Bridging the Feedback Gap

It is a common occurrence to hear staff express concerns about how feedback is used, but it’s often unclear what the expectations around feedback are for both students and staff.

Simon Martin, Department of Materials (AACME), recently a conducted a survey that was aimed at establishing just how much student and staff attitudes to feedback differ, and how these gaps might be bridged. With the help from the Materials’ Programme President, Alex Marrs, a short on-line survey was sent out to students within the Department. Materials staff were invited to take part in an identical survey.
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Concerns and issues experienced by staff and students surrounding assessment feedback indicated many similarities and a few differences giving potential clues to ways forward to improve the effectiveness of feedback.

The results of the survey were shared with School staff at a recent lunchtime Learning and Teaching workshop aimed at finding ways to make feedback more relevant, effective and meaningful for students whilst also making it manageable and sustainable for academics to deliver.

AACME’s regular L&T workshops focus on considering, challenging and developing practice.

If you wish to know more about the survey results, methodology and indicated outcomes Simon Martin is happy to be contacted directly (s.j.martin@lboro.ac.uk) for further information.

Feedback practice was also the focus of a staff/student Teaching Innovation Award last year in SSEHS. The final report of Harry Lane, Emma Giles, Dr Emma Haycraft and Dr Hilary McDermott’s project ‘Developing a common language: Enhancing communication and feedback’ is available on the 2015 awards section of the CAP website (http://www.lboro.ac.uk/services/cap/procedures-schemes/teaching-awards/teaching-innovation-awards/)

First Call for TIA Funding!

This is the first call for submissions for Loughborough University applicants seeking funding under the 2017 Teaching Innovation Awards.

These high profile awards support individuals or teams of staff or students and staff to develop and share innovative teaching ideas both internally and externally. These awards are a key part of Loughborough University’s commitment to developing teaching and learning, and attract significant attention.

Previous winners have been invited to speak at conferences, to deliver workshops, and to publish their developed ideas. We hope our 2017 winners will seize the available opportunities to disseminate their excellence in teaching innovation to support developments across our two campuses but also across the higher education sector.

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Staff and/or students with ideas to innovate current learning and teaching practice at Loughborough drawing on research, literature, pilot studies or a variety of approaches are encouraged to apply for funding.

This year an increased sum of £30,000 has been ring fenced for these key awards, and applications are being sought from students and staff on both our campuses.

Guidance documents and application forms can be found on the Centre for Academic Practice website as CAP administers the awards for the University http://www.lboro.ac.uk/services/cap/procedures-schemes/teaching-awards/teaching-innovation-awards/

The closing date for applications is 28 February. The decision panel, with membership from across the university including Loughborough Students’ Union, will meet in late March. Award winners will be notified in April and their success announced publicly at the 2017 Loughborough University Learning and Teaching Conference in June 2017.

If you have an idea which you would like to discuss prior to submitting an application please contact Deena Ingham in CAP d.ingham@lboro.ac.uk

Awards Celebrate Teaching Excellence at Loughborough University

The annual Research-informed Teaching Awards (RiTAs) and the Teaching Innovation Awards (TIAs) celebrate excellence in innovative and research informed practice across the University.

The awards are designed to reaffirm the University’s commitment to recognise staff and students who demonstrate high levels of achievement in both research and teaching.

The Research-informed Teaching Awards reward academic staff who have made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of research-informed teaching at the University.Learning and teaching conference (2)

The Teaching Innovation Awards fund student and staff ideas to enhance teaching and learning at Loughborough. This year, £23,000 has been awarded to fund nine different projects.

The recipients of this year’s teaching awards are:

RiTAs

Dr Line Nyhagen, Department of Social Sciences, School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences

Awarded for her expertise in curriculum design which clearly demonstrates the ways in which she forges links between her research and her teaching.

Dr Cheryl Travers, Director of Executive Education, School of Business and Economics

For her expertise in pedagogical research which has had a major impact on students over a sustained period of time.

Dr Heike Jons, Department of Geography, School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences

For her expertise in curriculum design which enables her students to benefit directly from her research over a range of modules.

TIAs

Jo Bullard, Department of Geography and Shung Hua Yang, Computer Science

Using Augmented Reality to Improve Geomorphological Understanding

Karisa Krcmar, Counselling and Disability Service and Lauren Sherar, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

An exploration of the benefits of active learning strategies for Loughborough University students with neurodiversity

Ella-Mae Hubbard and Joshua Goodman, Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Understanding and exploiting threshold concepts

David Kerr and Anthony Sutton, Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Remotely Accessed Laboratory Suite (RALS) using the Internet of Things

Thomas Steffen, Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering

Gamification for Learning in Electrotechnology

Sweta Ladwa, School of Science

A ‘Blueprint’ for Peer-Based and Collaborative Learning in a Teaching Laboratory

Lauren Sherar, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Experiential and interactive learning in the teaching area of Physical Activity and Health of Children

George Torrens, Loughborough Design School and Simon Downs, School of the Arts, English and Drama

Development of a multi-disciplinary, self-learning led resource for practice based students supporting training in research methods, design thinking & decision-making

Alexandre Christoyannopoulos, Politics, History and International Relations and Marco Bohr, School of the Arts, English and Drama

Development and dissemination of an informed resource on professional blogging for students and staff

All award winners will be formally announced by the Vice Chancellor and Pro Vice Chancellor Teaching Learning and Teaching Conference on 16 June.

