Free stuff for Newcastle University …

Ok, now I’ve hopefully got some attention … (honestly, this post doesn’t take too long to get to the ‘free stuff’ bit).

Perhaps one of less noticed, but still in some ways important, elements of the huge changes in the English higher education sector over the last four years has been the changes for some long-established sector agencies. QAA lost what was in effect its role as the lead national agency in England for academic quality and standards, and has reinvented itself (including a very significant slimming down) as a membership organisation. The Higher Education Academy, Equality Challenge Unit and Leadership Foundation for Higher Education combined forces to become AdvanceHE.

So what?

Good question. One of the things it has meant is that QAA and AdvanceHE have now put huge amounts of their resources behind what amounts to a paywall – if your university’s not a member you’re not getting in. The good news for Newcastle staff is that the University is a signed-up member of both QAA and AdvanceHE, so you can access both organisation’s resources using your Newcastle email address.

So why would you sign up?

Well QAA’s an interesting one. There’s a range of membership services, including both resources (for example some Advice on Digital Assessment Security written by a group that LTDS was a member of) and events (including a webinar in July at which LTDS presented).

The bit that’s interesting is that having become a membership organisation there’s been a bit of a shift in terms of the kind of things the Agency is doing. The five themes of the membership programme for 2021-22 (https://www.qaa.ac.uk/membership/what-we-are-delivering-for-members-in-2021-22 ) are: the future of digital and blended learning; creating inclusive learning communities; global engagement and TNE; evaluation and data-based decision making; and securing academic standards.

So a lot of the kind of thing you might expect QAA to do, but quite a lot that might make you think ‘I didn’t’ know QAA were interested in that’. Some of this is open access; other areas you’ll need to register to get access to (but it doesn’t take long – the form is at https://www.qaa.ac.uk//en/membership/resources/register and all you need is your NU email address).

There are a small number of QAA resources we don’t have access to (it’s like a gym with levels of membership, and we didn’t go for the maximalist option), but there’s still a lot of valuable stuff up there that you can access for free.

(And while I’m talking about QAA, one of its best kept secrets, at least this side of Hadrian’s Wall, is the great work QAA Scotland has been doing for years under its Enhancement Themes banner. There’s lots of interesting and valuable material on this website – https://www.enhancementthemes.ac.uk/. The current Enhancement Theme is Resilient Learning Communities, but past themes like Evidence for Enhancement and Student Transitions are well worth a look as well. And again, it’s all free).

It’s a similar deal with AdvanceHE. There’s a huge amount of valuable material available (and their Knowledge Hub database is a good way to access this), across lots of areas -including learning and teaching, but also around EDI as well as leadership and management. AdvanceHE’s programme for 2021-22 is available at https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/membership-2021-22/member-benefits .

Again all you need is your NU email address to access the site and its resources. One thing to look out for though is that while there’s a lot of things you can access for free, there’s also quite a bit of AdvanceHE activity (particularly events) that are chargeable. People at NU get a member’s rate, but there’s still a fee for quite a bit of what they’re offering.

So there’s a lot on offer. A lot of it supports areas that we’re strongly committed to as a University and as individuals. It’s worth a look. And (lots of it) is free.

NU Reflect is live

NU Reflect has been developed to help support personal, professional, and academic reflection in both modular and non-modular contexts and is now live. NU Reflect is integrated in Canvas and is accessible in both Account and in any Course menu, or at reflect.ncl.ac.uk 

The new system provides users with the ability to record and share reflections, recognise, and categorise personal skills being developed, e.g., against the Graduate Framework, and to collaborate with other users. Furthermore, Personal Tutoring is supported with options to engage with tutors/tutees, create and manage individual and group meetings, and for students to access School specific and global support and guidance materials.

NU Reflect is continually being developed to enhance the user experience, with new features and tools to come throughout the academic year. To find out more about using NU Reflect, please go to the NU Reflect page on the Learning and Teaching @ Newcastle website, where guidance and support materials will be available soon. Furthermore, the Start Here area of NU Reflect provides a tutorial on the benefits of reflection, as well as approaches you could use to incorporate it into your practice.

If you have any questions regarding NU Reflect, please contact ltds@newcastle.ac.uk

National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) and Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) : University application process open

Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence and National Teaching Fellowship logos

We are pleased to announce the launch of the University process to determine the institutional nominees to the 2022 Advance HE National Teaching Fellowship Scheme and Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence.

NTFS: Nominations are welcomed from colleagues who feel their work has a major, positive impact on student teaching and learning. Colleagues who would like to be considered should provide a maximum of 1000 words which address the following criteria.

  • Individual excellence
  • Raising the profile of excellence
  • Developing excellence

Find out more about the NTFS criteria and nomination process.

CATE: Nominations are welcomed from teams who feel their work has a major, positive impact on student teaching and learning. Collaborative teams who would like to be considered should provide a maximum of 1000 words, which address the following criteria:

  • Evidence of excellence in the team’s collaborative approach
  • Excellence in the impact of collaborative working – evidence of the team having a demonstrable impact on teaching and learning beyond their immediate academic or professional area

Find out more about the CATE criteria and nomination process.

