Co-Creating a Programme Focussed Assessment Strategy in BSc Food Science

Julia Rodriguez Garcia: Department of Food and Nutritional Science

j.rodriguezgarcia@reading.ac.uk

Link back to case studies on the T and L Exchange website

Overview

This student-staff partnership involved students from all year groups, academics and the programme administrator of the BSc Food Science. In this PlanT project the Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment (TESTA) methodology was used to develop programme focus assessment strategy that could lead to a reduction in volume and improved distribution of assessment, and overall enhance student and staff experience

Objectives

The main aim of this project was to take an evidence-based approach to enabling a cultural shift required from ‘my module’ to ‘our programme’ to engage staff in an integral restructuration of the assessment design, volume, and distribution in the programme.

The main objectives of the project were:

  • To assess if there is assessment is evenly distributed in terms of volume and weighting and type across the programme
  • To explore and propose changes in the design of assessment tasks to move to a programme level assessment strategy that could improve student and staff experience

Context

Restructuration of programmes have been usually performed at modular level, resulting in limited coordination of the learning (including assessment) strategy at programme level. In the BSc Food Science this led to student complains about high volume of assessment tasks due in a short period of time. External examiners also commented on the high volume of coursework components. And staff was overload with marking and feedback tourn around deadlines.

Having small assessment tasks set within a module, results in only a small number of concepts assessed as part of each task which leads to losing the holistic perspective of the subject area creating the effect of fragmenting knowledge and promoting surface learning, such as memorisation of content. Thus, a change from assessment of learning to assessment for/as learning will facilitate a change in behaviours improving students’ motivation and rewarding staff efforts

Implementation

Figure 1. Structure of the Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment’ (TESTA method)

We developed Programme Level Assessment Maps that allowed us to calculate the number of assignments per credits, the weighting distribution per week and per term. These maps helped to create a visual interpretation of the students’ experience to increase staff awareness of the real situation at programme level (not just in their modules).

Assessment Map of Part 1 of an BSc in Food Science. Assessment activities are labelled in colours: purple for formative activities, pink for summative activities from compulsory modules, yellow for summative activities from optional modules, red for exams. The type of assessment activities and the weighting are also presented in the map.

In collaboration with students, we modify the Assessment Experience Questionnaire to give students more space to reflect in their experience when performing certain type of assessments. This questionnaire was run two consecutive years.

One of the students leading the PlanT project carried out a focus groups with students from all year groups to reflect and discuss on the way they learn, the skills the develop and the challenges they faced completing assessment tasks.

We combined all the data, discussed it in light of published literature and draw some final suggestions to modify our assessment design practices. The results and future strategies were presented in a staff meeting lead by a student.

Impact

This project has facilitated and achieved a change in staff mindset from module level to programme level. This has been reflected in a 9% reduction on assessment activities from 2018-2019 to 2019-2020.

Figure 3: Principles and practices that will inform and define the implementation of a programme focused assessments trategy

This shift in focus will allow us to perform more holistic changes following a common set of principles that underpin the development of authentic assessment to promote higher order thinking skills, integration of knowledge (horizontally and vertically), and students’ motivation and independence.

The conclusions from this project and the proposed strategies to develop a programme level assessment approach have been implemented in the department through the Portfolio Review

Reflection

The development of a cohesive staff community of Programme Directors, Module Convenors, and support staff from the teaching hub with strong communication links is crucial for the design and delivery of a high-quality programme.

Moreover, student voice and partnership are crucial for the co-development of teaching and assessment approaches, working collaborations are transformational both for the community wellbeing and for achieving highly successful outcomes. Development of a sense of community within the department is something distinctive in Food Science.

Follow up

Brown, Sally, and Kay Sambell. 2020a. “Changing assessment for good: a major opportunity for educational developers.” Assessment, Learning and Teaching in Higher Education; Sally Brown. https://sally-brown.net/kay-sambell-and-sally-brown-covid-19-assessment-collection/.

Murphy, Vanessa, James Fox, Sinéad Freeman, and Nicola Hughes. 2017. ““Keeping It Real”: A Review of the Benefits, Challenges and Steps Towards Implementing Authentic Assessment.”. The All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (AISHE-J) 9 (3):2801.

O’Neil, Geraldine Mary. 2019. “Why don’t we want to reduce assessment?”  All Ireland Journal of Higher Education 11 (2):1-7.

TESTA. Transforming the Experience of Students Through Assessment. https://www.testa.ac.uk/

Villarroel, V.; Bloxham, S.; Bruna, D.; Bruna, C.; Herrera-Seda, C. Authentic assessment: creating a blueprint for course design. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 2018, 43, 840-854, doi:10.1080/02602938.2017.1412396.

The One Where a Timetable Merger Gives Rise to a Curriculum Implementation Review

Emma-Jayne Conway, James Kachellek and Tamara Wiehe

t.wiehe@reading.ac.uk

Link back to case studies on the T and L Exchange website

Overview

Staff and students in CWI collaborated on a project initially designed to merge two timetables of sister programmes to aid cross programme working (objective 1) but gave rise to the perfect opportunity to review the way our PWP curriculum is implemented following the pandemic (objective 2). In this blog, we reflect on achieving both objectives within our original timeframe!

Objectives

1.     To create a single timetable to aid cross-programme working for teaching and administrative staff.

2.     To review curriculum implementation including structure and modality on a modular and programme level with all key stakeholders.

Context

In response to a departmental restructure, we required more efficient ways of working across programmes starting with a uniform timetable. Early on, the project evolved to also review the structure and modality of the curriculum. Our two sister PWP training programmes (one undergraduate and one postgraduate) are virtually identical with a few exceptions but historically had been managed separately.

Over the course of 2021, we planned, designed, and implemented a timetable merger for our September cohorts. This impacted on 3 modules (4 for undergraduates) that form the PWP training year for the MSci Applied Psychology (Clinical) students and the Postgraduate/graduate Certificate in Evidence-Based Psychological Treatments (IAPT Pathway).

Taking both Higher Education and Mental Health Care processes into consideration was no easy feat, including those specific to University of Reading (e.g., term dates), our national PWP curriculum specifying the content and learning outcomes for our 26 teaching days and 19 study days, and British Psychological Society (BPS) accreditation requirements. Modality was a particularly important topic throughout this project, taking key learnings from remote delivery during the pandemic as well as awaiting guidance from our professional accrediting body.

Overall, it served as an excellent opportunity to work collaboratively with staff and students to review the implementation of PWP training at the University of Reading.

