Category Archives: ePortfolio

New Digital Learning Website

We are excited to announce the launch of a new Digital Learning website go.ncl.ac.uk/digitallearning

This new site brings together the digital learning activities taking place across the University, providing you with information, step by step guides and ideas to help you to get the most out of digital technologies for learning, teaching and assessment.  

Visit the site to find out about: 

Canvas– the University’s exciting new Virtual Learning Environment replacing Blackboard from 1st August 2020. Staff and students can find project updates, information about the support available, answers to FAQs and upcoming events. 

TEL Services, lots of information about our centrally supported technologies and systems, digital exams and access to TEL guides providing you with step by step instructions. 

Blended Learning, if you want to explore online educational materials and collaborative learning opportunities with traditional face-to-face delivery, visit these pages for inspiration and support. 

We will be continuing to update the site with resources so please let us know if there is anything else you would like to see that can support you in your role. Get in touch at LTDS@ncl.ac.uk

Prestigious teaching award for University team

The E-Learning Unit in the School of Mathematics, Statistics & Physics  received the national Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE), which recognises collaborative work that has had a demonstrable impact on teaching and learning. 

The successful team is made up of Dr Chris Graham, Christian Lawson-Perfect and Dr George Stagg.  

Chris, Director of E-Learning, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics said: 

 “We are absolutely delighted to receive the Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence, recognising our E-Learning Unit’s contribution to our School, institution and wider community, in enhancing the teaching and learning of mathematics, with initiatives such as the Numbas e-assessment software.  

“The award celebrates our collaborative approach to establishing Numbas as a tool used here at Newcastle by over 3,000 students each year in Schools across all three faculties, and at our Malaysia and London campuses. And recognises our role worldwide, with several key international partnerships, a role in high profile national projects in primary and secondary education, and over 2,000 teachers worldwide using our assessment software.  

Continue reading Prestigious teaching award for University team

Learning Analytics Pilot

New Analytics in Canvas is an interactive tool that helps you and your students better track performance and activity within individual courses. It can be accessed in the menu of any Canvas course and allows you to: 

  • Identify which students have viewed pages and resources  
  • Identify which students have participated in the course 
  • Compare grades across assignments by cohort or individual students 
  • Contact students, or groups of students, based on their interactions 

As part of the University’s Task and Finish group on learning analytics we will be running a pilot looking to gather some Newcastle specific information and feedback on the use of the tool. Our aim is to identify the functionalities within New Analytics that Newcastle colleagues find to be most useful in improving student attainment and engagement so that we can make recommendations to the University about how best to implement this system, or others, University-wide. 

As part of a pilot, all we would ask for would be a summary of what you did and how you measured any benefit for your students in terms of attainment or engagement. We appreciate how busy everyone is at the moment so are keen to make sure that taking part requires minimal extra work (setting up the New Analytics within your module assessments or workflow is quite intuitive) and fits in with your already established plans for online delivery in 20/21. 

If you would be interested in taking part, please contact LTDS@newcastle.ac.uk   

If you would like to know more about New Analytics in Canvas, please visit What is New Analytics? 

Success at the International e-Assessment awards

The Newcastle University Digital Exams Service has won the Best use of Summative Assessment Award at the International e-Assessment Awards 2020
Delivering real improvements 

The winners were announced at an online awards ceremony on the 16 June. Finalists had been selected from a range of education sectors and the submissions included a number of exciting and creative projects and solutions. 

When announcing the award for the Best Use of Summative Assessment, the independent panel of judges praised the Digital Exams Service for demonstrating a high level of success, delivering at real scale and meeting a defined need. They also commented that the work on supporting accessibility was particularly noteworthy. 

Excellence and innovation 

Professor Suzanne Cholerton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Education said: 

‘’I am extremely pleased that the hard work and dedication of colleagues has been recognised with this international award which represents a commitment to excellence, innovation and collaboration across the University.  


The Digital Exams Service has been successful in diversifying online exams with the introduction of digital written exams and a bring your own device approach.  This has enabled more authentic assessment and has enhanced the accessibility of exams for our students.’’ 

Collaboration 

The Digital Exams Service is founded on collaboration between academic and professional services colleagues in academic units across the institution, together with the Learning and Teaching Development Service, NUIT, and Exams and Awards Office. 

The e-Assessment awards 

The e-Assessment Awards programme holds a unique position, as it encompasses all sectors of education: from schools, through further and higher education to workplace training and professional exams. The Awards programme was launched in October 2016 to highlight and celebrate the outstanding and positive contributions that technology makes to all forms of assessment, and has gone on to showcase the best practice, research and innovation in the sector. Find out more about the awards and criteria on the e-Assessment Awards website. 

Education Continuity

A new resource has been created to support colleagues in the move from campus teaching to alternatives in light of the changes to practices due to COVID-19.  

The Education Continuity pages of the Digital Learning website provide information, guidance and user guides for colleagues.  

The information provided currently covers the key initial considerations for staff making changes to their modules and programmes, and guidance on communicationlecturesseminars and accessibility

The resources will continue to evolve and be added to substantially, so please check back regularly.   

There is support for remote teaching delivery including a number of daily webinars and a twice daily online drop-in session to get real time help with delivering teaching remotely. These currently run until Friday 3 April. 

