The two-day workshop “Attention Please” engaged students across the School of Art and Communication Design and the School of Architecture in a series of exercises to re-focus and sharpen their attention onto different materials, in different settings, under different circumstances, and in different speeds, challenging established routines and habits.
experience and develop skills to collaborate across disciplines and year groups
develop team building skills
develop skills in mindfulness and sustained attention
challenge usual routines and habits of engaging with materials and objects
challenge discipline specific practices, narratives and vocabulary of engaging with materials and objects
The workshop was conceived as an extra curriculum activity independent of regular departmental teaching and learning to address attitudes and practices that affect students and researchers across disciplines and year groups. Funding allowed and facilitated a whole program of exercises and in-depth engagement over two full-days of activities across Schools.
A number of specialist coaches and mentors were invited to facilitate different exercises and workshops as individual or group activities to build a program that develops and unfolds over the course of the two days: a percussion workshop to develop skills in listening and responding within groups, to work with and against rhythms and melodies, volume levels and intensities. A voice coach gave a workshop in speaking and shouting, assertiveness in discussions and silence. A body coach gave a workshop in posture, attention to body language and reading behaviour. A flower-arranging specialist offered a workshop in composition and attention to details. Workshops also engaged participants in sustained periods of mindfulness, concentration and awareness, to each other, themselves, or their surrounding environment and context.
Student feedback on the days and reflective feedback at the end suggests a real need for more cross-school activities and engagements, and peer learning. Especially postgraduate researchers expressed the positive impact engaging with other student years had on their work/research habits.
The timing of the workshop proved to be a major contributing factor to the success of the activities: although not pre-planned and designed as such, the end of the summer term offered the chance for a large uptake by participants as students had finished their exams and were keen and open and very interested to participate in extra curriculum activities across the school without the restraint of clashes with teaching and other commitments.
There has not been any further development, but there is always the possibility to repeat the activity again in the future and build on the workshop as a whole.
On Tuesday 22nd May 2018, over 150 colleagues from across the university gathered in the Meadow Suite to hear a series of presentations and to engage in conversations about the work that the EMA Programme has been doing to prepare for roll-out of online assessment and feedback. Colleagues from the majority of Schools and units across the university were represented and staff from academic Schools, Support Centres, and CQSD shared experience and good practice. An active Twitter feed provided live commentary on the presentations and activities (120 tweets and re-tweets) and reflected an atmosphere that was informative and wholly positive.
The event was organised by Dr Emma Mayhew (EMA Academic Director) and Dr Madeleine Davies (EMA Academic Partner) and was introduced by Professor Gavin Brooks, the Programme’s sponsor. The Vice-Chancellor attended for the first hour of the event which was supported throughout by colleagues from TEL. As well as seven panels involving presentations given by 21 colleagues, the day of activities included a Q&A session, a roundtable, a Menti quiz, a talk about Learning Analytics, and a demonstration of online marking for beginners: the result was a permanent movement between learning and dialogue. Piles of EMA cup-cakes and biscuits retained energy levels throughout the day.
The Symposium was designed to offer events for colleagues new to online assessment as well as to those with more experience. Colleagues attending the Symposium provided information about their level of technological confidence: of 40 surveyed participants, 5% rated themselves as having low levels of confidence with technology, 45% rated themselves as having average levels of confidence, and 48% rated themselves as having advanced confidence. The Symposium offered talks and events for all levels.
Presentations from the Early Adopter Schools discussed the process of change and offered advice about successfully implementing online assessment in departments; a panel was also convened where ‘nervous adopters’ who had already transitioned to online marking spoke about the training and tactics that had worked for them. For more experienced users the Symposium offered presentations on the use of rubrics and QuickMarks, explaining the several ‘hidden’ benefits of online marking and demonstrating the potential of previously unidentified buttons.
