“Take the A train: Articulation, Ambition, Application and Achievement in Collaborative Group Work Assessment” (Area 2 & 4)

Dr Sean Bracken (IoE)

Tensions between the need to focus on the value of collaborative group work and the necessity to incorporate an individualized and perhaps a normative dimension within such work are not easily resolved. In order to ensure that group work assessment items are valid and appropriate, it is important to realize that solutions will be complex and multifaceted. Working collaboratively with students at Level 4, a systems based approach to a group work presentation assessment item has been developed. It incorporates three significant dimensions, which taken together form an integrated process. In the first instance during the research phase, there is an expectation that students will provide evidence of online collaborative support. Secondly, resulting presentations must reflect inclusivity and cohesiveness. Finally, students are expected to critically reflect on their own engagement in terms of process input and presentation engagement. All three aspects contribute to individual student task assessment marks. This presentation draws on evidence from student submissions, interviews with teaching peers and a focus on student achievement to substantiate claims that this integrated approach significantly enhances student collaboration and attainment during group work presentations.

“Enhancing Feedback Practices and Skills Development” (Area 2)

Lucy Cooper, Kirsty Driscoll & Dr. Nicoleta Cinpoes (IHCA)

Feedback is an integral part of the student learning experience and a process which can enhance learning and academic development. Whilst every student will receive a variety of feedback during their time at university it is, perhaps, unclear to them how to then utilise it for academic enhancement and skills development. This project aims to inform student expectations of feedback and skills development with a view to enhance their participation in the use of feedback. This paper will first address ongoing feedback practices through analysing existing literature around the topic, specifically the University’s guide for feedback on written assessments (University of Worcester 2008). Second, it will examine student opinions on the current use of feedback which will be gained through the distribution of questionnaires to level 5 English literature students. Finally, it will demonstrate the benefits of recognising skills development through students’ personal reflections on activities such as peer to peer coaching. Overall, the paper aims to highlight the link between feedback and skills development, and propose ways in which this can be embedded into the learning process for student experience and course enhancement.

“Students ask the questions: How can an online peer-based question and answer tool be used help students learn programming?” (Area 1&2)

Dragis Vrabie and Dr Paul Golz (WBS)

Peer learning is a well-established tool within HE and a common use is to ask students to create questions for each other. Question creation challenges students to think of potentially difficult areas, increasing engagement with course material, find common mistakes and reinforces correct answers. This study investigates Peerwise: an online tool that allows students to create multiple choice questions for their peers to answer. There is strong evidence that this tool aids learning within HE over multiple subject areas, however little is reported on an optimal delivery modality. In this action research study we used Peerwise in a level 5 programming module to discover i) how best to use the tool and ii) whether, in our experience, it benefitted the students. Crucially we discovered that educating the students in use of the tool was required to set a minimum standard in creating questions. Whilst we observed significant improvement in question quality as well as engagement with the tool based on our intervention, Peerwise was found to be unpopular with students and only 50% of the students reporting that they have benefited from using this tool.

Elaine Walklet (IHS) “Using ‘clickers’ for formative assessment and feedback in first year Psychology students: an action research study” (Area: 1&2)

Elaine Walklet (IHS)

Module feedback for PSYC1430 Introduction to Psychology had previously indicated a lack of engagement in the module and dissatisfaction with support for assessment and feedback. Following consultation with students and the academic literature, a series of formative MCQs using clickers were integrated into the module. The impact of this development was evaluated using a mixed-methods online survey and comparison of module evaluation data, alongside personal reflections. Overall, the clicker MCQs were evaluated positively. Module evaluation data indicated the number of students who agreed they had received helpful feedback on their progress increased from 65% to 94%. Key themes emerging from qualitative data included ‘confirmation of knowledge and promotion of further learning’, ‘peer interaction: pros and cons’, ‘technical and practical barriers’, ‘anonymity increasing engagement’, ‘increased familiarity and confidence for assessment’ and ‘adding interest and enjoyment’. Reflections on the potential for this technology to impact positively on large group teaching will be discussed and areas for further development highlighted

“Creating a virtual Centre for Student Progression and Academic Achievement” (area 1&4)

Lerverne Barber, Amy Stringer & David Milward (ISES)

At the core of this project is the desire to enhance the way the University communicates with its students and makes visible high quality learning resources which support students to maximise their academic potential. The Centre will exist primarily to motivate students to develop their own approaches toward and responsibility for their own learning; to enhance visibility, accessibility and engagement with learning resources; to transform (where appropriate) existing resources into more student friendly structures and formats, and to co-create new resources related to the key areas of work identified by the students themselves. In this its first year, it has identified a number of key areas linked to successful progression and academic achievement, including Academic Tutoring, Assessment and Feedback, Learning Resources and the First Year Experience. Students as academic partners have developed a clear picture of what academic support and guidance students ideally require and how best to present this information in a central and readily accessible location.

