CALLOUT FOR COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE: Using Images in Lectures, Loughborough University

Researchers based at Loughborough University have developed a visual learning experience and are looking for collaborators to build a cross-institutional project.

Based on growing evidence to suggest that the prevalence on media – from TV to social media – means that students are increasingly exposed to and interpreting a number of images in daily life.

The method involves decreasing text and increasing the use of images in the learning environment.

It has already  worked well in control group tests conducted at Loughborough. The literature suggests this is because it exploits cognitive ‘dual’ processing innate to all sighted people.

The investigators argue that this technique ‘reduces wasteful overload of our short-term memory and simultaneously
engages under-used visual processing capacity.’

The group are now looking for colleagues from a diversity of institutions to see if this method works well beyond Loughborough students.

Organisers will also be showcasing  a simple, free, web-based research tool we developed to include and engage distance learners and other students sometimes excluded from pedagogic research.

The intention, as a Community of Practice (CoP), is to discuss, critique and share new practice and develop a bid for funding to develop and test this visual method further, at your own institutions, in academic year 2016-2017.

The data we develop will underpin a range of publishing opportunities and perhaps impact case studies as well. Below are a few ways suggested by organisers who encourage those interested to bring their own ideas:
1) You might create a short image-based presentation on the topic of your choice and give it to students at your own institution (mirroring my own methods), after which they complete an online survey regarding engagement and understanding. You might expand the survey questions as you see fit;
2) You might disseminate a web-based research tool through your own student communities, which students then view and respond to online within a fixed time-frame;
3)  You might create a short image-based presentation on the topic of your choice and place it on a home-made website linked to a survey;
4) You might create a different approach able to generate appropriate data.

The group are looking for colleagues from a diversity of institutions to see if this method works well beyond Loughborough students. If you’re interested in attending an informal half-day session at Loughborough university before July, where Dr David Roberts  will briefly outline the project  been doing and share the test results, please email him: d.roberts@lboro.ac.uk by May 20th 2016.

Callout for Community of Practice

 

 

UCISA Learning Analytics Conference

On the 12th of April, I attended the UCISA event on learning analytics. This was a single day event held in Birmingham. Due to travel issues, we unfortunately missed the first speaker, Sarah Porter, Co-Chair of the National Inquiry into data in HE, High Education Commission – the author of the HEA report, “from bricks to clicks

OU Analyse (ppt)

Zdenek Zdrahal, Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University

The second speaker was Zdenek Zdrahal from Media Unit at the Open University. He described the use of predictive analytics to attempt to identify at-risk students even before the first assignment had taken place, as 98.6% of students who failed the first assignment did not complete the programme. They used a combination of static data including gender and educational history, and fluid data notably VLE interactions. The accuracy of the predictions was increased greatly even when only using the count of “no of clicks” in the VLE.

In practice, each item in the VLE was given a label and different paths were mapped to view the successful students possible paths and the typical failing student path. The  data analysis involved the use of 4 different data modelling techniques. If the student failed two of those techniques they were classified as at risk and intervention was put in place by the School. Spreadsheets were sent to the School highlighting the risk levels of each student. A dashboard has been created that highlights at risk students and the data used.

A student dashboard has been created that shows the student their “nearest neighbours”. These are students showing similar engagement behaviours and the predicted outcome for those students. It also predicts whether the student will submit the next assignment. To improve the students predicted outcomes, various activities are recommended. Currently, students cannot access this dashboard but it is now a priority to release this. I think the extra step of showing suggested activity to students has a real benefit to the learning experience. There is an intervention strategy automatically suggested to the student. The key would be to make sure these suggestions are accurate and relevant.

OULA
They have released an anonymised open source dataset. – https://analyse.kmi.open.ac.uk/open_dataset

Newcastle University does not have a retention issue overall but there may be areas where the use of data in this way may be beneficial – for example distance learning programmes.

JISC Learning Analytics (ppt)

Michael Webb, the Director of Technology and Analytics at JISC talked about the history of learning analytics , then through some of the work that they are carrying out in the field of learning analytics.

Michael described their work with learning analytics as “the application of big data techniques such as machine-based learning and data mining to help learners and institutions meet their goals.”

Predictive learning analytics as seen in the Open University presentation was defined as the “statistical analysis of historical and current data derived from the learning process to create models that allow for predictions that can be used to improve learning outcomes. Models are developed by ‘mining’ large amounts of data to find hidden patterns that correlate to specific outcomes.” JISC are confident that predictive learning models would be ‘fairly’ transferable between institutions.

