Virtual Reality in STEM Teaching – End of project update

A year down the line with our Teaching Innovation Award and we are very proud of how far we have come. What was once a ‘pie in the sky’ idea to create our own Loughborough STEM subject specific virtual reality application has come true and its going even further as we have been awarded a follow up TIA to extend it with different disciplines and onto a module.

The project was to test the concept of using virtual reality in lab teaching, primarily as a pre-lab exercise. We created an application based on the Chemistry experiment ‘Absorption Spectrophotometry’ that was based on the students completing 3 rooms in virtual reality.

The student first enters the ‘Familiarisation room’ where they put on their lab coat, get used to the environment and carry out short tasks like identifying apparatus.

They then enter the room that is most like a lab the ‘Experiment room’ and carry out the experiment using objects in a similar way that they would in the lab but with instructions and graphs on the walls around them for context.

Finally, the students, once getting the correct answer in their experiment, enter the ‘Advanced Molecular room’ where they can look at magnified versions of the atom structures, turn them around and examine their centre of symmetry.

Interwoven into all of this are 360° pictures of our very own STEMLab so the students have a connection to the labs they learn in.

Our student developer Nik Demosthenous was fantastic, he helped bring the academic content to life we are very grateful to him and think it’s great to be able to tap into the talent we have in our student body within these sorts of projects.

So, did we prove the concept was worthwhile? We think so!

We carried out two lots of student tests, with a total of 20 Chemistry student testers who completed surveys before and after using the VR to compare results.

We will be presenting our findings at this year’s Learning and Teaching conference, but the main headline is 80% of the students want more virtual reality and all reported that they felt the VR had improved their learning.

Author: Samantha Chester

Advance HE Mental Well-being Training: Embedding Mental Well-being in the Curriculum

In the following post Dr Sarah Turner (Director of the CAP Taught Course Programme) reflects on the recent Advance HE workshop on ‘Embedding Mental Well-being in the Curriculum’

With many key headlines surrounding Mental Health of students, this workshop was a good reminder to stand back and consider how we can support students (and staff) within our programme design.

Here are some points to digest and consider over the coming months about how we encourage positive learning opportunities that also create a supportive learning environment to promote positive mental health:

  • Teachers are the frontline for students – what could/should we be doing about this? How do we cover this in our tutor roles?
  • Post-graduate / Undergraduates / Foundation students – useful for staff to know the weeks where there are known ‘dips’ in student/staff well-being e.g. period of assessment, after Christmas. Encouraging sharing of well-being as a mode to ‘check-in’ with students.
  • World Health Organisation definition (2014) helpful to consider:
  • It’s everywhere but often invisible so perhaps the challenge is making it more explicit?
  • A5 diagnostic chart for each member of staff (on their wall/desk) so they know who to contact if something arises with a student in a tutorial?
  • 5 ways to embed well-being in a curriculum (by New Economic Foundation NEF):
    • Connect – connecting with students, personal 1:1, making friends in seminars, connections through learning in the classroom
    • Be active –  moving around e.g. walks together
    • Take notice – encourage people to be aware of their environment in Teaching and learning
    • Give – peer support / peer learning / how students give back to the Uni and how they can be citizens
    • Keep learning – foster independence, self-direction amongst students e.g. week 5 is health and well-being week – come along and colour the Uni colour map or come for a massage

Further Resources from the workshop are available below:

 

3rd Loughborough University Annual Learning and Teaching Conference 2018: Educating for Success

We are delighted to announce the themes for our annual Learning and Teaching Conference, which is being held in West Park Teaching Hub on 27th June 2018. The themes are:

  • Digital Literacy
  • Engaging students in the learning process
  • Student Wellbeing
  • How do students learn?

The call for abstracts of approximately 300 words is now open and full papers will not be required. Abstracts should be emailed to Glynis Perkin (g.perkin@lboro.ac.uk) and Sarah Bamforth (s.e.bamforth@lboro.ac.uk)

This year there are several different types of sessions from which presenters will be able to choose.

  • 5-minute presentations – Themed Sessions
  • 10-minute presentations – Mini Master class
  • 50-minute sessions – Interactive Workshop or Presentation. Suggested Topics are Virtual Reality or Inclusivity, however, abstracts under the broader themes of the conference are also welcome.
  • 30-minute Campfire sessions (introduce a topic, facilitate and drive a discussion on the topic but not the content).

There are also other opportunities to contribute (abstract not required)

  • World Café – facilitate small group discussions on a pre-determined issue.
  • Technology Showcase – book a stand to demonstrate the technology you use to enhance learning. For example: virtual reality; subject in a box.