The event will take place at the West Park Teaching Hub where this year’s TIA winners will be exhibiting posters outlining their projects. There will also be the opportunity to explore practice ideas through workshops run by successful TIA applicants from previous years.

To book onto the conference, please email cap@lboro.ac.uk

Designing and Delivering a Quality HE Curriculum – some takeaways

By Gabi Witthaus, Learning & Teaching Facilitator, School of Business & Economics, Loughborough University.

On 3 March I attended the Inside Gov event in London, “Designing and Delivering a Quality HE Curriculum”, wearing my SBE Learning & Teaching Facilitator hat. Here I summarise my key take-aways from the day.

Alan Palmer, Head of Policy and Research, Million+, opened the event. He briefly reflected on the status of the Green Paper for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), noting that he expected the Government to report back on responses received to the Green Paper in around mid-May – with the rationale that the release of this report would be timed to occur after the local elections but before the referendum on the EU.

Dr Tim Burton, Head of Standards, Quality and Enhancement, Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), was first up. He expressly did not talk about the TEF, and instead focused on the QAA’s Quality Code for awards and programmes, with its three component parts – Part A on academic standards, Part B on academic quality, and Part C on information about higher education provision. Part A contains the Subject Benchmark Statements, many of which are currently being reviewed. Tim noted that the statements are not prescriptive and do not form a curriculum; however, he said providers are “encouraged to take account of them”. My take-away: the resources on the QAA website are extremely useful, if not essential, for anyone designing programmes or modules.

Prof. Pauline Kneale, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) and Professor of Pedagogy and Enterprise, Plymouth University, gave a keynote on instilling flexibility within curriculum assessment. This was the highlight of the day for me. Pauline discussed how her institution had begun approaching assessment from the point of view of making assessments accessible to students with disabilities. Instead of merely offering modified versions of the mainstream assessments for students with particular needs, course teams at Plymouth looked at ways of changing the assessment to be accessible to everyone, and in the process began devising more authentic assessments (i.e. relevant to real-world situations) that encouraged deeper learning than traditional forms of assessments. The resources on Plymouth’s website contain guidelines, models and evidence-based examples of good practice in this area – a good place to start is with the Staff Good Practice Guide to Inclusive Assessment.

Chris Willmore, Academic Director of Undergraduate Studies and Reader in Sustainability and Law, University of Bristol spoke passionately about listening to the student voice in curriculum change. In an initiative at Bristol, students can pop into the Students’ Union to have a conversation with other students (not lecturers), in plain English, about what kinds of changes they would like to see in their various curricula. Whacky ideas are encouraged. A toolkit is provided for students to enable students convert their ideas into proposals for academic staff to consider – this requires students to rigorously map any new intended learning outcomes onto subject benchmark statements and professional body requirements.

Next, Dr Momodou Sallah, Senior Lecturer in Youth Work and Community Development, De Montfort University, talked about international study visits as transformative pedagogy. He gave a fascinating account of how De Montfort students were benefiting from field trips to the Gambia, and showed a very moving video (available here) of this cross-cultural exchange.

Dr Maria Cerrato Lara, Lead Researcher, ‘Learning Gain in Active Citizenship’ Research Project, Oxford Brookes University, continued the internationalisation theme by focusing on an HEA-funded initiative at Oxford Brookes in which ‘Active Citizenship’ was introduced as a graduate attribute for all taught courses.

Professor Peter Lawler, Academic Director, University College for Interdisciplinary Learning, University of Manchester, spoke about  enriching the curriculum through interdisciplinary learning. He discussed the frequent misconceptions held about interdisciplinarity, for example the idea that simply combining modules from two or more disciplines equates to an interdisciplinary curriculum. Manchester University launched their University College for Interdisciplinary Learning (UCIL) in 2012, and this group supports programme teams across the institution in designing interdisciplinary courses. He emphasised the importance of starting out with the programme aims in mind, rather than starting from the vision of modules as ‘building blocks’ that could be combined to magically create a truly integrated programme.

