Tag Archives: thunderstorm

2012 Evidencing a learner centred approach to teaching

Sarah Jolley and Simona Pantiru

Evaluating teaching, learning and assessment methods at module-level is essential, particularly in enhancing academic quality.  However, module evaluations are usually designed and conducted by the University to serve their own purpose of maintaining Academic standards and do not consider student involvement in the research process.  In our project, students were appointed as researchers to gather student perceptions on a large module in the area of sociology.  This module was recently revalidated and it incorporated an applied approach towards teaching research methods after feedback from previous years.  This paper will present initial findings from this ongoing study. 

The research has taken a mixed-methods approach. This encompassed an online survey questionnaire that has been distributed to all 467 first-year students on the module.  To accompany this quantitative data, focus groups were organized for richer, in-depth data to inform positive change on the development of the module. 

The findings of this work will benefit both staff and students.  It offers an opportunity for teaching staff to reflect on our research findings and their own academic practice.  It offers an opportunity for students to feedback on their own student experience at module level to enhance the quality of teaching and assessment of the module for future cohorts.   It also allows student-researchers to gain knowledge of the practicalities of action research methodology and evaluation research through taking part in the project.

Link to: Presention and blog

A7 – (EN27, EN17, EN26, EN29) 11.00

2012 The use of a mobile virtual immersive tool (VERT) to encourage student engagement and apply theory to practice in the classroom

Sarah Smith and Robert Appleyard


The Virtual Environment for Radiotherapy Training (VERT) suite (at collegiate crescent campus) is specially designed to offer a 3 dimensional immersive experience for students and is currently used in the core study of anatomy and technical practise of radiotherapy as well as being used in a number of ways by other subject groups across the faculty. The interactive and visual elements of this tool are especially suited to the demonstration of complex interaction and comprehension. However a mobile (laptop based) version has enabled wider and different applications to be explored.

The traditional staged approach of learning the underpinning anatomy and physiology of a body system. Followed by the theoretical, lecture based, learning of oncology and radiotherapy technique; with actual application having to wait until practice placements; can now be challenged.

Through practical demonstration in the classroom it was possible to integrate these key stages of learning and provide an engaging experience for students. This applied learning approach also encouraged student’s to discuss differing approaches to practice they had experienced in placement learning, facilitating a problem based learning approach, drawing on their own experience as well as the supporting evidence base. Peer review of this revised approach to the teaching of the Head & Neck Region identified a number of positive aspects including positive student reaction, enhanced engagement and apparent comprehension of complex information.

A thunderstorm session would allow for visual screen cast style demonstration of the tool itself and key parts of the planning, structure and delivery of a learning package. A ‘top tips’ approach with evaluation from peer review and student feedback.

A7 – (EN26, EN17, EN27, EN29) 11.00

2012 Creating course identity through social networking platforms

Panni Poh Yoke Loh

This paper will present initial findings from a student-led research project investigating the challenges in creating a sense of course identity amongst students.  This work is exploratory, informed by focus groups and one-to-one interviews with students on an undergraduate English course.  The research project derived from a lack of student use of Blackboard and the need therefore to examine whether there is student desire for a different or enhanced interactive toolkit incorporating social networking facilities.  The research set out to establish the type of interactive toolkit that would best suit student and staff needs. We also question whether it would be feasible for students to administer an interactive toolkit not only for them to build a sense of community, but also to engage in dialogue with staff to enhance their student experience.  

Bryson (2007) has written much about the fundamental importance of student engagement and its effect on student retention and academic success. Recent articles within the Guardian Higher Education Network support the notion of student involvement and combining sustainability into the curriculum by adding a sense of excitement and understanding.  The use of social media can be significant here, particularly in enhancing student engagement and building a sense of course identity amongst students. 

It is hoped the findings from this project will inform both students and practitioners, specifically in informing innovative change in course practice to enhance student engagement.

Link:  Presentation and blog

D7 – (EN22, EN11, EN28, EN56) 15.30

2012 Developing computer students’ expectations in a partner college

Bill Esmond, Mike Smith and Joyce Drake, Chesterfield College

Students progressing from vocational further education programmes often experience difficulty in leaving behind ‘supportive’ educational practices regarded as acceptable in further education settings but inappropriate in higher education settings (Bathmaker 2009). Problems may be exacerbated where students progress onto higher education within the same institution, where the continuation of setting may blur the ‘further/higher’ boundary (Burns 2007).

