Tag Archives: innovation

Does screencasting improve the student experience in the teaching of radiotherapy planning?

Mark Collins

Parallel session 2,  Thunderstorm 2.1

Short Abstract
Radiotherapy planning sessions have traditionally been facilitated using paper guides. The nature of a paper guide limits the content and opportunity for explanation. In 2014 the guides were replaced with screencasts and the sessions evaluated using Survey Monkey.

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Detailed Outline
The problem
Radiotherapy treatment planning forms a key part of the pre-registration training for Therapy Radiographers. It involves the use of complex software to produce radiotherapy plans. Students undertake a number of activities in the second and third year of their studies and are required to produce plans for a variety of treatment sites.

This has traditionally been done with a staff: student ratio of 2:18 and facilitated with the use of paper guides. The large staff:student ratio can be challenging and students have fed back that it has often taken some time for the member of staff to work their way around the class answering individuals queries.

The limitations of a paper guide mean that concepts can not be fully explained. A section of each practical is dedicated to a group teach, but some students still struggle to understand the fundamental principles behind the process, limiting their understanding and enjoyment of the sessions.

The solution
In 2014, 13 screencasts were produced by the module leader (MC) using Screencastomatic and uploaded onto youtube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-FkZ7V6r7M4NKlxK3OTU3Q. The screencasts range in length from 1:30 to 6:00 minutes and explain everything from how to login, to how to develop a complex plan and the rationale for the various methods. The students were encouraged to work through them at their own pace using headphones, pausing them where necessary.

Following 4, 2 hour sessions an eight question online questionnaire was sent to 46 students containing 6 likert questions and two open ended questions. The aim of the questionnaire was to assess the impact of the screencasts and to determine whether they should be rolled out on other modules.

61% (n=28) of the students replied.
96% agreed or strongly agreed that “The screencasts helped me to understand the treatment planning process”
87% agreed or strongly agreed that “The screencasts helped to reduce the amount of help I needed from the lecturer”
93% agreed or strongly agreed that “In future sessions I would prefer to use screencasts rather than follow instructions in a workbook”
Comments included:
– I could learn at my own pace and rewind sessions
– The screencast were very helpful to understand the principles of treatment planning , also I did look through the booklets that were previously used before and compare the two ; booklets or screencasts and I personally prefer the screencasts
– Easy to follow, good to have a visual on how to do it
– I can keep referring back to them if i missed something – nice to have a real time example
It was noted that some of the students struggled to swap between applications on one screen, so iPads will be used in future sessions to show the videos, which will future enhance the student experience.

The future
More screencasts will be developed in the team and rolled out into the other treatment planning modules.

3.3 Bringing experiential learning into the lecture theatre

This session will demonstrate how to engage through the use of 3D objects can be used in learning.

A mini version of the experience outlined below will be delivered. Attendees will be asked about their knowledge of biomolecules (it is hoped and expected this will be at GCSE level). Objects (DNA models) will be handed around and attendees will be asked to identify features. Their observations will be shared in the group.

Paper Background: Core to all degree streams within Bioscience are the concepts of interactions between objects (biomolecular structures). As such teaching methods relying on traditional PowerPoint presentations can display these biomolecules as flat 2D representations. Many of the concepts require an understanding of function in 3D understanding. Although some students have the ability to picture 3D objects in their minds eye this is not true for all. 3D scale molecular models where included into the lecture format as a form of experiential learning. These activities were supplemented with standard lecture slides containing animations and movies and e-learning based resources.

Thinking: New concepts were introduced through the use of ICT. Media animations, web based content and strong links to core texts were used.
Doing: A range of activities were utilised to engage the students with the models and allow them to apply their new knowledge through self-directed small group discussions.
Feeling: In order for the students to take owner ship of the knowledge specific situations and examples were used for the students to see where their learning could be applied.
Reflecting: Finally the students are given time and encouraged to writing in their own words the key points and theories that have been discussed.

This approach resulted in high level of student engagement in the sessions and student feedback was highly positive.