Fiona Harvey, Education Development Manager, ILIaD, University of Southampton and Chair, Association for Learning Technology (ALT), spoke about an initiative at Southampton whereby a number of students took the opportunity to receive support and advice in learning about technology for learning, and those students then worked closely with their lecturers to redesign curricula to embed learning technologies. She gave several arguments for this being a more effective way of curriculum change than simply working with academics – to name a couple: if students themselves have ‘bought into’ a particular technology, they are more likely to use it; and secondly, academics generally appreciate having a student in the classroom who is willing to help if the technology goes wrong, and to support other students in using it.

Dr Neil Gordon, Author, Flexible Pedagogies: Technology-Enhanced Learning Report, from the University of Hull, spoke about  integrating technology effectively to support flexible learning at Hull. He discussed the rationale for making learning more flexible for students, and talked about the implications, e.g. ethical and security concerns associated with the use of technologies. He also proposed flexible forms of assessment (for example, giving students a choice between an exam and an assignment; allowing students to propose the format of their own assessments) as a natural consequence of flexible teaching delivery.

Dr Crinela Pislaru, Senior Lecturer, University of Huddersfield, gave a case study on enhancing employability for STEM students through peer-based mentoring. In this case study, undergraduate students in electrical and mechanical engineering courses were mentored by postgraduate students from the Institute of Railway Research. Students were given practical projects to do in groups, with their mentors, and were required to reflect together regularly on the effectiveness of their teamwork.This experience was a valuable addition to students’ CVs.

Finally, Professor Michael Thorne, Vice-Chancellor, Anglia Ruskin University, spoke on the topic of embedding work-based learning into the curriculum to improve employability prospects. He described an initiative at Anglia Ruskin called Degrees@Work, in which entire degrees are offered at workplaces, jointly managed and run by the university and the employers. Their commercial partners include Barclays, Specsavers and Harrods, with degrees in banking, optometry, and retail respectively. He presented this business model as a win-win situation for all concerned – students do not have to pay fees, while the employers pay premium fees to the university for bespoke programmes. He also discussed a self-employment programme running at Anglia Ruskin, in which students are given support and encouragement to start up their own businesses.

All in all, it was a full programme with many thought-provoking ideas to take away. All slides from the event are available here.

Designing and Delivering a Quality HE Curriculum – some takeaways by Gabi Witthaus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.By Gabi Witthaus, Learning & Teaching Facilitator, School of Business & Economics, Loughborough University.

 

TIA Winner Lee Campbell’s article, ‘TECHNOPARTICIPATION: Intermeshing performative pedagogy and interruption’, appears in BST Journal

technoparticipationAn article written by Lee Campbell (School of the Arts), entitled ‘Technoparticipation: Intermeshing pedagogy and interruption’ has been published in the latest edition of  Body, Space, Technology.

The article looks at various aspects of e-learning and focuses on Skype as a virtual technological platform, with the scope of ‘generating innovation in terms of subverting the bog standard presentation format of a lecture’. Skype as interruption is examined in order to promote the positive aspects of interruptive elements within performative pedagogy.

Research was enabled by a Teaching Innovation Award which Lee Campbell received; the Award granted him a funded period of research to explore Skype’s potential as a technological social media tool with pedagogic value.

To read the article, click here.

Loughborough Academics Publish Research in Prestigious Journal

2010 Teaching Innovation Awards winners, Dr Lawrence Leger and Dr Karligash Glass (Kenjegalieva), have recently published their work in Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education.  Their research article, ‘What if best practice is too expensive? Feedback on oral presentations and efficient use of resources’, suggests that ‘less resource-intensive [teaching and learning] methods need not compromise learning outcomes’. [1]

To read their article, click on the link below:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2015.1109054

[1] Lawrence A. Leger, Karligash Glass, Paraskevi Katsiampa, ShiboLiu & Kavita Sirichand (2015): What if best practice is too expensive? Feedback on oral presentations and efficient use of resources, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2015.1109054, p.1.

E-learning Champion Showcase

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Five members of academic staff from the School of Business and Economics (SBE) have been working over the last year on individual E-learning projects.

These E-learning champions chose a particular area linked to one of their taught modules, for which they wanted to develop the appropriate technology to engage further with their students.

The projects this year were:

Maxine Clarke – To provide an online facility for students to upload information (articles/newspaper articles/videos/etc.) on a weekly basis and to provide a written summary of their submission. To enable online ‘marking’ of this submission as this will constitute the students’ coursework element for this module.

Kai-Hong Tee – To improve students’ effectiveness in their learning via a self-assessed practice questions made available on LEARN

Simona Rasciute – To introduce an interactive problem/exercise solving feature into Learn.

Dan Sage – To encourage students to read beyond lecture notes and the textbook in order for them to develop their critical thinking around concepts and key debates related to the lecture content. The project involved the use of an electronic ‘pinboard’ (Lino) to facilitate collaborative discussions and presentations around journal article readings on the Sociology of Work module.

