Tag Archives: thunderstorm

2012 Virtual meeting and tutorial spaces

Melanie Levick-Parkin

Design is traditionally a studio-based subject and thus design education has also always centred around the physical creative space. This space has not just been important for the physical production of things, but as a joint thinking space. Modern Universities room utilisation systems and hourly based timetabling have made the time and space available for traditional studio teaching very sparse and the issue affects subjects far beyond the studio culture of art & design. 

This problem is not unique to the design discipline, because many subjects have at their core creative processes, which need mental space to flourish and make joint physical space desirable.

To the uninitiated any creative process can seem quite unproductive and unfocused at times, and it is sometimes difficult to argue for the need to have space for students to just be in and for teachers to drop in on.

So teaching and contact has had to become very focused and compartmentalised and all other activities such as production and ‘creative idling’ have to be taken elsewhere.

This creates a physical and mental distance between the teachers, the students and their peers, and severely limits the times and spaces in which feedback or exchange can occur. 

Is it possible to use the digital realm to create spaces where this contact can take place in a more responsive, organic way, more sympathetic to the creative process? Will students participate and take advantage of the space and the extra contact offered and will it have an impact on their achievement and learning experience? With Case study example to discuss

D7 – (EN56, EN11, EN22, EN28) 15.30

2012 Group work and bullying

Nicola Dimelow, Ann Walker and Lisa Reidy

A review of the literature indicates that most group work results in positive experiences (Burdett, 2003). However, a large minority report negative perceptions and experiences regarding group work (Volet & Mansfield, 2006). A key theme of negative comments refers to free loaders. Whilst many reasons for free loading in group work have been proposed, mainly from contributors to group work (Orr, 2010), the perspective of free loaders is not reported. It is conceivable that some free loading is the result of bullying within the group that prompts self selected exclusion through group avoidance, which has been evidenced as a coping mechanism in work place contexts.  Furthermore, bullying within the university or college setting has had limited empirical attention except for cyber bullying (Schenk & Fremouw, 2012). This is despite the evidence of bullying in school (Horne, Stoddard & Bell, 2007) and work place (Hoel, Glaso, Hetland, Cooper, & Einarsen, 2010). University maybe seen as an intermediate between these two settings and bullying is likely to occur within its context, yet there is a gap in the literature regarding bullying in further educational settings. Furthermore, there is lack of a reference to group work as providing a climate for bullying behaviour. A pilot study using an online questionnaire is proposed to assess bullying prevalence at university and group behaviour throughout the group work process. Participants will be respondents from an online questionnaire sent to first and second year Psychology and Sociology undergraduates and post graduates. 


Burdett, J. (2003). Making groups work: University student’s perceptions. International Educational Journal, 4, 177-191. 

Hoel,H., Glaso, L., Hetland, J., Cooper, C.L., & Einarsen, S. (2010). Leadership styles as predictors of self reported and observed workplace bullying. British Journal of Management, 21, 453-468. 

Horne, A.M., Stoddard, J.L., & Bell, C.D. (2007). Group approaches to reducing aggression and bullying in school. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 4, 262-271. 

Orr, S. (2010). Collaborating or fighting for the marks? Student’s experiences of group work assessment in the creative arts. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 35, 301-313. 

Schenck, A.M., & Fremouw, W.J. (2012). Prevalance, Psychological impact and coping of cyberbully victims among college students. Journal of School Violence, 11, 21-37. 

Volet, S., & Mansfield, C. (2006). Group work at university:Significance of personal goals in the regulation strategies of students with positive and negative appraisals. Higher Education Research and Development, 25, 341-356.

Link to presentations: Blog and presentaion


D1 – (EX48, EX41, EX49) 15.30

2012 A duty of care and a duty to care: care in the tutor/student realtionship

 Jenny Cavalot and Jayne RevillWe will give examples from our respective experiences of how care in the tutor-student relationship has been expressed in constructs, from large modules in lecture settings to individual interactions outside formal teaching, covering the nature and impact of each particular expression of care. 

We will then cover why we believe care matters in the relationship between tutors and students.  We will question our effectiveness in delivering our duty of care.  

We will also argue that SHU has a wider duty to care.  As the first major organisation most undergraduates will experience as independent adults, students’ experience of SHU as key stakeholders/ customers/ consumers will be formative in developing their views about effective organisations, alongside any taught topics and employability strands.  If students have a meaningful experience of care, we will argue that they are more likely to take this into their future lives than an abstract taught concept.  We will point out the risks of incoherence between taught subjects and student experience.  For undergraduates who do not study business, their student experience may be their major source of  learning about effective organisations, and be even more influential.

D1 – (RE45, EX41, EX48, EX49) 15.30

2012 Implementing the Academic Advisor role across the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing

John Freeman, Dawn Hadden, Mel Hogan and Claire Marsden

The team are leading a project which will ensure that academic support is provided for all Level 4 students in HWB for 2012/13.  