College staff teaching Applied Computing programmes in Collaborative Partnership with SHU encounter these issues both with full-time 18-year-old students and with part-time, mature students in employment (usually in an IT environment), who have not been in formal education for quite some time.

C1 – (EX18, EX04, EX13, EX15) 14.20

These problems are addressed not simply by explanation of higher education processes but by engaging with students’ existing understanding to development research and analysis skills. An exercise before the course begins confronts the familiar sources on which students are over-reliant, exploring questions about CDC and the PLATO technology developed from the 1950s, which has contributed significantly to modern computing through on-line tools, applications and games.

A further development seeks to provide students with opportunities to access and post their work on the college’s VLE in advance of the course start, providing early experience of higher-level assessment, electronic submission and assessment, whilst the use of cloud computing for these purposes is under review.

Click for presentation:  C1 EX18 Developing computer students’ expectations

2012 Practitioner partnership model delivers transformative student learning experience

Chris Cutforth, Steve Wood, Val Stevenson and students

This session will highlight an innovative learning and teaching approach involving a partnership between an academic and an industry practitioner to deliver a post-graduate sport module which focuses on strategic thinking, planning and management skills. 

Along with the more traditional module learning outcomes, the goal has been to enable students to think differently and to help create ‘leaders of the future’.  

Chris Cutforth, Senior Lecturer in Sport, and Steve Wood, a freelance corporate and personal coach, whose specialities include business excellence, coaching and corporate theatre, have worked together to create a learning experience which challenges traditional sports industry thinking and practice, combining relevant academic content with generic leading edge principles, practices, tools and techniques. 

The module has been delivered using various innovative approaches including role play, coaching, action learning, case studies, visualisation, goal-setting and motivation exercises, along with more traditional teaching approaches. Together these have created a stimulating learning environment and a transformative learning experience for the students.

Feedback on the module has been extremely positive with a significant number of the students stating that it has equipped them with additional knowledge, skills and confidence to initiate and lead strategic developments within their organisations, and in other organisations in the future. Students also stated that the combined input from academic and practitioner significantly added value to the learning experience.   

 Following the success of the module, discussions are planned with the new professional institute for sport and physical activity to align the curriculum to the Institute’s recently launched professional development framework. 

The session will be delivered by Chris Cutforth, supported by additional contributions from Steve Wood, some of the students, and Val Stevenson, the course leader and Employability Lead for the Sport department, who will place the approach adopted for this module into a broader employability and professional development context.

Presentation:  A7 EN17 LTA conference presentation

A7 – (EN17, EN26, EN27, EN29) 11.00

2012 Independent study in occupational therapy

Petra Klompenhouwer

Based on student feedback and driven by the changes in health and social care provision the independent study in occupational therapy module has undergone change.

Students for years complained about staff inconsistency in the support of this module. This has been addressed by the formation of a small team of staff working closely together.

Instead of writing a report and reflection on their experiential learning students now prepare their own learning objectives, engage in experiental learning, write a business proposal and reflection. Developing their business and entrepreneurial skills and in the process improving their employability.

Future plans involve the engagement of the Venture matrix in helping students find experiential learning opportunities, offer international exchanges via Erasmus and other means, engaging the business school in the writing of the business proposal, developing a database of clinical questions for students to engage in.

C1 EX15 2012 LTA Conf IS

C1 – (EX15, EX13, EX18, EX04) 14.20

2012 Think about using quizzes

Hugh Lafferty and Keith Burley

The use of quizzes should be preceded by many questions, especially about whether the quizzes are valid.

Are quizzes composed solely of Yes/No questions valid?

Are quizzes composed solely of 4-option Multiple Choice questions valid?

Are quizzes composed solely of 5-option Multiple Choice  questions valid?

Link to presentation:   Think about using quizzes

B5 – (EN14, EN02, EN07) 11.50

2012 Great extpectations: exploring the potential of text messaging to support students

Claire Craig and Neil Mayne, Salvation Army

Mobile phone technology has transformed how we communicate and interact with each other.  For many students texting is the means through which they maintain contact with friends manage their social lives.   This paper presents the findings of a small pilot project that explored the potential of mobile phone technology and text messaging to support students during their transition to university. 

