Tag Archives: collaboration

Lawyer in London: inspiring students through extra-curricular work-related learning activities

Teri-Lisa Griffiths & Jill Dickinson
@TerilisaCareers / @Jill_Dickinson1

Parallel session 2, Short paper 2.6

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Short abstract
This paper focuses upon work-related, extra-curricular learning activities which have been designed and delivered in conjunction with a global employer, and analyses students’ engagement both with the activities themselves and their wider learning. In doing so, it evaluates collaborative methods between teaching staff, the Careers Service, and employers and their impact on students.

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Detailed outline
In recognition of current thinking that ‘targeting graduate employability skills… [is] not confined to career departments’, this paper utilises the example of the extra-curricular, Lawyer in London event to help illustrate effective, inter-professional collaboration between the careers service, teaching staff and an international law firm.
The event’s purpose was many-fold including: encouraging students to both reach their career potential and further invest within their course and developing both their confidence and also their familiarity with the working environment. The paper will also acknowledge the wider context of organisations recognising the need for greater diversity, particularly in the legal sector.
The initiative itself was inspired by the University’s developing relationship with Freshfields, as part of the Stephen Lawrence Scholarship Scheme.
With an overarching focus on the tripartite relationship between the university, employer and student, the paper outlines the practicalities of creating such pilot, extra-curricular schemes including: accessing funding, stakeholder-identification and emgagement and selecting/preparing students for the process.
Whilst the paper briefly outlines the event itself and the activities included, its main focus analyses and evaluates how the event met the team’s wider aims of encouraging student motivation, developing student employability and developing effective working methods between different stakeholders.
An important component comprised the feedback gained to help provide an insight into the viability, design and implementation of future events, and further development of the University’s relationships with external partners.
In outlining their conclusions, the authors suggest how others could utilise the idea of an inter-professional collaboration for the benefit of their own programmes and suggest how extra-curricular events may have a wider impact on students’ learning and career motivation.

Disentangling course identity: How does ‘Psychology and Sociology’ differ from ‘Psychology’ and ‘Sociology?’ (2014)

Stefanie Ashton Wigman, David Siddens, Lynne Spackman & Diarmuid Verrier

BSc Psychology and Sociology students will be invited to participate in a questionnaire on course identity and belonging. A sub group of this sample will later be invited to be interviewed on this topic, in order to generate more detailed responses. This project is currently in progress and the findings will be ready to be discussed at the Learning and Teaching Conference.

This study will provide us with information of key issues to target with interventions intended to improve perceived course identity and student satisfaction; we expect some of these issues will be specific to the course, and others will be relevant to other courses, particularly other joint or dual honours. Promoting course identity may also have a positive impact on academic performance. For example, a strong group (course) identity is essential for the development of an effective ‘in-group’. The sense of belonging that comes with being part of such a group is associated with higher self-esteem and (academic) commitment (e.g., Ellemers, Spears, & Doosje, 1997). It is proposed that a strong course identity would engender a strong community of practice. A community of practice is a way of enhancing learning based on collaboration (Wenger & Snyder, 2000). Communities of practice are defined by the knowledge dimension of social learning and Hughes (2010) suggests that knowledge-related identity congruence is fundamental for learner engagement.

We will conclude by making suggestions for future research within this topic area, and identifying the ways in which we anticipate that this project’s findings and resources could be related to and used to examine course identity for other courses.

“From the I to the we: collaborative learning as a teaching pedagogy” (2014)

Caroline Molloy, Coventry University

Although it is not an original pedagogy for students to work in small groups, and is often done across media disciplines (GWAMP working groups, http://www.cemp.ac.uk/themes/groupwork.php) it is not usual within a photographic discipline, which is traditionally a more individual pursuit. This paper is based on online collaborative work between small groups of photography students, in which they undertook tasks, which would give them the skills to undertake their own independent assignments later on in the term.

The aim of working in small research groups was to encourage students to work collaboratively, be more independent in their learning and realise between them they could problem solve and learn from each other. In essence, enhance their life long learning skills, as well as improve with their subject specialism.

Whilst it is commonly recognised that the learning economy is active outside of the learning academy, I note with a predominately young cohort of undergraduate students, the student emphasis seems to look at the lecturer, as a parent, who is accountable for their learning. Whilst my intention is not to avoid that role, part of my responsibility is to enable the students to understand they can be in charge of their own learning.

With careful consideration to skill sets personalities and group dynamics, the groups were set for the term. Each group was made up of 4 to 5 students, deliberately small so there was mutual obligation to participate in the tasks.

Whilst there was initially slight opposition to the group the work, students fearing their own work would not be rewarded, once the students got used to the set up, they recognised the benefit of pooling their resources.