One of these University’s Student Experience priorities was to provide individual academic support for all students. Each undergraduate student will have a named Academic Advisor. These roles need to be established to ensure the provision is delivered consistently and to a high professional standard.  

Research demonstrates consistently that one innovation that would improve the quality of their University experience is more contact time, through group or individual teaching sessions, or time with a personal tutor. (National Union of Students, 2011). Building a key relationship with a named member of academic staff plays an influential role in a number of different ways, Concerns exist in relation to time demands, caseload and a sense of personal tutoring not being valued or given the same kudos as research and teaching. 

The NUS Charter on Personal Tutors outlines expectations of HEI’s. Among these are that all students should be entitled to a named personal tutor who they meet at least once a term. Staff providing this role, which may include understanding assessment feedback, should be trained and supported, and that support be equitable and adaptable. 

Our Thunderstorm presentation will outline who the Project Team are, the timeline and rationale for the project and discuss how the AA role was implemented. This work has wider implications for all staff, particularly Academics and student-facing staff, particularly those providing any form of student support. 

Two questions that may contribute to a discussion would be: 

  • Will the new Academic Advisor role improve the student experience and if so, how?

What can Course Leaders, Academics and teams learn from the implementation of the role that will benefit students across the University?

Click to presentation:  Implementing the Academic Advisor role across the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing

D1 – (EX41, EX48, EX49) 15.30

2012 How do you grow yourself? A study of students’ learning behaviours and matters relating to personal development in a module on career management

Richard McCarter and Emma Heron

This session examines student and staff experience of personal development through an employability and career management skills module. The module covers 2 semesters and the first semester deals with theoretical aspects of work and the workplace combined with reflection on learners’ work related experiences. The second semester (from which this paper is largely derived) focuses on career management strategies and is designed to be practically-based, raising students’ levels of self awareness in relation to their own career management needs and necessitating reflection and action on personal attributes.  The student is thus challenged on many different levels: pedagogically through less conventional delivery of teaching and assessment tasks and a heavy emphasis on reflection; personally through the need to embrace the idea of a curriculum that is not an easy fit with their own definition of academic study;  professionally, through the need to accept the reality of an increasingly unpredictable and competitive employment future.  For the teacher of career management, these challenges translate into a polarity of student response; a core of ‘converted’ (where engagement with the module, including the assessment task, is regarded as positive and worthwhile) versus a group of largely unconvinced sceptics, where attitude, attendance and reflection are influenced, and where engagement is at best reluctant, at worst non-existent.

An evaluation was conducted to gain a broad view of student experience, with a questionnaire delivered in a mid-semester lecture, followed by one to one structured interviews with ‘converts’ and ‘sceptics’ alike (the latter through snowballing techniques in order to capture the views of non-attendees).   Submitted webfolios by the students have also been evaluated. One-to -one discussions with teaching staff have been carried out.

The results contribute to a debate for practitioners and academics on the aspects of embedding employability into the curriculum and teaching career management.  Encouraging students to confront, realise and evaluate overtly their own ‘deficiencies’ and/or strengths through structured and less conventional lecture and seminar formats,  class/shared activities and a sense of being challenged, demands personal learning .  Does it work? How does reflection help or hinder?

Questions raised in interviews and data collected from e-portfolios and the module evaluation draw on 3 key areas –

  • an increase of students’ self-awareness of employability either through the  module activities and by undertaking the assessment
  • how reflection and reflective practice augmented students’ understanding of personal development
  • tutors’ and students’ perceptions of the emphasis on work related experiences, lectures and seminar contact time, rather than content delivered through technology (Blackboard and Pebblepad) 

Schön, D, A. (2009)  The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action.

Qualitative Social Work 2009 vol. 8 no. 1 124-129

Ehiyazaryan, E. and Barraclough, N. (2009) Enhancing employability: integrating real world experience in the curriculum. Education and Training. 51 (4), pp292-308. Available from: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=0040-0912

Dacre Pool, L. and Sewell, P. (2007) The Key to Employability. Developing a practical model of graduate employability. Education and Training. 49 (4), pp277- 289. Available from: http://www.uclan.ac.uk/information/uclan/employability/careeredge.php

Zepke, N and Leach, L. (2010) Improving student engagement: Ten proposals for action. Active Learning in Higher Education 11(3) 167–177

Click to presentation:  How do you grow yourself? A study of students’ learning behaviours and matters relating to personal development in a module on career management

A4 – (FU37, FU05) 11.00

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 Supporting students with appropriate placement patterns

Tony Cowell and Sue Cordell

This Thunderstorm session will focus on a discussion comparing and contrasting the placement patterns adopted in different areas of teacher education and the potential impact this has on student learning and professional development.