Using smart phones and tablets to support learning (2014)

Anne Nortcliffe & Andrew Middleton

If 87% of students own a smart device (Armstrong, 2012) and over 1,300 members of staff have connected their personal devices to the University’s email server, it is likely that the way staff and students engage with life, their practice and study is changing too.

In January 2014 university-wide surveys of staff and students were conducted about their usage of personal smart devices. Respondents were invited to describe how their devices are enhancing their practice.

The results are being analysed, however based upon earlier work (e.g. Nortcliffe et al., 2013; Nortcliffe & Middleton, 2012) a steady growth in the use of devices like iPhones and iPads by staff and students is expected.

Many will not use the devices directly for teaching and learning, but will use them to manage all aspects of their life or to make arrangements with peers to do course work. Some will have changed important aspects of their academic practice or study life: using email, accessing Blackboard, for example. Some will report using photographs taken on their smart phones or audio feedback recorded as they mark work on their tablets.

For others, smart technology will have changed teaching and learning significantly. Many staff report using the Socrative app to muster student feedback in presentations, for example. Other affordable apps are being used to provide augmented reality simulations. Other innovative students report using video apps to record and post reflective commentaries. Social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and blogging is now a regular part of a student’s informal or formal engagement with university life.

Our previous research has shown that students are embracing the smart devices to support their learning by seeking out useful apps to help them be more organised, productive, collaborative and scholarly (Woodcock et al., 2012a; Woodcock, 2012b).

The 2014 survey of staff and students will create a rich picture to inspire others and to help the University meet their needs.

Hand outs will be provided to share good, emerging practice.


285 – Reactions to Workshops in the Undergraduate Nursing Curriculum – David Wood

Lecturers should aspire to provide excellent quality in their provision of teaching in higher education and ought to constantly reflect and evaluate both the effectiveness of their teaching and the value of the curriculum. Innovation is an evolutionary concept, continually unfolding and responding to a rapidly changing world (Burnes, 2004). This particularly applies to the higher education nursing curriculum. And at a time when drop out rates are high and undergraduate nurses embark on university programmes in ever greater numbers, teaching students in large lecture groups may be a false economy, without also backing that teaching up with smaller group activities.  This paper considers the implementation of changes to the delivery of a sociological module within the undergraduate nursing curriculum. When introducing innovation in any organisation it is useful to be aware of models of managing innovation. The diffusion of innovations model put forward by Rogers (2003) was used during this process.  The number of large group lectures was reduced replacing them with smaller group workshops, an elementary innovation, but one that produced particularly positive results. When these changes were evaluated a majority of students stated that they enjoyed the discussion sessions and other workshop activities. Some of the students praised the module delivery for ‘promoting interactive learning’ and a large number felt that their understanding of the subject had increased. After reflecting on this experience of innovation, it could be argued that changing the delivery method of this module has made a significant contribution to the module and to the undergraduate nursing curriculum.

251 – Peer-Support, Peer-Feedback and Self-Reflection in Assessment – Alison Purvis

Strand: Technology Enhanced Course

Anticipated outcomes: An approach to online peer-supported assessment will be presented and the value of peer-support and peer-feedback will be discussed.

Session outline (or abstract): Assessment is often the driving force for learning and student engagement (Taras 2002).  The alignment of learning activities to assessment outcomes can increase the perceived value of those activities. A level 6 blended learning module (Applied Physiology of Sport Performance, Department of Sport, Faculty of Health and Wellbeing), was developed from a “little-and-often” assessment model to a 2-task model in response to changes in assessment regulations and policies.  The regulatory changes allowed the module teaching team an opportunity to review of the learning, teaching and assessment strategy in the module and as a result significant changes were made to both delivery and methods of assessment. The place of the module within the course and the connections between students as members of a course were also considerations of the module redesign. One of the two assessment tasks was specifically designed to encourage both face-to-face and virtual connections between student course-mates.  A combination of face-to-face groups and online peer-support and feedback groups were implemented as mechanisms to engage the cohort of 74 students with assessment and to increase student collaboration and communication (Boud, Cohen and Sampson 1999).  Following the peer-support and feedback, students engaged in a reflection of their experience which was included within their assessment submission.  Towards the end of the module delivery, students were also asked for their feedback on the peer-support activity (38 responses).  The staff and student experience of the changes in learning, teaching and assessment in the module will be presented.