Implementation

  1. Early 2021: The PWP team met on several occasions to discuss the possibility of merging the two timetables, including transitioning to a “blended” format of online and face-to-face teaching post-Covid. We set out a timeline for planning, designing, and implementing the project.
  2. Advice was sought from the Director of Training in CWI and colleagues in Academic Development, CQSD based on their experience of timetable mergers and a green light was given based on our draft plans!
  3. Several options were considered before the final format was arrived at: Face-to-face teaching is weighted towards the first module/term with progressive increase to the online taught content as the course progresses. (Rationale supplied elsewhere in this blog).
  4. The educator team were able to draw on feedback from online teaching to gauge the attitude of the student body to online learning, as well as expectations and concerns related to a return to the classroom (see Impact, below). The student voice was important in terms of utilising partnership to create meaningful change to curriculum implementation. However, engaging professional practice students via the course reps was a challenge due to time constraints, therefore, we were able to engage graduate instead. This is something we would consider earlier on in future projects.
  5. The educator team unanimously agreed that the externally taught content of the VEC module could be effectively taught with mixed cohorts from the Core-PWP and MSci cohorts using an online approach.
  6. Information on the changes was disseminated to Program Administrators to enable efficient implementation. External Educators were made aware of the retention of online lecture sessions, and the mixed-cohort approach, by the VEC module convenor.
  7. Timetables were updated by the Program Director, in collaboration with Module Convenors; consideration has been given to the potential Workflow impact of closely aligning multiple cohorts (see below). Timetables have been looked at by the team ‘side-by-side,’ to ensure that Workflow balance is maintained for educators across all cohorts. We can continue to monitor the impact on workload while adjustments are made to teaching (such as with the Working Document mentioned in the Follow-Up section, below).
  8. IAPT Services were made aware of the changes to the timetables

Impact

As of October 2021, the merged timetables are proving effective, with no major barriers, having been detected. Predicted barriers included those to effective teaching of (previously face-to-face) content, student/staff dissatisfaction with a blended approach, and significant administrative/technical difficulties.

Face-to-Face teaching resumed in September 2021 and has been a successful return to the classroom. Educators report being able to switch between live sessions and face-to-face teaching days without significant barriers.

The educator team plan to continue to gather feedback on the student experience of the blended and merged approach. We will be able to assess feedback when the first cohorts fully complete in June 2022.

Feedback will be sought from module convenors, educators, and program administrators using “menti” feedback forms, bi-weekly team meetings and informal qualitative discussion, to gauge the impact of the changes on workflow. Student feedback will also be monitored through end-of-module feedback collated by the School.

Reflection

  • The challenge of engaging professional practice students and utilising graduates to overcome this. We will consider setting up graduate/patient advisory group for future projects.
  • Using feedback from a MSci graduate led to timetable changes to ensure readability and clarity for students. This included points such as colour coding F2F v online teaching days, explaining acronyms, etc.
  • Involving all members of the team (especially Module Convenors) felt like a much more meaningful and collaborative process than Programme Director decisions alone. It gave Module Convenors autonomy over their modules as well as aligning learning outcomes across the 3 modules of the programme which is particularly important for clinical training. Other courses may wish to replicate this approach to build team cohesion and allow all colleagues to make meaningful contributions to programme changes and delivery.

Follow up

  • Working document has been created for the educator team to comment on the teaching they have just delivered i.e., was there enough time to deliver all content? This has allowed changes to be made within a matter of weeks as the same day is delivered across the programmes. As a result, we can fine-tune the timetable and delivery of the programme quicky and efficiently to improve the student experience.
  • We will review module by module and at the end of each cohort to continue making any necessary adjustments. Module and programme evaluations, student-staff rep meetings and any feedback from individual teaching days will also help to inform this.

 

Driving programme development in the IOE: student focus groups and paper writing

Jo Anna Reed Johnson – Institute of Education

j.a.reedjohnson@reading.ac.uk

Link back to case studies on the T and L Exchange website

Overview

This article outlines the thinking to drive programme development through student focus groups across three IOE programmes.  The outcome to write a paper and present at a conference helped me to frame this project with a team of academics focusing on changes made during Covid-19 (2020-2021).  This article will share reflections on setting up and running of the focus groups, the delivery of the conference presentation and the final paper writing.  Finally, it will discuss what we have learnt from this and what we will continue to do.

Objectives

  • Share 4 academic perspectives on the redesigning of three modules (SKE, STEAM, PGCE Sec Science) that all have practical elements (laboratory or school), due to Covid-19, by sharing what we did and exploring the student perspectives
  • Show how we designed opportunities for discussion and collaboration when conducting practical work or school related work online
  • Consider the use of student focus groups for programme co-development
  • Reflect on the collaborative nature of paper writing and co-programme reflections

Context

At the IOE there are a range of teacher education programmes, with a practical focus.  The four colleagues engaged in this article were involved with Skills in Schools (ED2TS1 – March to July 2020), SKE (IESKEP and PFTZSKEMATHSA– March to Aug 2020) and PGCE Secondary Science (GFSTSCIENCE – September 2020 to June 2021).  These programmes all require students to work in schools and engage in a science laboratory (if science focused).  As COVID hit in March 2020 we had to think quickly and imaginatively, transforming our provision to be online where required.  Having worked across all three programmes I felt it was pedagogically appropriate to engage our students in the ways we had throughout their learning during the pandemic, where they worked in online communities of practice to reflect.  Thus, we decided to set up a series of focus groups with students reflecting on the impact of the changes and to provide insights for future programme innovations.  This culminated in a conference presentation and paper.

Implementation

The focus was to drive programme development through reflections and shared experiences of academics and students.  I set up a project timeline and MS Team to manage and drive the deliverables, with the end goal to engage students as co-programme developers and to culminate in a conference presentation and paper.  It required framing the project, seeking ethical approval and funding, setting up focus groups to collect data, then reflections and writing up.

Framing the project allowed me to maintain the focus for the redesigning of three modules that all had practical elements (laboratory or school), due to Covid-19.  And then exploring how that had impacted on students through focus groups. It was the conference and paper deadlines that drove this activity and timeline.  At first colleagues wondered why we were writing a paper for a submission related to the School of Architecture (Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University), but in fact it was because it was about ‘place’.  The remit was a paper related to ‘online education: teaching in a time of change’.

