Postgraduate Research Experience Survey Launch

The Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) will launch on Monday 20th March and will remain open until Thursday 18th May 2017.hea_surveys_logos_pres-colour

The PRES is the only UK higher education sector-wide survey to gain insight from postgraduate research students about their learning and supervision experience.

What is it?

The survey is designed to capture the opinion of any research student on a doctoral or research master’s course.

It focusses on students’ experiences of;

  • supervision
  • resources
  • research community
  • progress and assessment
  • skills and professional development

It also considers students’ motivations for taking their chosen programme.

Why is it important?

The survey presents an opportunity for students to Shape the student experience: the feedback we receive is valuable in helping to enhance the postgraduate research experience at Newcastle.

How is it completed?

The PRES is an online survey and can be completed on a mobile device. Eligible students will receive an email with a link to complete the survey.

Incentives

All students who complete the survey are entered into a prize draw (see terms and conditions);

1st Place prize: 9.7-inch iPad Pro (one available to win)

2nd Place prizes: iPad mini 4 (two available to win)

3rd Place prizes: £20 Amazon gift card (20 available to win)

Further details and support can be found on the LTDS webages. If you have any specific questions please contact LTDS@ncl.ac.uk

NUTELA Peer Recognition Awards 2016/17

NUTELA’s annual Peer Recognition awards will be presented on  Friday 24th March, 3-5pm, History Room, Students’ Union.

The awards recognise staff who go above and beyond the call of duty to help their colleagues, schools and units to adopt forms of technology-enhanced learning (TEL).

All are invited to join us to celebrate.

There will be pizza, pop and plonk and awards shall be presented by Professor Philip Bradley, Chair of eLSI (eLearning and Student Information Sub-Committee).

To register please complete the booking form.

NUTELA (Newcastle University’s Technology Enhanced Learning Advocates) are a peer network of colleagues who promote the use of technology in teaching. The group’s focus is on providing practical, practitioner-informed support. They meet termly at lunch time events to share practice over pizza and pop.

For more information please contact ltds@ncl.ac.uk

 

2017 Collaborative Awards for Teaching Excellence (CATE)

The Higher Education Academy is pleased to announce a new round of funding for the 2017 Collaborative Awards for Teaching Excellence (CATE). These awards aim to celebrate collaborative learning and teaching initiatives that positively impact on the student experience in creative and innovative ways. Each award will recognise a team who have enabled a change in practice for colleagues or students at an institutional or discipline level.

Only one bid can go forward from each institution. To become the Newcastle University bid you are invited to put forward a draft claim (max 1000) and a draft of the dissemination and impact plan (max 2000 words). Please note you do not need to submit a draft of the Institutional statement of support.

The HEA guidance can be found here https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/download/collaborative-awards-teaching-excellence-nomination-form-and-guidance-2017

The completed papers should be emailed to ltds@ncl.ac.uk no later than 9am Monday 20 March, please title your email “CATE Application”.

Applications will be considered by a panel comprising the PVC(L&T) Chair, the Head of LTDS, the FLTSEC chairs and the NUSU Education Officer. The panel will consider all applications received that week and you will notified of the outcome no later than Wednesday 29 March.

If you have questions or queries, please contact ltds@ncl.ac.uk

NSS Support – Response Rates

Nearly a month has passed since the launch of the NSS so we thought it would be helpful to share some good ideas from colleagues across the university who have achieved strong early response rates.

Identify Key Timetabled Sessions

The Dental School used a mock exam feedback session to run through the NSS information slides at the end. Why not go one step further and also leave time for students to complete the survey on their mobile devices?

Strategy and Planning

The School of Arts and Cultures devised a communication plan to keep their Media students aware of what was happening which included;

  • Welcome back emails at the start of Semester 2 highlighting actions already taken as a result of student feedback
  • A brief introduction to the NSS around the launch date to explain how it works and that they will be given time the following week to complete the survey
  • A detailed presentation one week after opening followed by time to complete the survey before main lecture started
  • Communication of response rates to students, thanking them and sending reminders if necessary

In the future it is envisaged that this strategy will be rolled out across other programmes in the School.