We regularly met as a larger cohort to discuss, working progress on particular tasks, informal feedback was given and comments made without any student feeling like they were being singled out. I noted an improvement in the confidence of the students within their small groups.

The paper will look at an example of the online group google docs, discuss the tasks undertaken and how the students interacted. Based on student evaluation, it will look at what they learned from each other and how they evaluated their experience.

290 – Student Voices – Student Vision – Cathy Malone

This Thunderstorm presents two projects: an account of a collaboration between Falmouth University iWrite project and Sheffield Hallam Animation and Visual Effects. Falmouth students were recorded discussing approaches to writing at university and our students provided a visual track for these short accounts. The initial work was completed as part of a first year module  ‘Researching Creative Industries’, where students developed their ideas with an external client. The best animatics were chosen for development using a small ALDHE grant to fund an employability project for four students. In the second project second year students created animated student advice for younger peers within a module on Visual Narrative. Both  projects were guided by the desire to incorporate authentic student perspective into advice and support for learning, and accounts of student experience.  It has been influenced by the wider discussion on ‘student voice’ in particular Fielding’s ideas of students as collaborative partners and change agents (Fielding 2001 & 2004). While most of the discussion has focused on slightly different contexts this project raises a number of interesting questions about the role and function of student support in HE and how we can best act as collaborative and supportive partners in learning. Session activities for engagement: Overview of the projects  Student presentation of animations from Year 1 and 2 Evaluation student work – feedback  Participants will be asked to discuss and identify aspects of student academic life that they would nominate for such intensive treatment

278 – Collaborative Learning – Mark Boylan, Jackie Cawkwell

Jackie and Mark aimed to facilitate:

  • a developed understanding of the nature of collaboration
  • a map of the experience of collaborative learning
  • an identification of student support needs
  • a cross-course understanding of differences and similarities in practice
  • a possible SEEJ paper
  • an experience of a model of collaborative enquiry to inform practice

Using (literally) brown paper as a way of visualising the experience of collaborative learning, small groups mapped a real-life scenario, identifying strengths and weaknesses of the approach and discussing what student support activities might enhance the student experience. Whilst this methodology offers an effective way of unpicking different elements of a process, or in this case an experience, we did find that it takes more time than you’d think! Consequently we did well on charting the experience and on understanding the nature and different aspects of the experience  but barely began to explore differences and similarities between courses. Nevertheless, the enquiry group on collaborative learning will take this discussion forward into 2013/14, with a possible SEEJ paper and Student as Researchers project. And we also now have 7 or 8 charted and mapped course experiences of students working together!

Everyone who contributed to the Co-Lab will now have their names added to the Enquiry Group email list. Many thanks to all who joined in.

Session outline as in Conference Programme:

Collaborative learning is an important aspect of the student learning experience, taking many different forms, including peer supported learning of various types and assessed group work. Developing and practicing the capacity to collaborate is itself an important life skill as well as a pedagogical approach widely recognised as supporting different and greater learning than individual activity might alone. It is central to problem based and enquiry based learning. It is also often challenging for students and this can be accentuated by socio-economic, disability and other student characteristics. Often the experience of collaborative learning across the course or programme is not sufficiently considered either.

The focus of this Co-lab is on the student experience of collaboration across a range of courses, the experience of progression and on the support needs of students (generally and specifically). There will be a brief introduction to the work of the SHU Collaborative Learning Enquiry Group; we will share the methodology and outcomes from an earlier activity by the Group, adapting a method called ‘Brown Paper mapping’, a technique that allows processes and experiences to be visualised and adapted from industrial and business contexts. We will undertake our own Brown paper mapping exercise, charting the journey of the students and identifying:

  • what is experienced positively by staff and students
  • what challenges staff and students
  • further opportunities for the development of effective approaches to collaborative learning
  • what support students receive and what further support could be offered
  • an agreed number of action points to inform the future work of the Enquiry Group


Boylan, M. & Smith, P.  (2012). Tutor roles in collaborative group work. Student Engagement and Experience Journal, 1(1). Available at: http://research.shu.ac.uk/SEEJ/index.php/seej/article/view/34/Boylan

Falchikov, N. (2001) Peer Tutoring in Higher Education New York, Routledge Falmer.

Lizzio, A. & Wilson, K. (2006). Enhancing the effectiveness of self-managed learning groups: understanding students’ choices and concerns, Studies in Higher Education, 31(6), 689-703

Nortcliffe, A. (2012) Can students assess themselves and their peers? A five year study. Student Engagement and Experience Journal, 1,(2) Available at: http://research.shu.ac.uk/SEEJ/index.php/seej/article/view/29/Nortcliffe

Thorley, L. & Gregory, R. (eds.) (1994) Using group based learning in higher education. Kogan Page.


