Technology Showcase – UTME Study Day

This weeks post shares a session FMS TEL were asked to participate in a study day on the Utilising Technology in Medical Education (UTME) module offered by the School of Medical Education.

The FMS TEL team were asked to participate in a study day on the Utilising Technology in Medical Education (UTME) module offered by the School of Medical Education.

The module aims to raise students’ awareness of how technology enhanced learning is currently used in health care education and gives students the opportunity to explore technologies and investigate theoretical underpinnings. Based on these aims we put together a 3 part presentation.

Part 1 – Tools for Student Interaction

PowerPoint Slide: FMS TEL Interactive Content, Instant/Quick Wins

Emily introduced a number of TEL tools including; Menti, vevox and padlet. Each tool was discussed; outlining its uses, pros and cons. Current examples of content designs, interactive activities and animations used throughout the faculty were shared.

Part 2 – Collaborating and Facilitating Group Work

PowerPoint Slide: FMS TEL Collaborating with Microsoft

Michelle demonstrated how to use Microsoft 365 to co-author and co-edit documents, presentations and spreadsheets. Students were shown various features including; reviewing mode, version history and how to use Sharepoint to monitor breakout room activities.

Part 3 – Teaching Tools

PowerPoint Slide: FMS TEL Teaching Tools

Eleanor shared her experience of teaching with Zoom/Teams and tips on how to humanise online sessions. She discussed common barriers, such as awkwardness or long silences and strategies or tools to use as solutions.

Embrace the silence: the use of timers in synchronous teaching

Learn how to use timers in your PowerPoint presentations to aid questions and answers for students and yourself.

As teachers or trainers we can often feel the pressure to fill the silence when presenting. How long should you wait for an answer? Or a better question might be, how long do you think you wait?

Research suggests that at least 3 seconds can provide positive outcomes for both teachers/trainers and students (Rowe, 1972).

Each task may require different lengths of silence, you will want to think about the time the students will need to:

  • process the question
  • think of the answer
  • formulate a response
  • (if teaching virtually) unmute or type their response

The concern is to provide the period of time that will most effectively assist nearly every student to complete the cognitive tasks needed in the particular situation.

Stahl, 1994

You may find yourself counting the 10 or 15 seconds in your head, but still the silence can feel unbearable.

PowerPoint Animations to the rescue

Using a consistent slide design with an animation will not only relieve the pressure on you to keep track of the time but also provide cues that students will become familiar with as your teaching progresses.

Below are examples and instructions for 4 different types of animations you can create in PowerPoint, ranging from super easy to slightly complex. At the bottom of this post you will find a template document of all the examples shown plus a few more complicated designs which you can download and use in your own presentations.

Example 1: Stopwatch

Example stopwatch PowerPoint animation
  1. Insert a circle and style as required (holding shift will help you draw a perfect circle)
  2. Add a “Wheel” animation to the circle and adjust to your chosen duration (max of 59 second)
  3. Add the stopwatch icon (Insert > Icons > search for “Stopwatch”)

Example 2: Progress Bar

Example progress bar PowerPoint animation
  1. Insert a rectangle, remove the outline and choose a fill colour
  2. Add a “Wipe” animation to the rectangle, using the effect options drop down change the direction to “From left” or “From right”. Adjust to your chosen duration (max of 59 seconds)
  3. Insert a second rectangle on top of the first, remove the fill colour and style the outline as desired.

Example 3: Count Down

Example count down PowerPoint animation
  1. Create a text box for each number required, style as required
  2. Add the “Disappear” animation to all text boxes
  3. Set the first number to start “on click” with a 1 second delay
  4. Set all other numbers to start “after previous” with a 1 second delay
  5. Stack each text box on top of each other in the correct order, you may want to use the arrange menu or the selection pane to assist with this
  6. (optional) Add a text box at the back stating times up

Example 4: Scrolling counter

Example scrolling counter PowerPoint animation
  1. Insert a rectangle, with no fill and an outline of your choice
  2. Insert a text box and type in the required numbers, with a new number on each line
  3. Add the “Lines” animation to the text box, move your text box so your first number aligns with the green arrow and your final number aligns with the red arrow (further guidance). Adjust to your chosen duration (max of 59 seconds)
  4. Insert more rectangles above and below the first rectangle you created to hide the numbers as they scroll in and out

Resources

References

Rowe, M., 1986. Wait Time: Slowing Down May Be A Way of Speeding Up!. Journal of Teacher Education, 37(1), pp.43-50

Stahl, Robert J. & ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science Education.  1994,  Using “Think-Time” and “Wait-Time” Skillfully in the Classroom [microform] / Robert J. Stahl  Distributed by ERIC Clearinghouse [Washington, D.C.]  <https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED370885>

Scaffolding Reflection

This article outlines the rationale for scaffolding reflection and describes the developments, which will be available across the University by September 2022.