Throughout the day, the emphasis remained on student experience and marking quality: several presentations commented on ways in which online assessment could enhance feedback and release a range of marking options that had not been available previously. At the same time, presentations emphasised that ‘good marking is still good marking’, as Rob Hosfield stated: the change to a new delivery model does not alter the fact that it is the usability of feedback that matters most in relation to teaching and learning.
Participants also heard presentations from the Support Centres and their experience of change: Luisa Ciampi’s presentation explained how online assessment benefits our colleagues in the Support Centres and Marguerite Gascoine spoke of the process of change. Advice about managing the potential impact of increased screen-time was given in a session led by Dr Eileen Hyder, and a presentation by Dr Calvin Smith demonstrated how new screens in RISIS support the move towards the Academic Tutoring System (Calvin was the winner of the ‘Best Title’ Menti Prize for ‘Spotting Crisis in RISIS’).
The feedback that was collected at the end of the afternoon was overwhelmingly positive:
39/40 colleagues rated the event as good or excellent and 38/40 said that the event would impact positively on their teaching and learning provision. Colleagues commented positively on the benefit of hearing the experience of a wide range of colleagues, the broad range of topics covered, and the advice on good practice. The feedback also noted how useful it had been to bring academic and professional staff together to discuss experiences, and several colleagues mentioned how they had enjoyed putting faces to the names of Support Centre colleagues. Also praised was the emphasis on how new data can be used, sessions on the practical use of marking tools, and hearing the experiences of Early Adopter schools. There was a great deal of positive feedback on a talk given by Dr Alex Knox on Learning Analytics.
As the organisers of the Symposium, we were delighted by colleagues’ positivity, collegiality, and eagerness to share online assessment experience. We hope that our colleagues will be able to join us again in September when the Programme is hosting a conference in association with the the Advance HE’s (formerly HEA) Assessment and Feedback Community of Practice. In the meantime, screencasts of key presentations will be posted on the EMA website together with a collection of helpful links and information.
Thank you to all our colleagues who attended the Symposium to share experience and to listen to that of others. We were overwhelmed by the generosity of staff who contributed their time and expertise to the event, and by the goodwill of our colleagues who attended.
In recent years, there has been an increased appetite in higher education to explore and enhance the ways in which students can become more involved in the design and delivery of their own learning experiences. A prominent way of doing so is engaging students as equal partners in a range of practices and pedagogies. Dubbed as ‘Students as Partners’ (‘SaPs) in the academic literature, this specific practice, or, perhaps, better put ‘ethos’, embraces students and staff working together on teaching and learning in higher education.
The re-design of the LLM in International Commercial Law, in which I was actively involved, presented an excellent opportunity to explore in further detail the usefulness of this practice. Hence, in June 1016 I was awarded with a small UoR Teaching and Learning grant (£250) with the objective to involve a group of ten PGT students from the School of Law as equal partners in the process of redesigning the curriculum of a core PGT module. The PGT LLM module is entitled LWMTAI-Advanced International Commercial Law Issues (20 credits), and is one of the core mandatory modules of the new ‘LLM in International Commercial Law’.
What motivated me in particular was the need to listen to the ‘student voice’ by actively and directly engaging students in the design of the curriculum. So far, ‘student voice’ is largely heard ex post; following the completion of the taught component of the module, e.g. on a Module Evaluation Form. I wanted to go beyond existing practice and listen to the ‘student voice’ ex ante; before delivery, by proactively engaging students/learners as equal partners in the redesign of the module. This does not only reflect a current, strategic Teaching and Learning Enhancement Priority of the University, but it is also vital to the success and effective delivery of the module and subsequently to the new LLM Programme. The broader aim was to promote partnership in teaching and learning, building a collective vision of the future of PGT commercial law subjects and programme.
Both current and revised MDF forms of the module were circulated to a group of ten PGT students in the School of Law along with a questionnaire. Five of them were students that had completed the module in its pre-revised form and five were students that were not enrolled on the module. The latter group of students was valuable in offering a ‘naïve perception’ to the design of the module. Students were asked to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the module, as reflected in the MDF forms. Their answers to the different questions posed, along with other concerns/recommendations they wished to share, were discussed in a two-hour event, open to all staff involved in PGT Law teaching. Each participating student to the project was paid with vouchers that could be spent in in the Blackwell bookstore on campus.
