Inter-Professional Practical Workshop: Registered Intermediaries & Advocates in a Mock Criminal Court

Amanda Millmore, Law, a.millmore@reading.ac.uk  Alison Cox, PCLS, a.cox@reading.ac.uk

Overview

This was a collaboration between 2 schools (Law & PCLS) to introduce students to the work of Registered Intermediaries in Court in a practical way by offering co-curricular training. Registered Intermediaries are communication specialists who work in criminal cases to assist vulnerable people with significant communication difficulties to communicate their answers more effectively during a criminal trial. 30 students from across the 2 schools attended.

Objectives

  • Finalist Speech and Language Therapy students gained a practical understanding of criminal Court practice and procedure and experienced hands-on how Registered Intermediaries work with witnesses.
  • LLB Law students learned about the work of intermediaries and gained practical advocacy experience, learning how to question witnesses successfully, and work effectively with intermediaries in a mock courtroom setting.

Context

This was a co-curricular week 6 activity designed to provide students with real-life experiences of their potential careers. It was an interactive workshop to enable the students from the 2 schools to come together to learn more about the work of each other in the context of a mock criminal case. They gained practical understanding  of the practice and procedure of the criminal courts and of the work of intermediaries. This is so important as the Courts are becoming increasingly aware of the communication difficulties experienced by witnesses and Defendants and the importance of mitigating those issues.

Implementation

We planned a day of workshop activities, starting with interactive lectures from Amanda about the practice and procedure in the criminal Courts, and how to question a witness, then hearing from Alison about the work of intermediaries and how they assist vulnerable witnesses. The students were given a mock trial brief, and worked collaboratively as advocates and intermediaries to prepare for a robbery trial. Amanda created the legal briefs, whilst Alison prepared intermediary reports about the various witnesses for the intermediaries to use. We then ran 2 mock trials simultaneously, giving every student an opportunity to participate as a lawyer, intermediary or witness. Intermediaries were encouraged to speak up to intervene in the trial proceedings to require the advocates to improve their questioning techniques.

Impact

Students worked collaboratively all day and acquired a range of key employability skills and an insight into real life practice. Law students have highlighted this work within their LinkedIn profiles and when applying for work experience and placements.

Feedback from questionnaires completed at the beginning and end of the day showed that all students felt the day contributed to understanding of the roles of advocates and intermediaries:

Qualitative feedback included many positive comments including:

‘the trial was a unique experience putting theory into practice’

‘would be great to see more joint sessions with different courses’

‘enjoyed meeting and working with law students’

‘enjoyed learning the challenges of questioning vulnerable people’

‘absolutely wonderful!’ ‘positive atmosphere’,

‘loved the detail of criminal practice’

Final year law student, Oyin Arikawe said, "We were able to put what we learned into action towards the end of the day when we had a mock trial in which I got to practice my advocacy skills. The workshop was very useful and insightful as it gave me the opportunity to see and experience how intermediaries and barristers work together in court. I enjoyed every part of it!"

Whilst Part 1 student Kiiti Opesanwo said, "It was truly a great learning experience and provided great clarity towards how court cases are run in the UK. I am now encouraged to sit in at one of the Crown court trials in Reading to witness a real one.”

We were commended on Twitter by The Secret Barrister who is an award winning author on the subject of the criminal justice system.

Reflections

The planning process was extensive, but led to a really interactive, practical workshop. We now have a set of materials which can be reused for further workshops.

The real success of the activity was the positive impact of mixing students from 2 very different schools, and giving them the opportunity to work together. This added a deeper dimension to their learning and raised awareness of the work of other aspiring professionals and how their paths may cross in future.

Mentimeter feedback from the end of the day:

Follow up

We are now looking to see if we can secure sufficient funding to run the workshop again. We could have filled the places at the workshop twice over, and have had significant interest from other students who did not sign up initially.

Links and References

http://www.reading.ac.uk/Psychology/News/word-is-law.aspx 

http://www.reading.ac.uk/law/News/law-news-and-events.aspx 

Developing Diversity and Inclusion teaching: The importance of D&I and Ethical Practice

Dr Allán Laville, Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, a.laville@reading.ac.uk

Overview

In the training of Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWPs), teaching must include a focus on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) as well how this relates to ethical practice. Therefore, I created a 15-minute screencast that tied key D&I principles to clinical practice, with a particular focus on ethical practice within this area.