The conference website is now being developed and may be viewed at: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/services/cap/lborolt18/ 

We look forward to welcoming you to a vibrant event showcasing current areas of interest.

2018 Research-informed Teaching Awards now open

The Research-informed Teaching Awards (RiTAs) have been launched for 2017/18.
They are designed to “recognise and celebrate academic staff who have made a sustained and outstanding contribution to the promotion of research-informed teaching at Loughborough University”.

There have been a number of changes to the RiTA over recent years, including making this a more competitive process with no limits on the number of applications each School may make.

Applicants for this award will need to submit a claim to their School Operations Manager or ADT by 9th March 2018. As with the Teaching Innovation Awards, our other teaching award, full details are on the CAP website – see http://www.lboro.ac.uk/services/cap/procedures-schemes/teaching-awards/

Presentations by the three recipients of the Vice-Chancellor’s awards for excellence in teaching and learning

The most recent CAP forum, introduced by Dr Nick Allsopp, provided opportunity for the three recipients of the Vice-Chancellor’s awards for excellence in teaching and learning to disseminate their practice. The event was well attended and each of the speakers engaged in a lively debate after their presentations.

Dr Cheryl Travers from the School of Business and economics disseminated her good practice relating to learning, transfer and impact where she used a five-stage model to encourage and help students to write smarter goals by using reflective practice. Further information is available in the following blog post: How to Evidence Excellence in Teaching and Learning – Reflective Goal Setting

The second speaker was Paula Gamble-Schwarz from the School of the Arts who presented on the Arts Foundation course. Paula talked about how this course, which has approximately 180 registered students, had been successfully restructured; students receive 20 hours contact per week and participate in a collaborative exhibition with Japanese students from Joshibi University of Art and Design. Further information is available on the following blog post: How to Evidence Excellence in Teaching and Learning – Foundation Programme

The final presentation was given by Dr Richard Hodgkins from Geography who focused on the importance of obtaining buy-in from the students and the student experience. He gave details about the achievement of accreditation from the Royal Geographical Society for our Geography degree programme. This accreditation has only been achieved by 20 institutions. Further information is available in the following blog post: Giving Students, Parents and Employers Confidence: Geography’s Experiences of Accreditation

 

 

 

2018 Teaching Innovation Awards now open

Do you want to make your teaching and learning more engaging, inspiring and innovative? Would you like to resolve an issue in teaching or learning in your discipline? Tackle issues of working in a group or team?

The 2018 Teaching Innovation Awards are now open for applications so this may be the chance to secure funding to support your work. Forms and guidance appear on the TIA webpage.

Open to anyone in the institution – staff, students, colleagues in the Students’ Union and professional services – these awards seek to enhance teaching and students’ academic experience.

All submissions go before a panel of colleagues drawn from across the University and LSU.

Awards range from £3,000 to £5,000 and are generally made to fund action research projects.

Previous winners have looked at improving the University’s use of: LEARN, feedback, new technologies in teaching, and student-led learning as well as ways of teaching practical skills and critical thinking.

This year’s awards are also open to previous winners who want to develop further impact from their original application.

The awards are administered by the Centre for Academic Practice on behalf of the University.

Applications will remain open until 28 February 2018. Applicants will need to discuss, develop and submit their ideas before then.

For more information visit the Teaching Innovation Awards page. If you would like a one-to-one bespoke session to discuss the awards, or a session for your School about the awards contact Deena Ingham at D.Ingham@lboro.ac.uk

European principles in Learning and Teaching

Colleagues in the Higher Education Academy have been working to co-author a set of European principles for L&T in HE as part of the EFFECT Project coordinated by the European Universities Association http://www.eua.be/activities-services/projects/current-projects/higher-education-policy/effect. The Principles have been drafted with the intention of having pan-European relevance, and the collaborative drafting process has aimed at achieving broad consensus. The Principles have also been designed to allow institutions to consider them and adapt them to their local context. Later iterations of the document will be augmented by guiding questions to help institutions evaluate their current position and establish strategies for enhancement, and will signpost to resources and examples from different countries to help with local adaptation.

The Principles can be accessed at http://www.eua.be/Libraries/default-document-library/web_effect-principles-one-pager16102017.pdf?sfvrsn=2

At Loughborough we have reviewed our PGCAP for new academics and have recently submitted an iteration of this taught provision to the HEA for accreditation. Both the existing PGCAP and the new taught course encompass the European principles and we will continue to deliver a high quality taught course which is relevant to our academics and makes links to the wider context within which higher education operates.