Currently, as part of my EDMAP 3 project, I have extended the scope of this project by involving currently enrolled PGT Law students, who were the first to be taught the module in its revised form.
There are several beneficiaries of this project; direct and indirect. The project delivered considerable benefits to the students who took part in the process; they gained a better understanding of the teaching and learning process, and, furthermore, engaging students as equal partners fostered a sense of belonging and promoted inclusive learning. Secondly, future students will also benefit from a module that has been partly redesigned by students-partners. Thirdly, the insights gained through this project, and shared in the two-hour event, may potentially inform the design and delivery of other, future or existing, PGT modules. Finally, it is hoped that the project will inspire and motivate all staff involved in teaching and learning to think beyond the limiting ‘customer satisfaction’ model that tends to dominate Higher Education nowadays and towards a more challenging and rewarding relationship with our students based on genuine cooperation and trust.
On the 10th November the University Teaching Fellows (UTFs) came together for their termly Community of Practice meeting. As chair of the Community for 2016/17, I welcomed all UTFs and outlined my focus for this academic year: “Raising the profile of UTFs”.
It was our great pleasure to welcome Prof Gavin Brooks to this meeting. Gavin gave an overview of current T&L projects within the University and acknowledged that it is important to utilise the UTF community for the wealth and diversity of experience it represents. He highlighted in particular, the upcoming review of the University’s Teaching and Learning Strategy in the spring and summer terms, to be ready for launch in 2018; an area where the views of the UTF Community would be extremely welcome. All members enjoyed a really positive discussion about the status of the UTFs and how the University values this community.
Additionally we discussed how the University could potentially support this community. It was very interesting and encouraging to hear that dissemination of T&L projects and sharing of good practice were on top of the list and important to all UTFs present. This includes dissemination within the University and outside. However, we also recognised that effective sharing of good practice seems to become more and more challenging as we face a myriad of commitments. If you have any ideas for how we can share good practice in T&L within the University more effectively and/or how the University can support us – I would love to hear from you. Just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PLanT stands for Partners in Learning and Teaching. The project allows students and teachers to work together in order to improve a module using a small pot of money to fund meetings, focus groups and equipment. As a small group four of us (Jess, Emily, Daria and Meg) worked with our lecturer Clare Wright in the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics to make some improvements to the module ‘Core Issues in English Language Teaching’.
Why we decided to take part:
The PLanT project was a brilliant opportunity for me to put into practice what we had learnt in the module “Core Issues in ELT” as some aspects directly related to the thinking behind the improvements we formulated for the module. It has been a really interesting experience and I’m delighted to be able to make a lasting difference to benefit more students at the university.
I decided to take part in the PLanT project because after learning about teaching practices in the Core Issues module I was keen to put my learning into practice in a real setting and see how we could improve what was already a brilliant module.
Daria (from Germany)
I decided to take part in PLANT project after taking the course “Core Issues in ELT” and learning about different approaches to language teaching. As an exchange student from a country where a very different approach to teaching foreign languages is taken, I became interested in the modern techniques and methods of ELT and took the opportunity of putting them into practice straight away by introducing some changes to the CIELT module as part of the PLANT project. While participating in the project, I also learned a lot about the use of IT in a language classroom.
Meg (from Japan)
What made me enthusiastic about this project was that it can provide me with the precious opportunity to integrate different ideas to come up with a new curriculum. Taking one module about English language teaching before my joining the project, I was amazed by my professor and other students because they were interpreting the same subject in a totally different way. I imagined if those who had different backgrounds and opinions could cope with each other and combine their thoughts, a brilliant curriculum must be brought which would be reasonable for all students. In addition, the project can contribute to not only improving a module curriculum but also developing ourselves. During the project, I was always inspired and excited to hear other members’ voices which I really appreciated. What is more, considering what can be done to enhance students’ motivations and autonomies in the language class should make what we learnt in the module more realistic and progress my career. Through the project, I experienced what are required as a prospective English teacher and how enjoyable to engage myself in the language education.