Objectives

  1. To support students in being aware of key D&I and ethical principles and how these principles relate to their clinical practice.
  2. To support students in writing a 500-word reflective piece on the importance of considering D&I in their ethically-sound, clinical practice.

Context

PWP programmes include D&I training within the final module of the clinical programme, but to meet the British Psychological Society (BPS) programme standards, D&I training needs to be incorporated throughout. Furthermore, this training should be tied to the BPS programme standard on Ethical Practice teaching (Module PY3EAA1/PYMEAA).

Implementation

The first step was to identify the key sources to include within the screencast. These were wide ranging from legislation (Equality Act, 2010), positive practice guides (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) and ethical practice guidelines (British Psychological Society) and reference to the University’s Fitness to Practise policy.

The second step was to think about how students could engage with the screencast in a meaningful way. Based on an earlier T&L Exchange project report of mine (https://sites.reading.ac.uk/t-and-l-exchange/2019/07/23/developing-innovative-teaching-the-importance-of-reflective-practice/), I wanted to include an element of reflective practice. Students were asked to write a 500-word reflective piece on their own take-home points from the screencast and preferably, following the Rolfe, Freshwater, and Jasper (2001) reflective model of: a) what is being considered, b)  so what, which I say to my students is the ‘why care?’ part! And c) now what i.e. from reviewing what and so what, detailing your SMART action plan for future clinical practice.

Example by Will Warley, Part 3 MSci Applied Psychology (Clinical) student.

Impact

The student feedback about the screencast and completing the reflective piece has been very positive. This has been across both the MSci in Applied Psychology (Clinical) as well as the Charlie Waller Institute (CWI), PG (Cert) in Evidence-Based Psychological Treatments (IAPT Pathway). The training materials have also been shared with members of the SPCLS Board of Studies for CWI training programmes.

In regard to national level impact, I have presented this innovative approach to D&I teaching at the BPS Programme Liaison Day, which included the BPS PWP Training Committee and Programme Directors from across the UK. The presentation was received very well including requests to disseminate the materials that we use in the teaching at UoR. Therefore, these materials have now been circulated to all PWP training providers in the UK to inform their D&I provision.

Reflections

One core reason for the success of this activity was the commitment and creativity of our students! Some students used software to create excellent mind maps, interactive presentations or a YouTube video! There was even an Instagram account used to illustrate the main take-home points from the screencast, which I thought was particularly innovative. Overall, I was absolutely delighted to see such high levels of student engagement with topics that are so important – both personally and professionally.

In regard to better implementation, it is possible that slightly more guidance could have been provided regarding how to approach the reflective task, but the brief of ‘be as creative as possible!’ worked very well indeed!

Follow up

I will be following up with the BPS PWP Training Committee in 2020 to see how this activity has developed within other PWP training providers! We will then create a summary of all innovative approaches to including D&I in PWP programmes and how these meet the programme standards.

Links

https://my.cumbria.ac.uk/media/MyCumbria/Documents/ReflectiveModelRolfe.pdf

Student YouTube video as submission on reflective task: https://youtu.be/hMU6F_dknP4

Universally Speaking: crossing cultural & generational boundaries – a seminar series

Dan Jones, School of Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences, d.jones6@reading.ac.uk

 

Overview

The ‘Universally Speaking’ series provides a platform for students, staff and community members to exchange ideas on culture, heritage, customs, values and traditions, via a seminar presentation. Each seminar is followed by an informal drinks reception to facilitate further discussion and interactions between the different communities.

Objectives

  • To offer an outstanding holistic student learning experience by promoting extra-curricular activities in the School.
  • To celebrate and promote the diverse School: lends on the diverse experiences of our staff, students and local communities to help students become global citizens and directly experience the benefits of a diverse and multinational learning environment.
  • To equip students with the aspirations, confidence and skills: opportunity to present and talk to a range of different people.

Context

The School of Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences is a wonderfully diverse School – this series was launched to promote and celebrate this diversity. The series provides an opportunity for members of the School to reflect upon different experiences and perspectives of the world, and to take a moment to discuss these with others. Ultimately, it is a tool to promote and explore difference, leading to greater tolerance and acceptance of it.

