Transnational Educational Research Experience in TEL Project

By Bhavani Veasuvalingam, Newcastle Medicine Malaysia (NUMed).

Assessing Technologically enhanced learning (TEL) quality is a multifaceted method that, built on theoretical perspectives and on organised data collection, analysis and interpretation, leads to a decision that should promote a better understanding of quality of TEL and the enhancement of its quality (Casanova,2011). The Newcastle University’s education strategy attracts a great emphasis on bringing an educational experience supported and enhanced by technology. In this context, Newcastle University with its existing international branch campuses in Malaysia and Singapore triggers another element adding to TEL study, that is the transnational education.

Transnational education is defined as programmes located in a country other than the awarding institution (McBurnie and Ziguras, 2007, p.21). Newcastle Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) and Newcastle University Singapore (NUS) are international branch campuses who shares the same technologically enhanced learning tools from its parent institution and qualifications bear the name of the parent institution. Though branch campuses adopt much of its practices from its headquarters, the different location and the cultural differences may provide an added perspective to understanding TEL in higher education, considering globalization impacts every aspect of our lives. Mazzucato believes, local anchoring is crucial to obtain an in-depth knowledge of and this is important for our project TEL to gauge how globalized it has become.

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QAA news

Membership

As an institution, Newcastle University is now a member of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). The QAA has moved from a subscription to a membership model, offering various membership services which aim to:

  • address sector-wide challenges including safeguarding degree standards
  • maintain the tools to deliver the highest academic quality, including current and relevant standards and frameworks, such as the Quality Code for Higher Education and revised Subject Benchmark Statements
  • advance UK higher education’s international leadership in quality assurance and enhancement through our strategic partnership work with agencies across the world
  • provide an expert and independent voice on quality and standards.

As a member, we can be part of the Membership Advisory Group and network events, and will receive personalized updates on membership activities at an institutional level.  Additionally, the University receives preferential rates for non-member QAA events and services such as the QAA annual conference, student engagement events, and the Data Matters.

In 2019/20 work that will be undertaken includes new Subject Benchmark Statements, in-country reports, viewpoints and research. Output on degree classification workshops, networking events, partnerships and the Membership Advisory Group will also be published.

Membership resources including case studies, webinars, materials, and reports can be accessed after registration (https://www.qaa.ac.uk/en/membership/resources). New outputs from membership work will be published here.

More information can be found on the QAA website: https://www.qaa.ac.uk/en/membership/qaa-membership

Updates to Subject Benchmark Statements

At the end of October 2019, QAA published first updates to Subject Benchmark Statements, starting with subjects in STEM and Humanities. These statements describe the academic standards expected of graduates in that subject area (what are students to know, do and understand at the end of their studies). The minor changes to the subject benchmark statements include a reflection of the 2018 Quality Code, and ensure that the QA’s subject level guidance is aligned with current HE reference points. As the changes were minor, no subject expert working groups were convened. The chair or a member of the previous advisory group confirmed any changes.

Similar updates to Subject Benchmark Statements will be made to all subjects.

A full list of updated Subject Benchmark Statements can be found here: https://www.qaa.ac.uk/news-events/news/updates-to-subject-benchmark-statements-in-stem-subjects

NUTELA 3PS (Pizza, pop and practice)

Technology for Large Group Teaching

11 December 2019, 12-2pm , G.56, Frederick Douglass Centre

Are you interested in using technology for large group lectures?

The next NUTELA pizza, pop and practice event will look at a variety of technology-based strategies to increase interactivity, offer real time feedback, and reinforce learning.

You will hear more about a range of tools that are being used well across the University. We will also be welcoming lecturers from HaSS, SAgE and FMS who will each deliver a 10 minute interactive session giving you the opportunity to experience the technologies first hand, as a student.

Come along for some pizza, pop and the chance to practice in one of our newest large lecture theatres. Book your place now.

We will be sharing resources and keeping the conversation going in our NUTELA Team after the event. Everyone is welcome to join the team.

Remember to bring your own device to the session so that you can take part in the interactive aspects. Any questions please get in touch with nutelaops@ncl.ac.uk

Award winning courses

Two free online courses from Newcastle University were recognised at the National Dementia Awards 2019 last night, where they won Outstanding Educational Resource.

Dementia Care: Staying Connected and Living Well, and Dementia Care: Living Well as Dementia Progresses were both designed to provide information, advice, and opportunities to share experiences for people living with or care for people with dementia.

Developed in partnership between academic teams in FMS led by Lynne Corner and Professor Dame Louise Robinson, and the Learning and Teaching Development Service, the course are now in their 8th and 3rd runs and consistently get great feedback from learners.

Both courses are open to anyone and are freely available on FutureLearn.

Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET)

In an effort to streamline stage and module evaluations, changes to the way we conduct surveys across the University are coming into effect from 2019/2020.

Individual module evaluations will no longer run in the academic year 2019/20, except through consultation with LTDS for new modules or to support accreditations. Stage evaluations will continue but from academic year 2019/20 will be run once per semester and managed centrally by LTDS. Schools will no longer be required to set these up.

Find further information about Student Evaluation of Teaching on the Learning and Teaching website.

ACCESSIBILITY IN pRACTICE , workshop FEEDBACK

Do you want to hear about quick wins to create accessible documents, use accessibility checkers and experience how some of your learners adapt and work with digital content?

The Accessibility in Practice workshop covers this and more. You can book your place now from a range of dates over the next couple of months.

Victoria Rafferty, Learning Development Officer in the Writing Development Centre came along to one of these workshops. Find out what she thought below.

‘The accessibility training sessions provided the timely opportunity to become more aware of issues and techniques when making resources accessible.  By working with techniques demonstrated and discussed in the workshops, we’ve constructed a new range of study guides.  These sessions were important as we need to ensure that our study guides are suitable for students across the university’.

Victoria Rafferty, Learning Development Officer, Writing Development Centre

Victoria Rafferty

View an example of one of the study guides developed following the workshop, demonstrating good practice in designing accessible documents.

If you need further information about accessibility take a look at the LTDS website or get in touch at LTDS@ncl.ac.uk

Canvas update

Since we announced that Canvas will be replacing Blackboard as the University’s Virtual Learning Environment from the 2020-21 academic year, the project team have been busy attending a range of Faculty and School meetings to update colleagues on the plan for the coming months. These will continue throughout November and December to ensure we communicate with as many people as possible.

This week, the Canvas team will be on site to finalise the project plan and start work on the implementation of the system and data migration. This will be followed up next week with another onsite visit during which colleagues in LTDS, NUIT and the FMS TEL team who will be designing and delivering the training for staff and students will receive three days of intensive training from the Canvas training team.

To find out more about the transition to Canvas please visit the Canvas project site. If you have any questions or would like to invite the project team to speak to colleagues in your school/service, then please email canvas@ncl.ac.uk

Accessible digital content and systems

The University is carrying out work to improve the digital accessibility of systems and content across the institution. This includes the module content with Blackboard.

This work started with the Art of the Possible week in July 2019. This week of activity showcased some of the great work already underway in this area and provided useful practical CPD sessions for staff to engage with.

This is being followed by visits to academic units during this academic year to inform them of the benefits and ease of accessible content within Blackboard, and other TEL systems. These visits have started and will continue through Semester 1.

The accessibility in practice workshop that has been developed alongside the Student Wellbeing service the helps staff learn how to create accessible and inclusive learning and teaching resources will be offered to each academic unit, as well as being run centrally.

Other work reported on previously will continue throughout the academic year.

Some useful resources

Introducing the digital exams service

Building on the solid foundations of OLAF provision, and the successful first 2 years of the Diversifying and Expanding Online Exam Provision project, the University’s Technology Enhanced Learning Sub-Committee have approved the launch of a new combined Digital Exams service.

The story so far …

Newcastle University’s Online Assessment and Feedback (OLAF) Service has been running high stakes secure online exams using Blackboard’s test tool since 2007/08. The 13 years since that first exam have seen OLAF come of age, supported by well-established institutional processes that ensured all 132 OLAF exams in 2018/19 went smoothly.

In 2017/18 the Diversifying and Expanding Online Exam Provision project was launched, and the first of some new types of digital exams were piloted using software called WISEflow. Bring Your Own Device was introduced, enabling students to use their own laptops to sit a secure digital exam. Alongside this, moving essay and long written answer exam questions from paper to online has also become possible for the first time.

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Students as lecturers

Helene Tyrrell, School of Law

The spring of 2018 was an unusual period in the life of the law school. Here, as in most departments, classrooms were left empty and lecturers relocated themselves to picket lines. My own teaching timetable at that time would have placed me in our lecture theatre, delivering first year lectures on a compulsory module. The timing of the strike meant a number of these would be lost and while I didn’t want to dilute the impact of the strike, I did decide to run an experiment: I offered one of the affected lectures up to the students. As usual, I had uploaded the lecture slides (on non-strike days) in advance of the lecture and I followed that up with an e-mail:

“… while I will not be delivering the lecture, the lecture theatre will still be scheduled for our use. So my offer is this: If any of you (or indeed all of you) would like to run the lecture for yourselves, with the notes that I have given you, you are welcome to give this a go! Recap will still be recording for the time, so if anyone is willing to take up this offer then I will offer to listen to the recap recording when I am back at work and to give you feedback on what you discuss. … Recap starts at 09:05!”

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