Seeking ethical approval and funding all required knowing where to go and what to do.  Ethical approval required submission of an ethical approval form (including consent form, interview schedule, focus group details) to the IOE ethics committee.  Then applying for funding through the University Travel Grants Scheme – Tasha Easton – e.saxon@reading.ac.uk

Data Collection was initially carried out using MS Forms, for the initial feedback request.  Consent was also required, so where this could not be achieved in person, there was a need to have consent approval attached to the top of the MS Form.  Once participants had consented and those who were willing had indicated taking part in the focus groups, I could set up a series of focus groups across the three programmes, to take place on MS Teams.  We decided to split the four sets of interviews into subject specific groups so that the conversations and reflections could be driven by the students.  One student was nominated as the chair, and they had a template of questions to guide their discussions.

Paper Writing was a challenge as we needed to fit this around our Teaching Focused roles.  I created a writing template after attending an IOE Research and Scholarship Writing Workshop with Professor Alan Floyd.  I scheduled meetings to review, discuss and allocate sections of writing.

The whole process began in December 2020 and continued through to 30 May 2021, with the conference in 21-23 April 2021 (July 2021- Paper Publication).

 

Impact

There were several elements of impact:

  • Working collaboratively with colleagues to reflect on programme development
  • Engaging students as co-programme developers
  • Attending a conference (where funding allowed)
  • Conference paper presentation
  • Conference paper publication

Reflection

In terms of the setting up of focus groups and driving data collection, we learnt that we needed to be organised, and the timeline/plan really helped to keep that focus.  There were times where we were too busy, but we had to create time as we had deliverables to meet.  If we had not have had those deliverables of a conference presentation and paper, we may have let this slip and do it ‘next year’.

Writing the paper was a challenge in that we had not done this together before, and some colleagues had not written an academic paper in a very long time, or even an educational one.  So, creating that writing template and allocating tasks worked.

Gaining conference funding can always be a challenge.  But reaching out and asking was the first thing to do. Then finding out what could be offered at the University/School Level.  Next time, we would all like to attend the conference.  Being an online conference made it more difficult to engage, and I think next time we would plan to all get funding an attend a face-to-face conference so that we too can benefit from being part of the Community of Practice.

What we will continue to do….

  • Develop students as programme co-developers through focus groups, engaging them in the paper writing.
  • Use focus groups to help us (academics) reflect on our own practice and discuss developments across programmes.
  • Drive programme development through the sharing of practices, building communities of practice with timelines and deliverables.

What else will we do…

  • Engage students in the paper writing and conference process.
  • Seek funding to attend a F2F conference with colleagues to allows us time and space to continue to reflect on practice.

Links

Research and Travel Grants Committee: https://www.reading.ac.uk/closed/research/committees/res-researchtravelgrantsubcommittee.aspx

AMPS Conference 21-23 April 2021 – https://architecturemps.com/online-ed-conference/

Merging the Academic Tutor System into Compulsory Core Skills Modules

Lizzy Lander – School of Chemistry Food and Pharmacy

e.r.lander@reading.ac.uk

Link back to case studies on the T and L Exchange website

Overview

This blog will outline the successful integration of core (compulsory) skills modules with the academic tutor system via a curriculum of tutorials designed in this project to be delivered by tutors. This project involved the successful design and scheduling of tutorials for tutors to deliver that supported content (e.g. writing and referencing) in core skills modules to allow better support for student academic skill development and also more closely link tutors into modular taught material.

Objectives

  • Link new academic tutor system with existing Key Skills modules through newly designed academic tutorials discussing core skills to be delivered by tutors.
  • Design this curriculum of tutorials to improve engagement and development of skills at relevant points in the academic year.
  • Design tutorial resources for tutors to ensure consistent support for tutees.
  • Schedule tutorials so tutors and tutees have a place/time to meet in their timetable to facilitate engagement.

Context

SBS had been delivering core skill “Key Skills” modules in parts 1 & 2 for a number of years (since 2015) that focused on academic skills (e.g. writing, referencing,). The introduction of the academic tutor system (2018) with greater focus on academic skills development was closely aligned with the learning outcomes of these modules therefore it was proposed to link the two together.

Implementation

Firstly, an audit of the core skills taught in the Key Skills modules took place to identify which would be most impactful for student development to be reinforced by being integrated into tutorials with academic tutors. Then assignment timetabling was examined to create a schedule of tutorials for the identified skills which allowed practice and formative feedback before assignments, as well as post-assignment feedback to allow students to identify areas of development.

Next, tutorials were formally timetabled, so students viewed these sessions as part of their “normal” academic schedule rather than optional meetings with their tutors.

Afterwards, resources for tutors were created so they could facilitate these tutorials. This consisted of a one to two page pro-forma to inform tutors about the running of the session. Other resources created included materials for activities such as essays to critique as a group. This would also help improve consistency between tutors delivering these sessions as all tutors would have the same session to deliver.

Finally, this project was presented to staff along with details on how resources and information would be disseminated (initially email). Throughout the year tutorials were run by academic tutors directed by the pro-formas and resources with support if needed. Tutors also marked their tutees’ assignments in Key Skills and gave them feedback in their tutorials. Outside of the scheduled tutorials tutors gave one-to-one support for tutees as needed.

Impact

The implementation and influence of these structured and timetabled tutorials was highly effective in supporting tutees in improving academic skills and improving the consistency of tutors engaging with their tutees. Positive impact was clear from the students (surveying parts 1 + 2 in 2019); 53% felt supported/very supported by their tutor and overall, 65% were satisfied/very satisfied with their sessions with 62% finding the summative feedback from tutors helpful and 72% found it useful/very useful to have tutorials in their timetable. Tutors also fed back they have a much clearer idea of what do at tutorials and how best to support student development, whilst valuing the resources provided in this project.

Overall staff and student experience was positively impacted with staff being led and guided to successfully support student development more effectively and consistently.

Reflection

This activity was successful in the way in which it blended together academic tutors,  compulsory modules, as well as assessment and feedback. This generated a platform from which students could learn and practise academic skills for success at university in both a compulsory module and with their tutor through formative and summative feedback. This also helped formalise the role of the tutor for both staff and students giving both groups direction, which ultimately benefitted the students’ academic development. Given that each tutorial had a pro-forma of discussions and activities this helped all tutorials stay consistent so all students got broadly the same development opportunities. Finally, the timetabling of meetings made the tutorials like a normal part of the academic calendar encouraging engagement.

Implementation when supplying information and resources via email to academics was shown to not be the most efficient distribution method and ultimately, some students did not attend tutorials despite reminders of the purpose of these sessions, meaning not all students benefitted from this project.