BOUD, David, COHEN, Ruth and SAMPSON, Jane (1999). Peer learning and assessment. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 24 (4), 413-416.

TARAS, Maddalena (2002). Using Assessment for Learning and Learning from Assessment. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 27 (6), 501-510.

Session activities for engagement: Opportunities for discussion will be encouraged during and following the presentation.

Click to view presentation:  251 Peer-Support & Self-reflection in Assessment

230 – Taking a Position: Making a Difference in Student Engagement Practices – Carol A Taylor, Stella Jones-Devitt, Catherine Arnold, Jill Lebihan, Christine O’Leary, Manny Madriaga

This Co-Lab is based on four short ‘position papers’ on student engagement. Each presenter will put forward a way of thinking and/or doing student engagement they feel passionate about. Each perspective presented offers a distinctive ‘take’ on student engagement, and each presenter will talk about how this perspective has informed their practice, or how they envisage it might do so in the future. The position papers offer eclectic and innovative ways of thinking about student engagement. Some focus on the micro aspects of practice, some on the relational or ethical aspects of practice, and some offer particular theoretical ideas which can be taken up in practice. Taken together, the position papers in this Co-Lab offer a refreshing way of approaching student engagement. Participants are sure to find many ideas here which can ignite their enthusiasm for student engagement and give them practical tips for doing student engagement. Through this Co-Lab we hope to encourage ways of thinking about student engagement which provoke a reconsideration of the ‘measurement’ discourse promoted by NSS and KIS data.

Position papers and presenters are:

Stella Jones-Devitt and Catherine Arnold: Abandoning the discourse of “You said, we did”: A riposte to notions of student consumption as meaningful engagement.

Jill Lebihan: Playing with Winnicott: supporting creativity is teaching, learning and assessment.

Christine O’Leary: Students taking responsibility for their learning.

Carol Taylor: Ethics and student engagement with a little help from Aristotle and Arendt.

The Co-Lab discussant is: Manny Madriaga.

This Co-Lab is being put on by the Student Engagement Reading/ Writing group of the Higher Education Research and Scholarship Group (HERSG). For further information please contact Dr Carol Taylor C.A.Taylor@shu.ac.uk or Dr Manny Madriaga M.Madriaga@shu.ac.uk

291 – Course diversity: best practice is not good practice – Neil Challis, Michael Robinson

Presenter: Dr Mike Robinson (m.robinson@shu.ac.uk) and Prof Neil Challis (n.challis@shu.ac.uk) Strand: Course identity Anticipated outcomes: A better shared understanding of lessons drawn from the More Math Grads project and experience with our own Mathematics course. Session outline:  Every course is different. Subjects are by their very nature different. The students they tend to attract have different outlooks – as do staff who teach on them.  Few would disagree that this diversity is a good thing. At course level, subject-specific diversity can be reflected in all aspects, and as professionals and experts in our field, we try to match the requirements of our subject, the needs and motivations of our students, the skills and motivations of our staff,  to every aspect of our provision: timetable, teaching and learning styles, assessment types, course management, online presence… Such careful course design leads to a good course, which works well, and which students appreciate (and rate highly). Students understand why their course is different from others; far from denigrating this, they often wear it as a badge of pride and as part of their sense of course identity. Inevitably, successful ideas are shared;  copied, adapted, modified, developed. No-one could possibly oppose the spread of good ideas… until someone, somewhere decides it’s officially “best practice”. Instantly, development of ideas stops. New ideas are killed at birth; because they’re at odds with “best practice”. Modification to individual circumstances is severely restricted – meaning that what was once carefully constructed to meet individual needs is now “one size fits all” and suits almost no-one. The irony is that every part of “best practice” began with someone trying something different, at odds with their institutional norm, and ends with stifling the innovation which keeps it fresh. True good practice recognises this, and encourages and celebrates the diversity

Click to view:  291 course diversity – best practice is not good practice

2012 Embedding enterprise within the curriculum: researching staff perspectives

Kirsty Grant, Katie Hook and Sheila Quairney

The aim of this study is to explore notions of enterprise within Higher Education (HE) through exploration of lecturers’ perspectives. Enterprise can be defined as the application of creative ideas and innovations to practical situations; it is a generic concept that can be applied across all areas of education. 