Implementation

Once funding was gained, along with the student partner, we formed a student committee to help support the different aspects of the series: promotion, advertisement, organisation, and invitations to community members. The committee was made up of five students, and two members of staff (myself included). The seminars were run on a monthly basis, starting in February 2019 and running until June 2019. Talks were delivered by a range of volunteers: UG students, PGR students, PCLS staff and other University members (including the University Chaplain, who is hopefully going to repeat their highly interesting session).

Overall, the series was a success, with positive feedback received and a consistent attendance, including up to eight members of the public attending the final session of the academic year. Due to the positive reception, we are hoping to make this a permanent fixture on the PCLS calendar.

Impact

The feedback on the series has been overwhelmingly positive. Quotes from attendees nicely summarise the benefits that have been gained from the series so far:

“The ability to increase my knowledge on other countries education and research style/system. Learn about peoples’ experience – first-hand experience. Love it!”

“Hearing about the differences from personal perspectives. Helping people embracing the differences.”

“Really interesting to hear about cultures and customs in other countries and how one should consider them when assessing actions and situations.”

Many of the quotes reflect on learning about and understanding difference; skills that lead to more tolerance and acceptance of difference – ultimately, this is what the series contributes to the PCLS community.

Reflections

The only negative of the series was attendance: considering the size of PCLS, we only averaged around 40 attendees across the series. There were several reasons why this may have been the case, including the timing, exam periods and advertising. We are aiming to address these issues if the series is to continue. One step that we have taken is to utilise the skills of the School marketing officer to help with promotion and advertising.

Follow up

The launch of the seminar series was made possible with PLANT funding – this funding ended in July 2019. To maintain the series over the course of the next academic year, and to enable collaboration with other groups across the University, additional funding has been sought from the School of PCLS. We already have the next seminar planned for January 2020, in collaboration with the UoR Islamic Society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rev Dr Mark Laynesmith, Anglican Chaplain at the University, reports on a project set up with the University’s Institute of Education to explore increasing knowledge diversity among school children.

‘How did I do?’ Finding new ways to describe the standards of foreign language performance. A follow-up project on the redesign of two marking schemes (DLC)

Rita Balestrini and Elisabeth Koenigshofer, School of Literature and Languages, r.balestrini@reading; e.koenigshofer@reading.ac.uk

Overview

Working in collaboration with two Final Year students, we designed two ‘flexible’, ‘minimalist’ rubric templates usable and adaptable across different languages and levels, to provide a basis for the creation of level specific, and potentially task specific, marking schemes where sub-dimensions can be added to the main dimensions. The two marking templates are being piloted this year in the DLC. The project will feature in this year’s TEF submission.

Objectives

Design, in partnership with two students, rubric templates for the evaluation and feedback of writing tasks and oral presentations in foreign languages which:

  • were adaptable across languages and levels of proficiency
  • provided a more inclusive and engaging form of feedback
  • responded to the analysis of student focus group discussions carried out for a previous TLDF-funded project

Context

As a follow-up to a teacher-learner collaborative appraisal of rubrics used in MLES, now DLC, we designed two marking templates in partnership with two Final Year students, who had participated in the focus groups from a previous project and were employed through Campus Jobs. ‘Acknowledgement of effort’, ‘encouragement’, ‘use of non-evaluative language’, ‘need for and, at the same time, distrust of, objective marking’ were recurrent themes that had emerged from the analysis of the focus group discussions and clearly appeared to cause anxiety for students.

Implementation

We organised a preliminary session to discuss these findings with the two student partners. We suggested some articles about ‘complexity theory’ as applied to second language learning, (Kramsch, 2012; Larsen-Freeman, 2012; 2015a; 2015b; 2017) with the aim of making our theoretical perspective explicit and transparent to them. A second meeting was devoted to planning collaboratively the structure of two marking schemes for writing and presentations. The two students worked independently to produce examples of standard descriptors which avoided the use of evaluative language and emphasised achievement rather than shortcomings. At a third meeting they presented and discussed their proposals with us. At the last meetings, we continued working to finalise the templates and the two visual learning charts they had suggested. Finally, the two students wrote a blog post to recount their experience of this collaborative work.