Fifty three students participated in the pilot and were sent weekly uplifting text messages during the first eight weeks of their first semester at university.  The content of the messages, developed in partnership with third year students aimed to offer reassurance, practical advice and signpost individuals to support mechanisms within the university. 

Qualitative data was collected at the end of the pilot.  Analysis of this data showed that students found the texts to be motivating, helped to manage expectations, build confidence and offered reassurance particularly during assessment weeks. 

Within this paper I will describe some of the key lessons learned and share plans for the future development of this work.

C1 EX13 Presentation

C1 – (EX13, EX04, EX15, EX18) 14.20

2012 Open Educational Resources (OER) in the context of teacher and education training

 Anna Gruszczynska, Richard Pountney and Nicky Watts

This presentation will draw on early findings of a project “Digital Futures in Teacher Education” currently being undertaken in the Faculty of Development and Society as part of the third phase of the JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) UK Open Educational Resources (OER) programme, where OERs are teaching resources freely available online to learners for re-use/repurposing. The presentation will discuss some issues that are emerging as we attempt to embed OER practice within the context of digital literacy in teacher training and programmes such as PGCE and PGCertHE.

The project considers digital literacy to be a blend of ICT, media and information skills and knowledge situated within academic practice contexts while influenced by a wide range of techno-social practices involving communication, collaboration and participation in networks. Overall, the authors of the paper align themselves closely with frameworks which  move from the singular ‘literacy’ to the plural ‘literacies’ which emphasise the sheer diversity of existing accounts of digital literacy (Lankshear and Knobel, 2010). In that context, our engagement with the narratives which have arisen in the context of the project focuses on “the constantly changing practices through which people make traceable meanings using digital technologies” (Gillen and Barton, 2011). 

There is a pressing need for educators to engage with digital literacy issues. Increasingly, the skills and experience that learners (and their teachers) have or need is changing and the baseline is being raised. At the same time, professional development in new pedagogies facilitated by digital technology is still patchy and, in terms of the potential of new social media for learning, relatively unaddressed. Therefore, the presentation will focus on the ways in which OERs can address the opportunities and challenges of creative uses of digital literacy in the context of teacher education training .

The presentation will outline key issues which emerged in the context of our work with PGCE students at participating universities (SHU and University of Sheffield), who shared their understandings of digital literacy through participation in focus groups. The presentation will also discuss our collaboration with the “Digital Literacy and Creativity” project (currently undertaken at University of Bedfordshire) whose aim is to produce an online module ‘Digital Literacy and Creativity’ for accredited PGCertHe programmes, which focuses on the ways digital literacy can be deployed creatively to support teaching, learning and administration.

Importantly, these questions are being addressed through a reflexive approach towards project methodology whose guiding principle is that through reflection, teaching practice can be critically reviewed and better understood in order to articulate a framework for digital literacies which best maps onto the experiences of project participants. Overall, the emphasis on reflexive tasks builds on the body of research which posits teacher inquiry as integral to teacher knowledge about teaching (Cochran-Smith and Lytle 1993). 

Cochran-Smith, M. and Lytle, S. (1993) Inside/outside: Teachers, research, and knowledge. New York: Teachers College Press.

Gillen, J. & Barton, D. (2010). Digital literacies.  A research briefing by the technology enhanced learning phase of the teaching and learning research programme. London: London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education, University of London.

Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. (2010) New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning (3rd Edition). Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Click to presentation:  Open Educational Resources (OER) in the context of teacher and education training

D7 – (EN11, EN22, EN28, EN56) 15.30

2012 Use of oral viva examination to promote employability and relevancy in assessment

Trevor Simper

I have delivered an oral viva exam as part of a final year course and also compared a ‘traditional’ written exam with the oral viva by interviewing 14 students who have taken the oral viva exam. The assessment forms part the final year work for an undergraduate award in nutrition in SBS. 

The findings from my interviews suggest that this kind of exam has a great deal of ‘relevancy’ to the students and that it compares well with what they intend doing in employment. This second point around employment also seems to connect with the students feeling of ‘reality’ in relation to the viva- in short that they feel it is both more relevant and real. 

Presentation of the results from my interviews might help to get discussion going around how the viva is run, how much time it takes, and the difficulties and relative benefits of using this approach to assessment. 

Here is a link to an associated paper I produced on oral viva in final year assessment: 

Click to presentation: Use of oral viva examination to promote employability and relevancy in assessment

C4 – (FU08, FU06, FU30, FU32) 14.20