Structured reflective templates are currently being piloted in NU Reflect. This article outlines the rationale for scaffolding reflection and describes the developments, which will be available across the University by September 2022.

Scaffolding

A picture containing scaffolding, roof. Royalty free image from Pixabay

Scaffolding provides a great metaphor in Education. In the construction industry, scaffolding provides temporary support and helps shape the developing building. Scaffolding was first used as an educational concept, by Wood, Bruner, and Ross (1976) to describe the support given by an expert in one-to-one tutorials – something akin to a semi-structured interview.

Scaffolding is also a useful metaphor in reflective practice. A series of questions or prompts can provide the learner with a structure to reflect on. There are many structured frameworks which can be used to scaffold reflection. Perhaps the best known are Gibb’s reflective cycle (Fig 1). This involves 6 stages, each with questions to encourage the learner to go beyond purely descriptive accounts, to incorporate reflective self-evaluation and also make plans to improve future performance.

Overview of Gibb’s Reflective Cycle

Over time, it is hoped that the use of such frameworks will progressively increase learners’ reflective capabilities. This may be enhanced by sharing, discussion and guidance from educators, particularly in the early stages of developing reflective skills. However, like the use of scaffolding in construction – eventually that structure and support may no longer be needed, after developing as an independent reflective practitioner.

Structure can be a double-edged sword though. Too much structure can reduce engagement (everything else being equal) and long ‘forms’ may be potentially intimidating or off-putting to some. Motivation is key. Aside from the obvious use of summative assessment (itself bringing challenges to ‘authentic’ reflection) – learners need to perceive value and purpose to developing reflective practice. Is reflective practice seen to be valued by the course – is it embedded in the module/programme and referred to by teachers and in course documentation?

In some contexts, particularly many vocational subjects, reflective practice is explicitly required by professional bodies, with clearly defined process which have reflective elements, such as annual appraisals and CPD. In other contexts, without this driver, there are challenges to avoid reflection remaining an ‘abstract’ concept, particularly if there are limited ‘practical’ activities to reflect on. Obviously, clarity of purpose is important. Reflective frameworks can be used (or adapted) for a range of purposes, such as reflecting on an assessment, perhaps before and after feedback, with actions to prepare for the next assignment.

Sharing and discussion of reflection is another dimension – in some contexts, reflection may be purely private, in other contexts sharing with a mentor may be mandatory. Where shared, fostering a ‘safe’ environment for sharing and discussing reflections is particularly important for younger students, whist many (but not all) mature students are more comfortable with this.

Reflective Templates in NU Reflect

NU Reflect https://reflect.ncl.ac.uk is developed and maintained by FMS-TEL, has pedagogic support from LTDS, with academic lead (Patrick Rosenkranz / Katie Wray) and governance via DEC. NU Reflect was launched in September 2021 following a strategic review of ePortfolio. The redesign and rebranding was intended to help promote its core purpose of supporting reflective practice and transferable skills after may years of prioritising developments to support Personal Tutoring. As part of the strategic review, a recurring theme in the staff consultation was the desire for a prospective system to support reflective frameworks. Gibbs reflective cycle was the most widely used framework, used in contexts across all 3 Faculties – though often with minor adaptions for specific courses.

As such reflective templates were developed in NU Reflect and are being piloted in Semester 2 this year, with a view to being made available University-wide for 2022/3. The pilots have three ‘global’ templates available:

  • Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle
  • Driscoll Model of Reflection
  • Four Fs of Active Reviewing

Also, staff can create new templates to meet their particular module or programme requirements.

Pilot of structured templates in NU Reflect

Structured templates are nothing new, and were common in paper-based portfolios. However, there are some key advantages to integrating them in NU Reflect. For example, the reflections can be linked to skill(s) or competency(s) (either the Graduate Framework or programme-level frameworks), which integrates them in the ‘My Skills’ section of the Website . Reflections can also be tagged with course-specified or personal categories. The tools support longitudinal use throughout the student journey, rather than been restricted to an episodic learning event or being compartmentalised in a particular module. As such a learner can accumulate reflections and achievements against skills/categories over time. They also provide choice in sharing (or not).

The pilots are ongoing, but feel free to get in touch if you want to try them out.

References

Wood, D., Bruner, J. S., & Ross, G. (1976). The role of tutoring in problem solving. Child Psychology & Psychiatry & Allied Disciplines, 17(2), 89–100. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.1976.tb00381.x

Gibbs G (1988). Learning by Doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. Further Education Unit. Oxford Polytechnic: Oxford.