The PLanT Process:
We met up on several occasions to discuss what we had enjoyed about the module and how we thought we could improve it. The course aims to provide a summary of the main teaching practices and how these are affected by different factors as well as discussing the role of the teachers and learners. The course itself ran with one lecture and a seminar where the lecture material was discussed and activities took place based on the previous learning.
To begin with we found it very difficult to think of a way to improve the module as we felt in many ways it was already excellent. We had all participated in the course and had really enjoyed the seminars and felt that the level of interaction planned in the seminar tasks could be really good, as it meant that we could really get involved and enhance our knowledge. The class itself was reasonably large and a mix of part 2s and 3s, and we could see that not everyone engaged fully with the tasks. So we wanted to find a way to check everyone’s learning progression that was engaging for everyone to enhance engagement and help students to build their skills. We concluded that by integrating more technology into the seminars, we could really improve interaction between the students and help them learn about how to include technology into presentations, vlogs or quizzes to provide them with the skills that employers are looking for. So Clare introduced us to the TEL team, part of Reading University’s enhanced IT support initiatives, which have been working with staff to include more IT in their teaching, to see what we could do for students.
Some of our original suggestions in this area included multiple choice tests with clickers in the seminars or small presentations using platforms like Camtasia (one of several platforms suggested to us by the TEL team). We also revised the structure of the module according to the relevance and importance of the topics. New tasks and types of group work were introduced in order to ensure active participation of the students and more interaction between them. The division of tasks between Part 2 and Part 3 students taking the course was discussed and how they could be encouraged to interact more in class. We held a focus group part way through the process in order to see how students felt about the changes we might make, and they were well received by all which allowed us to steam ahead with confidence to putting our plans into action.
In March we presented our work at the RUSU awards and received a very positive response from other members of staff and students. After this presentation we continued to have a further meeting with the TEL team to discuss other ways to integrate technology whilst having a bit of fun in seminars. Some of these suggestions included platforms like ‘Kahoot’ and ‘Nearpod’. The latter allows students to interact to questions on the board using their mobile phones or other mobile devices. We found that this was a fun and innovative option as a replacement for multiple choice clickers which had the potential to be expensive as well as technically difficult with regard to matching the software with what the university already has set up.
Therefore, after this experience we all felt that we have learnt volumes about ways to enhance teaching in the classroom with technology in a fun but informative manner and we are very grateful to the TEL team for that. We have all really enjoyed working towards this and are incredibly proud of what we have achieved and hope that at least some of our ideas about using IT in seminars will be well received by next year’s cohort of students.
In Autumn 2014, the Department of Chemistry welcomed their first cohort of final year students studying for the [3+1] BSc Applied Chemistry course from NUIST, China. By January, we could already see that there were some valuable lessons that we could learn from these students. We decided to carry out a review, asking all students involved for feedback on the year. So we could reward them for their time and input we applied for PLanT funding and were successful.
This PLanT project was in collaboration with Shuwen Ma (a student from NUIST), Kirsten Hawkins (a third year home student) and Amie Parker (a second year home student), all from the Department of Chemistry.
Aims and Method
Our objectives were to: (a) determine the impact of the cohort of students from NUIST on our current third-year home students; (b) find out what preconceptions our second-year students had; (c) determine the parts of the year the students from NUIST found the most challenging and what we could offer to support future students. In order to achieve this, we organised three separate working lunch sessions with each of the three peer groups (second year/third year home students and the NUIST students) led by the students named in the PLanT proposal. During these lunches there was a brain-storming session where students were asked their opinions on a variety of topics and then wrote their notes on giant post-its.
This approach was extremely informative with regards to the home students. The students from NUIST were less forthcoming with information, so in the end in addition to the working lunch we sent them questionnaires that they returned anonymously.
