Category Archives: Short Paper

The role of assessment in learner engagement in and out of the classroom

Christine O’Leary
@ChristineOLear1

Parallel session 2,  Short Paper 2.5

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Short Abstract
The session will explore the role of assessment in fostering learner engagement in and out of the classroom, based on undergraduate students’ learning logs as well as individual and group feedback. It will consider the assessment design principles associated with this approach.

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Detailed Outline
The growing recognition within current educational literature that student engagement and motivation are essential to successful learning (Coates, 2006; Zepke and Leach, 2010) supports a student-centred approach to Teaching and Learning. Cognitive and more particularly constructivist views of student learning suggest that learners’ active and independent/ interdependent involvement in their own learning increases motivation to learn (Raya and Lamb, 2008; Hoidn and Kärkkäinen, 2014). Furthermore, the ability to influence one’s own learning has been associated with improved academic performance (Andrade and Valtcheva, 2009; Ramsden, 2003). The shift to a more student-centred curriculum and the need to align assessment with Learning and Teaching practices (Biggs, 2003) has prompted the development of new approaches to assessment in all sectors of education, including higher education. Assessment for and as learning approaches recognise the role of assessment as a vehicle for learning as well as a means of measuring achievement (Gardner, 2012; Nicol and MacFarlane-Dick, 2006). The active use of assessment in learning necessitates engagement both within and outside the classroom.

This session will examine the use of assessment for and as learning as a means of fostering learner engagement both in and out of the classroom, based a group of undergraduate Languages and Business/ TESOL students’ learning logs covering reflection, metacognitive and affective strategies as well as self/peer feedback. Participants will be given the opportunity to discuss and explore the assessment design principles associated with this approach.

References-
Andrade, H and Valtcheva, A 2009. Promoting Learning and Achievement through Self-Assessment. London: Routledge.
BIGGS, J. 2003. Teaching for Quality Learning in Higher Education. Buckingham, England: Open University Press.
COATES, H 2006. The value of student engagement for higher education quality assurance. Quality in Higher Education, 11 (1), 25-36.
HOIDN, S and KÄRKKÄINEN, K 2014. Promoting Skills for Innovation in Higher Education: a literature review on the effectiveness of problem-based learning and of teaching behaviours. [online]. OECD. OECD Education Working Papers, 100. http://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=EDU/WKP(2013)15&docLanguage=En
GARDNER, J 2012. Assessment and Learning. London: Sage
NICOL D.J. & MACFARLANE-DICK D. 2006. Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice, Studies in Higher Education, 31(2): 199-218
RAMSDEN, P 2008. The future of higher education teaching and the student experience. [online].
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100304122451/http://www.bis.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/HE-Teaching-Student-Experience.pdf
Raya, MJ and Lamb, T 2008. Pedagogy for Autonomy in Language Education. Dublin: Authentik.
ZEPKE, N and LEACH, L 2010. Improving student engagement: Ten proposals for action. Active Learning in Higher Educatio n, 11 (3), 167-177

 

Student engagement with reflection – Re-imagining PPDP for the Social Age

Graham Holden & Andrew Middleton
@GrahamJHolden / @andrewmid

Parallel session 2,  Short Paper 2.4

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Short Abstract
Student engagement with reflection can be challenging. The combination of life-wide ecologies and personal technologies facilitates a place for creativity and reflection, enabling students to broaden their thinking and look at how their wider experiences contribute to who they are and where they are going as they ‘become professional’.

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Detailed Outline
‘The best thing any education can bequeath is the habit of reflection and questioning.’ (AC Grayling, 2000)

Reflection on action (Schon, 1991) is a key ingredient of student attainment and graduate employment prospects. This importance is reflected in the University’s strategies (Education for Employability) and frameworks (Personal and Professional Development Planning [PPDP]) and it is a requirement of all validated programmes. So why is it so difficult to engage our students with reflection and PPDP?