Learning and Teaching Conference: the hidden curriculum

Discusses the presentation of hidden curriculum and how it might be overcome in our own practice.

One presentation at the conference stood out for me as it sought to help students overcome transition to university from school in a way which we often don’t think about. The presenters use of TEL would help overcome any barriers for students developing their ‘academic identity’ in belonging to the university, and gave me some ideas about how we could integrate their ideas in our courses.

EPIC: SELLL’s answer to enculturing undergraduates in academia

Dr Heike Pichler and Dr Rebecca Woods, SELLL (in addition, others from SELLL were involved in the project), discussed the hidden curriculum and what can be done to expose it to students. ‘Hidden‘ is because we don’t make it explicit in our curriculae.

The hidden curriculum consists of all the unofficial expectations academia has of their students, including an expectation that they will speak our academic language. We expect students to know what we are talking about when we use university jargon. For instance, how many students know what a DPD is when they arrive in Fresher’s Week? We talk about modules, but we don’t necessarily mean the same thing as ‘modules’ in Canvas which they meet as soon as they join a course.

The presenters have come up with a solution:’EPIC’. Part of this project is a jargon-buster, acting as a glossary for acronyms most academics take for granted, some very specific to SELLL. You can find it on their school blog: https://blogs.ncl.ac.uk/epic/jargon-buster/

Image shows Jargonbuster from EPIC

So where would this fit with technology use in FMS? A simple solution would be to put our own glossary on our Canvas induction areas or school blogs. How about an icebreaker in induction week to get students involved in finding out what our acronyms mean? Perhaps a Padlet embedded in Canvas for students to post their long versions.

Another aspect of the hidden curriculum the presenters flagged is assessment: do our students know what we mean when we ask them to write reports/essays/presentations/lay presentations etc? Being fluent in academic language and competent in the activities of academia is likely to increase success rates. We can use our Canvas assignment pages to make explicit what we expect them to do in terms of their output, and signpost where they can get help with study skills and writing development at the library (https://www.ncl.ac.uk/library/resources-and-study-support/). Of course, that doesn’t mean students will actually read our materials, but it may be helpful.

Video Award Success for FMS TEL Team

The team shares success at the Learning and Teaching Conference – find out more about how DIY and bespoke animations can help boost learning in your course.

Several members of the FMS TEL team attended the NU Teaching & Learning Conference on Thursday 31st March giving strong representation of the team.

It was a great day with some very insightful presentations on a broad range of topics and a very interesting keynote from Professor Paul Ashwin. It was also the first time in years that the conference has been able to be run ‘in person’ and with around 300 attendees it felt like a slight return to normality.

Members of the FMS TEL team had both ‘posters’ and ‘video presentations’ entered into the competitions. Attendees were sent a link to view them and were able to vote for their favourites both in the week leading up to the conference and also on the day itself.

Eleanor Gordon (left) and Ashley Reynolds (right)

Ashley Reynolds and Eleanor Gordon from the FMS TEL team were delighted to be announced winners of the ‘Best Video Award’ for their video presentation titled ‘Creating and using animations to explain concepts’ which highlighted how animations could be used to enhance teaching, and techniques that will both improve memory retention and also increase learner engagement. The video presentation entry can be seen below.

Video submission

If you would like to know more about animations and the services that the team can offer, please get in touch.

We would like to say ‘Thank you very much’ to the LTDS team for organising a great conference. Can’t wait for next year!

Exploring 3D Anatomy – The University of Cape Town Launch

This week students from the University of Cape Town have joined the pilot of the Exploring 3D Anatomy course.

The second pilot of the Exploring 3D Anatomy course is now live, with students participating at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

Leonard Shapiro presented an introduction to the course on 18th March to a class of second-year medical students – many of whom joined the class remotely via Teams.

Photo of a presentation Exploring 2D Anatomy.
Leonard presents the course
Photo of a classroom with Zoom call showing on a projection screen.
An example of one of the course exercises is shared
Photo of presenter and project screen showing exercises.
Leonard presents the course exercises
Dr Iain Keenan in the course trailer
Dr Iain Keenan in the course trailer

The course trailer was also shown, and students were invited to sign up using a QR code posted on the slide show as well as on posters in the lecture theatre. Senior lecturer in Anatomy, Dr Geney Gunston, also posted the sign-up link for the students on VULA, the university messaging system.

Many students have signed up, and we look forward to working with them over the next few weeks as they Explore 3D Anatomy from home.

After this pilot and a further development phase, we hope to make the course more widely available to many more students.

Images provided by UCT medical student Mulaudzi God-mother Matodzi-muswa and Leonard Shapiro.