The two students appreciated our theoretical approach, felt that it was in tune with their own point of view and that it could support the enhancement of the assessment and marking process. They also found resources on their own, which they shared with us – including rubrics from other universities. They made valuable suggestions, gave us feedback on our ideas and helped us to find alternative terms when we were struggling to avoid the use of non-evaluative language for our descriptors. They also suggested making use of some visual elements in the marking and feedback schemes in order to increase immediateness and effectiveness.

Impact

The two marking templates are being piloted this year in the DLC. They were presented to colleagues over four sessions during which the ideas behind their design were explained and discussed. Further internal meetings are planned. These conversations, already begun with the previous TLDF-funded project on assessment and feedback, are contributing to the development of a shared discourse on assessment, which is informed by research and scholarship. The two templates have been designed in partnership with students to ensure accessibility and engagement with the assessment and feedback process. This is regarded as an outstanding practice in the ‘Assessment and feedback benchmarking tool’ produced by the National Union of Students and is likely to feature positively in this year’s TEF submission.

Reflections

Rubrics have become mainstream, especially within certain university subjects like Foreign Languages. They have been introduced to ensure accountability and transparency in marking practices, but they have also created new problems of their own by promoting a false sense of objectivity in marking and grading. The openness and unpredictability of complex performance in foreign languages and of the dynamic language learning process itself are not adequately reflected in the detailed descriptors of the marking and feedback schemes commonly used for the objective numerical evaluation of performance-based assessment in foreign languages. As emerged from the analysis of focus group discussions conducted in the department in 2017, the lack of understanding and engagement with the feedback provided by this type of rubrics can generate frustration in students. Working in partnership with them, rather than simply listening to their voices or seeing them as evaluators of their own experience, helped us to design minimalist and flexible marking templates, which make use of sensible and sensitive language, introduce visual elements to increase immediateness and effectiveness, leave a considerable amount of space for assessors to comment on different aspects of an individual performance and provide ‘feeding forward’ feedback. This type of ‘partnership’ can be challenging because it requires remaining open to unexpected outcomes. Whether it can bring about real change depends on how its outcomes are going to interact with the educational ecosystems in which it is embedded.

Follow up

The next stage of the project will involve colleagues in the DLC who will be using the two templates to contribute to the creation of a ‘bank’ of descriptors by sharing the ones they will develop to tailor the templates for specific stages of language development, language objectives, language tasks, or dimensions of student performance. We also intend to encourage colleagues teaching culture modules to consider using the basic structure of the templates to start designing marking schemes for the assessment of student performance in their modules.

Links

An account written by the two students partners involved in the project can be found here:

Working in partnership with our lecturers to redesign language marking schemes

The first stages of this ongoing project to enhance the process of assessing writing and speaking skills in the Department of Languages and Cultures (DLC, previously MLES) are described in the following blog entries:

National Union of Students 2017. The ‘Assessment and feedback benchmarking tool’ is available at:

http://tsep.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Assessment-and-feedback-benchmarking-tool.pdf

References

Bloxham, S. 2013. Building ‘standard’ frameworks. The role of guidance and feedback in supporting the achievement of learners. In S. Merry et al. (eds.) 2013. Reconceptualising feedback in Higher Education. Abingdon: Routledge.

Bloxham, S. and Boyd, P. 2007. Developing effective assessment in Higher Education. A practical guide. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill International.

Bloxham, S., Boyd, P. and Orr, S. 2011. Mark my words: the role of assessment criteria in UK higher education grading practices. Studies in Higher Education 36 (6): 655-670.

Bloxham, S., den-Outer, B., Hudson J. and Price M. 2016. Let’s stop the pretence of consistent marking: exploring the multiple limitations of assessment criteria. Assessment in Higher Education 41 (3): 466-481.

Brooks, V. 2012. Marking as judgement. Research Papers in Education. 27 (1): 63-80.

Gottlieb, D. and Moroye, C. M. 2016. The perceptive imperative: Connoisseurship and the temptation of rubrics. Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy 13 (2): 104-120.

HEA 2012. A Marked Improvement. Transforming assessment in HE. York: The Higher Education Academy.

Healey, M., Flint, A. and Harrington K. 2014. Engagement through partnership: students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education. York: The Higher Education Academy.

