Category Archives: Case Studies

STAR CASE STUDY: Feedback Foghorn

Would you like your students to be able to see all of their feedback in one place?

Do you feel like you’re pouring useful advice and feedback into the void?

You need the feedback foghorn!

Lindsey Ferrie

Lindsey Ferrie in Biomedical Sciences has been piloting the scheme in Biomedical Sciences which allows students to use e-portfolio software to compile, track and store their feedback across their course.

The system allows them to track their academic progress across software such as Grademark, Turnitin and PeerWise in order to analyse areas of strength and weakness and to see clearly  their academic progress. Continue reading STAR CASE STUDY: Feedback Foghorn

Developing Academic and Employability Skills Case Study

Reflective blogging with the e-portfolio and enabling students to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’!
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What did you do?

Use of the e-portfolio to underpin BUS1005 (Developing Academic and Employability Skills) to create reflective learning ‘blogging’ opportunities for first year students to make connections between their skills and skills required for current/future learning and employability.

Who is involved?

Fiona Thompson (Module leader/tutor of BUS1005 Developing Academic and Employability Skills to first year BSc Marketing students) supported by Graeme Boxwell.
Reflective learning was introduced at the start of the module and together with a computer session led by Graeme Boxwell the students were introduced to the e-portfolio system and encouraged to start using the eportfolio to blog about their learning journey.

How did you do it?

Each lecture – had a ‘blog about this’ element as well as a skills audit or diagnostic each week on team building, time management, learning style etc. for students to blog about. This continual reminder helped re-inforce the importance of blogging. The module tutor added comments to student blogs which helped to motivate students to contribute and also kept records of who had/hadn’t blogged and followed up by email/class discussion encouraging students to blog. A prize of free books was offered by the DPD for the most blogs for a male and female student which also reinforced the importance of eportfolio and reflective blogs. The reflective blogs were also part of the mark for the first and second semester assignments as they helped to provide the stepping stones through the students learning journey and added deeper context to the reflective essays that was part of the assessment.

Why did you do it?

Reflective practice and developing the ability to self judge yourself and your progress is an important and sometimes overlooked academic skill. Especially with first year students we need to help them ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ as early as possible so they can engage at all levels and also make the successful transition from being spoon fed at Sixth form/College into becoming an independent and effective learner at university. Unfortunately, the rush to the tape of each assessment hand in means students are on a continual roll and sometimes do not take the time out to think about how they could improve their evaluative or written skills in the future. The reflective blogs with the e-portfolio enables them to ‘take some time out’ to think about how they could improve their skills in the future so they break out of the cycle and can improve their written or critical evaluation skills which also attract the higher marks.

Does it work?

Feedback from student blogs, anecdotal feedback and written evidence from reflective essays all show that students have benefited from reflective learning/use of the e-portfolio blog. It has enabled them to talk openly and share things with the tutor which they may not put into an email or talk to the tutor about. This has enabled them to feel supported in their learning and think about how they can improve their academic skills as well as what they need to do now to reduce their ‘skills gap’ for future employment.
Reflective blogging with the e-portfolio and enabling students to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’!

Case Study: PDP and Reflective Learning on The Year Abroad

Dr Franck Michel, Lecturer in the School of Modern Languages provided this case study that details their use of ePortfolio as a reflective tool with the ‘Year Abroad ‘. You can see this case study below.

Please access the QuILT website to access more University case studies.
http://teaching.ncl.ac.uk/casestudies/