83 – Using social media to develop course communities – Sue Beckingham

This thunderstorm session will introduce you to the potential of social media as digital communication channels to develop communities of practice engaging both current students and alumni of the course. It will look at the role of social media as an effective and collaborative information channel, a discussion forum and a creative space to share as well as question through a variety of digital mediums. A selection of case studies from various disciplines will be referred to.

Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/suebeckingham/15-tips-on-using-social-media-to-develop-course-communities

259 – A Virtual Tour of the SHU3DED Cyber Campus – Louis Nisiotis, Martin Beer, Elizabeth Uruchurtu

Strand:The Technology-Enhanced Course. Anticipated outcomes: This CoLab workshop proposal aims to foster a virtual activity and discussion around the ability of Multi-User Virtual Environments to support teaching needs and facilitate learning.

Session outline: Cyber campuses are specially designed meeting points that operate on Multi-User Virtual Environments, where users can gather virtually and exchange learning materials, communicate and collaborate in a state of the art 3D environment (Prasolova et al., 2006). Facilitated on networked computerized systems, cyber campuses offers navigational spaces that support a variety of multimedia presentation techniques (Kallonis and Sampson, 2010), synchronous interaction and communication, enhancing the socialization among users (Freitas et al., 2010). By incorporating advanced graphics and communication technologies, cyber campuses support real time interaction between users and objects designed in the virtual world (Cronin, 2011), providing the “immersion” feeling to the user of actually being there (Beer et al., 2002).

Cyber campuses are considered an effective vehicle for learning support (Livingstone et al., 2008), so the need arises to identify the aspects of the teaching and learning process that this solution enhance as compared to traditional E-Learning. In particular, it is necessary to identify the factors making this model a strong solution to use for learning support and to what extent it enhances the learning experiences of people who are away from University. To investigate this, the SHU3DED Cyber Campus has been developed to conduct experiments with.

SHU3DED is a cyber campus prototype developed for the needs of my research, using the opensimulator virtual world package, to use as a proof of concept and to conduct a series of empirical studies with. The cyber campus has been developed following best practice applied in other cyber campuses, but the main driver was the “virtual school” concept as demonstrated by the Occupational Therapy Internet School (OTIS) project. This was an innovative and sophisticated system for its time (1999), capable of managing educational resources, handles communications and support educational activities through a virtual environment over the Internet. SHU3DED aims to develop this functionality in a modern virtual environment, for which MOODLE Leaning Management System (LMS) has been used and we will further explore some of the advances made learning support.

Having almost completely replicating the OTIS project theory and practice, we can say that SHU3DED is what OTIS project should have look like if it was implemented using the technology of today.

In this proposed workshop, attendees will be gathered in a lab setting, allocated a pre-configured workstation and participate in a virtual tour of SHU3DED cyber campus using a virtual representation of them selves (Avatar). During this tour, demonstration of the various facilities that cyber campus offers for teaching and learning support will be performed to initiate a constructive “in-world chat” discussion among the attendees through the chat facilities that are provided by the system. This discussion will be based on the potential context and setting they could use such solution for their teaching needs and how it could possibly enhance the learning experience of their students.

Session activities for engagement: A virtual navigation and communication among users activity, facilitated in the SHU3DED virtual world.

References: Official SHU3DED Website: http://www.learninvw.com


BEER, M., SLACK, F. & ARMITT, G. Community Building and Virtual Teamwork in an Online Learning Environment.  Proceedings of the 36th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS’03), 2002.

CRONIN, P. 2011. An exploratory case study in the use of Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVE) to support and enhance a community of practice. Master of Science in Technology & Learning, University of Dublin.

FREITAS, S., REBOLLEDO-MENDEZ, G., LIAROKAPIS, F., MAGOULAS, G. & POULOVASSILIS, A. 2010. Learning as immersive experiences: Using the four-dimensional framework for designing and evaluating immersive learning experiences in a virtual word. British Journal of Educational Technology, Vol 41, pp. 69-85.

KALLONIS, P. & SAMPSON, D. 2010. Implementing a 3D Virtual Classroom Simulation for Teachers’ Continuing Professional Development. Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Computers in Education. Putrajaya, Malaysia.

LIVINGSTONE, D., KEMP, J. & EDGAR, E. 2008. From Multi-User Virtual Environment to 3D Virtual Learning Environment. Alt-J, Vol 16, 139-150.

PRASOLOVA, E., SOURIN, A. & SOURINA, O. 2006. Cybercampouses: Design Issues and Future Directions. Visual Computer Journal.