The concepts of life-wide learning and learning ecologies (Jackson, 2013) present the opportunity to re-imagine and re-design PPDP and promote the value of reflection. Learning ecologies are the means by which we connect and integrate our past and current experiences, learning and development. In the context of HE they embrace all the activities that students engage in and the learning and the meaning that they gain from them. In so doing we can inspire and enable learners to discover and engage with their purposes (personal and professional) across diverse learner contexts and disciplines.

This session will explore the outcomes from a HEA Strategic Enhancement Programme project awarded in October 2014 to re-imagine PPDP which will be ready to disseminate at the conference. The project’s starting point was to develop the concept of learning ecologies to transform the ways in which students engage with, reflect on, and record their journeys to ‘becoming professional’. The project also considers the use of personal technologies (BYOD) which offer students greater flexibility for when and where learning occurs. Bringing these together offers the potential to provide students with a place for creativity and reflection. Engaging students in this way will enable them to broaden their thinking and look at how their wider experiences contribute to who they are and where they are going and enhance their skills, confidence and competence as they ‘become professional’.

Having established a lifewide learning and learning ecologies view of PPDP the paper will set out challenges and opportunities within and outside of the curriculum for applying PPDP and consider what this means for developing and supporting reflective learners throughout their time at university.

Socrates does Twitter – Using Socratic questioning with social media: ancient and modern connections

Christine Hibbert, Claire Walsh, Chris Payne, Ciaran Hurley & Sara Morris-Docker
@christinehibb / @cwalsh_cl

Parallel session 2,  Short Paper 2.4

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Short Abstract
This presentation explores synergies between ancient and modern teaching and learning methods on the MSc Healthcare Education course. Socratic questioning and social media (namely Twitter & Storify) were employed to facilitate critical thinking and foster engagement with technology enhanced learning by students who have a role as educators themselves.

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Detailed Outline
The aim of this paper is to share an ongoing piece of work, an interesting dichotomy in the use of ancient and very modern tools in one classroom session, by staff who are relatively new to using social media for classroom engagement themselves. The Socratic method is well documented (Parker and Hess 2001) and was used to encourage active learning by students through critiquing elements of their teaching practice. Twitter and Storify are also well documented in classroom teaching (Rheingold 2010).

The students were encouraged to ask questions of their teaching practise through a series of facilitated steps, ask questions of themselves, their preferences and their assumptions (Brookfield 1995). Twitter provided a focus through communicating short messages having a word/ character limitation, which encouraged students to prioritise significant questions that required further interrogation. Storify created a narrative of their Socratic practice for further reflection on their practice (Schon 1991).

The presentation will describe staff (n= 5) development and student experience (n=60) using the Socratic approach with twitter. Evaluation consisted of a staff group reflection on their experience of using social media in their teaching and student evaluations via social media of this experience. Emerging themes include, opportunities for student co-authorship of learning, experiential learning in employment of technology in educational practice and the facilitation of active learning to foster critical thinking.
PARKER, Walter C. and HESS, Diana (2001). Teaching with and for discussion. Teaching and teacher education, 17 (3), 273-289.
RHEINGOLD, H. (2010). Attention and other 21st-century social media literacies. Educause Review (1527–6619)45(5):14.
SCHON, D.,A. (2004). The reflective practitioner: How professional think in action. New York, Basic Books.

A holistic approach to engagement: academic skills development within the discipline

Tanya Miles Berry, Jake Philips, Richard McCarter & Cathy Malone

Parallel session 2,  Short Paper 2.3

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Short Abstract
The aim of the presentation is to give an overview of a project within Criminology which sought to embed ‘skills’ learning in a meaningful way, using the classroom to underpin independent learning – notably around reading and writing skills – and providing the students with an online workbook environment to encourage engagement.

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Detailed Outline
Over the course of the last 2 academic years, members of the Criminology subject group have worked collaboratively with members of both QESS and the E-Learning team to develop a new approach to a traditional study skills module. This paper will outline the result of those collaborations, and look more specifically at attempts to embed reading tasks across level 4, writing in level 5 and ‘writing groups’ in the Level 6 Dissertation module. This is as an add-on to the lecture materials and supervision process in order to provide a safe, focused and constructive environment in which students can ‘do’ their writing (Murray 2014, 2015).