What did you do? I introduced the ePortfolio as a tool of personal development planning and reflective learning for SML students on their Year Abroad. The ePortfolio was also used to enhance communication and exchange between PTs and their tutees abroad.
Who is involved? QuiLT and the ePortfolio development team: Lydia Wysocki first helped me define the project. Helen Lowther then helped me develop it and Simon Cotterill supervised all the technical changes during the pilot phase. In the SML, I started with a team of 8 stage 3 students who volunteered to test the ePortfolio during their YA. Following this pilot study, I was awarded an Innovation grant from ULTSEC in order to develop the project on a school-wide scale. The pilot phase took place between 2011-12 and the full project has been running since September 2012. All SML UG PTs and Stage 3 students are now using the ePortfolio as a result of this project.
How do you do it? • I started a pilot study in 2011-12 with 8 volunteer stage 3 students who agreed to use the ePortfolio during their Year Abroad. I acted as their PT and communicated with them also via the ePortfolio
• Once I was awarded the UTLSEC grant, I hired two of my ‘pilot’ students to create short instructional/promotional videos aimed at stage 2 SML students. The videos were designed to explain to future students abroad what the ePortfolio was and what benefits they could gain from using it during their Year Abroad.
• With the help of Helen Lowther and Simon Cotterril, I then conducted a series of training meetings with SML staff to promote the ePortfolio and explain to colleagues how we planned to use it with students abroad.
• SML Stage 2 students were also trained on how to use the ePortfolio
• Over the course of AY 2012-13, I monitored the students’ use of the ePortfolio and collected staff and student feedback.
Why do you do it? I did it for various reasons:
• To enhance the quality of the students’ PDP whilst abroad. Evidence shows that SML students gain many professional and transferrable skills during the YA, but they are often not fully aware of the advantages this gives them in terms of employability. The aim of the ePortfolio was to give students abroad the opportunity to record the skills (professional, academic or personal) they acquired whilst abroad and reflect about the increased intercultural awareness they experienced during their period of residence abroad.
• To enhance the way Personal Tutors communicate with their tutees whilst they are abroad. The previous support and monitoring system was a little lifeless and bureaucratic. With the ePortfolio, the aim was to make interactions between PTs and tutees a bit more spontaneous, interactive and beneficial to the students’ development. The presence of a ‘community’ on the eportfolio also allows students to communicate with each other and share experiences, something they were not able to before.
Does it work? It’s still a bit early to tell but what I can say for now is that feedback –both from students and staff– has been really positive and there is a clear consensus that the new support system is much more convivial and interactive than the previous one. Evidence of peer support and genuine reflective practice could also be observed, although a more thorough study will be required to assess the real impact of this project on the students’ Personal Development process.

Case Study: Personal Tutoring in Dental Sciences

 

James Field, Lecturer in Restorative Dentistry/Honorary StR in Prosthodontics, recently provided a case study that detailed the School of Dental Science’s use of ePortfolio to support personal tutoring. You can see this case study below.

Please access the QuILT website to access more University case studies.
http://teaching.ncl.ac.uk/casestudies/

What did you do? The school worked with MSED to develop an electronic portfolio that captures and records both clinical activity, and personal reflections for BDS students. The personal reflections are able to be tagged with domains, facilitating the construction of a personal development plan which forms the basis for each tutor meeting. Student concerns can be logged against individuals on the system by members of staff, and followed up with their personal tutor.
Who is involved? The eportfolio (iDentity) is used by all BDS students and staff
How do you do it? The portfolio is available online – we provide basic training for new staff. Students are encouraged to enter reflective logs into the system, guided by their clinical teachers or academic lecturers. Tutor meetings occur twice a year as a minimum, and a template online allows students to draw on reflections across the term in order to construct a SWOT analysis and personal development plan. Tutors can work through this and use it as a basis for discussion. It also allows tutors to set a number of action points or goals, with time-related boundaries that the students can sign off once completed.
Why do you do it? The system provides an opportunity for the students to engage with reflective practise, which forms an important part of their professional development. Once captured, it also allows them to draw on this information across the whole term to form a summary of their experiences. The system also facilitates the tutor meeting, making the content specific to that individual student and guiding the tutor towards any specific areas of concern.
Does it work? The system works very well, and our students are very supportive of it. It takes a while to engage effectively with reflective practise in the early clinical stages, but we now provide a fairly comprehensive introduction to reflection in Stage 2 which the students can build on throughout the remaining years.