Analysis of the results showed that there was one main overriding theme between all three cohorts, namely the importance of English language skills. In the case of the home students, the level of English was important from a day-to-day perspective. The second years, with whom the next cohort of NUIST students would be integrating in 2015/2016, were concerned that the NUIST students would not be able to communicate effectively therefore there would be minimal integration so classes might become segregated, something they wanted to avoid. The third year students who had experienced mixed classes with the NUIST student in 2014/2015 said that the language barrier was not an issue in lectures, but made things difficult in practical classes due to the communication required between students and staff.
The NUIST students themselves also said that language was an issue and that although they had learnt English in China and had fulfilled the University’s requirements for English, they struggled due to the big difference between day-to-day English speaking and the technical language required for completing the degree course. However, the students all agreed that the help offered by the ISLI was invaluable. The English courses in the Autumn term were extremely helpful and that their English skills and confidence had dramatically improved over the year.
Additionally the students from NUIST were very worried about their final examinations, even though part of their final year grade was based upon coursework. We attributed this to two main reasons; the first came down again to lack of confidence with the English language, and the second was the difference in the education systems between the UK and China.
Written examinations in China differ significantly from UK style exam questions. In the UK students are required to recall information and apply it in unfamiliar situations, whereas in China many exams involve simple knowledge recall. Throughout the year the Chinese students completed tutorial questions of a style similar to the examination questions at the end of the year, to prepare them for the different assessment approaches. Our international support tutor provided additional classes and made video recordings of lectures. The English language tutor analysed our exam command words and trained the NUIST students in understanding the different requirements of words such as ‘explain’, ‘describe’ and ‘analyse’. However, the students were still concerned that they would not understand the questions they were being asked and they would be slower at the exams due to the language barrier, so might run out of time. Although we had anticipated that English language would be a problem and had tried to put support mechanisms in place, such as translating key chemical vocabulary, we were not fully prepared for the impact of this.
The information we have gained from all year groups has been extremely useful and will definitely be used to help future cohorts of students settle into University life. In terms of new initiatives for next year, we will try to implement the following:
A “buddying system” where current third year students act as guides to the new NUIST students.
Additional exam-style questions for the students to use a practise once they are in the UK
Contribute UK style examination questions to examinations set and sat in China so students are better prepared for their examinations in Reading.
Organisation of laboratory classes to promote cross-cultural exchange but avoid handicapping home students.
A greater emphasis on the technical language required for chemistry
Informal drop-in sessions where students can come and ask for help if they need it
The PLanT project is a University funded programme that is designed to get students involved with the design and delivery of strategies regarding teaching and learning. If an application is successful, the group is rewarded £500 to see the project through.
We as a group, applied for one of these grants, using the idea of a web-based learning resource for the typography department, and were successful with this application.
Our application was based around the fact that we collectively do a lot of online research in relation to many aspects of our course, for example, learning software, or getting design tips. Currently our department is lacking in any such centralised bank of resources, and we felt that it would be useful for subsequent year groups to have something like this. We therefore created a questionnaire that asked other undergraduates on our course opinions on the current provision of resources and communication methods within the department. Below asked the questions we asked…
From the questionnaire, we learned that students felt like the department relies heavily on social media, because students opinions of BlackBoard is less than complimentary. The other main result of this questionnaire, was discovering that students were strongly in favour of an online resource bank. This therefore became the foundation for our proposal and the rest of the project.
Discussion of ideas
With the funding in place, we met to discuss the preliminary research that we had attained, revisiting these results from the questionnaire, to work out what exactly would be useful for the department. As the research outlined, students seemed in favour of having the online resource bank. We therefore compiled a list of ideas of what we felt this system should have and be able to do. Ideas included:
a provision for submitting work for feedback
anonymous questioning to department staff
a bank of good previous work, curated by lecturers
a bank of resources
a collaborative online working space.
