New Year: New Idea

The start of a new year is always a great time to consider problems you would like to solve and changes you would like to make.

On 23 January 2017, Newcastle University opens The Enterprise Shed: Making Ideas Happen, our free online course, to a new group of learners.  The four  week course recreates the creative atmosphere of a shed – or any other place where you do your best thinking and doing.  It promises to be a great place for you to work on those new year challenges and ideas.

Here, Katie Wray, Lead ‘Sheducator’, explains why you should all be joining her in The Enterprise Shed.

Lead Sheducator, Katie Wray
Lead Sheducator, Katie Wray

Enterprise and entrepreneurship at a grassroots level

Firstly, let me unpack ‘enterprise’. For me, enterprise is about making creativity, problem solving and ideas practical. This makes it relevant across all areas of education, not just business. Where enterprise is applied to creating a new venture, it is commonly known as ‘entrepreneurship’.

The Enterprise Shed challenges a variety of definitions of the entrepreneur, and looks at enterprise and entrepreneurship at a grassroots level. On the course, you will be introduced to a whole bunch of entrepreneurial individuals and teams, not all of whom refer to themselves as ‘an entrepreneur’.

How to make change in your own context

We are committed to exploring this question with you throughout the course, supporting you to draw your own conclusions about how you can make change in your own context.

Our other commitment is to exploring your ideas – collecting insights into what a solution looks like and helping you to turn that idea into something tangible. Finally, we are committing to developing your network, through which you can share your ideas, and put them into action once the course has finished.

That’s where you come in. This course is about you; it is about your role, through your ideas, in creating change. There are three main reasons why you should join us in The Enterprise Shed:

  1. Develop confidence in yourself as a “doer”

You will do this by analysing the behaviours of other entrepreneurial people who you will be introduced to on the course. You will draw conclusions about the way that they “do” and what you might “do” when approaching your own challenges, problems and projects.

  1. Address problems you want to change

You will do this through identifying problems, sharing them with others, creating and collaborating on ideas generation, and developing solutions together with peers on the course.

  1. Meet people and build networks

We will do this by forming virtual networks around the globe, which can outlive the end of the course. You will meet people that share your passions and drivers to make change in your world, find out where you can go for help, and collaborate to achieve impact.

The Enterprise Shed is not just a course, but a place where you can go to think, and critically, to do.

If you’d like to make your ideas happens, join The Enterprise Shed now or join the conversation using #FLentshed.

Learning & Teaching Lunchtime workshops – Tuesday 10 January 2017

Dr Jane Stewart will be hosting a lunchtime workshop on Tuesday 10 January 2017 on the subject of ‘Developing Lesson Plans’.  This workshop will cover the principles of lesson planning and discuss some basic strategies for developing your approach.  The workshop will be useful to those who have had no formal training in teaching or wish to refresh their knowledge around lesson planning.  For the workshop it is helpful to have a particular lesson in mind.  To facilitate this, please bring along your PowerPoint presentation or any resource that helps guide your delivery.

The workshop will be held in room RIDB2.1.53, 13.00 – 14.00.

Due to room capacity it is important that you register your attendance with Sharon.griffin@ncl.ac.uk.

There are a range of other learning and teaching lunchtime sessions throughout the term. See schedule.

Peer Mentoring Thank You Event

Peer mentors from across the University gathered at the Great North Museum: Hancock last Monday to celebrate another successful year of the scheme.

Mentors and staff coordinators enjoyed drinks, food and an array of Christmas tunes as awards were given out for the best mentor from each Faculty and for the best Co-ordinator across the University.

PVC for Learning and Teaching Suzanne Cholerton introduces the awards
PVC for Learning and Teaching Suzanne Cholerton introduces the awards

Student mentors were nominated by the students they were mentoring and comments made were displayed on tables around to room:

‘My mentor was always positive and put 100% effort into helping every individual in our group.’

‘It is often more helpful to have a student’s perspective on an issue rather than just a staff perspective.’

peer-mentoring-quotationThe winners were Sachin Anand from Dental Sciences, Anjuli Chatterjee from Newcastle Law School and James Fortune from School of Biology.

The Coordinator of the Year was Alison Graham from the School of Biology.

alison-graham-award
Peer Mentoring Coordinator Winner Alison Graham, James Fortune Student Peer Mentor Winner and peer mentors from the School of Biology

The festive celebrations aimed to thank all students and staff for the time and effort they put into making the scheme such a success.

Well done everyone!

If you would like to get involved in Peer Mentoring at Newcastle, or you would like to find out more email us.

