CAP Forum: Embedding Research in Teaching

This year’s first CAP Forum focused on the topic of embedding your research in your teaching. As a result, we invited one of this year’s Research-informed Teaching Award winners to present on how and why she embeds her research into her teaching, and what her research is about. In 2002, Dr Cheryl Travers set up a module to fill what she perceived as a gap in Learning and Teaching from her experience of being an academic occupational psychologist. This gap was the extent to which the SBE finalists have developed their ‘soft’ skills in their final year after their placement.

Her research is about her ‘Reflective goal setting model’ and the module puts this into practice- asking students to reflect on themselves, set goals, use the ‘power of written reflection’ to measure the impact of those goals. She asks the students to write a diary which for the first time this year will take the form of an electronic portfolio thanks to her new innovative system for students to log their thoughts.

The discussion that followed focused mostly on her actual pedagogic research, and how other disciplines can apply her reflective goal setting model, from Arts students to STEM students, and even students wishing to learn a language while at University.

Overall, it was an enjoyable afternoon with lively discussion, an abundance of food, and a wonderful talk by Dr Cheryl Travers. The session was lecture captured, which you can find here, and you can also find Cheryl’s papers on her research around goal setting, as well as her recent TEDx talk that she delivered at Loughborough Students’ Union below.

Dr Travers’ papers – 

Self reflection, growth goals and academic outcomes: A qualitative study

Unveiling a reflective diary methodology for exploring the lived experiences of stress and coping

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.

 

Summertime manoeuvres

Isn’t the summer supposed to be the time when the living is easy, fish are jumping and the cotton is high? Two recent posts suggest that the recently proposed Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is stirring a lot of thinking and calls for action across the sector:

In a post on the WonkHE site – http://www.wonkhe.com/blogs/removing-the-fuzzy-edges-from-the-tef/ – Gordon Mckenzie, the Chief executive of the GuildHE, one of the two recognised representative bodies for Higher education (according to its website), discusses the TEF and makes the following important points:

  • The TEF seems likely to use a series of metrics, some of which already exist and others that currently don’t.
  • Ones that already exist could include
    • recruitment data: students’ prior qualifications, the socio-economic background of students, teaching qualifications of staff
    • Graduation data: NSS and DLHE data
  • Ones that need developing are perhaps around “learning gain”
  • The government call for help and guidance in constructing the TEF has been welcomed and the opportunity seized.
  • Jo Johnson, the Minister in charge of this project, wants something that is “cyclical, external, independent’ and open to peer review.

Mckenzie argues for the need to find a system which is at once sector wide and at the same time responsive to the local circumstances of the individual institution. One suggestion is to have a series of common indicators across all institutions and then allow individual institutions to add others, perhaps from a list of options. He ends is post with the observation that “If collectively, we get it right then students will benefit. The findings from the HEPI/HEA 2015 Student Academic Experience Survey show there is still some way to go to convince students they are getting value from university teaching. An effective TEF can help accentuate the positives and eliminate the negatives for students.”

Alongside this the THE published an article from the new HEA Chair, professor Rama Thirunamachandran -see https://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/new-hea-chair-paying-members-could-enshrine-it-professional-body – in which the prospect of the HEA becoming the professional body for higher education academics involved in teaching was again discussed. The article linked the change in the HEA’s role with the introduction of a membership fee for individuals (as well as the institutional fee currently charged).

There will be much debate about this and the article suggests some opposing ideas. Perhaps the biggest issue though will be the tension between a TEF that seems to require academics to have teaching qualifications and the body that runs this scheme who see it as a voluntary professional body. This debate has already happened in the schools sector and the General Teaching Council now no longer exists.

There is still much to discuss before the government produces its Green paper but the lines of argument are becoming clear, its just that an agreement seems a long way off just yet.

Learning from our students

Sometimes we overlook the obvious, so eager are we to begin our taught sessions where time is at a premium, and it takes our students to pull us up short.

We know who we are, we know a university as prestigious as Loughborough would not ask us to teach without checking our credentials for such a key role, and yet sometimes we forget the most basic of essentials.

Students from PHIR and Social Sciences collaboratively exploring with staff ways of engaging students when teaching large groups said respect was essential, and produced one simple tip. “To earn our respect, tell us who you are. Please introduce yourself.” Continue reading

Dr Peter Willmot (Wolfson) awarded HEA National Teaching Fellowship

117-Peter-WillmotCongratulations to Dr Peter Willmot on being awarded a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship.

The Higher Education Academy has announced today, 12th June, the 2014 National Teaching Fellows. The National Teaching Fellowships are the most prestigious awards for excellence in higher education teaching and support for learning. There were 180 nominations with 55 fellowships awarded. Successful nominees were nominated by their institutions and submissions had to show evidence of three criteria: individual excellence, raising the profile of excellence and developing excellence. More information can be found here.

Dr Peter Willmot is a Principal University Teacher in the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and is described in his profile as ‘practical mechanical engineer, an energetic, innovative, dedicated teacher and distinguished pedagogic researcher’ click here to read more.

Dr Peter Willmot joins Dr Anthony Croft and Dr Christopher Sangwin as the National Teaching Fellows currently at Loughborough University and is one of 6 Academics that have been awarded the fellowship whilst working at Loughborough.

The dates for the National Teaching Fellowship scheme 2015 will be released shortly. If you are interested in becoming a National Teaching Fellow please get in touch with Dr Nick Allsopp (Head of Academic Practice).

Loughborough Academic Awards

Congratulations to all those that were nominated and won awards at the Loughborough Academic Awards (LAAs) for their brilliant teaching!

Teaching award winners were:

A special congratulations goes to our Director, Dr Carol Robinson. Carol is also a Senior Lecturer in the Maths Education Centre and won a ‘Highly Commended’ in the Innovative Teaching category!

LAAs picture

 

Thank you to Becky Lauder-Fletcher VP Education and the Students’ Union for holding the awards. The evening was a wonderful celebration of both staff and students. It has been great to hear from some of the winners how delighted they are with the award and we hope the LAAs go from strength to strength with even more nominations next year!

Reminder- Teaching Awards

Carol Robinson and Morag Bell at TIA eventPlease note that the closing date for submission of documentation relating to Teaching Innovation Awards is Friday 7th March 2014, directly to the Teaching Centre.

For applications relating to Research-informed Teaching Awards, the closing date is Monday 28th April 2014.

Further details on Teaching Innovation Awards can be found on the Teaching Centre website. Further details on Research-informed Teaching Awards can be found on the Teaching Centre website.

Teaching Awards for 2014

Carol Robinson and Morag Bell at TIA eventThe Teaching Centre has now updated the information for the two teaching awards it administers and the details are available on our website.

The Teaching Innovation Award is a means of supporting academic and learning support staff in new initiatives and small pedagogic research projects that contribute directly to the quality of teaching at Loughborough. For this round there is approximately £20,000 available in total to bid for and awards are normally to a maximum of £3000 but with the possibility to increase that to £5000 for exceptional cases. The closing date for submissions is Friday 7th March 2014. Full details are on the Teaching Centre website.

The Research-informed Teaching Award is 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 for this new call, 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 by 28th April 2014. As with the other teaching award, full details are on the Teaching Centre website.