The presenters will outline the different patterns used in the secondary (11-19) and post compulsory (16+) areas of teacher education at SHU. They will consider the impact these patterns have on potential ‘Futures’ preparing students for an ever changing work environment. The many changes in the sector such as a move to school based teacher education,  academies and their impact on the curriculum, and changes in the post 16 landscape have led to an ever increasing divergence in potential employer expectation and context, yet this can be juxtaposed against a potential convergence of the new 14-19 opportunities in education with developments like the University Technical Colleges, where post compulsory and secondary education will become blurred. Where do our students fit into this landscape? 

Clearly this issue is not just one limited to teacher education. In many areas of the university students are involved in placements with partners who have differing understandings of the nature of the academic, professional and vocational relationships such courses must balance. We would like to invite to the discussion anyone involved in placing students in work related contexts and will explore positives and negatives of the models raised. We will consider a range of issues such as; How do we develop placement patterns to give equity of opportunity for employability? Which placement patterns provide ‘Engagement’ for our students? Which placement patterns allow a development of understanding enabling students to link their learning at university to that on placement? The session is a potential start point for possible research in the future.

C4 – (FU32, FU06, FU08, FU30) 14.20

2012 Online problem based learning for PG students: does it deliver flexible skilled professionals or specialists with gaps in their knowledge?

Heidi Probst and David Eddy

Universities must provide us with people with the ability to continually learn, to think critically and theoretically, to be reflective and reflexive, to innovate and break the status quo, and to navigate in the unstable waters of the global economy” David Docherty (Gaurdian 05/05/2012) 

Should educators focus on teaching skills that in ten years of the students working life may become obsolete? While the employability and skills agenda is important, is the overriding responsibility of educators to produce critically reflective, continual learners that are able to innovate and flexible enough to accommodate the changing employment landscape?

Problem Based learning (PBL) is an established pedagogy that uses ill-structured questions to stimulate learning. Authentic problems are posed under restrictive deadlines to simulate real work issues. Knowledge is constructed by exploring the problem and dialoguing about it in small groups. It is argued that PBL succeeds in developing students that can:

  • Define a problem
  • Develop a tentative thesis about the problem and solution
  • Access, evaluate, and utilise data from a variety of sources
  • Alter hypotheses given new information
  • Develop solutions fit for purpose, with clearly explicated reasoning. 

In an online environment it can engage students by harnessing real work issues potentiating the development of inspired solutions that can change practice/services. 

However, as PBL focuses on a small section of the curriculum is knowledge development constrained? Can PBL meet specialist regulatory body requirements? 

This session will be of interest to proponents of PBL and those with reservations about its impact and usefulness; particularly the ability to use this pedagogy with online students. 

Potential questions:

1. If the aim of modern Universities is to produce critically reflective, innovative workers is PBL a suitable pedagogy to employ? 

2. Does it matter that by using PBL the content delivered to the student may be less than that attributed to more traditional methods?

Click for presentation:  Online problem based learning for PG students: does it deliver flexible skilled professionals or specialists with gaps in their knowledge?

C4 – (FU30, FU06, FU08, FU32) 14.20

2012 Negotiating boundaries with first year midwifery students

Charlotte Kenyon and Cathy Malone

This thunderstorm session reviews the initial pilot of two tools to manage discussion concerning course boundaries and expectations with a cohort of 50 first year midwifery students.

The first tool used at the outset of the year was a negotiated set of group ground rules covering student expectations of themselves and the course.

The second tool trialled was the use of interactive voting software to share and discuss support needs as the students prepare for first year exams. 

Questions for discussion;

How could these tools be applied in your subject area?

Who is responsible in your subject area for managing these whole group LT discussions at a course level? Who manages these currently?

A7 – (EN29, EN17, EN26, EN27) 11.00

2012 Question time: stimulating participation in lectures via mobile devices

Ben Abell

Students used their web-enabled phones to answer questions during lecture sessions, and worked as small groups to maximise participation and peer learning. The main tool tested was Google Docs Forms, which can be accessed via the internet and is easy to set up, although other tools such as Polleverywhere and ConnectTxt receive input from SMS texts, and offer an alternative way of capturing student answers. 

Questions were mostly in multiple-choice format, and were integrated into the presentation to promote immediate engagement. Answers were collated to generate an overall group response, which was presented graphically, and used as a discussion point to deal with common misconceptions. 

The need for such technology arises from the difficulty of promoting active learning in lectures, especially with larger student groups, a problem acknowledged in science teaching (Handelsman et al. 2004. Science

304: 521-522) and more widely. Although responses can be received using specialised devices, the logistical difficulty of obtaining and distributing these devices has reduced their use. Instead, the extensive ownership of smart-phones provides an opportunity to increase direct student participation throughout lectures, so this trial was implemented specifically in the Biosciences module ‘Plant Physiology and Anatomy’ (Jan-April 2012), but the approach has the potential to be applied to any subject area. 

Student feedback was very positive, with perceived benefits of engaging more actively with the lecture content, particularly via peer learning. Problems with the approach centred on access to mobile devices and class management, which could be addressed with greater support.

Presentation:  Mobile learning

D7 – (EN28, EN11, EN22, EN56) 15.30