JISC currently have a learning analytics project that has three core strands:

  • Learning analytics architecture and service
  • Toolkit
  • Community

Learning analytics architecture and service

JISC are looking to create a national architecture that would help data modelling become transferable. They are working with several institutions to develop core services that institutions would be able to implement at a much lower cost than if developing themselves.
JISCLAJISC demonstrated their student app. It’s based on fitness apps where users can view an activity stream with their (and their peers) activity, including performance against student defined targets.
phoneLAJISC are also developing dashboards for students and for administrators:
dashboardLA dashboardLA2

Toolkit
They have released the JISC Code of Practice that outlines some of the ethical considerations institutions should make before embarking on a learning analytics project. This has been worked on with consultation from NUS. They have released their own guidance to University Students’ Unions.Michael finished off discussing what future developments may occur in learning analytics, including links to the teaching excellence framework and personalised next generation e-learning.

Beyond the dashboard: the practical application of analytics (ppt)

Ben Stein, Director, Student Success, Hobsons
Ben from Hobsons spoke about the inevitable rise in student dashboards. While dashboards are an integral part of learning analytics providing methods to display predictive statistics and recommended activities,  it is crucial that the support structures are in place that will provide positive interventions. Mark asked, “does a deeper understanding of the problem actually lead to a solution?” and stated, “ultimately it’s what you do with the information that makes the difference.” Mark then demonstrated a product from Hobsons that provide student / staff dashboards.

Personal tutor dashboards (ppt)

David Mutti, Head of Programme Management, University of Greenwich
David Mutti from the University of Greenwich showed their development of a personal tutoring system that pulls together various pieces of information about a tutee including a very basic application of learning analytics. Although feedback from academics was very positive, actual use was minimal. There was no compulsion to use the system. I thought the system was very well thought out with some good features, but the system was developed and promoted by the IT service. Would an increase in academic involvement lead to a greater take-up perhaps an academic lead?

Piloting learner analytics at the University of London International Programmes (ppt)

Dave Kenworthy, Head of Software Services , University of London Computer Centre and Tom Inkelaar, Head of Management Information, University of London
Tom described how the University of London International Programmes are using learning analytics with their students to try to improve retention. The University have 50,000 distance learning students across 100 countries.
The University implemented Bloom Thrive analytics in partnership with ULCC and Altis. They used student record data along with VLE usage to determine at-risk students. As part of this data, they created a happiness block in their Moodle environments where students could say how happy they were as well as providing some free text comments.
happyLA
The University found it relatively easy to determine which students were at risk but the intervention is more difficult when spread across such a wide geographical area. Another challenge they faced was regarding the data protection and whether the appropriate consent has been received for all students.

The conference was a very useful event to attend, and it demonstrated that although we are not currently implementing any centralised learning analytics we are in a good place to do so as required. The data sets we have could provide a rich learning experience for students.

STAR CASE STUDY – Saving Sim-Man

Are you struggling to offer active and experiential learning to large numbers of students?  SimMan could save the day.

SimMan is a high-fidelity patient simulator who can be programmed to display a wide range of physiological and pathophysiological signs and respond appropriately to treatment, be it physical, e.g. cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or therapeutic, e.g. administration of drugs.

But surely only a few students can make use of SimMan at a time?

Clare Guilding (Lecturer in the School of Medical Education) has developed an effective way of using SimMan along with interactive voting technology to provide an engaging learning experience for a lecture theatre full of students.

Clare explains, ‘To enable the entire class to engage in clinical decision-making, split-screen and interactive voting technologies are employed.’

One of the screens projects the physiological readouts from SimMan such as his blood pressure, ECG heart trace and oxygen saturation; the other screen is linked to a TurningPoint interactive quiz.

Each student is supplied with a TurningPoint handset and at a series of key clinical points throughout the scenario, the students are asked to vote individually and anonymously on the most appropriate course of action (e.g. initial patient management steps, which drug should be administered etc.).

The option with the most votes, (whether or not this was the correct) is applied to SimMan and the students then observe the physiological effects this has in real time.

Clare said: ’In the online end of unit evaluation 76% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that SimMan had enhanced their learning experience.’

It also enabled students to see how their lectures applied to clinical practice:

One commented that ‘the lecture using SimMan at the end was really good, especially using TurningPoint so that we could try to ‘treat’ SimMan. It kept the lecture clinically-focussed and enabled us to see how the information would come in useful in practice’.