Kramsch, C. 2012. Why is everyone so excited about complexity theory in applied linguistics? Mélanges 33: 9-24.

Larsen-Freeman, D. 2012. The emancipation of the language learner. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching. 2(3): 297-309.

Larsen-Freeman, D. 2015a. Saying what we mean: Making a case for ‘language acquisition’ to become ‘language development’. Language Teaching 48 (4): 491-505.

Larsen-Freeman, L. 2015b. Complexity Theory. In VanPatten, B. and Williams, J. (eds.) 2015. Theories in Second Language Acquisition. An Introduction. New York: Routledge: 227-244.

Larsen-Freeman, D. 2017. Just learning. Language Teaching 50 (3): 425-437.

Merry, S., Price, M., Carless, D. and Taras, M. (eds.) 2013. Reconceptualising feedback in Higher Education. Abingdon: Routledge.

O’Donovan, B., Price, M. and Rust, C. 2004. Know what I mean? Enhancing student understanding of assessment standards and criteria. Teaching in Higher Education 9 (3): 325-335.

Price, M. 2005. Assessment standards: the role of communities of practice and the scholarship of assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 30 (3): 215-230.

Sadler, D. R. 2009. Indeterminacy in the use of preset criteria for assessment and grading. Assessment and evaluation in Higher Education 34 (2): 159-179.

Sadler, D. R. 2013. The futility of attempting to codify academic achievement standards. Higher Education 67 (3): 273-288.

Torrance, H. 2007. Assessment as learning? How the use of explicit learning objectives, assessment criteria and feedback in post-secondary education and training can come to dominate learning. Assessment in Education 14 (3): 281-294.

VanPatten & J. Williams (Eds.) 2015. Theories in Second Language Acquisition, 2nd edition. Routledge: 227-244.

Yorke, M. 2011. Summative assessment dealing. Dealing with the ‘Measurement Fallacy’. Studies in Higher Education 36 (3): 251-273.

Reframing Identity 360

Kate Allen, Department of Art, k.allen@reading.ac.uk

Overview

An investigative artwork that explores identity using 360 cameras developed through practical, alumni led workshops and socially engaged art with current art students, school groups and the general public. Part of ArtLab Movement’ at Tate Exchange (TEx) 2019 at the Tate Modern on March and be archived on the ArtLab website.

Objectives

- Contribute to live art event/out-reach work experience led by Alumni at Tate Exchange 1-3 March 2019

- Explore identity capture with 360 cameras

- 360 cameras experimentation including designing, capturing, printing and editing.

- Create portraits with purpleSTARS, people with learning disabilities and children from Widening Participation schools in Reading.

Context

Reframing Identity explored self-portraits in shot in 360, developed as a response to Tania Bruguera’s Turbine Hall Commission concerning institutional power, borders and migration. Can 360 self-portraits raise awareness of how interconnected we are, when no person is ever behind the 360 camera, everyone is included.

Implementation

Alumni and Virtual Reality artist Kassie Headon researched ideas in response to Tania Bruguera installation at Tate Modern inspired by Bruguera’s ideas on inclusion, connecting to Kate Allen’s research with purpleSTARS a group of people with and with learning disabilities who aim to make museums more inclusive. Kassie demonstrated to students and purpleSTARS how to use the GoPro Fusion Camera and the app to edit 360 content. Activities to share the 360 self portrait concept with visitors were developed including drawing cylindrical self-portraits which they could then wear on their heads for a 360 selfie. Students facilitated the Reframing Identity 360 workshop as part of ArtLab Movement at TEx. Using 360 cameras was a new experience and concept for our students and most people visiting the TEx. The 360 self-portraits were exhibited via live video stream from the 360 cameras on an iPad displayed at the Tate and let participants explore the views, which they could manipulate and distort to create the desired effect. Participants 360 self-portraits were also printed or sent to the visitors phone.

Impact

The impact of Reframing Identity 360 created access and inclusion with new technologies for students and the public. Experiencing the live video stream frequently gave visitors an ‘Oh Wow’ moment. TEx gave an opportunity for research led teaching with Dr Allen purpleSTARS, Alumni Kassie Headon and current BA students to explore the concept of 360 self-portraits gain professional practice experience facilitating the workshops and technical skills working, with the 360 camera. The 360 cameras are now part of the digital equipment available to students with a core team of ArtLab students now familiar with their potential and how to use them.

