues that you could adopt? 

 Know your students 

This will help you plan and prepare for appropriate activities, topics, case studies etc that are relevant to your students.  Don’t feel you are the expert though in everything.  Its OK to be ‘vulnerable’ and explore questions you don’t know the answer to together. I found this Teaching in HE podcast particularly helpful about being vulnerable and providing ‘warm blankets’: Community in the College Classroom – Teaching in Higher Ed 

Tone (can be) everything 

If you rush and leave audio/video recordings to the last minute, the tensions can come through in the tone and body language. For other tips, review this excellent resource: Top 10 Tips for accessible, engaging video microlectures ( 

Engaging with your learners 

Think about how you can engage your students and harness enthusiasm for your course.  If you’re still teaching online, we have various Tips or look at our Active Learning One-Page guide. 

What Aspects of your practice do you want to develop this year?  

SALT can help! 

If you need help with any of the above, please get in touch with us in SALT: or via our website: Swansea Academy of Learning and Teaching (SALT) – Swansea University 

Louise Rees

Senior Academic Developer (HEA)


This blogpost draws on one published in September 2022: , itself crowd sourced from my Twitter Personal Learning Network. 

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