Follow up

The core outcome of the project in that Key Skills modules would be linked by academic tutorials run by tutors and assessments marked by tutors has continued to be implemented in SBS. However, some alterations have been made for more efficient accessing of materials, by placing resources on a OneDrive that could be accessed at any time. This then evolved into an MS Team to store these resources and also allow tutors to ask questions.

References

A Partnership in SLL to Enhance Blended Learning Practices: an Analysis of the Process and Findings

Michael Lyons- School of Literature and Languages

m.lyons@reading.ac.uk 

Link back to case studies on the T and L Exchange website

Overview

PEBLSS (a Partnership to Enhance Blended Learning – between Staff and Students) was a project seeking to strengthen teaching and learning in SLL. It particularly focuses on enhancing methods of teaching and learning amidst the extraordinary conditions faced by staff and students which has resulted in the transition into blended and online learning.

Context

A survey was designed and sent to students within the School of Literature and Languages, to identify members of staff who have excelled at blended learning during the Covid-19 pandemic 2020-2021. This was done by identifying three key areas of learning (pre-recorded lectures, live sessions, and assessment) and asking students to name the members of staff whom they believe stood out based on each of these core areas and their reasons behind this. Interviews were conducted to complete case studies based on these responses. Overall, 76 students responded to the survey.

We aimed to reduce “survey fatigue” due to the substantial number of surveys that students have received throughout the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, by keeping the questions to short answers and multiple-choice, students were more likely to respond and contribute their ideas within the survey.

Once the surveys were collected, the results were analysed to identify the members of staff that proved to have stood out among the students in each of the core areas. From this, interviews were arranged and conducted to allow for the chosen members of staff to expand on their experience of teaching during the blended learning approach.

Objectives

The questions were designed to obtain specific examples of good teaching practices, and for the members of staff to

  1. elaborate on their successful methods.
  2. discover what teaching practices were successfully put into place and the ways they could be adapted into future teaching.
  3. retrieving information from nominated staff regarding how they continued to carry out assessments and ensure students felt supported in their assessments in the transition to the blended learning environment.

Implementation

Thirty minutes was designated per interview; however, many of the interviews extended beyond the time frame due the detail of the answers. Interviews were recorded and saved onto Microsoft Stream, for the researchers to conduct further analysis.

Impact

Summary of findings for the pre-recorded lectures

  • Pre-recorded lectures offered the opportunity to bring in new, innovative audio-visual materials to support and enhance sessions. It was noted that different modes of delivery are important.
  • Pre-recorded lectures were received well when language and style of speech was concise but exaggerated. More emphasis is needed on the speech style rather than gestures (and other paralinguistic features), as these are lost online. Additionally, potentially politically sensitive topics need extra consideration for online sessions.
  • Guides about timeframes (like a week-by-week schedule) are useful for the organisation of pre-recorded lectures. Students know what they are learning when; examples of these practices were demonstrated in the interviews by a word document calendar, or a weekly bitesize email.
  • It was advised that longer segments for the pre-recorded lectures should be avoided. 20-minute segments were recommended, as this makes the sessions concise but the content for the segment is still detailed,thus maintaining student engagement online.
  • It is also advisable to have weekly folders, clearly labelled, with the pre-recorded lectures (with an embedded link), PowerPoint presentation, and any other specific resources or worksheets relevant to the screencast.
  • It was noted that it was advantageous to have short videos of around 2-3 minutes in length to go over the concepts of the lecture; this makes it easier for students to revise. It also ensures that staff have covered important materials more than once e.g., prioritisation of information.
  • Useful to have several check-ins with students near the beginning and middle of the module so that feedback about the pre-recorded lectures can be acted on whilst students are learning.
  • Discussion boards were useful for the screencast exercises and promoted more student engagement. It was another useful tool for students to feedback about the screencasts, or if they had any questions.
  • Timestamping information was beneficial. Outlining to students when certain parts or concepts are going to show in the pre-recorded lecture was advantageous because students can use the timestamps to revise specific information.
    • It was noted that pre-recorded lectures were challenging because of the constraints of timing, editing and personalisation of content. Additionally, use of the pre-recorded lectures for the future was a topic under discussion in the interviews. Staff recognised the benefits of having the pre-existing screencasts; however, ensuring the information was up-to-date and engaging for current students was a concern. It was also noted that if the pre-recorded lectures were personalised this year for current students, the session would need to be updated or reproduced for the next year group.

 

Summary of findings for the live sessions

  • The advantages of live sessions:
  • Attendance is strong – reflected in the marking
  • Online sessions easier than socially distanced face-to-face sessions for discussions and facilitating dialogue
  • Sharing of files – OneNote/Blackboard/Collaborate
  • The number of methods identified to help increase student participation

The disadvantages of live sessions:

  • Technology – Learning new technology – reliance of technology, difficult if not working

Reflection

This project has been widely beneficial, not only in identifying current good teaching practices, but also finding methods to help for future pre-recorded lectures, live sessions, and assessments. The project was also beneficial for us as students. In identifying good practices during the pandemic, we were able to feed this information back to staff (and students) at the Teach Share event on the 29th of June 2021.

Overall, it is evident from this project that there are many teaching practices used by staff both before and during the Covid-19 pandemic that are beneficial to other members of staff (as well as the students) and therefore this project highlighted how important it is to share teaching practices, not only within individual departments, but school and university-wide.

Using OneDrive to Address the Challenges of Online Groupwork

Natalie Drake, Gemma Peacock, Rachel Rushton – ISLI

n.drake@reading.ac.uk; g.peacock@reading.ac.uk;  r.rushton@reading.ac.uk

Link back to case studies on the T and L Exchange website

Overview

Moving two ISLI academic skills modules (IF0ACA and IF0RAS) to online delivery presented certain challenges for group interaction. In online learning environments building interpersonal relationships, and dealing with both connectivity issues and different time-zones can prove problematic for international students and their tutors. To address this, group OneDrive folders were set up as a repository for collaborative documents, such as research findings or presentation slides. Students interacted with these during online workshops and asynchronously, while tutors monitored group engagement and provided instantaneous feedback to students. It resulted in a positive student response and recognition of its transferability as a study skill and to face-to-face learning.