Reflections

Working with new technologies in collaboration with Alumni, ArtLab students and purpleSTARS led to new perspectives on ideas of inclusion and self -portraiture. The experimental research occurred in response to work at the Tate and in collaboration with visitors to TEx. The project built capacity and awareness of new technology being introduced into the Art Dept learning through research and practical experiences the potential to create artworks and inclusive engagements.

Follow up

Kassie Headen continued to work with the 360 camera collaborating with widening participation schools during the ArtLab summer workshops 2019 exploring spaces and manipulating 2d versions of 3d space.

We are developing further research collaborations and research led teaching opportunities for ideas exploring inclusion in museums and immersive virtual reality artworks/experiences using Oculus Rift technology.

Links and References

We created a 360 recording of our Reframing Identity event at the Tate https://www.thinglink.com/mediacard/1158753748827242499?autoplay=0&autorotate=0&displaytitle=1&rel=1

ArtLab documents the workshop

https://readingartlab.com/2019/04/25/artlab-tate-exchange-visual-diary-2nd-and-3rd-march-2019/

purpleSTARS web documentation

https://purplestars.org.uk/2017/11/12/purplestars-at-tate-gallery-2018/

Tate Exchange webpage

https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/tate-exchange/workshop/reading-assembly-movement

Engaging Diverse Learning Communities in Partnership: A Case Study Involving Professional Practice Students in Re-designing an Assessment

 

 

 

 

Lucy Hart (student – trainee PWP)- l.hart@student.reading.ac.uk 

Tamara Wiehe (staff – PWP Clinical Educator)- t.wiehe@reading.ac.uk

Charlie Waller Institute, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences

Overview

This case study re-designed an assessment for two Higher Education programmes where students train to become Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWP) in the NHS. The use of remote methods engaged harder to reach students in the re-design of the assessment tool. The project promotes the effectiveness of partnership working across diverse learning communities, by placing student views at the centre of decision making. In line with one of the University’s principles of partnership (2018) – shared responsibility for the process and outcome – this blog has been created by a student involved in the focus group and the member of teaching staff leading the project.

Objectives

  • Improve the design of an assessment across the University’s PWP training programmes.
  • Involve students throughout the re-design process, ensuring student voices and experiences are acknowledged.
  • Implement the new assessment design with the next cohorts.

Context

It was proposed by students in modular feedback and staff in a quarterly meeting that the design of an assessment on the PWP training programmes could be improved. These programmes are grounded in evidence-based, self-reflective and collaborative practice. Therefore, it was appropriate to maintain this style of working throughout the process. This was achieved through the students reflecting on their experiences when generating ideas and reviewing the re-designed assessment.

Implementation

Traditional methods of partnership were not suitable for our students due to the nature of the PWP training programmes. Their week consists of one teaching day running from 9:30-4:30, a study day and three days practising clinically as a trainee PWP in an NHS service. Location was another factor as many of our students commute to University and live closer to their workplace. The use of technology and remote working enabled us to overcome these barriers and work in partnership with our students.

The partnership process followed these three steps:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When generating ideas and reviewing the proposed assessment, we, the professional practice students, considered the following points:

  • Assessment design – consistency in using vignettes throughout the course meaning students will be familiar with this method of working. Word limit ensures concise responses.
  • Time frame – the release date of the essay in proportion to the examination date.
  • Feasibility – will there be enough study days to compensate for the change in design allowing trainees to plan their essays.
  • Academic support – opportunities within the academic timetable to provide additional supervision-style sessions later in the module to support students.
  • Learning materials – accessibility to resources on blackboard. Assigning study days to allow planning of essay.

Impact

  • It was agreed that the original ICT would be replaced with written coursework based on a vignette and implemented with our next cohorts.
  • The assessment aligned with the module learning outcomes and student experiences were considered in a meaningful way.
  • Harder to reach students were able to engage in the re-design of the assessment through effective communication methods.

Reflections

Student perspective:

“Being the expert of our experiences, it was refreshing to have our voices and experiences heard. We hope the re-design supports future cohorts and reduces anxieties around managing both university and service-based training. The focus group was a success due to the clear agenda setting and feasibility of remote online working. It can be proposed that a larger focus group would have beneficial during the review stage to remove biases associated with a small sample size.”