A Vision for University Education

Summative and exploratory review of Paul Ashwin’s keynote address at NU Learning & Teaching Conference 2022.

The keynote at this year’s Learning and Teaching Conference at Newcastle University was Paul Ashwin, who is Professor of Higher Education at Lancaster University.

Paul Ashwin presenting at Newcastle University – photo by Eleanor Gordon

It was a good feeling being at a present-in-person conference and catching up with colleagues face-to-face for the first time since the start of the Pandemic. But would the keynote offer something inspiring and thought provoking? In my view – yes!

Paul Ashwin put forward the argument for an inclusive and transformative vision for H.E. vs. the status quo which is elitist and reproductive (of social inequalities). Current political drivers focus on the role of H.E. in developing employable students, but are predicated on a vision of H.E. which mistake social advantage with ability.

It would be hard to miss how much Newcastle University does to promote inclusivity, social justice, and contributing to the community (ok you can always do more!) – but there was still maybe some parts of Paul Ashwin’s keynote which made you reflect on what NU is as an institution and maybe a slight feeling of discomfort considering our position as an ‘advantaged’ Russel Group University. In particular, Paul talked about the ‘games’ H.E. play around Rankings and Generic Graduate Attributes. Paul’s research found that there was no relationship between educational quality and rankings. Few within in H.E. see the value of rankings and league tables, yet when we do well in them, ‘double-think’ (George Orwell) kicks in and we publicise them at every available opportunity! He didn’t mention what is probably the biggest ‘game’ of all in H.E. – the Research Excellence Framework! I guess, the issue is that regardless of whether you see and value in rankings, attributes, REF etc, as effective quality indicators – few H.E.I.s could afford not to play these ‘games’, given their impacts on student recruitment and funding.

Paul, gave a savaging critique of generic competencies – nearly all HEIs have adopted graduate attributes frameworks, but he argues these are often over-simplified and the focus on employability outcomes may distort how we measure quality in education. He spoke about creating a shopping list as an example of how almost any task can be shown to meet generic skills (time management, sustainability etc.). For me personally, that’s may be throwing out the baby with the bath water. True, if engaged with in a superficial manor, graduate attributes may have limited value. However, if meaningfully linked with the rich knowledge and capabilities developed at University (and other life-wide experiences), then they can have value; particularly as we need to build, recognise and continually develop transferable skills, in a world where our graduates will likely go on to have multiple careers.  

The overall vision Paul put forward was one of inclusivity and the role of H.E. being custodians of knowledge and the role of teaching in making knowledge accessible to all. Our course and assessment designs need to provide exciting engagement with a structured body of knowledge. The backdrop to all this (perhaps ‘taken as read’ by the speaker) is the politics / government policy, including the impact of student fees and marketisation – and the view of the student purely as a “customer”. There are those who question why fees are so high, given that subject information is freely available on the Internet (making no distinction between information and knowledge). Also, there is a narrow focus on measuring employability outcomes and graduate incomes. Paul’s critique of this vision is that it strongly reinforces the reproductive role of H.E. in perpetuating social privilege. He was arguing that as a sector we need to invest time in the collective redesign of education for the more inclusive vison of H.E. which supports transformative learning, accessible by all.

Paul Ashwin provided a thought-provoking keynote, which was very apt for the conference, this year titled as “Education for All: Learning Together”.

Developing audio commentated interviews to support student learning – NULT2022

As part of the conference, Susan Lennie and Eleanor Gordon presented this video detailing the student response to the introduction.

The written summary of the development of the intervention can be accessed below.

Creating and Using Animations to Explain Concepts – NULT2022

A video explanation and demonstration of how animations can be used to explain concepts, and when this is most effective.

Teaching and Learning Conference Presentation

Ashley Reynolds and Eleanor Gordon

This video demonstrates how animations can be used to enhance teaching. Some animations require specialist experience to create, but a great deal can be achieved by adding purposeful animations in PowerPoint, or utilising H5P.

Animated diagrams are a rich resource for explaining processes and relationships. Online teaching sometimes means that gestures such as pointing, highlighting and demonstrating motion are lost. Including these dynamic elements in presentations boosts understanding of concepts and processes when compared with static images. (Goff et al., 2017).

Resources

Using Canvas Commons to Supply and Support Student Learning Opportunities – NULT2022

All of our posts about this conference can be seen under the tag NULTConf2022.

This lightning talk was presented in person at the Learning and Teaching Conference 2022. Newcastle University staff wishing to access the resources and the recording of the previous extended online version can do so here.

Key Points:

  • Commons in a cloud storage for Canvas items
  • Can upload and download pieces to and from your courses
  • Allows you to promote your material to the Canvas Community if you choose to do so