Objectives

The aims of this activity were:

  1. To facilitate online group work by providing collaborative spaces through OneDrive
  2. To develop transferable IT literacy skills
  3. To improve communication and interpersonal skills
  4. To develop independent study skills and transferable IT literacy skills
  5. To improve student engagement
  6. To improve the time efficiency of online activities

Context

Both skills modules are compulsory 20-credit modules for home Foundation students and focus on developing group work skills. In term two, in both modules, students are required to complete summative assessments that rely heavily on group work, which forced tutors to reconsider how to facilitate this online.

Implementation

The theory underpinning the use of OneDrive to facilitate groupwork is the Community of Inquiry model (Garrison, Anderson and Archer, 2001) where knowledge is formed and embedded within a social context. Since classes moved online it has become more important for us as educators to find ways to encourage interpersonal relationships online, not only between students and peers but also between students and their teachers. Using OneDrive addresses some of these social issues and helps students to build relationships while developing knowledge and skills online. Lipman applied the Community of Inquiry model to education and stated that ‘education is the outcome of participation in a teacher-guided community of inquiry’ (2003, pp.18–19)​. Using OneDrive allows teachers to scaffold tasks and to clearly direct students, offering an alternative to knowledge transmission whereby students can arrive at more higher ordered thinking critical for Higher Education. Using OneDrive synchronously or asynchronously in online learning satisfies the three essential elements of the Community of Inquiry model: social presence (how participants identify with their community), cognitive presence (how much learners can construct meaning through reflection together) and teaching presence (how we design and facilitate processes for realising learning outcomes).

Setting up OneDrive for activities requires several steps. Firstly, module folders are set at the top level of the OneDrive folders, then within those class folders are created.

 

The next level contains specific assignment folders and within those folders are group folders which contain any necessary files or folders from teachers, course directors or students themselves.

 

Once students are added to groups within their class for a particular assignment, a link is generated for the relevant folder. Students are introduced to their group OneDrive repository and link via an email and encouraged to save the link as a bookmark for ease of access.

 

There are three main ways in which we implemented OneDrive in our courses. Firstly, we used it in asynchronous group tasks through Blackboard. Tutors could check student engagement and prepare feedback before the live session after the task deadline. This worked well when students needed to prepare information or brainstorm ideas before a synchronous task in the live session.

 

The second way was through synchronous group tasks in the live sessions themselves. Students accessed their OneDrive group document during the live session and worked collaboratively on documents. The tutor could monitor the students’ work and comment live.

 

The final way was through asynchronous group tasks and weekly group meetings for assignments such as a group presentation, where students continued to collaborate on group OneDrive documents such as a PowerPoint file and the tutor monitored and commented on the documents as appropriate.

Impact

The use of OneDrive documents and folders achieved our main objective of facilitating groupwork while satisfying the essential elements of the Community of Inquiry model.  Students were able to construct social presence and cognitive presence by working collaboratively on, for example, a group ground rules document (see snip 7) and a research repository document.

 

Being able to synchronously edit the ground rules document meant that students could hold a faster discussion on the relative merits of rules, along with agreement on the day/time of a weekly group meeting. Tasks where students added to a collaborative document, such as in the research of key terms, enhanced the sense of group identity and also served to highlight levels of participation. This often negated the need for tutor intervention in the early stages. The third essential element of teaching presence was realised in synchronous sessions, through immediate tutor input on documents which gave advice to help the group work towards the learning outcomes in a friendly, non-judgmental way.

 

This, and asynchronous tutor input, also provided a permanent record of tutor feedback which the group could revisit. This is perhaps more effective than the usual tutor comments given orally, useful in the moment but unrecorded.  One outcome which we had not anticipated was that for many students this was the first time they had worked simultaneously on one document. This led to students viewing groupwork in a more positive light as an opportunity to develop communication and IT skills which was reported in end-of-course student feedback. Furthermore, the pass rate for the assignment was high and most students achieved the learning outcomes, which indicates impact and effectiveness.

Reflection

Using OneDrive is not without challenges, notably the initial set-up procedure, implementing live sessions with large classes, and filling the digital gap for tutors and students. Also, the current practice is for a member of staff to host the OneDrive folders. We believe, however, that the benefits far outweigh these primary hurdles.

These benefits included improved IT skills and increased familiarity with UoR tools which is transferable to other modules, as well as building confidence for Foundation students by providing a scaffolded approach to groupwork. Using OneDrive made collaboration online easier and tutor comments were still available after the live sessions so students could reflect on these. Students reported feeling supported with groupwork and commented on how using OneDrive developed group communication skills as well as editing and computer skills.

Benefits for tutors in the asynchronous learning environment include that it was easier to monitor student engagement in tasks as it was clear to see which group members had participated.

 

Likewise, in the synchronous learning space, tutors were able to monitor student participation in live sessions and it allowed tutors to be ‘present’ in collaborative documents (see snips 9 – 10 above). We believe this emulated the F2F classroom in terms of when teachers monitor students and move from desk to desk checking students’ work. One downside of teacher presence in online student documents could be potential inhibition of less confident students, however we saw all student names participating so believe this may just be a necessary learning curve students need to make.

Follow up

Since trialling the use of OneDrive, these ideas have been disseminated to colleagues at the ISLI-based Learning & Teaching Research Forum via a presentation and Q&A session. In this academic year (2021-22) IFP plan to introduce OneDrive earlier and be more explicit on its transferability to other modules and assessments, thus encouraging students to become more autonomous. OneDrive may also be used in Pre-sessional year-round English courses this academic year to support online students’ participation in Academic Reading Circle activities and to share their Independent Reading Records with both peers and tutors.

 

References

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., Archer, W. (2001). Critical thinking, cognitive presence, and computer conferencing in distance education.  American Journal of Distance Education15(1).

Lipman, M. (2003). Thinking in Education. (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp.18-19

Blended Learning – Exploring the Experience of Disabled Law Students

Amanda Millmore, Sharon Sinclair-Graham, Dr. Rachel Horton, Darlene Sherwood, Sheldon Allen, Lauren Fuller, Konstanina Nouka, Will Page & Jessica Lane

a.millmore@reading.ac.uk 

School of Law (& Disability Advisory Service)

Overview

This student-staff partnership included students with disabilities and long-term conditions, academics in the School of Law and a Disability Advisor. Student partners ran a cohort-wide questionnaire and facilitated focus groups with disabled students to discover what has worked well this academic year with blended learning and where things could be improved. This work has provided a blueprint for those hoping to use blended learning to deliver accessible education for all.

Objectives

  • To magnify the voice of our disabled students
  • To understand the positives and negatives of blended learning from their various viewpoints
  • To improve current teaching, as well as planning for future teaching and learning activities.

