Students evaluate using Inspera for 21/22 Digital Exams

Inspera Assessment, the University’s system for centrally supported digital exams, launched for the 21/22 academic year. A key part of understanding how we better use digital exams is to consider ways to improve the student experience of taking a digital exam. Following the launch, the Learning and Teaching Development Service (LTDS) asked for student feedback from those who took a digital exam in 21/22.

142 students submitted their feedback.

Here are our findings:

65% of students were somewhat or very satisfied with their overall experience of taking their exam using Inspera.

A pie chart titled ‘How satisfied are you with the experience of taking your exam(s) using Inspera?’ depicts that students reflected their experience(s) as:
1. Very dissatisfied 11%.
2. Somewhat dissatisfied 14%.
3. Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied 10%.
4. Somewhat satisfied 30%.  
5. Very satisfied 35%.
Results of the Inspera Student Evaluation

How easy is Inspera to use?

81% of students found starting their Inspera exam somewhat or very easy.

80% of students found handing in/submitting their Inspera exam somewhat or very easy.

When asked to compare a written exam paper and an Inspera paper which included written questions where students could type their answers, 63% of students stated they found it somewhat or much better using Inspera.

Is Inspera better for Take Home or on Campus PC cluster exams?

85% of students were somewhat or very satisfied with their overall experience of using Inspera for their take home exam(s).

73% of students were somewhat or very satisfied with their overall experience of using Inspera for their PC Cluster exam(s).

Thoughts for the future

Inspera seems to be a hit with students overall; the experience of using it is largely positive, with Inspera Take Home papers gaining the highest satisfaction scores. PC Cluster Inspera exam satisfaction scores showed the majority of students were satisfied with their overall experience. Feedback clearly indicated many students felt re-editing written answers works well in Inspera (and is better than trying to edit paper based written exams).

The most common concern raised was around plagiarism. LTDS is keen to work with colleagues to alleviate student concerns and ensure that the provision is developed and supported going forward.

LTDS opened its provision for digital exams to all modules, and the number of planned digital exams for 22/23 has increased.

To better support students before their exam, the LTDS recommend students practise with Inspera. Our survey showed 60% of students tried at least one demo before their main exam; we’d like to get that figure up! Practice exams can help with learning to use the tool and they are accessible via Canvas.

Try it out:

Student Inspera Demo Course

University Education Development Fund

Group of students chatting

The University Education Development Fund provides grants of up to £10,000 to support the development of new approaches to learning and teaching across Newcastle University.

Two strands of funding are available: 

  • Up to £2,500 for projects focused within an individual academic unit through the Responsive strand. 
  • Up to £10,000 for projects with collaboration across academic units through the Strategic strand. 

Chaired by the PVC Education, the fund offers a fantastic opportunity to propose and deliver projects with real benefit to student education. Applications should further the aims and key themes of the Education Strategy.

Application deadlines for 2022-23:

  • Friday 5 May 2023

Full information and guidance notes available online.  For queries please contact educationdevfund@newcastle.ac.uk.  

2023 National Teaching Fellowship and Collaborative Awards for Teaching Excellence Scheme: Internal application process now open

We are pleased to announce the launch of the University process to determine our nominees for the 2023 National Teaching Fellowship (NTF) and Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) Scheme.

​The NTF Scheme is a highly prestigious award celebrating excellent practice and outstanding achievement in learning and teaching in higher education. The awards support professional development in learning and teaching and provide a national focus for institutional teaching and learning excellence schemes. The CATE awards celebrate collaborative work that has had a demonstrable impact on teaching and learning.

In previous years, Newcastle University has had 16 NTFs awarded and three CATE award winning teams. Read more from previous year’s National Teaching Fellows and CATE award winners.

Nominations are welcomed from all members of staff who feel their/their team’s work has a major, positive impact on student teaching and learning. Staff and teams who would like to be considered need to submit a maximum of 1000 words which address the following criteria:

  • Your personal practice/Your team’s practice and why this should be recognised as outstanding
  • Your/your team’s impact on colleagues, both internally and externally
  • Your reflection on the above.

Nominations should be sent electronically to ltds@ncl.ac.uk by 12pm on Friday 11 November 2022.

Find out more
Full information is available on the Learning and Teaching @ Newcastle website. You can also sign up to a webinar for more information and the opportunity to ask questions about the scheme. For any questions, please get in touch with ltds@newcastle.ac.uk.

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. 

Learning and Teaching Conference: Review

Education for All: Learning Together

The Newcastle University Learning and Teaching Conference took place on March 31. This year’s theme was all about learning together, sharing effective practice, and exploring an education for all.

The event was opened by Professor Tom Ward, PVC Education, and was followed by a keynote presentation from Professor Paul Ashwin, Professor of Higher Education and Head of Department for Educational Research at Lancaster University.

As a result of the fantastic response to our call for submissions we ran several parallel sessions throughout the day, including over 40 workshops, lightning talks and presentations. Video recordings of the event presentations are now available to view via ReCap.

Conference poster and video winners
A massive congratulations to Ashley Reynolds and Eleanor Gordon who won our video competition with their demonstration of how animations can be used to enhance teaching and learning, and to Anna Reid and Vicky Gilbert who won our poster competition with Learning dogs; a winning ‘pawtnership’.