Newcastle Educational Practice Scheme (NEPS)

By Chris Whiting, Academic Practice Team

The University’s scheme to support staff in gaining recognition for their teaching is changing. CASAP (Certificate in Advanced Studies of Academic Practice) is being replaced by the Newcastle Educational Practice Scheme (NEPS) as of January 2020. NEPS is the supported scheme for staff involved with teaching and supporting student learning but are new to teaching and learning in higher education.

NEPS has been conceived as a structured approach to supporting staff new to teaching to gain Fellowship of Advance HE (the external recognition of teaching in HE). NEPS is a structured yet flexible scheme that supports staff develop the knowledge and skills they need to enhance their teaching and be able to make a successful claim for Fellowship.  

The Experiential Route remains an option for those with experience of teaching and learning in higher education. And PGRs Who Teach are now supported through Evidencing Learning and Teaching Skills (ELTS) scheme.

Find out more information on NEPS or apply on the LTDS website.

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

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.  

Game-Enhanced Learning

By Cameron Hubbard, PGT student, School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Students don’t like being lectured. You can see it within the first 20 minutes of a lecture: eyes go dark, phones come out, their attention fades away. Lecturers are constantly trying to increase student engagement but trying to do this via traditional “talk and chalk” methods is flawed. In addition, some content just doesn’t lend itself well to a lecture-based format – especially things like lab and field skills. Thus, novel methods of presenting content are required that capture students’ attention whilst also having an educational benefit. An emerging pedagogical technique is teaching through games, which has been the focus of my internship in the Game-Enhanced Learning (GEL) project.

NU GEL logo

Continue reading Game-Enhanced Learning

Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence Awards 2019

Congratulations to this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence Award winners who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to enhancing our students’ educational experience.

The winning submissions evidenced impact and influence in a number of areas including, approaches to assessment, student representation, addressing gender imbalance in subject areas, student retention and success at a national and international level.

All submissions were considered by a panel chaired by Professor Suzanne Cholerton,  Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Education. The high quality of the submissions was noted by the panel.

Professor Cholerton said, “The Vice-Chancellors Education Excellence Award is an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding work from individuals and teams enhancing our student educational experience. Five awards have been made this year out of a very competitive field of nominations. The panel were extremely impressed with the scale of impact, breadth of activity, and the creative approaches to education and educational support taken by all the awardees. ”

2019 Award Winners

Individual Awards

Dr Phil Ansell, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics

Dr Kirsten MacLeod, School of English Language, Literature and Linguistics

Dr Luisa Wakeling, School of Dental Sciences

Team Awards

E-Learning Unit, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics

Specialist Learning Team, Student Health and Wellbeing Service

Find out more about each of the award winners and what the award means to them below.

Dr Phil Ansell, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics

Dr Phil Ansell

‘I am really pleased to receive the Vice Chancellor’s Education Excellence Award in recognition of the impact that some of my work has had on learning and teaching at Newcastle University. It is of particular pride that projects spanning the entire student journey, from outreach and recruitment to enhancing careers and employability were highlighted as exemplars of good practice by the panel. I look forward to working with students and staff in the future to ensure that we continue to deliver an outstanding and inclusive educational experience for all.’

Dr Kirsten MacLeod, School of English  Literature, Language and LinguisticsDr Kirsten MacLeaod

‘It is an honour to receive the Vice Chancellor’s Education Excellence Award in recognition of my aim to foster and promote innovative teaching and assessment practices. I am indebted to and inspired by many creative, committed, and risk-taking colleagues in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, and grateful for the wonderful support offered by a Faculty and University so committed to positive change.’

Dr Luisa Wakeling, School of Dental Sciences

Dr Luisa Wakeling

‘Enhancing relevance and value in all activities that students undertake is of great importance to help them flourish beyond the University and achieve their professional goals. I have the privilege to work with amazing students who engage with the University, beyond their curriculum, in representing and enhancing the experience of their peers. The skills they develop through Academic Student Representation will be highly relevant in any workplace. I am thrilled to receive this distinguished award that recognises my work in supporting our students with opportunities to acknowledge and evidence their fantastic extracurricular work for their future.’

E-Learning Unit, School of Mathematics, Statistics and PhysicseLearning unit

‘We are absolutely delighted to receive the Vice Chancellor’s Education Excellence Award, in recognition of our team’s contribution to supporting student learning in the School of Mathematics, Statistics & Physics and beyond. A solid foundation in mathematics is vital to so many subjects areas, and this award will help us in continuing to build new relationships with colleagues across the University who are involved in the learning, teaching and assessment of mathematical subjects.’

Specialist Learning Team, Student Health and Wellbeing Service

Specialist Learning Team

‘It is recognition of the significant support we provide to underpin the learning experience for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders/Aspergers, and confirms our approach to offer holistic programmes of support fits with University’s vision to provide all students with an inclusive student experience.’

All winners will receive their awards at a congregations ceremony in July and will also be recognised at a University Celebrating Success event. The will also receive funding to support future educational activities.

Next year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence Awards will open in February 2020 and full details about the application process will be published on the LTDS website.

If you have any questions about the award, please contact LTDS@ncl.ac.uk