To find out more about SimMan and read about medical students’ repeated attempts to save his life, read the full case study on the Case Study database.

Or if you have your own example of really effective teaching practice in your School do get in touch with ltds@ncl.ac.uk.

 

PTES Opens!

7078PTES or the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey opens today, allowing your postgraduate students to submit feedback on courses, teaching and their overall experience at Newcastle.

The survey, open from today until 16 June, gives students a great opportunity to highlight what works at Newcastle and what doesn’t.

All eligible students that submit a completed PTES survey are entered automatically in a prize draw to win one of the following prizes: a 9.7-inch iPad Pro; an iPad mini 4 (2 available); or a £20 Amazon gift card (20 available).

Eligible students include all full-time and most part-time UK, EU, and international PGT students studying a programme of at least 60 credits.

It also allows the University and its staff to make changes and improve postgraduate taught programmes in accordance with the comments.

Students are asked questions on the following topics:

  • The experience of teaching and learning, including: staff, learning materials, working with other students, workload, and feeding back on experience;
  • Assessment and feedback, including supervisor support for dissertation or major project;
  • Organisation and management, including induction and involvement in course decisions;
  • Resources and services, including learning resources and overall support;
  • Skills development, including independent learning, research skills and career skills;
  • Motivation for taking the programme and information provided by the institution to help course choice;
  • Demographic details, including on previous education and fluency in English.

Their responses are:

The University uses the You Said, We Did website to provide students feedback on how the University has listened to what they have said when we gather student opinions.

For more information on eligibility and for previous results from the scheme go to the LTDS website.

PGR Innovation Fund 2016 now open

Post-Graduate Research Innovation Fund 2016

The University is pleased to announce the fourth annual call for proposals to provide funding for groups of students working on projects to support and improve the postgraduate research student experience. The PGR Innovation Fund 2016 is now accepting project proposals. The closing date for proposals is 14 June 2016.

PGR Innovation Fund awards are designed to pump-prime the development of responsive and/or innovative projects to improve the student experience.  The awards will not fund individual student research. It is anticipated that 5-8 projects will be funded, each for up to £4K. Proposals do not have to be for the full £4K.

Interested parties are encouraged to attend a “launch” and information event on 11 May 2016 from 9-11 a.m. (Barbara Strang Teaching Centre G34). The booking form for the launch event is available here: http://forms.ncl.ac.uk/view.php?id=7919.

PVC of Learning and Teaching Professor Suzanne Cholerton will launch the funding call, and last year’s successful project teams will participate with PG Deans and academic staff in a panel on strategies for enhancing the PGR student experience. The
application process will also be explained, and any questions you have will be answered.

The contact for initial queries about the PGR Innovation Fund 2016 is Graeme Redshaw-Boxwell in LTDS (pgr.innovation@ncl.ac.uk  / Ext. 83903).

PGR Innovation Fund_Call for Project Proposals_2016

Sample PGR proposal

 

 

Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Teacher and Professional Support Staff Awards open Monday 4th April

The Vice-Chancellor’s award nominations for 2016 open Monday 4th April.

Following consultation with the Vice-Chancellor and feedback the nomination and selection processes have changed.

Full details can be found here VC’s award web page.
If you have any queries or questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Sue Gill, LTDS.

If you go down to the Robinson Library today…

Psst! Do encourage your students to get down to the Robinson Library today for some Easter treats!
All they have to do to get a free creme egg (or a £1) and to be in with a chance of winning £20 is to visit the NSS Student Awareness table between 11.15 and 14.45.

Elliot Chapin (BA History and Archaeology) won £20
Elliot Chapin (BA History and Archaeology) won £20

Final Year students can fill out the NSS there and then if they wish.
There’ll be more opportunities for students to take part across campus over the next few weeks:

  • Wednesday 6th April Robinson Library Foyer
  • Monday 11th April Robinson Library Foyer & Business School Foyer
  • Friday 15th April Students’ Union Marketing Cube
  • Tuesday 19th April Robinson Library Foyer & Business School Foyer
  • Thursday 21st April Students’ Union Marketing Cube
  • Tuesday 26th April Robinson Library Foyer & Business School Foyer
  • Thursday 28th April  Students’ Union Marketing Cube

Event: Internationalisation of higher education: perspectives from Brazil and the UK

4 April, 10-3.00pm in Room 2.22 the Research Beehive

 You are invited to a seminar on 4 April, 10-3.00pm in the Research Beehive. The seminar will be led by Sue Robson and Alina Schartner from the Teaching and Learning in HE Research Group in ECLS, and Professor Marilia Morosini and colleagues from PUCRS

The seminar will address the following key questions:

  • In an era of globalisation, how can HE institutions maximise opportunities to provide an internationalised university experience for home and international students from all socio-economic backgrounds?
  • How can HE internationalisation be conceptualised in educational, social, cultural and experiential rather than economic terms?
  • How can HE institutions promote a high quality, equitable and global learning experience for all students, including the non-mobile majority?