After discussions with departmental staff, and our supervisor for the project, it became apparent that due to department rules, it would be better to refine the ideas into one more focussed, ‘online resource’, that performed the following tasks (condensing some of the ideas above):
Examples of previous student work
A collation of internet based design resources
A collation of user created resources (both by staff and students)
We proposed the above online resource to other students on the course to gain feedback, and further our ideas. The general idea was received very positively. During this research phase, we were given access to BlackBoard, to determine the limitations, and capabilities of the resource, so that we were able to not only make something that does things BlackBoard is unable to, but also not designing a system that simply replicates aspects of BlackBoard.
Response to research
With all the prior research and market research in mind, we began to design the system. From research, we realised that one of the main problems with the previous methods of handling information, i.e. Facebook and BlackBoard, was that the navigation and user interface was not specifically tailored to what we wanted it to do. We looked at existing methods of navigating information heavy websites, such as Pinterest, observing their filtering system. We felt that this system, which uses a collection of ‘visual cards’ would be an extremely efficient and successful method for our new system.
We began wireframing based on these ideas:
We made the system capable of browsing resources through different facets, such as course modules, but also through more specific key word searches. Once these wireframes were established, we developed the website, integrating it with WordPress so that we could easily manage and search the resources, using it to rapidly accelerate the development process. With the first prototype in place we began user testing.
Using the money from the grant of £500, we set up a focus group where we could interview undergraduates from the department. We spent £70 on food and drinks to help entice students to take part. The focus group asked students to have a look through the website which we had created, we asked them some questions after giving them a chance to explore it themselves.
The responses from the students were very positive and they also provided us with some more feedback. We also got staff to try out the system who were able to provide feedback from their perspective. Staff suggested that they would like to see the option of navigating the system via different categories rather than specifically across year groups in order to make the system more useful for the course.
Our lecturers were impressed with the work we had done to aid the teaching and learning resources for future years and are excited to see continual development and for the site to be live. It was at this point, that the name of the resource bank should be typo resources to encompass it within existing services provided by the department.
Presenting our system
After the focus group we attended a presentation where we discussed what our project was and why we wanted to do it. More importantly for us, it was a chance to present our hard work. We created a keynote that explained the research and the process that we employed during the project. The presentation took place in 3sixty, the centre of campus, in front of around 100 people, most of whom were members of University staff. This was a great opportunity and again, we received a positive response from the audience.
Unfortunately as we are graduating this year we are unable to continue developing this system. However, because the PLanT scheme involves our supervisor, and is for our course, the department is backing the continued development. This means our next step is to recruit other students who are as passionate about this project as we are.
Through participating in the PLanT scheme project we gained valuable experience in team work and research of user experience. We benefitted from discussion and collaboration with department staff, particularly our supervisor Jeanne-Louise Moys, which helped us to gain an understanding of the system and practices as they currently exist, as well as to gain useful insight into the considerations of staff.
Such a unique project came with its own challenges and rewards. Our work on the presentation, although very well received, did have some setbacks, in terms of coordinating the demonstration of the live system on a large-scale screen with all equipment located off-stage. We may have benefited from more practice or potentially creating a short video of the system in use that could have been used. Through this experience of presenting work to a large audience, however, we have gained useful experience of public speaking and organisation. There was also the issue of justifying the creation of a system that could have been seen as overlapping with the provision of Blackboard, so we worked hard to ensure that what we were creating offered ‘unique selling points’ that would be of value to students within the department, and more widely applicable throughout the university when developed further.
Being given the opportunity to work on something that will benefit students in further years has been a very rewarding experience for the whole group. We are proud to have worked on something that will remain after we have graduated, with the potential to improve students’ experience of communication and independent learning, especially as department staff and other students can be involved in developing and refining the idea further.