Application to be an institutional nominee

Submissions for both NTFS and CATE should be sent to ltds@ncl.ac.uk by Wednesday 10 November 2021 at 12.00 noon

Find out more 

If you are considering applying and would like to find out more, please sign up to the NTFS/CATE webinar, on elements taking place on 11 October 2021, 09:00-09:30. 

QAA invites expressions of interest for Chairs and Deputy Chairs for Subject Benchmark Statement Reviews

QAA is inviting expressions of interest from the academic and subject community to act as Chairs and Deputy Chairs for the review of 14 Subject Benchmark Statements. QAA leads the development of Subject Benchmark Statements and reviews them on a cyclical basis to ensure they are useful as possible for discipline communities and can fulfill a range of purposes across the sector, including course design and providing support for securing academic standards.

Members of the academic and subject communities are encouraged to apply. More information on how to submit an expression of interest is available on the QAA call for expressions of interest web page. The deadline to submit an expression of interest is midday on Monday 4 October 2021.

For full details please visit the QAA website.

Outstanding Contribution to Feedback

Dr Michael Waugh from the School or Arts and Cultures recently won Outstanding Contribution to Feedback at The Education Awards run by Newcastle University Students’ Union. Michael shares his approach below.

When I was contacted about producing a piece for the Learning and Teaching @ Newcastle University Blog, a result of my two recent TEAs for Outstanding Contribution to Feedback, I was quite apprehensive. Reading through previous posts and case studies on the topic, I found a lot of emphasis on strategy, curricular design, formalised processes – none of which I felt reflected my own practice. I wouldn’t say I do anything particularly innovative or have an especially unique approach to providing feedback, and I was surprised (not to mention incredibly honoured) to be awarded in such a category.

Instead, I have always operated in a more personable and individualised manner, a recurring theme in students’ nomination comments for my TEAs. I never feel like I’m doing anything out of the ordinary; I just try to take the time to get to know my students, even on big modules and programmes, making it easier to respond to the specific needs of each person I teach. Universities have a tendency to split the academic and pastoral aspects of student life too much, with students being allocated to personal tutors that they might never meet in a lecture or seminar room and learning from lecturers that refuse or neglect to discuss any issues that don’t pertain to their module and its assessments.

Continue reading “Outstanding Contribution to Feedback”

Podcast 006: Ideas in Academic Practice: An Audio Tour of the Newcastle University Branch Campus Sites

006: Ideas in Academic Practice: An Audio Tour of the Newcastle University Branch Campus Sites

Listen to episode 6 of the learning and teaching podcast.

You may (or may not) already know that Newcastle University has two branch campuses; one in Malaysia and one in Singapore. In this episode Sue Gill from the Learning and Teaching Development Service (LTDS) and Dr Paul Hubbard (Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at New Med and currently based at our Malaysian Campus in Johor) look at what academic life is like in a branch campus, what the learning and teaching issues to consider are, and how Covid changed the branch campus experience.

This discussion point, taken from the meeting of the Academic Progress Board in 2021, looks at the two main branch campuses in South East Asia. In this wide ranging conversation Paul takes various aspects of the branch campus life, including

  • Location – what does it mean to be 10,837km away from Newcastle?
  • Culture – how do these campuses compare to our Newcastle campus?
  • Role – what does Paul do on and for the campus?
  • Connections – what are the links from the branch campuses and the broader University?
  • Experience – what does learning and teaching look like?
  • Pandemic – how Covid changed the branch campus experience?
  • Value – what is the importance of these campuses?

This is the second of a set of podcasts developed from the meetings of the Academic Progress Board of Studies and for more information on the work and support of the Academic Progress Team please contact: apt.lts@newcastle.ac.uk or visit https://www.ncl.ac.uk/ltds/professional/

New webinars: School and Programme Data and The Power of Feedback: Student Surveys

Students on campus

The Educational Governance Team have developed new webinars for 2021-22 for academic and professional services staff in Schools. 

School and Programme Data

The first session aims to help make more use of the range of available programme data to inform and identify areas of effective practice and where actions are needed to address issues. 

The sessions are split into two parts and are bookable via Elements at:

Part 1 will focus upon how to use the new Power BI dashboard which brings together programme and school data from recruitment and admissions through to progression and award.  The dashboard also provides links to the various internal and external student surveys results.   The session will show you how to drill down in the data to look at trends and at specific student groups.

Part 2 will allow participants to explore in more detail specific uses and interpretation of the data to help inform decisions at Board of Studies and for reflection in Annual Monitoring and Review reports.

The Power of Feedback: Student Surveys

The second session relates to the student voice and how to encourage students to engage with surveys.  An overview of all the range of survey activity that takes place over an academic year both nationally (National Student Survey, Postgraduate Taught/Research Experience Survey) and internally (stage evaluations, informal module check-ins) will be provided and an exploration how the survey results can be used to inform changes to the student experience. 

Space will be available in the session to discuss with colleagues’ ways in which surveys are promoted and methods used to improve student engagement across the institution.   