How to Evidence Excellence in Teaching and Learning – Reflective Goal Setting

Cheryl Travers (School of Business and Economics) was delighted this year to be one of the recipients of the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. In the post below, Cheryl explains why she is passionate about innovating and improving the student learning experiences.

Arriving at Loughborough more than 24 years ago now, I was passionate about finding ways to deliver innovative, developmental, transferable and impactful student learning experiences. I wanted to give Psychology away to our students, to maximise their potential as employable, successful, resilient and happy future leaders and members of society. Over the years I have eagerly shared my approach and enthusiasm for learning and teaching with other faculty across campus to aid their own personal and professional development, as well as provide ideas for advancing androgogy. In addition, I have sought to spread the word via other means, e.g., online materials (https://youtu.be/yfT8_t9c8JE), regular contributions to SBE blogs and in house magazine ‘Inspire’, the media, key notes at SBE client conferences, and TEDx talks to reach a wider international audience. (https://youtu.be/8oSEQ7f6QRQ and https://youtu.be/q52A0aCFcq0). The impact for me, personally, has been a very satisfying and fulfilling learning and teaching career to date, sprinkled with a number of learning and teaching related awards (SBE Teacher of the Year award (2012), USA Academy of Management ‘Management Education Division’ award for ‘Most innovative contribution to management education’ (2014); Loughborough RiTA award (2016); BPS Division of Occupational Psychology Academic Contribution to Practice (2017) in addition to the VC excellence award this year). I am very proud of the academic, professional and international recognition I have received for my teaching and research.

I feel my most influential and far reaching contribution has been the design and dissemination of my Reflective Goal Setting (RGS) model, which was created to; support the transfer of learning across a range of UG, PG and Executive Education programmes; turn our students into highly interpersonally skilled and adaptable goal setters; and to enhance students’ employment and leadership potential. The resulting data gathered on their goal experiences has provided evidence for the ongoing impact of RGS and has resulted in a number of outputs so far (e.g. Travers, C.J. (2011), Unveiling a reflective diary methodology for exploring the lived experiences of stress and coping, Journal of Vocational Behavior, 79 (204-216); Travers, C.J. (2013),Using Goal Setting Theory to Promote Personal Development, Ch 36 pp 603-621 in New Developments in Goal Setting and Task Performance, Ed Locke and Gary Latham (Eds), Routledge; Travers, C, Morisano, D, & Lock, E. A. (2015). Growth goals and academic achievement: A qualitative study. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 85(2), 224-241). Currently we are carrying out evaluation and impact research on this model and the findings so far suggest that it can have far reaching impact for individuals, their teams and the organisations within which they work.

HEA National Teaching Fellowship Scheme – Applications

The National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) run by the Higher Education Academy opens its application ‘window’ in January 2018. Each University is able to support up to three candidates for NTF and Loughborough University now has an established process for choosing and then mentoring potential candidates for submission.

The first stage in this process is attendance at a workshop design to provide further information and to discuss the requirements for submission. The workshop will take place on 21st November 2017 from 12.00 – 1.00pm in Rutland 1.13a.

In preparation for the workshop colleagues are asked to write around 500 words about their teaching practice and bring this to the session. This should address the NTFS criteria:

  • Individual excellence: evidence of enhancing and transforming the student learning experience commensurate with the individual’s context and the opportunities afforded by it.
  • Raising the profile of excellence: evidence of supporting colleagues and influencing support for student learning; demonstrating impact and engagement beyond the nominee’s immediate academic or professional role
  • Developing excellence: evidence of the nominee’s commitment to her/his ongoing professional development with regard to teaching and learning and/or learning support

You can find out more about the NTFS on https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/professional-recognition/awards/national-teaching-fellowship-scheme-ntfs

All enquires to Nick Allsopp in CAP- email: N.J.Allsopp@lboro.ac.uk

How to Evidence Excellence in Teaching and Learning – Foundation Programme

Paula Gamble-Schwarz and colleagues on the Foundation Art & Design programme were delighted this year to be one of the recipients of the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. In the post below, Paula explains and shares their successful application template, which can act as a guide for programme teams.

I believe that within the one year Foundation Programme (SAED), we continually evidence a professional and meaningful level of contact, stimulation, challenge and achievement which can be supported by analysis of our student outcomes, staff collaboration, student support and academic culture. Students achieve through the implementation of our ongoing programme of excellence. Foundation staff are engaged and active in their modelling, mentoring, mutual appreciation, productive action and achievement of learner outcomes (evidenced in Ofsted report). I would like to be considered for the VC’S Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching in recognition of the outstanding learning outcomes and achievements that I support via my team across the Foundation Programme.