Tag Archives: workshops

Distributed teaching on a dissertation module: Taking the load off supervisors

Diarmuid Verrier & Catherine Day

Parallel session 2,  Thunderstorm 2.2

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Short abstract
A description of changes made to the structure of the psychology dissertation module. One-to-one supervision is now supported by lectures, specialist workshops, and drop-in support sessions.

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Detailed Outline
The psychology section of the department of psychology, sociology, and politics, has recently restructured the way teaching is delivered on its dissertation module. In psychology, this dissertation must be an empirical piece of work, typically involving the collection of primary data. In order to make the process of supervision less onerous, and to homogenise the quality of the supervisee experience, the number of hours staff spend on one-to-one meetings with students has been reduced. Instead, students now receive substantial support via lectures, structured group workshops, and drop-in sessions. For example, there are lectures on ethics; drop-in sessions to support students with their analysis (typically done via SPSS); and specialist workshops that deal with data collection in semester 1 (e.g., using online questionnaire software, conducting interviews), and data analysis in semester 2 (including a wide array of qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques). The curriculum and timing of sessions has been designed to provide a coherent and effective package, making sure that students know the skills they need to succeed at their dissertation. It is also necessary that students perceive the provision of support as seamless and generous, a real concern in a context where the NSS is a constant looming presence, and on a module where it would be easy to generate negative comparisons with previous years (e.g., in relation to the reduction in one-to-one hours). This paper will describe the key changes that have been made, discuss its worth as a model for how dissertation modules could be run, and report on student feedback on the module’s debut year.

Question: Is the one-to-one supervisor-supervisee relationship sufficient for dissertation modules?

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.