Category Archives: News

Examining Different Learners’ Development of Critical Learning Skills: University Education Development Fund

Dr Lana Liu, Newcastle University Business School and Dr Mei Lin, School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences.

Critical thinking is one of the core skills for academic success but can be one of the biggest challenges for students studying one-year taught masters programmes. 

Dr Lana Liu, Newcastle University Business School and Dr Mei Lin, School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences set out to explore how critical thinking can be enhanced in their most recent project, funded by the University Education Development Fund: 

Examining Different Learners’ Development of Critical Learning Skills in Postgraduate Taught Programmes: A Comparative Study in MSc AccountingFinance and Strategic Investment and in MA Applied Linguistics and TESOL 

This collaborative project is well underway with surveys and first round of interviews with postgraduate taught students nearly completed and evaluation of the transcripts about to begin. We caught up with Lana and Mei to find out more: 

What motivated you to begin your project? 

We teach on Masters courses in quite different subject areas. Over the years we both identified common challenges in terms of lack of critical thinking our students were demonstrating when they started their course.  This may arise from our expectation, as we were assuming a high level of critical thinking skills because of our set entry criteria to masters programmes. However it became clear that not all students were working at the same level. This was evident from in class discussions, the questions students were asking and in some cases we directly asked students about their understanding of critical thinking at both the start and end of their course.  This has led both of us to investigate underlying issues.  

Continue reading Examining Different Learners’ Development of Critical Learning Skills: University Education Development Fund

Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence Awards 2020

We are pleased to announce that the Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence Awards 2020 are now open for submissions.  The closing date is the 15  April 2020.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Education Excellence awards aim to raise the status of teaching and learning at Newcastle University by rewarding those individuals and teams who make a marked impact on enhancing our student educational experience.

The Award is open to all members of staff, at Newcastle, NUIS, NUMed and NUL, whose work enhances the student educational experience. In addition, applications are welcome from staff of associated employers with direct and substantive involvement in the delivery of the student experience at Newcastle, for example, staff of INTO Newcastle University. Groups of colleagues who work closely together are invited to apply for the team award.

The awards fall into the following 2 categories:

Category 1: Individual award

  • Up to 4 awards for individual members of staff (academic or professional services staff) whose contribution to education at Newcastle is exceptional.

Category 2: Team award

  • Up to 1 award for teams of staff (either academic or professional services staff, or teams consisting of both) whose contribution to education at Newcastle is exceptional.

For further information on the award, including the application process, please view the Appendix 1: Guidance notes, or visit the VC’s Education Excellence Award section of the LTDS website.

You can  find out more about last year’s winners who demonstrated an exceptional commitment to enhancing our students’ educational experience in this blog post.

If you have any questions about the awards or need any further information please contact ltds@ncl.ac.uk

Advance HE: Good Practice Grants

The Advance HE Good Practice Grants are now open for applications. These grants will give Advance HE members an opportunity to develop and share innovative practice.

Newcastle University is an Advance HE member so all Newcastle University staff would be eligible to apply.

There are two funding strands:

  • Up to £1000 for ‘What Works’ case studies
  • Up to £4000 for solution-based proposals

Projects that use creative approaches and mediums such as film, animation, and infographic-rich reports are particularly welcomed.

Advance HE are also particularly interested in:

  • Good practice in inclusive leadership: What works?
  • Fostering a sense of belonging for staff and students: What works?
  • Successful transitions: What works for different student groups?

Application deadline is the 7 February 2020 and you can find full information on the Advance HE website.

Guest blog: EXPLORING the islands and marine life of the Hebrides through sound

David De La Haye, Music Technician, School of Arts and Cultures

‘Silurian’ is the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust’s research vessel and for ten days in September I joined the crew on a voyage around the Inner and Outer Hebrides. A citizen science project that was established in 2002, the trust has collected one of the largest visual and acoustic datasets of cetacean activity in the region. 

Awake to the tide crashing on the shores of an uninhabited island, the sound of snapping shrimp beneath the waters in a secluded bay. Listen to the amplified strains and groans of the vessel in swell before drifting asleep to the eerie howls of grey seals. Perhaps register the echolocation of Risso’s dolphins or the distant pulse of minke whales. The seas are awash with sounds, revealed through acoustic technologies. As we begin to explore these rich soundscapes we start to understand the impact of other anthropogenic noise, persistent throughout.

The NUTELA fund afforded me time for real-life creative practice, developing the tools needed to assist students who are beginning to embrace the growing trend towards field-recording. Realising sonic opportunity in the everyday, understanding which technologies are best suited to given tasks and advising on appropriate methods of sound diffusion within the studio environment are topics covered within my demonstrator role; this award provided invaluable experience and insight. The work-in-progress was performed as a multi-channel piece at the ‘LIVE in the Kings Hall’ series alongside other practitioners in ICMuS.

The voyage included incredible audio-finds! Recordings of unusual animal behaviour captured onboard Silurian were confirmed on Twitter and the project has already captured the imagination of the Institute of Creative Arts Practice (NICAP) who recently awarded me a ‘Pioneer Award’. This will be used to conduct an experimental research project that intercepts the acoustic data collected by HWDT and marine acoustic systems developed in SAgE, inviting listeners to imagine an oceanic perspective through the generation of sound installations, crossing boundaries between Marine Science, Bioacoustics, Electronic Engineering and Digital Arts.