Context

The move to blended learning during the Covid-19 pandemic led to many changes to of the way that Law was taught in the 20/21 academic year. Student-Staff Partnership Group (SSP) feedback indicated that disabled students were affected more than most by this change. This project was an opportunity to understand more about the impact on these students and to amplify their voices.

Implementation

Given the constraints of working during the pandemic, our partnership worked virtually throughout, using only MS Teams meetings and sharing documents. Students designed a cohort-wide questionnaire to find out about the wider student experience with different aspects of blended learning.

This was followed-up by student partners facilitating smaller focus groups of students with disabilities and long-term conditions.

The partnership then assimilated all of the evidence they had gathered to produce short term and long term recommendations as well as highlighting what has worked well with blended learning.

Together we prepared a report with our evidence and recommendations and this has been shared not only within the School of Law but widely across the University, including with the University’s Blended Learning Project, the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team and the Committee on Student Experience and Development (COSED), as well as with colleagues in different functions and departments.

Impact

Positives from blended learning were highlighted including the flexibility of pre-recorded lecture videos, which enabled students to stop, pause and revisit lecture materials and work at their own pace and in their own time. Students preferred lecture recordings to be in the region of 20 minutes, as longer than that could pose a barrier for some students.

In the short term the partnership recommended the scheduling of lecture release days across core modules, so that lectures were made available on set days. 194 students were put into 46 study groups and a video to demystify the ECF process was recorded and shared widely (https://web.microsoftstream.com/video/714b6fa4-83f3-457c-a37b-3f4904e63691). These recommendations were all adopted.

Longer term the partnership recommended the consistent use of meaningful weekly plans (now part of the Teaching & Learning Framework for 2021/22) and improvements to Blackboard, notably a uniform layout across modules for Law students, including a single menu location for joining links to online classes.

The project and its recommendations have been shared within the School of Law, across the University and more widely at national conferences, all with students co-presenting the work.

Students were invited to the School of Law’s Blackboard Working Group and have been instrumental in driving forwards their recommendation for a consistent cross-module Blackboard layout for the next academic year. Students are also working with the TEL team to produce best practice videos for staff.

Reflections

This has been a hugely successful partnership project, not merely for the clear recommendations and tangible outcomes which are aimed to improve the experience of all students with blended learning this academic year and moving into the future, but also in the way that it has amplified the voices of students with disabilities and long-term conditions at School and University level.

As a partnership it has been influential, and the recommendations have been heard across the university and many have been adopted within the School of Law, but the positives for the individual student partners cannot be underestimated. They have gained valuable employability skills and experience in project work, presenting at conferences and advocating within meetings with staff. Moreover, as a project in which clear recommendations were given which have been heeded, it has improved the sense of community for all students, emphasising that the School of Law is a space where student views are important and they can contribute to their studies and make a difference.

Focus group participants with disabilities and long-term conditions have been empowered, with 2 first year participants subsequently volunteering for a new partnership project being run in the School of Law, as they can see the impact that their involvement can have.

Links and References

  • Amanda Millmore – “A Student-Staff Partnership exploring the experience of disabled Law students with blended learning at University of Reading, UK “ in Healey, R. & Healey, M. (2021) Socially-just pedagogic practices in HE: Including equity, diversity, inclusion, anti-racism, decolonising, indigenisation, well-being, and disability.mickhealey.co.uk/resources
  • Abstract for Advance HE Teaching & Learning Conference session: Teaching and learning conference – on demand abstracts_0.pdf (advance-he.ac.uk)
  • To follow – links to CQSD TEL videos & guidance (in progress).
  • We are happy to share the project report upon request – please get in touch if you would like a copy.

Xerte: engaging asynchronous learning tasks with automated feedback

Overview

Jonathan Smith: j.p.smith@reading.ac.uk

 

International Study and Language Institute (ISLI)

This article describes a response to the need to convert paper-based learning materials, designed for use on our predominantly face-to-face summer Pre-sessional programme, to an online format, so that students could work independently and receive automated feedback on tasks, where that is appropriate. A rationale for our approach is given, followed by a discussion of the challenges we faced, the solutions we found and reflections on what we learned from the process.

Objectives

The objectives of the project were broadly to;

  • rethink ways in which learning content and tasks could be presented to students in online learning formats
  • convert paper-based learning materials intended for 80 – 120 hours of learning to online formats
  • make the new online content available to students through Blackboard and monitor usage
  • elicit feedback from students and teaching staff on the impacts of the online content on learning.

It must be emphasized that due to the need to develop a fully online course in approximately 8 weeks, we focused mainly on the first 3 of these objectives.

Context

The move from a predominantly face-to-face summer Pre-sessional programme, with 20 hours/week contact time and some blended-learning elements, to fully-online provision in Summer 2020 presented both threats and opportunities to ISLI.  We realised very early on that it would not be prudent to attempt 20 hours/week of live online teaching and learning, particularly since most of that teaching would be provided by sessional staff, working from home, with some working from outside the UK, where it would be difficult to provide IT support. In addition, almost all students would be working from outside the UK, and we knew there would be connectivity issues that would impact on the effectiveness of live online sessions.  In the end, there were 4 – 5 hours/week of live online classes, which meant that a lot of the core course content had to be covered asynchronously, with students working independently.

We had been working with Xerte, an open-source tool for authoring online learning materials, for about 3 years, creating independent study materials for consolidation and extension of learning based round print materials.  This was an opportunity to put engaging, interactive online learning materials at the heart of the programme.  Here are some of the reasons why we chose Xerte;

  • It allows for inputs (text, audio, video, images), interactive tasks and feedback to be co-located on the same webpage
  • There is a very wide range of interactive task types, including drag-and-drop ordering, categorising and matching tasks, and “hotspot” tasks in which clicking on part of a text or image produces customisable responses.
  • It offers considerable flexibility in planning navigation through learning materials, and in the ways feedback can be presented to learners.
  • Learning materials could be created by academic staff without the need for much training or support.

Xerte was only one of the tools for asynchronous learning that we used on the programme.  We also used stand-alone videos, Discussion Board tasks in Blackboard, asynchronous speaking skills tasks in Flipgrid, and written tasks submitted for formative or summative feedback through Turnitin.  We also included a relatively small number of tasks presented as Word docs or PDFs, with a self-check answer key.