These methods of embedding skills in the degree will be discussed further in light of pedagogic literature (Lillis 2001, Lea & Street 1998, Wingate 2006, Warren 2000, & Hill & Tinker 2013) on how best to support students with core academic skills both within and outside formal teaching environments. Evidence of increased student engagement will be evaluated across the years.

We will also explore the on-line learning environment provided through Pebblepad, and discuss both the benefits and drawbacks experienced as a result of using Pebblepad’s workbook tool. The workbook offered students a method of using a downloaded template which helped to structure learning and helped tutors supply formative and summative feedback.

Re-designing the curriculum to embed skills across the degree will be discussed further evaluating the experience as a whole, very much as an action research project, and with a view towards what will be happening on the newly revalidated degree which begins in September 2015.

Hill P & Tinker A (2013) Integrating learning development into the student experience. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education,5, 1-18.
Lea, M. & Street, B. 1998 Student Writing in HE; An Academic Literacies Approach Studies in HE 23 (2) 157-172
Lillis T. (2001) Student Writing; Access, Regulation and Desire
Murray R. 2014 Doctoral students create new spaces to write in C Aitcheson & Guerin C. (Eds.) Writing Groups for Doctoral Students and Beyond London
Murray R. 2015 Writing in Social Spaces and Social Processes Approach to Writing London Routledge
Warren D. 2000 Curriculum Design in a Context of Widening Participation in Higher Education, Arts & Humanities in Higher Education, 1(1), 85- 99
Wingate U (2006) Doing Away With Study Skills Teaching in HE Vol 11 457-469

UK Engagement Survey (UKES): Findings of Sheffield Hallam’s 2014 Pilot Survey

Alan Donnelly & Dr Helen Kay
@adonnelly1990

Parallel session 2,  Short Paper 2.3

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Short Abstract
This paper will share the key findings of Sheffield Hallam’s pilot of the UK Engagement Survey (UKES) in 2014, which was co-ordinated by the Higher Education Academy. It will explore how students engage with their learning and compare the University’s results against the aggregate UK results.

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Detailed Outline
The UK Engagement Survey (UKES) is a national survey on student engagement which was first piloted by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in 2013. The principal aim of the survey is to inform enhancements to the student experience and provide institutions with feedback on the level of effort students’ invest in a range of educational activities. The UKES is based on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which is used in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Ireland.

Sheffield Hallam participated in the second year of the pilot between March and May 2014 and it was targeted at Level 5 students. Participating in the UKES allows the University’s students to have an active involvement in the enhancement of their own educational experience and “address how they themselves participate in their own learning” (HEA, 2014).

The findings indicate that Level 5 students at Sheffield Hallam are more positively engaged with their learning when compared with their peers in the sector. This paper will compare the University’s results against the UK results for several key areas of student engagement: academic integration; course challenge; collaborative learning; higher-order learning; reflective and integrative learning; skills development; and engagement with research. The paper will also explore the relationship between student engagement and attainment.

Using immersive virtual reality to enhance anatomical understanding

Dr Robert Appleyard & Dr Heidi Probst
@R_M_Appleyard / @HeidiProbst

Parallel session 1, Short Paper 1.9


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Short Abstract

Anatomy is usually taught via a multimedia experience. This study developed a virtual, interactive, model of the brain and investigated whether engagement with it in an immersive virtual environment offered advantages over plastic anatomical models in enhancing students’ spatial anatomical knowledge. We also investigated how students’ develop this knowledge.

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Detailed Outline
Purpose:
The study aimed to investigate the potential of an immersive virtual environment (IVE) for enhancing students’ spatial anatomical cognition of the brain and establish a coherent explanatory framework for how this spatial cognition is developed.

Methods:
A convergent parallel mixed methods design was used. A pre and post-test, pragmatic, randomised controlled trial assessed the impact of virtual reality (VR) technology on the extent to which spatial cognition of anatomy could be enhanced compared with the use of plastic anatomical models. Constructivist grounded theory was used to develop a theoretical model of how students develop spatial cognition. A triangulation protocol was used to establish a coherent explanatory framework for the development of spatial anatomical cognition in an IVE.