Thanks also to everyone who entered and voted for our winners. All posters are still available to view and video submissions are available in a ReCap playlist.

Conference feedback needed
If you attended the conference, or if you registered but were unable to attend, we would greatly appreciate your thoughts and feedback. This will help us improve our Learning and Teaching Conferences in the future.

EAMS: 13 – 24 June, 2022

The School of Mathematics, Statistics & Physics will host the fifth international conference on E-Assessment in Mathematical Sciences (EAMS). The conference aims to bring together researchers and practitioners with an interest in e-assessment for mathematics and the sciences. It will consist of a mix of presentations of new techniques and pedagogic research, as well as workshops where you can get hands-on with leading e-assessment software including our own Numbas.

EAMS 2022 is an entirely online conference with a mix of live sessions and web-based activities, and plenty of opportunity for discussion and collaboration. Before the conference starts there will be a programme of optional training workshops available for participants to get hands-on with state-of-the-art maths e-assessment software.

Live talks will take place over Zoom at 9am and 4pm BST (UTC +1) each weekday, with recordings available later. The online format and longer timescale allow participants to engage more deeply with the material presented.

The call for talk and workshop proposals is currently open. If you have some research or an innovative technique related to mathematical e-assessment that you would like to present, then please submit an abstract at eams.ncl.ac.uk/call-for-speakers by 13th May. We’re actively seeking to increase the diversity of our attendees and speakers, and particularly encourage speakers from groups under-represented in previous editions of EAMS to submit proposals.

To attend the conference please register for free at eams.ncl.ac.uk/register.

Learning Communities Toolkit

Students around a table

Working alongside student interns, Newcastle University HaSS colleagues have developed a new Learning Communities toolkit – a range of accessible and reusable ice-breaker and community-building resources. Available via Canvas Commons, this toolkit is ideal for educators looking for ways to encourage and facilitate effective learning communities within their module groups.

Why is a learning community needed?
Developing a learning community amongst a group of students can be hugely beneficial. Not only does it provide students with the opportunity to come together in a safe place to share opinions and ask questions, but it also allows them to feel a sense of belonging and connection with other students (this is particularly useful where minority groups are concerned). Learning communities also provide academic benefits: encouraging attendance at lectures, active engagement, and group collaboration. This toolkit provides a range of ideas to get you started and support you along the way in the development of your learning community.

How to use this toolkit
We’ve published our Learning Communities toolkit on Canvas Commons to make it easy to find, download and reuse in your own courses. To help you find activities quickly, we have organised them into three separate categories: Icebreakers, Building Community Activities, and Maintaining Community Activities.

You can preview and download the toolkit here:

https://lor.instructure.com/resources/bb4c049eeff34e15b2091c6fd4755651?shared

Outstanding Contribution to Feedback

Group of students

Dr Michael Waugh from the School or Arts and Cultures recently won Outstanding Contribution to Feedback at The Education Awards run by Newcastle University Students’ Union. Michael shares his approach below.

When I was contacted about producing a piece for the Learning and Teaching @ Newcastle University Blog, a result of my two recent TEAs for Outstanding Contribution to Feedback, I was quite apprehensive. Reading through previous posts and case studies on the topic, I found a lot of emphasis on strategy, curricular design, formalised processes – none of which I felt reflected my own practice. I wouldn’t say I do anything particularly innovative or have an especially unique approach to providing feedback, and I was surprised (not to mention incredibly honoured) to be awarded in such a category.

Instead, I have always operated in a more personable and individualised manner, a recurring theme in students’ nomination comments for my TEAs. I never feel like I’m doing anything out of the ordinary; I just try to take the time to get to know my students, even on big modules and programmes, making it easier to respond to the specific needs of each person I teach. Universities have a tendency to split the academic and pastoral aspects of student life too much, with students being allocated to personal tutors that they might never meet in a lecture or seminar room and learning from lecturers that refuse or neglect to discuss any issues that don’t pertain to their module and its assessments.

Continue reading “Outstanding Contribution to Feedback”

Canvas & Turnitin Assignments: Key Issues

LTDS have offered each School the opportunity to receive a presentation ahead of the new academic year highlighting the key issues that should be considered when deciding how to implement coursework submission and marking procedures.​

For Schools and subject areas who are not able to take up this offer, or as a refresher for those who have been able to, a recording of the presentation and the presentation slides are now available.

​The presentation includes issues that have occurred across the last academic year that have caused extra workload for colleagues and impacted the student experience​, including:

Assignment Types

Canvas or Turnitin Assignment?

Using Similarity Checking 

Online assignment submission principles

Assessment and Feedback Procedure​

Avoiding common issues

Assignment, online marking and feedback guides

Student assignment submission guidance (ASK Website)

​Delegated Marking​

Canvas Delegated Marking

Turnitin delegated marking

Moderated Marking​

Moderated grading and double blind marking

Where to find help

Canvas orientation

All L&T Workshops and webinars

To discuss any of the issues raised further, or if are any issues that we have not captured, please contact LTDS@ncl.ac.uk