Are you an inspirational assessor?

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The Share and Inspire series of professional development sessions this week featured Professor Chris Rust from Oxford Brookes University.

Chris began his session by drawing close links between good assessment and its relationship to skills required for workplaces of the future. When developed effectively, assessments ought to strengthen capacity for self critical awareness and a heightened awareness of self-efficacy. Of course these skills should become an explicit focus for teaching, learning and assessment. Meaning that they should feature in learning outcomes associated with specific course content.

If this is the outcome, then the process of realisation is, Rust argues, very firmly based in awareness raising through self and peer student engagement as exemplified in the ASKe Project. Within the project students worked collaboratively to assess assessment papers, they subsequently used the assessment benchmarks to argue why they had assigned particular grades. Three weeks later the students submit their own coursework assignments along with a self assessment sheet. The project noted marked improvements on student assessment achievements.

The formative discussions related to the assessment criteria, might also be applied to an informed peer assessment process, thereby further strengthening knowledge and application of sound assessment practices. For example, there is now scope to use Blackboard to facilitate peer assessment commentary, annotation and feedback. 

Drawing on the work of Hattie and his Visible Learning Project  Rust argues that good quality feedback, used effectively, is one of the most powerful indicators of future student success  However, rather than merely aiming to get the feedback processed more quickly, as many universities tend to do,  it is  the wider consistency of quality feedback and its application which makes the real difference to student learning. 

This quintessential feature of good quality and effective assessment makes it necessary for academic staff to clearly articulate what the aims of the feedback should be in differing contexts. This requires time and expertise in honing how the shared expectations are developed and acted upon through targeted student-to-student and student-to-teacher dialogues. It requires the development of experience and expertise in communities of assessment practice.

Feedback becomes useful especially when there are:

  • Clearly shared student MOTIVES for improvement within assessment to feed forward within modules and courses;
  • OPPORTUNITIES provided for dialogic engagement with peers and teachers
  • MEANS to improve that are clearly identified within the feedback and the time to make suggested improvements  (for example, the explicit mentioning of resources need to improve the learning, which might be a rereading of a particular course chapter or journal article).

In summary then, assessment becomes effective and meaningful when there is ample targeted scope to strengthen the self and peer assessment capacities of students. This is a professional and transferable skill so it ought to be embedded as an explicit learning outcome within course and module documentation. Finally, as the quality of assessment is ultimately a socially defined professional practice dependent upon informed dialogic and intellectually challenging conversations – the learning conversations about assessment need to be ongoing.

So what might this learning mean for you and your practice? Comments welcome below

JISC Change Agents Network Webinar

Copied from JISC email: CAN Webinar:

“There is still time to register (https://www.jisc.ac.uk/events/change-agents-network-webinar-series-24-nov-2015) for the first CAN webinar of this academic year. On 24 November 2015 from 12:30-1:30 – “What will a successful student-staff partnership look like in 2020?” will be an hour of  discussion and activities led by Peter Chatterton and Clare Killen.  This webinar will explore what successful student-staff partnerships will look like in 2020, what the challenges are and how the Jisc Developing successful student staff partnerships online guide and associated resources, can be used to stimulate thinking about how these challenges can be overcome.

 Starting with a discussion around impact of student-staff partnerships, we’ll look at how impact is being measured, what criteria are being used and whether there is any current evidence of success that can support sustainability.

 Looking ahead to 2020, we will then explore the future for student-staff partnerships and how these will impact on the everyday lives of students and staff.

 In the final part of the webinar we’ll discuss how student-staff initiatives can be sustained beyond initial funding cycles and some of the ways of navigating anticipated hurdles.

 CAN Blog Webinar page and links to recordings of previous webinars:http://bit.ly/1utgYDu and you can access the Developing successful student-staff partnerships online guide: http://bit.ly/1L5Upko “

See you there,

Moira

 

Links to Dr Doug Belshaw’s keynote

To follow up from the IoE TEL SDD, here are the links to the keynote and free book offer.