This session will run twice per semester and is bookable at:

If you have nay queries about any of the sessions please get in touch with LTDS@ncl.ac.uk

New Podcast Episode

Episode 005: Introducing Emily and Josh our student podcast voices. National Teaching Fellowship with Dr Lindsey Ferrie. Part one of our look back at learning through the pandemic with Dr Adam Potts

Episode 005: Introducing Emily and Josh our student podcast voices. National Teaching Fellowship with Dr Lindsey Ferrie. Part one of our look back at learning through the pandemic with Dr Adam Potts.

In this newest podcast episode, we have three topics that will explore different aspects of learning and teaching at Newcastle University.

The first section introduces Emily and Josh, two students here at Newcastle University, who will share what it is like to be a student in 2021. In this first conversation Emily and Josh talk about the excitement of achieving A-Level results and confirming your place at Newcastle University. What did they do first and what do they recommend before coming to university? Emily and Josh will pop up in future episodes throughout the year.

The second section of this episode is a conversation with Dr Lindsey Ferrie. We caught up with Lindsey to discuss National Teaching Fellowships, why she applied, what it was like to be awarded her fellowship in 2019, and what the process for applying involves. The winners of the 2021 National Teaching Fellowship have just been announced. Congratulations to Newcastle University’s very own, and friend of the podcast, Dr Paul Fleet who was awarded his National Teaching Fellowship this year.

In the final part of this episode, we introduce another regular podcast feature: Learning through the pandemic. Dr Adam Potts talks to Newcastle University students about what it was like to learn through the pandemic. What have we learned that we will continue to use, what have we learned that may not benefit students moving forward? This conversation concentrates on lectures and seminars. We will hear move from Adam throughout the next few months.

We hope you enjoyed this first magazine style episode. Longer form conversations will continue to pop up in future episodes as well.

So, remember to download, like, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from. If you are new to podcasts, you will see some useful links on each episode page.  You can listen and subscribe directly from there. If you are listening through a phone, there are many podcast apps like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast, that you may need to download but ideal for listening on the go.

If you would like to get in touch or have an idea you would like to share, please email ltds@ncl.ac.uk and use the title ‘Learning & Teaching @ Newcastle University Podcast idea’.

Canvas & Turnitin Assignments: Key Issues

LTDS have offered each School the opportunity to receive a presentation ahead of the new academic year highlighting the key issues that should be considered when deciding how to implement coursework submission and marking procedures.​

For Schools and subject areas who are not able to take up this offer, or as a refresher for those who have been able to, a recording of the presentation and the presentation slides are now available.

​The presentation includes issues that have occurred across the last academic year that have caused extra workload for colleagues and impacted the student experience​, including:

Assignment Types

Canvas or Turnitin Assignment?

Using Similarity Checking 

Online assignment submission principles

Assessment and Feedback Procedure​

Avoiding common issues

Assignment, online marking and feedback guides

Student assignment submission guidance (ASK Website)

​Delegated Marking​

Canvas Delegated Marking

Turnitin delegated marking

Moderated Marking​

Moderated grading and double blind marking

Where to find help

Canvas orientation

All L&T Workshops and webinars

To discuss any of the issues raised further, or if are any issues that we have not captured, please contact LTDS@ncl.ac.uk

Authentic Assessment with Professor Tina Overton

Tina Overton

SAgE Faculty presentation on Authentic Assessment with Professor Tina Overton

Conversations about more authentic forms of assessment have proliferated of late, as Universities everywhere had to rethink assessment formats at short notice.

We are delighted and honoured that Professor Tina Overton has kindly agreed to work with the SAgE Faculty to help us examine how we currently think about assessment in STEM disciplines.

In this one-hour online session, Tina will share her experiences of implementing authentic assessment in Chemistry at Monash University, drawing from her distinguished career in STEM education.

A presentation will be followed by a Q&A session where you can raise issues of interest or concern about assessment in STEM subjects with Tina.

The session will be recorded and made available afterwards.

Time: Sep 15, 2021, 14:00 London

Colleagues can sign up here.

SAgE Faculty workshops on Authentic Assessment with Professor Tina Overton

In this one-hour online workshop, presented twice, Tina will encourage you to rethink your approach to assessment, to consider where you might already be providing authentic assessments, and to reflect on where and how you might want to do more in your programmes/modules. Supported by colleagues in LTDS, the session will be recorded and made available afterwards.

Workshop 1

Time: Sep 30, 2021 13:00-14:00 London.

Or Workshop 2

Time: Oct 4, 2021 13:00-14:00 London

Colleagues can sign up for either workshop here.

Biography: Professor Tina Overton

Tina was until recently Director of the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence, having previously been Distinguished Professor at Monash University where she successfully implemented large scale moves to active and context-based learning and authentic assessment in Chemistry. She has a 20 year plus track record in STEM education and is passionate about improving the student learning experience.

If you have any queries about these events please get in touch with LTDS@ncl.ac.uk

You might also be interested in other upcoming learning and teaching events and webinars.