Implementation

We knew that we only had time to convert the paper-based learning materials into an online format, rather than start with a blank canvas, but it very quickly became clear that the highly interactive classroom methodology underlying the paper-based materials would be difficult to translate into a fully-online format with greater emphasis on asynchronous learning and automated feedback.  As much as possible we took a flipped learning approach to maximise efficient use of time in live lessons, but it meant that a lot of content that would normally have been covered in a live lesson had to be repackaged for asynchronous learning.

In April 2020, when we started to plan the fully-online programme, we had a limited number of staff who were able to author in Xerte.  Fortunately, we had developed a self-access training resource which meant that new authors were able to learn how to author with minimal support from ISLI’s TEL staff. A number of sessional staff with experience in online teaching or materials development were redeployed from teaching on the summer programme to materials development.  We provided them with a lot of support in the early stages of materials development; providing models and templates, storyboarding, reviewing drafts together. We also produced a style guide so that we had consistent formatting conventions and presentation standards.

The Xerte lessons were accessed via links in Blackboard, and in the end-of-course evaluations we asked students and teaching staff a number of open and closed questions about their response to Xerte.

Impact

We were not in a position to assess the impact of the Xerte lessons on learning outcomes, as we were unable to differentiate between this and the impacts of other aspects of the programme (e.g. live lessons, teacher feedback on written work).  Students are assessed on the basis of a combination of coursework and formal examinations (discussed by Fiona Orel in other posts to the T&L Exchange), and overall grades at different levels of performance were broadly in line with those in previous years, when the online component of the programme was minimal.

In the end-of-course evaluation, students were asked “How useful did you find the Xerte lessons in helping you improve your skills and knowledge?” 245 students responded to this question: 137 (56%) answered “Very useful”, 105 (43%)  “Quite useful” and 3 (1%) “Not useful”.  The open questions provided a lot of useful information that we are taking into account in revising the programme for 2021.  There were technical issues round playing video for some students, and bugs in some of the tasks; most of these issues were resolved after they were flagged up by students during the course. In other comments, students said that feedback needed to be improved for some tasks, that some of the Xerte lessons were too long, and that we needed to develop a way in which students could quickly return to specific Xerte lessons for review later in the course.

Reflections

We learned a lot, very quickly, about instructional design for online learning.

Instructions for asynchronous online tasks need to be very explicit and unambiguous, because at the time students are using Xerte lessons they are not in a position to check their understanding either with peers or with tutors.  We produced a video and a Xerte lesson aimed at helping students understand how to work with Xerte lessons to exploit their maximum potential for learning.

The same applies to feedback.  In addition, to have value, automated feedback generally (but not always) needs to be detailed, with explanations why specific answers are correct or wrong.  We found, occasionally, that short videos embedded in the feedback were more effective than written feedback.

Theoretically, Xerte will track individual student use and performance, if uploaded as SCORM packages into Blackboard, with grades feeding into Grade Centre.  In practice, this only works well for a limited range of task types.  The most effective way to track engagement was to follow up on Xerte lessons with short Blackboard tests.  This is not an ideal solution, and we are looking at other tracking options (e.g. xAPI).

Over the 4 years we have been working with Xerte, we had occasionally heard suggestions that Xerte was too complex for academics to learn to use.   This emphatically was not our experience over Summer 2020.  A number of new authors were able to develop pedagogically-sound Xerte lessons, using a range of task types, to high presentation standards, with almost no 1-to-1 support from the ISLI TEL team.  We estimate that, on average, new authors need to spend 5 hours learning how to use Xerte before they are able to develop materials at an efficient speed, with minimal support.

Another suggestion was that developing engaging interactive learning materials in Xerte is so time-consuming that it is not cost-effective.  It is time-consuming, but put in a situation in which we felt we had no alternative, we managed to achieve all we set out to achieve.  Covid and the need to develop a fully-online course under pressure of time really focused our minds.  The Xerte lessons will need reviewing, and some will definitely need revision, but we face summer 2021 in a far more resilient, sustainable position than at this time last year.  We learned that it makes sense to plan for a minimum 5-year shelf life for online learning materials, with regular review and updating.

Finally, converting the paper-based materials for online learning forced us to critically assess them in forensic detail, particularly in the ways students would work with those materials.   In the end we did create some new content, particularly in response to changes in the ways that students work online or use technological tools on degree programmes.

Follow up

We are now revising the Xerte lessons, on the basis of what we learned from authoring in Xerte, and the feedback we received from colleagues and students.  In particular, we are working on;

  • ways to better track student usage and performance
  • ways to better integrate learning in Xerte lessons with tasks in live lessons
  • improvements to feedback.

For further information, or if you would like to try out Xerte as an author and with students, please contact j.p.smith@reading.ac.uk, and we can set up a trial account for you on the ISLI installation. If you are already authoring with Xerte, you can also join the UoR Xerte community by asking to be added to the Xerte Users Team.

Links and References

The ISLI authoring website provides advice on instructional design with Xerte, user guides on a range of page types, and showcases a range of Xerte lessons.

The international Xerte community website provides Xerte downloads, news on updates and other developments, and a forum for discussion and advice.

Finally, authored in Xerte, this website provides the most comprehensive showcase of all the different page type available in Xerte, showing its potential functionality across a broad range of disciplines.

Supporting the Wellbeing of Trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners

Will Warley and Allan Laville

Overview

This project aimed to provide Trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs) on the MSci Applied Psychology (Clinical) course with guides containing evidence-based techniques and strategies to manage their wellbeing and workload over the course of their placement year. Here we reflect on the benefits of completing this project as well as the potential benefits of these materials for future trainee PWPs.

Objectives

  • To create guides which would support the wellbeing and workload of trainee PWPs on the MSci programme.
  • To evaluate the impact of these materials via feedback from current trainee PWPs on the MSci Programme.

Context

In their third year, students on the MSci Applied Psychology (Clinical) course train as PWPs. PWPs are trained to assess and treat a range of common mental health problems and work predominantly in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. Research indicates that wellbeing is poor among PWPs working in IAPT services; Westwood et al. (2017), in a survey of IAPT practitioners, found that 68% of PWPs were suffering from ‘problematic levels of burnout’. Given the prevalence of burnout among PWPs, it is critical that trainee PWPs are equipped with effective, evidence-based strategies to manage their wellbeing.

Will Warley (4th year student – MSci Applied Psychology) approached Allán Laville (Dean for Diversity and Inclusion & MSci Applied Psychology (Clinical) Course Director) about creating wellbeing guides for trainee PWPs.