The GRASS (Generating Resources and Access to Screen capture Software) project aims to enable, enhance and support access to screen capture technology across the University. It is a Teaching and Learning Development Fund (TLDF) maxi-project which will run for two years and, although the official launch is in September, we are already excited by what is happening. We have produced this newsletter to give you an idea of how things are likely to develop…watch this space! GRASS newsletter pdf #1 June 2014
Students on the BA (QTS) in Primary Education juggle conflicting roles right from the beginning of their programme. On the one hand they are undergraduate students with all that entails – getting to grips with being away from home, managing their social lives and budgets, learning how to become academically independent. On the other, they are expected to be professional at all times – becoming a trusted member of a primary school’s staff whilst on placement, being a role model and working towards professional standards. Whilst they study their specialist subject (art, English, music or mathematics) at honours level, they also have to develop subject and pedagogical knowledge across the entire primary curriculum as well as psychology, child development and difficult issues such as safeguarding. Tutors on the BA Ed have long been aware of these tensions and the challenges they present for students, and the students themselves echoed these difficulties through their programme feedback and the Staff Student Liaison Committee. One of the challenges for staff is that, like any University programme, the tutors don’t ‘live’ the whole programme – it is only the students who really experience the programme and in particular the transitions from one phase of the programme (University-based sessions, school placements) to the next.
With this background, we leapt at the opportunity presented by the CQSD/RUSU Partnerships in Learning and Teaching Projects Funding Scheme. These are small-scale initiatives addressing the enhancement of teaching and learning priorities as identified by students and staff. After discussions at SSLC meetings and via email, a volunteer group of students currently in Years 2, 3 and 4 of their degree met and put together an application. As well as the tensions outlined above, they were particularly interested in the profile of their degree across the University and of teacher training more widely, and how to communicate the high level of academic rigour and professionalism involved.
The students have led the project from the outset, planning and carrying out the data collection and analysis. My role has been to meet with them from time to time to support their discussions, book rooms for focus groups, and provide a sounding board for their approaches and evolving findings. They have carried out focus group meetings with all four year groups and kept photo-journals to illustrate the varied demands of the programme. The funding has been used mainly for their time, and partly to fund refreshments for the focus groups.
Partnership in teaching and learning conference
Being involved in the RUSU conference on Tuesday 18th June allowed the students to present the initial stages of their project to academic staff nominated under the Excellence Awards, other students from across the University and Student Union Officers. My role in the conference was minimal, allowing the students to share their passion and enthusiasm for their degree as well as the project itself. Particularly impressive was the fact that two of the students came straight from their school placements where they had been teaching all morning, perfectly illustrating the tensions explored within their project. Further information about the conference, joint funded by a project involving the HEA and NUS, can be found at http://www.rusu.co.uk/news/article/6001/Partnership-in-Teaching-and-Learning-Conference-a-Success/.
Having gathered their data, the students are currently analysing results to draw out themes and put together a report for the programme management team and the Institute of Education’s DTL. They will be providing materials to be shared with prospective students at Open Days to ensure they get a full picture of the nature of the programme, and presenting their results at SSLC. We hope that their findings will impact not only their own programme and other programmes at the IoE, but more widely across the University – in particular on those departments running vocational programmes which might share some of the tensions.
One of the real pluses of the project for me as a lecturer has been the opportunity to work closely with a group of students across different year groups on a common theme, an approach we aim to build upon in the future. We are looking forward to getting their final recommendations as they pull the project together.
As they complete this stage of their project the students aim to summarise their findings for this blog, so watch this space! They will also be presenting at the T&L Showcase on the 17th June, 1pm-1.50pm.
As a recipient of funding under the PLanT (Partnerships in Learning and Teaching) scheme (PLANT Projects Scheme), I am delighted to be able to report on the project – which is still a bit of a work in progress. The PLANT awards are aimed at facilitating projects which get students involved with staff as partners in aspects of T&L at Reading, which is an excellent idea, as students have a unique perspective which can often take lecturing staff in directions they’d not thought about before.
This post looks at how students in the second year of their BA programme in English Language became involved in the support of first year students’ transition to the more demanding second year module in English Phonology (LS2EP). Continue reading →