Rachel Kyte (IHS) “The use of Facebook and Blackboard online discussion forum to support students’ summative assignment preparation” (Area 1) Poster

Rachel Kyte (IHS)

The aim was to determine student views on, and engagement with, discussion boards hosted on Facebook and Blackboard, during summative assignment preparation. Online discussion boards are purported to encourage student interaction/collaborative learning (Brenton, 2009), however student engagement can vary. Facebook is currently the most widely used social media platform in the UK (Ofcom, 2014). This action research project investigated (1) whether the use of Facebook as a platform increased student engagement with a summative assignment discussion board and (2) whether, and if so why, they preferred Facebook to their current interface, Blackboard. A mixed-methods approach was used. Students were given access to the same discussion board on Facebook and Blackboard. The discussion boards were evaluated via an online questionnaire and a focus group. Participants were recruited from a cohort of sixteen 2nd year Physiotherapy students at the University of Worcester. Initial survey findings suggest that students found the discussion boards a valuable tool for assignment preparation. Students preferred Facebook and engaged more with this platform, valuing the informal feel and superior functionality. Focus group data will be presented. Functionality, accessibility and informality are important factors to consider when selecting platforms to host online discussion forum.

Learning Analytics

As an academic and TEL enthusiast I often reflected that many aspects of my tracking of students’ performance, and knowing when to intervene, could be supported by technology. As an ex- primary school teacher tracking grades is not new but we often rely on the old-school techniques involving local paper/excel spread sheet analysis. I have recently spent time talking to colleagues about e-assessment and that within our VLE (Blackboard Learn) there are tools that operate at assignment level that able some basic analysis of grades and performance.

Attending UCiSA’s conference last week I realised there is another whole level of learning analytics possible at an institution level. I will try and highlight a few key points but they are probably explained in a much better way via these links.

Jisc Effective Learning Analytics http://analytics.jiscinvolve.org/wp/ .

The code of practice for learning analytics gives a comprehensive overview of some of the potential data security and ethical issues http://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/code-of-practice-for-learning-analytics .

There is a really useful overview of the HEI sector in relation to learning analytics at http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/5657/1/Learning_analytics_report.pdf

Niall Sclater, JISC Explaining Jisc’s open learning analytics architecture

Mike Day presented on implementing learning analytics at Nottingham Trent University and these three slides consider the potential from student, tutor and institution perspectives.

LA student needs LA tutor needs LA uni needs

Of course intervention and professional decisions will always be best handling by academic staff who know their students but having access to data would be incredibly useful.

LA engagement scales LA headlines LA student withdrawal LA tutor intervention

A few slides exploring some of the analysis tools available as implemented at NTU from Mike Day.

The JISC architecture was explained by Niall Sclater-

LA jisc

The commercial solution discussed referred to Solutionpath

learner analytics

Certainly an area I need to learn much more about to understand the potential.

QAA Higher Education Review Group themes 2015-2016 Student Employability and Digital Literacy

    I have found this document a really useful way to reflect on where we are with TEL and where we want to be with TEL by 2018. I have copied some of the suggested review questions across from the document.
      QAA Higher Education Review Group themes 2015-2016 Student Employability and Digital Literacy


How providers manage and show leadership in their approach to digital literacy and enabling students to develop digital skills: Possible review questions from QAA

  • How do you communicate your vision and position on enabling students to develop digital literacy?
  • Can you cite any examples at provider level of how you have identified and removed barriers to enabling students to develop digital literacy?
  • What steps have you taken to resource digital literacy?

How digital literacy is embedded in the curriculum: Possible review questions from QAA

  • Can you cite any examples at provider level of how you have identified and responded to opportunities to embed digital literacy in the curriculum?
  • How are students engaged in ongoing discussions and decision making about ICT, and the use of technology in their programmes of study?
  • How do employers inform the use of technology in programmes?
  • How do you ensure that your provision promotes students’ digital literacy?
  • How do you promote the use of technology in learning and teaching?
  • How do you use technology in assessment and feedback?
  • How do you embed authentic technology-enhanced assessment tasks in discipline areas?
  • How does assessment feedback support the development of students’ digital literacy?
  • How do you showcase technology-enabled academic and professional practice through your teaching/

Staff development to support inclusive provision: Possible review questions from QAA

  • How are staff informed of their responsibilities to promote digital literacy within their curriculum area?
  • Can you cite any examples of how you have enabled your teaching staff to ensure students are supported to develop their digital literacy?
  • Can you cite examples of opportunities for staff to develop their digital literacy in the curriculum and fully realise all that technology-enhanced learning has to offer?
  • What resources and support do you have for staff to enhance their use of technology enhanced learning?
  • How are staff supported to develop a professional online presence and engage in open online practice?

Want to know how other HEIs are approaching e-assessment?

There is a free webinar on e-assessment next Wednesday 20th May 10-11am which may be of interest. As long as you have speakers you can access the webinar- usually text is used for asking questions.  (They usually use Blackboard Collaborate so you can see what it looks like as this should be available here next academic year.) You can borrow a headset with a microphone from Sue Scott s.scott@worc.ac.uk if you need to.

A webinar on the Jisc Assessment and Feedback programme and current Electronic Management of Assessment project is taking place next Wednesday, 20th May at 10am – 11am UK time as part of a series being run by the Time to Assess Learning Outcomes in E-learning (TALOE) project. If you are interested in joining us, please see here for more information and details of how to participate.

See you there (virtually)