Supported Experiments with Posterous Spaces

Leading learning with innovation and inspiration

Flagg, E. and Ayling, D.
Te Puna Ako


In our work as academic advisers we are aware that there is a need for ongoing improvement strategies to deliver better teaching and learning.  We have identified a need for leaders to create a culture in which teaching and learning are a priority.  This needs to be a deliberative practice. 




Our students are teachers at Unitec.  They are a diverse group, engaged in a range of disciplines with a variety of educational backgrounds and experiences. All teachers are responsible for their course design, assessment, facilitation and evaluation.  Many teachers are looking for ways to explore their teaching in a supportive environment.    


Unique Features

This best practice example, using Posterous spaces, demonstrates an online area, and packaged teaching and learning resources.  The Supported Experiment model includes a teacher created bank of teacher developed resources, opportunities to share learning, and bite sized training sessions.  These activities fit neatly within teachers’ busy weeks.






Supported Experiments is a proven methodology for sharing best practice and improving teaching and learning within an education community.  It is based on action learning, and is promoted by Geoff Petty.  Supported Experiments can be established in any programme, department, or teaching team at any time in the teaching and learning cycle. 


 It has the advantage of taking research in teaching and learning from a solo sport to a community based research activity.


The Supported Experiments model is a deliberative practice which fits perfectly with the Unitec’s evaluative questioning process, and curriculum design policy.  We are available to offer Supported Experiment training as we work with teaching teams. 


This presentation was originally prepared for the Unitec Teaching and Learning Symposium 2011.   It encourages teachers to be curious about their teaching and their students’ experiences and progress.  It inspires teachers to work together and share their experiences. Finally, it has a large element of teacher reflection, which is structured into the model.


Teachers  participate in a mock demonstration, taking various roles and responsibilities for a Supported Experience. They will reflect on the usefulness of the model, and be invited to to find out more about the process.



 Lets get started


Posterous Spaces Epipheo from Epipheo Studios on Vimeo.


Supported experiments have five stages.



  1. identify key issues and problems for their students
  2. investigate strategies and methods that have been shown to work
  3. plan an experiment to address the problem area
  4. share findings with colleagues, receive coaching and support from them
  5. embed improved practices and disseminate findings


The case study:


  1. Identify key issues and problems for their students

    Teachers in the Bachelor of Marine Studies believe their students would benefit from using e-portfolios. Many students and staff have blogs, and some blogs are used in assessment items. There are 300 students in the three year programme.  Most but not all students have laptops, all have reasonable digital literacy skills. Students in all three years of study spend a lot of time out of class in the marine environment. Students in their third year spend four months on a work placement/internship.

  2. Investigate strategies and methods that have been shown to work
    JISC have a great resource on e-portfolios.

    Which tools, systems or approaches should they adopt?
    What kind of learning outcomes do they require from the e-portfolio initiative and What implications will this have four teachers, and students.
    Who will prepare the ground?
    What are the most effective strategies for engaging and sustaining the commitment of learning, and those involved in supporting learners’ use of e-portfolios?

  3. Plan an experiment to address the problem area
  4. Share findings with colleagues, receive coaching and support from them.
  5. Embed improved practices and disseminate findings.

Additional Resources



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