Staff perspective:

“Student input allowed us to hear more about their experiences during the training and took a lot of pressure off of staff to always be the ones coming up with solutions. The outcomes have a far reaching impact beyond that of the students and staff on the programme in terms of engaging diverse learning communities in Higher Education and forming more connections between Universities and NHS services. Although inclusivity and diversity was considered throughout, more participants in the virtual focus group would improve this further. Students could also have more power over the creation of the assessment materials themselves. Both of these reflections will inform my professional practice going forwards.”

Using personal capture to support students to learn practical theory outside of the laboratory

Dr Geraldine (Jay) Mulley – School of Biological Sciences  

Overview

I produced four screen casts to encourage students to better prepare for practical classes and to reinforce practical theory taught in class. Approximately 45% of the cohort watched at least some of the video content, mainly in the few days leading up to the practical assessment. The students appreciated the extra resources, and there was a noticeable improvement in module satisfaction scores.

Objectives

  • To provide consistency in delivery of teaching practical theory between groups led by different practical leaders
  • To provide students with engaging resources to use outside of the classroom, to use as preparation tools for practical classes and as revision aids for the Blackboard-­‐based practical assessment

Context

The Part 1 Bacteriology & Virology module includes 12 hours of practical classes designed to teach students key microbiological techniques and theory. I usually begin each practical with a short lecture-­‐style introduction to explain what they need to do and why.  The 3 hr classes are typically very busy, and I have observed that some students feel overwhelmed with “information overload” and find it hard to assimilate the theory, whilst learning the new techniques.  I have had to schedule multiple runs of practical classes to accommodate the large cohort and my colleagues now teach some of the repeat sessions. My aim was to create a series of videos to explain the theoretical background in more detail that students can access outside of the classroom. I hoped this would ensure consistency in what is taught to each group and give the students more time to focus on learning the techniques during the classes. I hoped that they would use the resources both to help prepare for the classes and as a revision aid for the practical assessment

Implementation

I initially tried to record 4 videos by simply recording myself talking through my original PowerPoint presentations that I use in the practical class introductions (i.e. 4 individual videos to cover each of the 4 practical classes). Having started to make the videos, I realised that it was very difficult for me to explain the theory in this format, which was quite surprising given this is how I had been delivering the information up until that point! I therefore adapted the PowerPoint presentations to make videos focusing on each of the experimental themes, talking through what the students will do in the lab week-­‐by-­‐week with an explanation of the theory at appropriate points. I recorded the video tutorials using the Mediasite “slideshow + audio” option and narrated free-­‐style as I would do in a lecture (no script).  When I made a mistake, I paused for a few seconds and then started the sentence again. After finishing the entire recording, I then used the editing feature to cut out the mistakes, which were easy to identify in the audio trace due to the long pauses. I was also able to move slides to the appropriate place if I had poorly timed the slide transitions. Editing each video took around 30 min to 1 hr. I found it relatively easy to record and edit the videos and I became much more efficient after I had recorded the first few videos.

I would have liked to have asked students and other staff to help in the design and production of the videos, but the timing of the Pilot was not conducive to being able to collaborate at the time.

Impact

Mediasite analytics show 45% of the students in the cohort viewed at least some of the resources, and 17% of the cohort viewed each video more than once. Students watched the three shorter videos (3 – 4 min) in their entirety, but the longest video (18 min) showed a drop-­‐off in the number of views after approx. 5 min (Figure 1), and so in future I will limit my videos to 5 min max.

Graph showing how students watched the video

Only a few students viewed videos prior to practical classes; almost all views were in the few days leading up to the practical assessment on Blackboard. This shows that students were using the videos as a revision aid rather than as a preparation tool. This is probably because I uploaded the videos midway through term and by this stage one of the three groups had already completed the 4 practical classes and so I did not want to disadvantage this group by promoting the videos as a preparation tool. It will be interesting if I can encourage students to use it for this purpose next academic year. My expectation was that time spent viewing would directly correlate with practical assessment grades, however there is not a clear linear correlation (Figure 2).