NUTELA 3Ps – Dialogues

At NUTELA (Newcastle University Technology Enhanced Learning Advocates) 3Ps workshop this week, we were learning about how to make really excellent resources for all of our students.

change-timingsAs both teachers and as researchers, we spend lots of time creating digital resources, how can we build in accessibility so that they can be used by the widest group of people?

For this session we explored a number of ideas:

  • Documents are best when they have text (not pictures of text), structure, and a sensible reading order.
    – We explored this with a hands-on exercise looking at pdf accessibility.
  • Videos are much more accessible and useful when they have a transcript and subtitles.
    – We had a look at how easy it is to add transcripts to YouTube.
  • Images can convey information powerfully, but how can we make these useful to people with little or no sight?
    – We explored the use of images in a Sway.

You can read more about the sessions and learn how to make resources for all at the NUTELA blog.

For more information about NUTELA or to join our mailing list email us.

ULTSEC Innovation Fund Workshop Reminder

LTDS are running an ULTSEC Innovation Fund workshop on December 12th 2-3pm in KGVI 1.36C. You will be given an overview of the fund as well as guidance from the Careers Service about how to employ students for your project. There will also be presentations from successful project teams from previous years who will share details of their project and the application process.

To sign up to this workshop please do so via the following link: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/ltds/about/training/ultsecinnovation/workshops/. We would love to see you there.

Further information including key dates and application forms and guidance can be found on the Innovation Fund section of the LTDS website: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/ltds/funding/teaching/

About Numbas

Numbas is a web-based assessment system with an emphasis on mathematics. It helps users to build sophisticated online tests suitable for numerate disciplines, including support for interactive graphs, statistical functions and the assessment of algebraic expressions.

Suitable for both practice and in-course assessment, Numbas tests integrate seamlessly with Blackboard, returning marks to Grade Center and offering the opportunity to download scores and reports directly from the tool.

Numbas is used in a wide range of subject areas here at Newcastle University, including accounting, biomedical sciences, engineering, physics and psychology. It is also used to deliver online support material in the ASK Academic Skills Kit.

 

Developed here at Newcastle University by the  School of Mathematics & Statistics e-learning unit, Numbas is an open source project with users and partners around the world. More information can be found on the Numbas public website.

The Numbas section of the LTDS blog is in its infancy, however the team is very happy to answer any queries: numbas@ncl.ac.uk.

Peer Mentoring: Feedback Sessions

With the Peer Mentoring Scheme well underway across the University, mentors have been meeting with convenors to check how things are going.

Alison Graham convenes the Peer Mentors in the School of Biology.

feedback-session-peer-mentoring
Students in Peer Mentoring feedback session

She meets with Peer Mentors in the school in week 2, week 4 and week 7 or 8, just to check how students are doing and make sure that mentors and mentees are getting the most out of the scheme.

‘What I’ve started to try to do is to incentivise the meetings, so the students feel that they are getting something out of them, as well as just catching up.

‘I came up with the idea of tying them to the Graduate Skills Framework, so I often work through how the mentors will be able to use their skills in applying for jobs.

‘We go through how to evidence the skills that they’ve gained in applications and at  interview.’

Alison hopes that this approach will make the scheme more lucrative for second and third year students who may be unsure about giving up their time.

‘It’s really about making sure that students can see and really use the skills they are gaining form being a Peer Mentor, in addition to helping other students.’

Alison says the scheme has proved popular in the School and that students have described it as useful but that often the whole experience relies on engagement from the mentors.

‘We have some excellent mentors who establish a real social group and relationship with their mentees by organising trips and events.

‘We try to encourage that and encourage teamwork within the groups – for example, we organise a treasure hunt in week one where they all have to work together.’

She says that the amount of engagement with mentors depends on individual students and often to circumstances.

‘But it depends on them. Some students only really liaise with their mentor in the first few weeks but some need a little bit more.

‘They also tend to turn to their mentors around exam and assignment time.

‘But it can also be really important for some students who are struggling.’

As a convenor for the programme, Alison points out that its important for the mentors to be trained and supported so that they know what queries they can answer.

‘We have to be quite careful to make sure that they know how much help they can give students with their academic work.

‘Obviously they can provide some advice but we don’t want people sharing assignments or anything, so that’s something we have to train them for.’

As well as the feedback meetings, Peer Mentors have all been invited to a Thank You party, taking place on 5th December in the Great North Museum.

Claire Burnham, the University’s Peer Mentoring Coordinator said: ‘We’re very excited about the event.

‘The Mentor of the year award will be presented on the night and we’ve already had 400 nominations from students across the University.

‘It’s a great way of rewarding our mentors and our convenors for all of their hard work.’