 

Marie Stowell also circulated these links that you might like to explore:

Making Student Engagement a Reality: Turning Theory into Practice

http://www.guildhe.ac.uk/blog/making-student-engagement-a-reality-turning-theory-into-practice/

Learning design has greatest impact on student satisfaction

http://www.qaa.ac.uk/newsroom/learning-design-has-greatest-impact-on-student-satisfaction#.VlRNAVRFDcs

Inclusive Pedagogy: Principles, Policy, and Practice

Message sent on behalf of Sean Bracken

SHARE AND INSPIRE-Sean Bracken-14-12-2015 (doc1) (003)

 Dear colleagues,

 Given the diversity of our student profiles and mindful of the current focus on widening participation and internationalisation in HE, the need to develop inclusive pedagogical practices has never been greater.  

 Please find attached the flyer for our forthcoming Share & Inspire Seminar entitled Inclusive Pedagogy: Principles, Policy, and Practice which takes place on 14th of December from 11:30-14:00, in EE2009. The seminar will provide key information about the diverse teaching and learning context at Worcester, it will provide insights into current great practice across the university and it will enable space to inform future policy through a hands-on seminar.

The IoE will be well represented so please do support your colleagues and sign up for this seminar here (https://ext-webapp-01.worc.ac.uk/cgi-bin/university/booking_v2.pl)

Regards,

Sean and Karen.

 

Dr Justine Dakin (Coventry LEA advisory teacher)

30th November – Language Seminar Series

Message sent on behalf of Charlotte Selleck

Dear All

As part of our Worcester Seminar Series on Language we have invited Dr Justine Dakin from Coventry LEA to come and give a guest lecture on Monday 30th November at 14.00 in the Jenny Lind Building, Room G018. I have attached the abstract to this email.

Dr Justine Dakin (Coventry LEA advisory teacher) will present ethnographic research into how a small, urban primary school adapted to meet the needs of growing numbers of Newly Arrived (NA) pupils moving to the UK through increased globalisation. Her research focusses on three pupils in order to explore issues around the inclusion of beginners of English into a demanding Key Stage 2 curriculum.

This talk may be of interest to staff and students within the Education department – all are welcome.

Kind regards

Charlotte Selleck

Dr Charlotte Selleck

Lecturer English Language, University of Worcester

Honorary Research Associate, Cardiff University c.selleck@worc.ac.uk

01905 542763

‘So what do we tell the students to use for their referencing?’

This was the question put to me several times during the staff development day on 16 November 2015, while I manned a ‘stall’ in the morning (with Linzi McKerr) and facilitated a workshop in the afternoon (with Anthony Barnett, and Darren Cooper from ISES), both covering bibliographic management software. A simple question with a not-so-straightforward answer!

Students are often on the lookout for a simple tool that will do the mechanical task of referencing for them, putting dots and commas in the right place, and displaying all the elements of a reference for any given source with ease. We often come under pressure to ‘teach’ referencing, and recommend the tool which will solve all their problems.

When considering a response to such requests, an internal conflict flares up:

‘But referencing is an academic skill, it is part of your writing, you can’t expect a tool to do the work for you…. Then again, I can see that if you are new to academic writing, or find that referencing is problematic for other reasons (e.g. dyslexia), a tool might help…. There is no good time to ‘teach’ referencing, if it can be taught, you need to have a go and practice, and get feedback to develop this skill… Just follow the Harvard guide, you can’t go wrong!’

However, after some constructive and interesting discussions with colleagues on Monday, I’m starting to think about whether we should be making students more aware of their options. If they want to use a tool, can we recommend one (or more)? How do we manage their expectations of what these tools can do? When is the ‘best’ time to introduce the concept of reference management? (Indeed, when is the ‘best’ time to ‘teach’ Harvard referencing, and how??) Will they understand it all early on, or is it yet another ‘thing’ they have to learn?