Results:
Engagement with the VR model of the brain in an IVE resulted in statistically significantly greater enhancement in spatial anatomical cognition compared to engagement with an equivalent plastic model of the brain (p = 0.003). The effect size (8%, 95%CI: 2.3 – 13.2%, d = 0.59) is potentially valuable in practical terms. Students exploit individual traits, prior vocational experiences and features of the model in order to apply personal learning strategies within a constructivist framework to enhance spatial cognition. A more positive learning experience and the additional interaction afforded by the IVE are the most likely explanation for the difference in effect.

Conclusions:
Engagement with virtual models in an immersive virtual environment can substantially amplify students’ potential to develop spatial knowledge of anatomy. Vocational stimuli are key in influencing how students exploit the design features of a virtual anatomical model to develop spatial understanding. This work provides evidence that will contribute to the development of pedagogy for using immersive virtual reality for the teaching and learning of anatomy.

An investigation into the use of Twitter in teaching.

David Strafford
@davidstrafford

Parallel session 1, Short Paper 1.8


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Short Abstract
This presentation will review an exploratory study examining the opportunities and challenges of using Twitter as an integral part of the teaching on two Events Management modules. Particularly, it explores whether students would actively engage with course content on Twitter to enhance their learning experience and underpin the teaching from the classroom.

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Detailed Outline
The modern student has access to knowledge and information at their fingertips like never before. Ownership of smartphones, tablets and laptops is prevalent amongst the modern day digital learner, with information, knowledge and feedback being demanded faster and faster. Interaction on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest is growing as a result of increased demand for social connectivity. The modern day tutor needs to reflect on this, as to whether these platforms can be tools for teaching.

If students actively and voluntarily spend their time interacting on social media with peers, then it is natural for tutors to ask whether they can engage their students with learning on these same platforms. Therefore as part of the delivery of two Events Management modules, Twitter was used to underpin the learning from the more traditional classroom based teaching. The vehicle was a weekly ‘tweetchat’ hour where tutors and students could come together on Twitter to discuss course related topics. These tweetchats were not compulsory or assessed, they merely supported course material and provided wider background reading through interesting links, articles and videos.

The tweetchat topics loosely followed a particular module’s lecture topics: in Semester One, the Level 4 Events Foundation was chosen and in Semester Two, the Level 5 Charity Events and Fundraising module was utilised. A bespoke Twitter handle was created (@SHUeventschat) and the hashtag #SHUeventschat was used in all tweets during the tweetchats. Storify was used to summarise the tweetchat conversations each week. At the end of each module a quantitative research survey was conducted to establish students’ views on Twitter being used as part of their teaching, with some further qualitative interviews also conducted to delve deeper with particularly engaged students. The results of that research are presented here, couple with recommendations for future use.

Exploring the Use of Digital Technologies and Devices in Student Learning

Alan Donnelly, Dr Helen Kay, Dr Luke Desforges, Professor Guy Merchant & Judit Garcia-Martin.
@adonnelly1990

Parallel session 1, Short Paper 1.8


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Short Abstract

This paper will provide an overview of the main findings of Sheffield Hallam’s Digital Technologies Survey. It will explore students’ use of digital technologies; their views, confidence and expectations of using them for their academic studies; and their access to, and use of, mobile devices and computers.

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Detailed Outline
Digital technologies and web 2.0 tools refer to web-based technologies which promote “personal publishing, ease of use, interactivity, collaboration, sharing and customisation” (Cochrane, 2006, p. 144). These technologies include blogs, wikis, video tools, social networking services and multimedia sharing tools. Studies in Australia and the United States have found that university students commonly own and use mobile devices to access digital technologies (Oblinger & Oblinger, 2005; Oliver & Goerke, 2007; Martin & Ertzberger, 2013) and technologies are increasingly being used to support and enhance learning.