Baibing Li – The aim of the project is to provide a better and interactive way for the students to participate the teaching/learning process during my lectures.

The E-learning Champions felt that the benefits included having time to explore the potential of their chosen area of E-learning and to be fully supported by the CAP and SBE E-learning Team.

The project was led by Mr. Philip Wilkinson-Blake from the SBE.

The project concluded with an E-learning Champions Showcase Event, which was supported by IT Services, CAP and the SBE E-learning Team. Over 40 staff attended the event, at which E-learning champions shared their experiences and findings.

Video and lecture capture technology was used to share the best practice with other colleagues across the University.

The data findings are now being analysed by the SBE E-learning Team and will be shared with other Schools in the future.

 

Teaching Innovation Award Update: Evaluation of Project Outputs through Workshop

In the latest of the Teaching Innovation Award updates Dr Ella-Mae Hubbard and Professor Carys Siemieniuch reflect on how their project has flourished thanks to student engagement.

The project aimed to address the issue of a shortcoming in student project work by enabling students to engage with procedures in validation and verification through some new workshops.

The team is currently evaluating some of the outputs generated by the Teaching Innovation Award they secured.  The evaluation focuses on a specific new workshop that has been set up; they have completed a “baseline” to help them understand opinions prior to the workshop.  Students who have experienced previous versions of the module will also be consulted; questionnaires will take place following the lecture and workshop; and relevant module feedback will be reviewed.

The Teaching Innovation Award certainly mellaarked a new journey for the team; their project has actually led to the development of a whole new series of workshops.

The team used some principles of ‘lecture flipping’ to help design the workshops and found that moving beyond conventional, simple lectures can be really beneficial and worth the preparation required.

Dr Ella-Mae Hubbard said:  ‘We’ve certainly come a long way since we started, and I think it’s fair to say that our end point isn’t what we expected (and hopefully not actually the end point!). That’s one of the reasons we do these projects in the first place; if we knew the answers before we started, where would be the fun in investigation?’

The team look forward to following up more avenues identified by the project.

 

Developing Outreach and Employability through Innovative Teaching

A group of student historians from Loughborough are heading out into schools across the UK this winter on a mission to research teaching.

The staff-student collaboration project, Developing Outreach and Employability through Innovative Teaching, led by Dr.Catherine Armstrong and final-year student Lauren Porter involves students observing how history is taught in schools. Both primary and secondary teaching is under the spotlight as the students explore picwhat a teaching career in history means in reality.

To get the project going, the team created an observation logbook which allows participants to log all the observations they make. The next step involved recruiting innovative History students to take part in this new project. Various lecture shout-outs took place; a blog and social media sites were set up to contact participants. The team received plenty of interest and were delighted to welcome fifteen students to the group.

The team reported that their first project meeting was successful; it started with an ice-breaker activity and then moved onto exploring questions, such as: ‘What makes a good teacher?’ and ‘What is positive teaching practice?’ The questions aimed to stimulate independent thought and allow the participants to think about the nature of the project in more depth.

The second meeting included a presentation by CAP’s own Deena Ingham who presented various clips that tested and enhanced participants’ observation skills. Students viewed film of different teaching styles and explored what makes for good learning and crucially what stopped the learning process.  They compiled a comprehensive list of questions to ask when observing and interviewing the teachers they observe. In this way their insight into what it means to teach history will become a valuable resource for future students.

The team are excited about seeing the project develop further over the next few months, but it is already proving beneficial for several of the final-years students involved.  Lauren Porter said:  ‘The project has provided me with the confidence boost needed to teach. To recruit undergraduate participants for this project, I stood in front of lectures and spoke to students about this exciting new project. This process seemed daunting at first; however, it filled me with confidence going into my teacher training interviews and it has allowed me to be successful and gain a place starting next Autumn.’

Video Podcasts to Support Student Placement Searching

Six final year students from the School of Business and Economics (SBE) have shared their experiences of placements to help those now hunting for a place for next year.

The students worked for a range of different companies, from KPMG to Nottingham Panthers. Their experiences had been very different with one exception – all said there was irreplaceable value in their placement. They saw benefit to them as individuals and to their studies.

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Filming took place in the English and Drama lecture theatre.

 

The students all volunteered as part of a Teaching Innovation Award project led by Dr. Amanda Berry from the SBE.  They had a list of interview questions in advance so that they could prepare their answers; each list tailored to each student. This allowed them to really think through what they wanted to say to share the best insight into their journeys.

Sound advice for placement-seeking students is rich – from how organized you need to be to secure a placement; interview preparations; and also the amount of time demanded for making applications and researching companies.

The raw video files are now being edited and answers collated for each specific question.  A compilation of voices of experience will create a final film which will be available for use by the Careers Education Centre (CEC) and school placement teams.

The final films will be made available on Learn and on the CEC webpages.