I’m not sure I have the answers to all the questions posed above just yet, but perhaps there are discussions to be had which could take those questions forward. Leaving aside the wider issues of referencing policy, and the integration of academic skills teaching throughout university curricula,  I thought it would be useful to add a blog post on #thelearningconversation which points towards some of the available bibliographic management tools which might help.

Al the tools I’ve played with investigated so far are covered on a short document available here. My prezi from the workshop is here. At the risk of seeming a little biased, here are two tools I particularly like:

Mendeley: If you want to know more about what this can do, Darren Cooper is your man! He presented a great introduction to the tool during the afternoon workshop, demonstrating how he uses it for his research to manage his papers and references, and how he uses it with colleagues and students in a collaborative way. With Mendeley, you can save references, add PDFs, manage your references into folders, export bibliographies and cite while you write in Word. UW Harvard style is available in Mendeley. More information here. Zotero offers similar functionality; Anthony Barnett offered his insights during the workshop, showing how the tool can be easily used online to collect and store references.

RefMe: this strikes me as a little more basic compared to Mendeley, but this might be a bonus for new students and undergraduates. It is web-based, so saved references are stored and managed online, in a RefMe account. The UW Harvard style is available so bibliographies can be created and copied/pasted or inserted into Word. It works best with Chrome browser. You can add an extension (browser button) called a web clipper, which can save references you find to your RefMe library. There’s even an app which scans barcodes of books and pulls the reference into your library. More information here.

As with any tool though, it won’t always get it right 100% of the time. Students must be prepared to proof-read and tweak the output before submitting any assignment!

Sarah Purcell

s.purcell@worc.ac.uk

SAP Projects 2015-2016 Developing Student Digital Literacy sub-group

We were successful in being awarded 3 Student as Academic Partners TEL projects this year- summaries below

Interdisciplinary SAP project 1 2015-2016
Developing Digital Literacy and Employability
Nominated Project Lead(s):

Moira Savage, Senior Lecturer (IoE)

Dr Anthony Barnett, Senior Lecturer (IoE)

Kira Butcher (student- Chair of Enterprise team)
We would really like more colleagues and students to join us- please email m.savage@worc.ac.uk and/or come along to the next meeting:

Developing Student Digital Literacy sub group on Tuesday 24th November at 2.45- 4.45 in BY1147

Proposed by the University of Worcester Developing Student Digital Literacy sub-group in response to the Technology Enhanced Learning Strategy 2015-2019 in relation to development priority C. Developing the digital skills and capabilities of students. Projects are intentionally interdisciplinary and focus upon elements of the student digital experience whilst studying at the University of Worcester.
Ongoing support for the project is available from the group:

Chair: Moira Savage, University of Worcester Learning & Teaching Fellow & Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Students Union: Lewis Arnold (Vice President Education) & David Tomkins (Communications Coordinator)

Student Services: Ellen Williams (Student Achievement Officer), Adela Cragg (Careers- The Worcester Award) & Patrick Clark (Specialist Learning Support Service Manager,

Disability and Dyslexia Service)

Information and Learning Services: Dr Sarah Pittaway

Learning, Teaching and Technology Unit: Libby Symonds

Academics: David Hunt & Gareth Hunt (IoE)

The importance of equipping our students with the appropriate 21st Century digital capabilities, for the transition into the world of graduate employment, is reflected in the current QAA Higher Education Review themes of Student Employability and Digital Literacy. Leeds Metropolitan University and Oxford Brookes University are two examples where the digital literacy component has been formalised within graduate attributes and/or curriculum design frameworks.
We would like to collaborate with students to explore and identify where opportunities currently exist, or could exist in the future, to support employability related to generic digital literacy skills. If appropriate, we could explore how digital Open Badges could be attained and added to your LinkedIn profile related to your studies.
Interdisciplinary SAP project  2 2015-2016
Mapping the digital experiences of students at the University of Worcester.
Nominated Project Lead(s):

Dr Paul Golz, Senior Lecturer (ISES)  

Moira Savage, Senior Lecturer (IoE)

Francesca Ellis (Student WBS)

