New to NU Reflect: structured reflective templates

Example of Templates area of NU Reflect

You told us that reflective templates would help you to make more of students’ learning. Structured reflective templates give students prompts to enable them to record their learning and add tags that will help look back and build up a portfolio of learning to demonstrate competencies, knowledge and skills that secure that next step.

Following demand from colleagues and students, and a successful pilot in academic year 2021/22, structured reflective templates will be available within NU Reflect from the 1st August 2022. The Templates area will allow you to create bespoke reflective templates or choose from predefined templates, to support structured student reflection within your programme/module contexts. 

Each template will offer guidance text to support students to write qualitative, impactful reflections in different context, e.g., for personal development, against course specific competencies, etc., providing a meaningful way to engage with reflection, leading to a developed understanding of the reflective process and more autonomy to engage with it throughout the learning journey. 

More information on the Templates area of NU Reflect is available on the Learning and Teaching @ Newcastle website. Case studies from pilot participants highlighting the positive impact the templates had on teaching and learning will be available soon.

If you would like to find out more about how you can implement reflective practice within your programmes/modules, please contact LTDS@newcastle.ac.uk  

Learning Analytics system usability testing

Are you interested in using student engagement data to support the student learning journey?

The University has entered a tender process to acquire a Learning Analytics system that informs and supports students’ attainment, engagement, and wellbeing journeys in one centralised interface, putting students at the heart of decision-making about their ongoing development.

We are looking for volunteers to take part in usability testing as part of the system procurement process. Testing will take place between 1st August to 12th August 2022, and you can complete the testing tasks at any time over this period.

If you are interested and have capacity to participate, your contribution will be a key part of the evaluation stage of the tender process and will have a direct impact on which Learning Analytics system the University introduces from next academic year.   

Usability testing is open to all University colleagues. To participate you need to commit to test all systems that meet the University’s mandatory requirements, which we estimate may be between 2 and 4 systems, to ensure that the evaluation process is fair. We will be able to confirm the number of systems being tested the week before testing begins.   

Full instructions will be provided for each testing task, and you can complete the tasks at any time that suits your schedule over the usability testing period.

To register your interest please complete this form by Wednesday 27th July 2022.  Please contact LTDS@newcastle.ac.uk with any queries. 

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

NU Reflect: engaging with reflective practice

ePortfolio is being redeveloped and relaunched as NU Reflect for September 2021 to help support personal, professional, and academic reflection in both modular and non-modular contexts. For improved functionality and ease of use, the system will be split into two landing pages in Canvas:

The NU Reflect landing page will provide the opportunity to record and share reflections, recognise and categorise personal skills being developed, e.g., against the Graduate Framework, and to participate in Groups and collaborate with other students in Communities.

The Personal Tutoring and Support landing page will provide 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.

The benefits of reflective practice

Incorporating reflection in programmes and modules provides an effective way to support students to understand their own learning processes, and to develop their awareness of their own skills and abilities and evidence these, applying theoretical knowledge to real experiences and supporting employability. Guidance and case studies on how colleagues at the University have incorporated reflective practice are available.

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

Coming soon: NU Reflect

Man working on laptop

Driven by a need to engage better with reflective practice, a strategic review of the University’s current ePortfolio system has taken place. In line with the outcomes of the review, and feedback from colleagues and students, the system will be redeveloped and relaunched as NU Reflect for September 2021.

NU Reflect will be relevant to all students and provide the tools to support personal, professional, and academic reflection in both modular and non-modular contexts, as well as providing opportunities for students to discuss their personal development.

Incorporating reflection in programmes and modules provides an effective way to support students to understand their own learning processes, and to develop their awareness of their own skills and abilities and evidence these, applying theoretical knowledge to real experiences and supporting employability.

NU Reflect will also support Personal Tutoring as colleagues can use the system to create and record meetings with any student. Meetings can take place in a variety of contexts, such as Personal Tutor meetings or group meetings for student projects. It will also offer access to individual records of all tutees including their UCAS Personal Statements, assessment marks through NESS, timetable, and student information from SAP.

Guidance and case studies on the use of reflective practice are available, and further information about NU Reflect will follow soon.

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

Eportfolio redevelopment workshops

The ePortfolio system is being redeveloped and relaunched for academic year 2021/22 and we would like your feedback. We aim to develop a system that emphasises reflection and supports students to capture and develop their learning activities whilst at Newcastle University, supporting employability in the future.

After consultation with colleagues and students, prototype designs have been created to show how the key tools within ePortfolio will appear in Canvas.

The ePortfolio team will be holding 30-minute workshops for colleagues on Thursday 20 May to explore the prototype designs and to answer any other questions. To sign up, please declare your interest in this sign-up sheet.

Workshop times:

  • 09:00 – 09:30
  • 09:30 – 10:00
  • 12:00 – 12:30
  • 12:30 – 13:00
  • 16:00 – 16:30
  • 16:30 – 17:00

Your feedback is valuable in helping us to redevelop the system to support student reflection and enhance skills development.

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

Learning analytics resources

The University is currently exploring the use of learning analytics to support students’ learning. To find out more about our approach to analytics and how you can use analytics to enhance the student experience, visit the learning analytics pages on the Digital Learning website. 

Here you will be able to find out more about the benefits of using analytics in your programmes, how you can use the analytics tools available to you, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Canvas New Analytics

As part of the learning analytics available to colleagues, Canvas New Analytics is an interactive tool that offers insights into students’ performance and engagement within courses in Canvas. The Canvas New Analytics pages on the Digital Learning website have been updated to include guidance on using New Analytics in your courses, as well as answers to frequently asked questions, and possible scenarios where analytics can be used to support student engagement and performance. 

Canvas New Analytics workshop

An Introduction to Canvas New Analytics workshop will take place on 27 May 2021 at 13:00. The workshop is available to all colleagues who would like to know more about using the New Analytics tool within Canvas courses. 

The workshop will provide an introduction to the tool, and explore how you can use it to measure student participation and engagement with course materials.

If you would like to know more about learning analytics at the University, please contact ltds@newcastle.ac.uk

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.