All posts by Sam

Have your say: staff focus groups on enhancing the student learning experience

With increased emphasis on online and remote learning, and the need to focus on innovative ways to support students, Newcastle University is currently reviewing the use of student data to support students’ learning, and how to incorporate reflective learning as part of staff and student practices.

We need your input…

The University is running focus groups that will offer you the opportunity to contribute to two topics that impact on the student learning experience and provide you with the tools to enhance student engagement and attainment. Please see below for details.

Using data to support student learning

We would like to invite you to take part in an online focus group on the use of student data to support teaching and learning. Newcastle University aims to understand whether staff and students would benefit from the use of a learning analytics system to enhance teaching, personal tutoring and student attainment.

Learning analytics can be understood as the process of making meaning of students’ participation in online content and activities with the aim of providing informed feedback to optimize learning.

The focus groups give us the opportunity to share ideas, needs, and challenges with the use of learning analytics, and your valuable opinions will help inform the University’s investigation into the use of student data to enhance the student learning experience. 

DateTime
Monday 30 November 202010.00 – 11.30
Monday 30 November 202013.00 -14.30
Tuesday 1 December 202010.00 – 11.30
Tuesday 1 December 202013.00 -14.30
Wednesday 2 December 202010.00 – 11.30
Dates and times of analytics focus groups

If you are able to take part in a learning analytics focus group, please complete the following form by Thursday 26 November 2020: data focus group sign-up sheet 

Re-defining ePortfolio

We would like to invite you to take part in a focus group on how best to incorporate student reflective learning, both academic and personal, within your practice.

Driven by a need to engage better with reflective practice, the University’s current ePortfolio system is under review. We are returning to a baseline of what we need to achieve to support students and staff to understand, undertake, provide evidence for, and in some cases assess, reflective practice.  

This gives us the opportunity to share ideas, needs and challenges with reflective practice in order to identify what is needed from a ‘system’ that is relevant to all students. Furthermore, we aim to identify technology that will work in parallel with current University systems to ensure streamlined working processes for staff and students. 

We need your valuable opinions to help shape the University’s ePortfolio review process. If you are able to take part in a focus group, please complete the following short form by Thursday 3 December 2020: ePortfolio focus group sign-up sheet

DateTime
Tuesday 8 December 202010.00 – 11.00
Tuesday 8 December 202015.00 – 16.00
Wednesday 9 December 202010.00 – 11.00
Wednesday 9 December 202015.00 – 16.00
Dates and times of ePortfolio focus groups

If you have any questions about the focus groups, please contact ltds@ncl.ac.uk 

Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence

The Advance HE Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) celebrates collaborative work that has had a demonstrable impact on teaching and learning. 

LTDS support applications to CATE, and work with the National Teaching Fellows/CATE winners in the University to promote their work and teaching excellence. Each institution can nominate one team to each round of the scheme. In 2020 there was success for the E-Learning Unit in the School of Mathematics, Statistics & Physics, who received the Award for promoting the use of technology to support the teaching and learning of mathematics in the School, University and wider community. 

More details about the scheme can be found on the Advance HE website, as well as guidance for participants and institutions for their 2021 scheme.

2021 Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence 

We are pleased to announce the launch of the University process to determine the institutional nominees to the 2021 Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence. 

Application to be an institutional nominee 

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

All higher education providers are eligible to enter one team. Your team’s submission should be sent to LTDS@newcastle.ac.uk by 12 noon on 16th November 2020. 

Advance HE Criteria 

1. Excellence in the team’s collaborative approach: Evidence of excellence in the team’s approach to working collaboratively; commensurate with their context and the opportunities afforded by it. 

This may, for example, be demonstrated by providing evidence of:  

  • having a clear set of aims, objectives and rationale for the team’s approach and how the group constitutes a team and developed as a team; 
  • demonstrating direct engagement of students within or with the team; 
  • illustrating how the team has contributed to wider thematic and sector priorities, for example, assessment and feedback; retention, employability, staff development; students as partners; technology and social media; 
  • working collaboratively with a range of stakeholder groups; 
  • embedding practices across different programmes, disciplines, campuses or institutions; 
  • being flexible and creative in working to address unanticipated situations or events; 
  • measuring the impact or outcomes of collaborative work. 

2. Excellence in the impact of collaborative workingEvidence of the team having a demonstrable impact on teaching and learning beyond their immediate academic or professional area. 

This may, for example, be demonstrated by providing evidence of: 

  • the reach of the team’s work; 
  • the benefit or value derived from working as a team; 
  • the impact of supporting colleagues and/or influencing support for student learning; 
  • the impact on student learning or outcomes; 
  • the impact of any outcomes/outputs of collaborative work. 

How LTDS can help: 

We can provide support and advice on the CATE scheme and the application process. For all queries please contact LTDS@newcastle.ac.uk

Recent updates to ePortfolio

To improve functionality, and in line with staff and student requests, there have been some recent updates to the ePortfolio system.

Graduate Framework

The new Graduate Framework was embedded in ePortfolio for the start of this academic year, and is now the default skill set for taught students. Students can link blog posts (reflections/evidence) to attributes of the Framework. Students can download their information as a PDF, including a summary of number of posts by graduate attribute. The old Graduate Skills Framework is still available for those who have used it previously.

Supervision Groups

Supervision Groups are used to support projects, placements and other activities. Supervisors can communicate with groups of students, whilst students share reflections and updates with just the supervisors in a safe environment for non-collaborative work.

The groups now support multiple supervisors following requests for this. In addition, the interfaces for Supervision Groups and sharing portfolio content have been simplified and made more efficient.

Placement Support

The Placements sub-system for ePortfolio supports access by external supervisors as well as students and staff. It includes rubric-based assessment, custom forms, automated form scheduling, and 3-way file sharing. This went live in 2018/19 for PGCE programmes and additional programmes are using it in 2019/20.

There have been numerous enhancements based on requests from different placement schemes, including additional options for rubric-based assessment, CSV downloads of form data, admin notes, and quick links to create record meetings.

Other Changes

There have been various other enhancements/bug fixes in ePortfolio, including:

Meeting records – now includes a duration (requested for Admin recording of meetings and avoiding overlapping events).

Accessibility – you may notice some changes, including darker colours for buttons in order to meet accessibility colour contrast requirements.

Various changes – to support switching to a new institutional data feed, which is more efficient and sustainable.

If you would like to know more about any of these changes, or would like to know more about utilising new functionality, please contact Sam Flowers in LTDS.  

Advance HE Innovation in Teaching Practice Workshops

During 2019-20, Advance HE will be running a series of one-day Innovation in Teaching Practice Workshops.

With teaching excellence still a major focus of the HE sector, and increasing pressures across institutions to respond to policies such as the subject level TEF in England and challenges such as the mental wellbeing of both staff teams and students, Advance HE’s workshops will provide practical guidance on improving your teaching practices working alongside peers from a range of institutions and disciplines.

Click to book onto an Innovation in Teaching Practice Workshop

As members of Advance HE, staff at Newcastle University are able to receive discounted rates for Advance HE development programmes, conferences and events. Although there isn’t central funding for such events, your school may wish to fund relevant opportunities.  Whether you are near the start of your career, an academic, a member of professional services, a senior leader in an executive team or working in governance, Advance HE have timely and tailored development opportunities for you and your teams.

Find out more about Advance HE programmes and events