Graph showing use of videos and grades obtained

For some students attending the practical classes and reading the handbook is enough to achieve a good grade. However, students that spent time viewing the videos did get a higher average than those that did not view any (Figure 3), although this probably reflects overall engagement with all the available learning resources.  Responses to the student survey indicated that students felt the videos improved their understanding of the topic and supported them to revise what they had learnt in class at their own pace.

Graph showing video watching and grades obtained

Reflections

The biggest challenge I faced was trying to recruit other colleagues to the pilot during a very busy Autumn term and finding the time to design the videos myself. It would have been helpful to see some examples of how to use personal capture before I started but having participated in the Pilot, I now have more confidence. Once I had experimented with the Mediasite software, I found it quite easy to record the videos and publish to my Blackboard site (with guidance from the excellent support from the TEL team and Blackboard help web pages). I liked the editing tools, although I would very much like the ability to cut and paste different videos together.  The analytics are very useful and much better than the “track users” function in Blackboard. The analytics reinforced the suggestion that students are much more likely to finish watching short videos and I would advise making videos 5 min maximum, ideally 3 min, in length.    My experience of personal capture was incredibly positive, and I will certainly be making more resources for my students for all my modules.

Follow-up

Since making the recordings for the Pilot, I have teamed up with several colleagues in the School of Biological Sciences and will show them how to use Mediasite so that they can make resources for their modules over summer. I have also used the Mediasite software to record microscope training sessions and talks from open days.

Building bridges and smoothing edges

Patrick Finnegan – School of Economics, Politics & International Relations

Overview

My use of the personal capture scheme was intended to enhance our teaching methods within the department. My initial aims of building additional video capture material into the ongoing lecture series did not come through but I was able to use the capture package to engage my students more in the administration of a (then) overly complicated module.

Objectives

  • Initial plan centred on including personal capture on the Army Higher Education Pathway project – this was not possible due to software incompatibility with the Canvas platform used for the project
  • New objectives were based on a different module (The Study of Politics) and improving the student experience on that module
  • Improve the explanation of methods
  • Explain the supervisory choice system
  • Enhance lectures on complicated topics

Context

The module I focused on was Po2SOP (The Study of Politics) with 160 students. Personal capture was needed on this project as it allowed myself, as convenor of our largest module, to communicate with all of my students in a more engaging way. We needed a way to bring the topic to life and ensure that the students took on board the lessons we needed them to. I wanted to include real examples of the methods in action and to use the screen casts to explain certain decisions that would be too difficult to do via email.

Implementation

Unfortunately, the project began too late in the term to really affect the lectures on this module, which is co-taught between several staff members often using pre-existing slides. However, I was able to use it to engage in discussion with students to explain issues such as supervisor reallocation during the year and how our special event – the mini-conference – was to work. Rather than writing lengthy emails, I was able to quickly and visually explain to he students what was happening and to invite their responses, which some did. They did not engage with the capture material so to speak but my use of it did encourage discussion as to how they would like to see it used in future and how they would like to receive feedback on assessments in future if audio/visual options were available. The recordings made by myself and my colleague were mainly PowerPoint voice-overs or were direct to camera discussions. This allowed us to present the students with illustrations and ‘first hand’ information. These required significant editing to make sure they were suitable but the final product was satisfactory.

Impact

Beyond ‘ease of life’ effects this year, there was not a great deal of impact but this was expected given the start date (the largest number of views in a video was 86, but this was an admin explanation style video). However, planning for next year has already incorporated the different potential advantages provided by personal capture. For example, the same methods module will now incorporate tutorial videos made within the department and will maintain some supervisor ‘adverts’ to allow students to better choose which member of staff they will seek to work with in future. Within other modules, some staff members will be taking the opportunity to build in some flipped classroom style teaching and other time-heavy elements that were not previously available to them.

Reflections

Time needed to organise and direct co-pilots within a teaching-heavy department needed to be a lot greater than I originally planned. I was also not expecting to meet the levels of resistance that I did from some more established staff who were not interested in changing how they delivered the material they had prepared earlier. The major difference I would include going forward would be to focus on upcoming modules rather than pre-existing as incorporating the material when the module has already started was too difficult.

Follow-up

I have started to prepare some videos on material I know will be needed in the future, this is relatively straight forward to do and will mimic the general practice to date. The main evolution will be seen in responses to student need during class and how screen casts can be made on demand and with consistent quality.