The University’s strategy to 2020 outlined the importance of digital resources and technologies to support students’ academic, professional and social development. The strategy recognises the need to “capitalise on new and emerging technologies that help to deliver high quality teaching, research and operations” by “focusing on user needs”.

This paper will share the key findings of Sheffield Hallam’s Digital Technologies Survey, which was sent to new undergraduate and postgraduate students between October and November 2014. The purpose of the survey was to explore the digital technologies and devices that students use to support their learning. This paper will examine students’ use of digital technologies; their views, confidence and expectations of using digital technologies for their academic studies; and their access to, and use of, mobile devices and computers. The study was undertaken in collaboration with the University of Leon, Spain.

South Yorkshire Through Time: students as partners in community engagement

Alison Twells

Parallel session 1, Short Paper 1.7


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Detailed Outline
For the past decade, I have taught a range of public history modules at SHU which combine a taught element (lectures and seminars on public history/community heritage and schools’ history) with a project which is ‘of use’ to an external group. This has usually taken the form of a piece of research for a heritage site or oral history interviews for a community history group. Initially, the module was inspired by my desire to make connections between academic history, community history and heritage in the region; and specifically, with community history groups which were part of wider ‘regeneration’ initiatives. More recently, public history has become central to the ’employability’ strategy of the History group at SHU, and has undergone development at level 5, in the shape of a module which does all of the above but also includes a careers management component (involving external speakers from public history fields, and taught sessions of presentations, CV writing, personal statements, career action planning etc.) Even more recently, I have developed the South Yorkshire Through Time community history website in collaboration with public historians in the region as a way of showcasing student work and enabling their involvement as partners in both curriculum development and community engagement.

This paper explores student responses to public history modules, gathered via an extensive end-of-module questionnaire and focus group sessions. My interests are varied: the scope offered by such work for developing ’employability’ skills; the capacity of the external project and public engagement for creating students who are critical thinkers and independent learners; the potential significance of movement across the boundaries between academic and public contexts in terms of developing a clearer conception of the practices and identities of both disciplinary fields; and the values that students attach to their work for the module, in terms of their emphasis on pleasure, passion, pride, belonging and developing their own voice on public historical issues.

Pausing at the threshold: using arts based enquiry to promote appreciative reflection on entering a collaborative ‘identity workspace’

Dr Hazel Messenger

Parallel session 1, Short Paper 1.7

Short Abstract
Creating opportunities for individuals to develop purposeful identities requires purposeful approaches and the use of pedagogical time and space founded on value-based academic practice. Arts-based pedagogy, used as a rite of passage, marks entry to postgraduate study which aims to be an ‘identity workspace’

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Detailed Outline
Creating opportunities for individuals to develop purposeful identities in order to promote well-being and prosperity is central to the mission of higher education practice across the world. This in turn requires purposeful approaches and the use of pedagogical time and space founded on authentic and value-based academic practice. Encouraging the creation of graduates with integrated and purposeful identities may be achieved collaboratively, with a group taking the responsibility for each other’s development. Petriglieri and Petriglieri (2010:44) consider that a community, whether it be an institution, a course or a cohort may be regarded as an ‘identity workspace’, a safe but challenging space for ‘identity work’. An essential element of such spaces are the rites of passage that mark changing identities, the relationships between the individuals involved and understandings of purpose and process.

This paper reports on an approach that acknowledges the uncertain identities of individuals entering an identity workspace. A visit to an art gallery and follow-up presentations entitled ‘who I am , why I am here and where I am going’ promote appreciative reflection between the members of a cohort, allows students to pause at the threshold of their studies, forming a rite of passage to mark entry to a deliberately developmental MBA programme. The aim of this approach is to develop a spirit of ‘communitas’ between its members who will be involved in collaborative experiential learning opportunities designed to encourage awareness of self, working with others and leadership development. The later parts of the programme will make extensive use of critical reflection, but at the beginning of the course it is important for students to show each other what they have, rather than what they have not. The aim is to produce a sense of trust through appreciative reflection and a sense of shared purpose.