Within a HE setting, learning can take place without bearing the label of ‘enterprise’. Enterprise education is concerned with the process of how students learn rather than what they learn. It aims to produce graduates who possess the mind-set and the skills to come up with innovative ideas in response to identified needs, and the ability to act on them. 

In light of the rising tuition fees and increasing unemployment rates for UK graduates, there is greater focus on the responsibility of universities to develop the employability skills of their students. The relevance of enterprise education has been highlighted in The Wilson Review (2012) which called for universities to play an integral role in developing students’ enterprising skills.  Therefore, universities will need to examine their current provision for enterprise education and as a result, work towards equipping academic staff with the skills they need to deliver this.  

The aim of this study is to ascertain what involvement academic staff, at Sheffield Hallam University, perceive that they should have in sharing notions of enterprise with their students.  Secondly, to explore the perspectives of academic staff on how enterprise might be developed within the curriculum to support employability.          

In order to answer the study’s aims, 35 semi-structured interviews have been conducted at Sheffield Hallam University. Participants were recruited through a convenience sample of lecturers, across faculties. Emerging themes have been identified through a thematic analysis of the data. 

The preliminary results of the research provide insight into the barriers academic staff have faced when including enterprise within their teaching. These results will provide an opportunity to discover examples of effective practice in order to assist academic staff to deliver their subject expertise in a more enterprising way.  From this strategies for embedding enterprise into the curriculum, in order to enhance graduate employability, will be explored.

Click link for presentation:  Embedding enterprise within the curriculum: researching staff perspectives

A6 – (FU33 and FU39) 11.00

2012 To INSPIRE: increasing intrapreneurial skills through pedagogy increases innovation, retention and employability

Heidi Probst, Angela Eddy, David Eddy, J Cumming and N Jones

In 2007 the UK National Radiotherapy Advisory Group report[1] to ministers indicated a dramatic revision of workforce provision was needed in order to meet the objectives of the NHS cancer plan. Intrapreneurship (an individual intention or drive to innovate within an organization[2]) is relevant to these roles but the development of skills for enterprising activity is rarely attended to in health care training.

The aim of this study was to develop an intrapreneurial enhanced pedagogy for oncology practitioners studying at Master level.


Stage 1 involved a qualitative investigation of identified intrapreneurs working within Radiation Therapy to identify the factors that contributed to their intrapreneurial development. Grounded Theory methodology was used and seven individual interviews were undertaken with data saturation occurring at interview 5. Sampling was purposive and interview data was enhanced by a review of the literature on intrapreneurial education. Member-checking, peer de-briefing and reflexivity were used to enhance trustworthiness and authenticity of the data.
Four key concepts were identified from the interviews; self- efficacy, intrapreneurial strategies, intrapreneurial learning, and organisational emphasis on intrapreneurialism.

A review of the literature complemented this data collection stage resulting in a theoretical model of the path to intrapreneurialism in Radiation Therapists; this formed the basis of an online pedagogy for a PG module on breast cancer radiotherapy to enhance intrapreneurial skills and improve services to patients.
Integrating innovation into specialist health modules is possible using the intrapreneurial pedagogy developed. However, it is not without challenges and an acceptance that not all students will benefit from this approach or see the need or relevance for intrapreneurial activity. 

This presentation will allow delegates to consider the benefits and challenges of using an intrapreneurial pedagogy through the experience of this small research project. Sharing some of the unexpected student outcomes will highlight the benefits of this pedagogical approach.

Reference List

  (1)   National Radiotherapy Advisory Group. Radiotherapy: developing a world class service for England (Report to Ministers).  2007.
  (2)   Amo B, Kolvereid L. ORGANIZATIONAL STRATEGY, INDIVIDUAL PERSONALITY AND INNOVATION BEHAVIOR. Journal of Enterprising Culture 2005 Mar;13(1):7-19.

(FU31) 14.00