Implementation

The preliminary stage of the project involved reflecting on the challenges which trainee PWPs face during their PWP training. As I had just completed my PWP training, I was in a good position to understand the challenges which are faced by trainees. These included: balancing university, placement and part-time work; ‘switching off’ after placement days; managing stress; organisation (in placement and in university); and clinical challenges, such as having a client not recover after treatment.

After reflecting on these challenges, I identified evidence-based techniques which could help students to overcome these challenges and tailored them to trainee PWPs. Using evidence-based techniques, underpinned by a well-founded model (such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), is important as techniques/strategies which lack evidence may be ineffective and, worse, could have the potential for harm.

A consistent approach to the design of the guides was adopted. This is highlighted below in the annotated ‘Stress Bucket’ guide:

 

Impact

Current trainee PWPs were asked to provide anonymous feedback 6 weeks after being presented with the wellbeing resources. Their responses are summarised in the infographic below (N.B. one response was excluded from the final data as the respondent identified that they had not used any of the resources).

The small number of respondents (N=5) limits the overall utility of the feedback. However, it was promising to see that 4/5 of respondents had used the information/advice to support their wellbeing.

 

Reflections

Allán Laville’s reflections:

It is really encouraging to see how students have used the resources and that they would recommend the resources to a friend. From previous cohorts, we know that the level of clinical work increases in Spring and Summer term, so it will be very useful to collect further feedback later in the academic year.

Will Warley’s reflections:

Prioritising one’s wellbeing is critical for clinicians at any stage of their career, but it is particularly important during training where many challenges are faced for the first time. It’s therefore very positive to see that the MSci trainees have found these resources helpful in supporting their wellbeing during their training year so far.

Follow up

The qualitative feedback from students highlights potential implications for similar wellbeing-related projects across the university. For example, one student highlighted that it was helpful to know potential difficulties and coping strategies ‘before they became a problem’. It may therefore be helpful for future projects to start by using existing data (e.g. from module feedback) and questionnaires to fully understand the challenges faced by students on that particular course, and then use this information to identify appropriate strategies students can use to overcome these challenges.

Current MSci students will be presented with the final two wellbeing guides at the start of the Spring term. These resources will also be presented to future Part 3 MSci students in order to support their wellbeing during their PWP training year.

Links and References

Westwood, S., Morison, L., Allt, J., & Holmes, N. (2017). Predictors of emotional exhaustion, disengagement and burnout among improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) practitioners. Journal of Mental Health, 26(2), 172-179. doi:10.1080/09638237.2016.1276540

Organising a Peer Review Event of Synchronous Online Teaching

 

 

Vicky Collins

v.collins@reading.ac.uk

International Study and Language Institute, ISLI

Overview

Each year tutors on  the Academic English Programme [AEP] run by ISLI participate in an internal show case of tips and best practices as a Peer Review event. This year we  chose the theme of ‘Managing synchronous online teaching’  given the level of challenge it presents and creative solutions emerging  to these.  The event included a pre task, live demos and talks throughs, an external list of resources for participants, and a final compendium of curated videos (recorded from the live delivery) for wider dissemination in ISLI.

Objectives

The main aims of the annual Peer review event are:

  • To draw out good practice and reflect on experiences of teaching on the Academic English Programme [AEP] from the previous year or term
  • To foster a team environment by providing for a network to exchange ideas and experiences

Whilst acknowledging that there are many tutorials and training videos available widely to support online teaching, for this peer review on ‘Managing  synchronous online teaching’ we were keen to draw out  tips and practices developed in situ.

Context

Since September 2020, the whole AEP team has been involved in regular live online teaching. This includes all aspects of the Academic English Programme from discipline specific courses to webinars on particular aspects of academic language and literacy.  Prior to this most of our experience and training for the transition to online T & L  was around asynchronous delivery, so we thought a review and reflection of online synchronous teaching was timely

Implementation

I started by researching sub themes within ‘managing online synchronous teaching’ and developed a list from which to solicit ideas for tips and practices from the teaching team:

  • Opening and closing a session
  • Spaces for collaboration
  • Tools for live interactivity
  • Multitasking during sessions
  • Working with longer texts online
  • Teaching to the void: finding ways of connecting to students
  • Staging & organising of activities

 

Soliciting, categorising and developing initial ideas in advance with colleagues helped avoid duplication and also meant I could allocate suitable timings to presentations/demos .  The event was scheduled for 3 hours with rest breaks and question times and held on Teams. Given the commitment of time required, this peer review event takes place in January each year- before the Spring term gets underway and also to boost morale on return from the festive break.

Prior to the event I set a pre task on the topic of ‘What does live online learning look like for our discipline?’ . A discussion thread was set up and colleagues contributed voluntarily .

I also developed a list of external resources on the topic of online synchronous learning to share with participants after the event.

The Peer review event itself was recorded, with permission, and I then curated the individual presentations into 18  bite sized videos.

Impact

A feedback  survey was issued once all resources had been released. This was completed by 8 out of 12 participants.

The aim of the feedback survey was to gauge satisfaction with the event and impact it had on participants preparedness for live online teaching this term [Spring 2021]

In terms of satisfaction, all participants strongly agreed that the event was effectively organized.

All participants strongly agreed [5] or agreed [3] that the event and resources helped them to feel more prepared. Varying levels of confidence in live online scenarios are reflected in participants’ familiarity with ideas presented by their peers. Most reported that between 25-50% of the activities were new to them, and two reported a greater percentage.

Participants listed a range of the tips and practices presented by peers that they would like to try out this term [Spring 2021]

Reflections

One of the most significant outcomes of this was that despite the plethora of tutorials and training vignettes on you tube for example, which  teaching staff can consult, a genuine account of these tips and practices  in situ  is still much  valued.  My colleagues  were able to discuss with sincerity the pros and  cons of practices they had tried in the past term, and how they hoped to continue building on these.  Comments to the pre task  discussion question were insightful and I feel I learnt much from these as I compiled them into a summary. I felt this approach to peer learning was particularly conducive i.e giving peers a space to contribute to a thread, time to read through other contributions, and then for the facilitator to summarise this so we have a meaningful record of our thoughts and ideas. Not everybody in the team had the confidence to present  or demo tips and practices, and indeed there was no pressure to do so, but the pre task allowed for them to contribute to the event in a another form

Follow up

  • The feedback form included an area for participants to share what ideas from the event they would like to put into practice this term. I will informally review this at the end of the term[Spring 2021] and have set up a discussion thread for peers to comment on these
  • Participants have given permission for their videos to be used more widely in ISLI for teacher development purposes.