5 things we learnt at ALT North East

ALT North-East held its first meeting under its new title  on Tuesday 27 February 2018.

Colleagues from HE and FE across the North East met at Newcastle University  to hear a number of presentations from Turnitin, Durham University, Northumbria University and Newcastle University.

1. Turnitin is changing to meet new and existing needs

Jamie Whitehead, Account Manager, Turnitin, informed the group of a recent consultation Turnitin had carried out and ran through some of the  key themes important to stakeholders which were: reliability, data access, marking & moderation, assessment workflows and integrations, customer relations, ghost writing, and future requirements. 

Turnitin are going to be running an early adopter programme for institutions who are interested in tackling contract cheating, using their product and influencing the next stage of development. If there is interest as an institution, or department, in the early adopter programme, please get in touch with Jamie jwhitehead@turnitin.com

2. Video assessment isn’t just for media students

Ross Parker from Durham University ran through some examples of the use of video assessment in  Durham, including in subject areas  such as business, sport,  and religion, media and popular culture.

Photo of Ross Parker from Durham University
Ross Parker, Durham University

There are a number of benefits for students including  the chance to develop skills in digital literacy, employability and creativity.  Videos also offer a good opportunity to diversify assessment.

Ross passed on some tips for introducing video assessment including not being prescriptive in terms of the format and letting students use their preferred tools to demonstrate their creativity. When it comes to submitting he advised  making sure the guidance is clear  and encouraging students to submit earlier than the deadline.

3. Variety works with TEL training

Lee Hall from Northumbria University took the group through their approach to training staff with TEL.

The team at Northumbria deliver a wide range of training including:

  • TEL monthly face to face sessions
  • Drop in sessions
  • Video guidance
  • Online training
Photo of Lee Hall presenting to the group
Lee Hall, Northumbria University

Staff can also work towards gaining open badges at bronze, silver and gold level which has been received well by some staff.

As well as delivery,  Lee outlined how the team at Northumbria integrate pedagogy and ‘point and click’ training and the group considered the advantages and disadvantages  of combining these training elements.

4.  Benefits of a bespoke VLE

John Moss from Newcastle University gave a demo of the MLE, a bespoke VLE developed specifically for MBBS students. Key benefits include  the introduction of case studies for students to work through as well as some features such as a daily timetable, personal glossary and easy access to an academic mentor. Students can also see detailed feedback based on their responses to assessment as well as how they are performing in relation to their peers.


A picture of John Moss presenting to the group
John Moss, Newcastle University

Initial feedback from students has been largely positive and the team will continue to update  the MLE based on the  feedback of staff and students.

5. More members are very welcome

The group agreed it would be good to see more members at the ALT meetings especially from other FE providers.

Confirmation about the next meeting will be sent soon and suggestions for topics are welcome from all members.

Suggestions can be sent to Graeme Redshaw-Boxwell, Newcastle University  graeme.redshaw-boxwell@newcastle.ac.uk

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