The seminar theme will allow participants from NU and PUCRS to analyse and critique existing conceptualisations of HE internationalisation at individual and institutional levels, leading to fresh perspectives on pedagogy, curriculum and international graduate competences.  The seminar is intended be the first step towards the formation of a joint UK-Brazil research and practice network on inclusive and values-based HE internationalisation. They will act as a forum for multidisciplinary dialogue and help to identify network partners and themes of mutual interest for collaborative enquiry.

To register for the seminar, please email Kate.Dixon@ncl.ac.uk

STAR CASE STUDY: Feedback Foghorn

Would you like your students to be able to see all of their feedback in one place?

Do you feel like you’re pouring useful advice and feedback into the void?

You need the feedback foghorn!

Lindsey Ferrie

Lindsey Ferrie in Biomedical Sciences has been piloting the scheme in Biomedical Sciences which allows students to use e-portfolio software to compile, track and store their feedback across their course.

The system allows them to track their academic progress across software such as Grademark, Turnitin and PeerWise in order to analyse areas of strength and weakness and to see clearly  their academic progress.

The system saves written and audio feedback from tutors and lecturers in one place as well as individual grades to allow students to easily access and process their feedback.

Feedback FoghornLindsey worked with Simon Cotterill of the Faculty of Medical Science’s Learning Technologies team and Graeme Redshaw Boxwell of LTDS to develop the system using e-portfolio, using money from an Innovation Fund award in 2013.

Lindsey said: ‘It is well documented that students are not only dissatisfied with assessment feedback but are disengaged with its use.

‘The response in most institutions has been to widen the variety of feedback provided to students or to introduce innovative feedback practices.

‘However the resulting effects appear to have further de-personalised feedback for both students and staff ensuring that the current feedback fog is getting thicker!’

Not only does the Foghorn allow students to view their feedback, it  also allows them to reflect on their progress, allowing them to develop their reflective skills too.

Lindsey said: ‘The students found this really useful – being able to assess their progress and not just their grades. They can see the areas of strength in their work and address areas which need improvement.

‘The system has an autopull so it automatically pulls in feedback from across the University systems so that they can interpret it all in one place.

‘Hopefully it will encourage students to really use and interact with their feedback, helping them to improve their work and to track how they’re doing.’

The team are still working on the project and hope to try more iterations of the feedback foghorn to develop the software.

You can read the Case Study in our Case Studies Database.

Do you have an example of good or innovative use of technology in teaching?

Contact ltds@ncl.ac.uk.

 

 

Bootstrap and other developments in ePortfolio

 As ePortoflio is built in-house, it is regularly updated to meet the requirements of the staff and students in the University. The main developments to take part during the rest of the academic year are as follows:

Upgrading Django to version 1.8

EPortfolio is coded using Django programming language. We have been running on version 1.4 but this needs upgraded to ensure we are working with a supported codebase. You could compare this to the upgrading of windows from windows XP to Windows 7 to make sure the software receives security updates.

Bootstrap

The current version of ePortfolio is not responsive, and so does not work well on a mobile device. We will be adding a new theme to ePortfolio that will provide extra functionality and allow the ePortfolio to be responsive. This will give ePortfolio a fresh new look and design but the core functionality will still be the same.

Admin recording of meetings

We will be developing the functionality to allow administration teams to record and offer meetings on behalf or personal tutors. We hope this will help ensure that all students are offered tutor meetings. This does not mean any change in the policy – it is still the responsibility of personal tutors to make sure those offers are occurring. How this functionality is used will be decided by Schools.

Meeting slots

Meeting slots are one of the most popular ways of setting up meetings with your tutees. We are looking to develop meeting slots to allow them to be used by bespoke groups of students.  For example, you could use meeting slots with a whole module, or with your dissertation students.
Applying bootstrap to ePortfolio will change the look of the system and we will not do this during term time. We are aiming to do this in the summer.  The admin recording of meetings, and meeting slot work will be developed at the same time. Until that point, ePortfolio will not have any new functionality developed, as we would have to recode it one bootstrap is applied.