Debbie Doyle (Student)
We would really like more colleagues and students to join us- please email m.savage@worc.ac.uk and/or come along to the next meeting:

Developing Student Digital Literacy sub group on Tuesday 24th November at 2.45- 4.45 in BY1147

Proposed by the University of Worcester Developing Student Digital Literacy sub-group in response to the Technology Enhanced Learning Strategy 2015-2019 in relation to development priority C. Developing the digital skills and capabilities of students. Projects are intentionally interdisciplinary and focus upon elements of the student digital experience whilst studying at the University of Worcester.
Ongoing support for the project is available from the group:

Chair: Moira Savage, University of Worcester Learning & Teaching Fellow & Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Students Union: Lewis Arnold (Vice President Education) & David Tomkins (Communications Coordinator)

Student Services: Ellen Williams (Student Achievement Officer), Adela Cragg (Careers- The Worcester Award) & Patrick Clark (Specialist Learning Support Service Manager,

Disability and Dyslexia Service)

Information and Learning Services: Dr Sarah Pittaway

Learning, Teaching and Technology Unit: Libby Symonds

Academics: David Hunt & Gareth Hunt (IoE)

Students have a diverse array of digital platforms and service available to them during their study at UW. Many of these are bespoke solutions created independently by individual stakeholders, such as academics, administrators, Registry, IT, LTTU, ILS, Student Services and the Students Union. With such a wide range of platforms students report issues around locating the particular service they require and how to use the service once it is found. Bespoke solutions typically engender a higher learning curve in both understanding purpose and accessing content anyway and this may be exasperated by the sandboxed nature of the services.

The main aim of this project would be to produce a dynamic map for existing and new students to signpost who does what and how to access and understand those services. Where existing guides exist these can be linked into the map. As well as being useful to existing students we would aim to create a guide available for use in induction next year to assist new students. The master guide would be deployed to each institute and could be tailored appropriately.

Interdisciplinary SAP project  3 2015-2016
Inbox Overload? Understanding the scale and scope of automated and en masse communication from the university to students.
Nominated Project Lead(s):

Moira Savage, Senior Lecturer (IoE)

Dr Paul Golz, Senior Lecturer (ISES)

Francesca Ellis (Student WBS)

Debbie Doyle (Student)
We would really like more colleagues and students to join us- please email m.savage@worc.ac.uk and/or come along to the next meeting:

Developing Student Digital Literacy sub group on Tuesday 24th November at 2.45- 4.45 in BY1147

Proposed by the University of Worcester Developing Student Digital Literacy sub-group in response to the Technology Enhanced Learning Strategy 2015-2019 in relation to development priority C. Developing the digital skills and capabilities of students. Projects are intentionally interdisciplinary and focus upon elements of the student digital experience whilst studying at the University of Worcester.
Ongoing support for the project is available from the group:

Chair: Moira Savage, University of Worcester Learning & Teaching Fellow & Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Students Union: Lewis Arnold (Vice President Education) & David Tomkins (Communications Coordinator)

Student Services: Ellen Williams (Student Achievement Officer), Adela Cragg (Careers- The Worcester Award) & Patrick Clark (Specialist Learning Support Service Manager,

Disability and Dyslexia Service)

Information and Learning Services: Dr Sarah Pittaway

Learning, Teaching and Technology Unit: Libby Symonds

Academics: David Hunt & Gareth Hunt (IoE)

Email communication is used extensively by UW, both automated system communications (e.g. Blackboard), en masse emails as well as personal communications from tutors. The project seeks to understand the typical scale and scope of communication from the university to students.
Communication is an essential part of the relationship between the University and the students and often features in the analysis of NSS scores. It is important to research the attitudinal understanding the students have towards these various types of email communication in order to define best practices for use of this medium.
This project has two goals: to understand the volume and nature of email communications from UW, and to improve (where possible) our mailing strategy. An action research approach will be taken to investigate what options are available within systems and associated apps (e.g. Blackboard Learn Mobile) to manage the flow of communication in line with personal preferences.