Promoting a strong student/staff partnership

Professor Janice Ellis from the Dental School told us; ‘…we have good Student/Staff committee structures and in the general we have tried to promote an environment in which students genuinely feel that their opinion is valued.  This has been reflected recently in student comments at the Student Staff Committee’.

A key theme emerging is that Schools who promote an environment where students feel that their opinion is valued tend to achieve higher response rates.

This can be achieved by actively ‘closing the loop’ through demonstrating and communicating actions taken following Student Staff Committees, Module Evaluation and Stage Evaluation throughout all stages of degree programmes.

If you have any initiatives that you have introduced in house in an effort to boost response rates or encourage student engagement with the NSS and would like to share your ideas, then please contact the Learning and Teaching Development Service by emailing ltds@ncl.ac.uk

Meeting slots are now available for use with any group of students

We are pleased to announce the release of new functionality that will allow you to create meeting slots with any group in the University. Meeting slots are a popular part of the tutoring functionality in ePortfolio that allows tutors to specify particular timeslots they are free, and tutees can then sign up to a slot.
In the version released today, you can use meeting slots with supervision groups, tutees, whole modules, and any other bespoke group of students or staff.
To access the new functionality, navigate to the Meetings section using the drop down menu at the top of the screen (9 dots icon). You will see a new section labelled “Slots”. By selecting this you will be taken through to the page where you set up the slots, but you will notice in the top right hand corner of the page the option to “Add people to Slot Group”.
Meeting slots button

Selecting this will bring up the a search tool that shows your tutees/supervisees on the right hand side, but also allows you to search for anyone in the University.

Search people in ePortfolio

You can search by programme or module code, username, and by first or surname. If you search by module or programme code, there is an “Add All” button at the bottom of your search. This will add all students from the module / programme to your set of slots, allowing you to offer contact to a cohort of students in an organised manner.
If you are a user of supervision groups, you will see a new button on the Supervision Group page. This will allow you to create meeting slots for your supervision group.
Meeting slots for supervision groups
Having selected the students that the slots are to be offered to, you will then pick the length of slot and times you’re available and the students selected will be sent a booking email.
If you would like some extra support with the use of meeting slots, please email ltds@newcastle.ac.uk.

Adding a Numbas Test to Blackboard

To add a Numbas test to Blackboard, first create a test in the Numbas Editor (see this post). Next, download your test: from the sidebar of the test, choose the Download -> SCORM package option.

In your Blackboard course, go to the Assessments drop-down menu and select Numbas – LTI.

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You will be presented with some options, including a name and optional description. This is the information used to display the item in the Blackboard folder. Further down you will find some of the other standard Blackboard options such as display dates. There is no need to change any of the LTI configuration.

lti2

After clicking on Submit and Launch you will be presented with the New Numbas activity page.

newpackage

Using Choose file, browse to your Numbas test, then click Submit. You will be taken to the dashboard of the test, which will display student attempts, once the test is up and running.

lti4

Click the Test run button to preview your test. The dashboard will show attempts once students have accessed the material, and has options to do things like download scores. Clicking on the Blackboard link to the test will take instructors to this dashboard; students will be taken straight into the test itself, which you can preview using Blackboard’s standard Enter Student Preview button.


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Numbas is developed by the e-learning unit in the School of Mathematics & Statistics. If you have any questions or are interested in using Numbas in your course please Chris Graham at christopher.graham@ncl.ac.uk

Creating a Numbas Test

Tests are created in the Numbas Editor, which you can log in to with your University credentials.

Creating a New Test:

To create a test you do not necessarily need to write new questions. The Numbas Editor is also accessible to the wider community, and there are several thousand questions which have been licensed for re-use. The simplest way to create a test is to browse the Numbas Editor and  fill up a basket of existing questions. Refer to the Numbas documentation  for details, which will walk you through the process of finding and collating questions into a test.

An excellent place to start is the Content created by Newcastle University project on the editor, which contains material developed by the e-learning unit in the School of Mathematics & Statistics.

Creating New Questions:

You may well wish to add your own questions to your test. Here is a short video which describes how to create your first (very simple) question:

Of course Numbas is capable of creating very sophisticated questions and we recommend consulting the Numbas documentation for more information.

Once you have a test, you can find out how to add your Numbas test to Blackboard


 

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Numbas is developed by the e-learning unit in the School of Mathematics & Statistics. If you have any questions or are interested in using Numbas in your course please Chris Graham at christopher.graham@ncl.ac.uk

 

Using Mobile Devices for Surveys

No PC? That’s fine…

Did you know that students can complete the National Student Survey, module evaluations and stage evaluations using their mobile devices? Both the NSS and EvaSys evaluations can be completed on iOS, Android and Windows based devices.

Students don’t need to be tied to a PC to complete the evaluations, they can complete them anywhere – on the bus, on the Metro, at the end of your lecture – you name it, as long as they have signal, they can do it!

Boost response rates!

Letting your students know that they can complete the evaluations on their mobile devices may even help boost your response rates – they might not be aware that they can use their tablets or mobiles (or how easy it is)!

You could use the end of your lecture or seminar to ask students if they could use their mobiles to complete the evaluation on a module, without the need for an IT Cluster. You could also ask your final year SSC representatives to complete the NSS towards the end of a committee meeting and then spread the word to their course mates.

How do students use their mobile devices?

It’s simple, for the NSS students can follow this link: http://thestudentsurvey.co.uk/ or follow the link sent to their email. For EvaSys evaluations, students open their student email and find the EvaSys emails with their personal link in.

Once they click the link, the evaluation will open and they can complete it using their mobile device (some students will need to copy the link by highlighting it in their email and pasting into a web browser).

Alternatively, for EvaSys evaluations, students can log into Blackboard on their mobile device and find a list of open surveys under the ‘My EvaSys’ section on the ‘My Institution’ tab. You could even pop a notification on your Blackboard module page with some directions to the evaluation, or show students during class where to find them.

We advise that students save the evaluation as they are completing it – this way they don’t need to start from the beginning again if they get disconnected. It also means they can exit the evaluation, and go back to the place they last saved when they re-open the evaluation.

For more information, please take a look at our guide to using mobile devices.

Boosting National Student Survey Reponse Rates

Looking for tips on boosting response rates for the NSS survey? Below you will find a few ideas on how to achieve a higher response rate…

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Some ideas on what you could do…

  • Actively encourage completion using a mobile device. Wireless access is being continuously improved across campus which should make this really easy! When using a smartphone students just need to follow the link in their email which will automatically take them to the mobile version of the NSS Survey.
  • Arrange dedicated information sessions or set aside a brief amount of time at the start or end of timetabled sessions for students to complete surveys on their own devices.
  • Task student ambassadors or stage reps with encouraging their cohort to take part in surveys by posting on School/Programme social media. Encouraging discussion amongst student cohorts may lead to positive suggestions for improvement.

Communication is key…

  • Try to ensure examples of improvements made both in house and across the wider University in response to survey results are communicated widely. You Said, We Did  highlights recent University wide actions. It might also be a good idea to highlight separately what has been achieved at local level.
  • Don’t forget taking part in the NSS is an opportunity for students to compete with other Schools! Subject areas with the highest response rates at the end of the survey period will win a cash prize to spend however the students wish. Further details of this can be found on the LTDS webpages

Why is the NSS important?

Aside from helping the University ensure that students are satisfied with its courses the NSS is also increasingly crucial for prospective students and parents in deciding which institution to choose.

Data from the NSS is publicly available via Unistats. This official site allows prospective students to compare information across institutions and subjects/courses. The site draws together comparable data on areas that students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study.

As it is publicly available the NSS can also be used by prospective students but also by other bodies wishing to measure student satisfaction and experience, from newspapers to government and policymakers.

To find out more visit visit www.thestudentsurvey.com

If you have any initiatives that you have introduced in house in an effort to boost response rates and would like to share your ideas with the wider University, then please contact the Learning and Teaching Development Service by emailing ltds@ncl.ac.uk