Student Feedback

“Given my major project’s use of recorded sound, I thought it would be important to get some advice in order to learn more about technology and production techniques. The project focused around the Hebridean islands set in motion ideas for my project so i thought it would good to speak with David De La Haye for further development of my own work.”

David was awarded a NUTELA Small Grants Fund to explore the use of technology enhanced practices in learning and teaching. Find out more about the NUTELA Small Grants Fund.

Transnational Educational Research Experience in TEL Project

By Bhavani Veasuvalingam, Newcastle Medicine Malaysia (NUMed).

Assessing Technologically enhanced learning (TEL) quality is a multifaceted method that, built on theoretical perspectives and on organised data collection, analysis and interpretation, leads to a decision that should promote a better understanding of quality of TEL and the enhancement of its quality (Casanova,2011). The Newcastle University’s education strategy attracts a great emphasis on bringing an educational experience supported and enhanced by technology. In this context, Newcastle University with its existing international branch campuses in Malaysia and Singapore triggers another element adding to TEL study, that is the transnational education.

Transnational education is defined as programmes located in a country other than the awarding institution (McBurnie and Ziguras, 2007, p.21). Newcastle Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) and Newcastle University Singapore (NUS) are international branch campuses who shares the same technologically enhanced learning tools from its parent institution and qualifications bear the name of the parent institution. Though branch campuses adopt much of its practices from its headquarters, the different location and the cultural differences may provide an added perspective to understanding TEL in higher education, considering globalization impacts every aspect of our lives. Mazzucato believes, local anchoring is crucial to obtain an in-depth knowledge of and this is important for our project TEL to gauge how globalized it has become.

Continue reading Transnational Educational Research Experience in TEL Project

Students as lecturers

Helene Tyrrell, School of Law

The spring of 2018 was an unusual period in the life of the law school. Here, as in most departments, classrooms were left empty and lecturers relocated themselves to picket lines. My own teaching timetable at that time would have placed me in our lecture theatre, delivering first year lectures on a compulsory module. The timing of the strike meant a number of these would be lost and while I didn’t want to dilute the impact of the strike, I did decide to run an experiment: I offered one of the affected lectures up to the students. As usual, I had uploaded the lecture slides (on non-strike days) in advance of the lecture and I followed that up with an e-mail:

“… while I will not be delivering the lecture, the lecture theatre will still be scheduled for our use. So my offer is this: If any of you (or indeed all of you) would like to run the lecture for yourselves, with the notes that I have given you, you are welcome to give this a go! Recap will still be recording for the time, so if anyone is willing to take up this offer then I will offer to listen to the recap recording when I am back at work and to give you feedback on what you discuss. … Recap starts at 09:05!”

Continue reading Students as lecturers

NUTELA Small Grants Fund

Apply for up to £500  to explore and embed technology-enhanced practices into  your teaching.

Perhaps you have an idea for your teaching that uses technology, but need some funding to support it or maybe you know of interesting technology enhanced learning at another institution and would like to be able to visit to explore it further.

Applications are invited for a wide range of activities which enable you to explore, disseminate or import ideas and practices, and share these with colleagues at Newcastle through the NUTELA network.

Applications for up to £500 are welcomed, and applications will be on a rolling basis, rather than at set points in the academic year.

For more information about the fund, what it can be used for and to apply, please see the NUTELA Small Grant Fund Application and Guidance Notes.  

Alternatively submit your application online here

Any queries should be sent to nutelaops@newcastle.ac.uk

Education for All: Learning and Teaching Conference 2020

2nd April 2020

Newcastle University Campus

How do we deliver Newcastle’s educational vision, meet the needs of all our students and support and develop our staff? 

This one-day conference will explore these questions and more.

All are invited to join the conversation on the 2nd April 2020.

Join us – Registration is open

You can book your place for the conference now.

Hear from the two exciting keynote presenters and be inspired by the work of your colleagues and students across Newcastle University’s campuses.

Keep up to date with how the day is developing by visiting the conference website.

Call for submissions

Why not share your own practice? The call for submissions is also open.

Proposals are encouraged from everyone involved in learning and teaching at all Newcastle University campuses – students, academic staff, professional services staff, technicians and external collaborators.

There are full details about how to submit, formats, themes and criteria on the conference website.

The deadline for submissions is 10 January 2020.

Spread the word

Tell you colleagues about the conference and how to register – all are welcome.

Are they doing some interesting work that deserves to be known more widely, and just need some encouragement? This is their chance, why not suggest they submit a proposal.

NUTELA Learning and Teaching Conference Award

Newcastle University Technology Enhanced Learning Advocates (NUTELA) are passionate about promoting technology in teaching and supporting colleagues to explore technology enhanced learning.  In recognition of some of the fantastic work that is delivered by colleagues across the University the NUTELA Learning and Teaching Conference Award was introduced in 2018.

The award is open to anyone who is selected to be part of the Learning and Teaching Conference programme who is effectively using technology in their teaching.   All  eligible abstracts are judged by members of the NUTELA Steering Group and should include:

• Elements of technology enhanced learning
• Innovative teaching and learning practice
• Student engagement in teaching and learning
• Practice which can be transferable to other disciplines or areas of study.

The top three abstracts are awarded up to £150  to further the work of their projects or disseminate their findings.

2019 Learning and Teaching Conference NUTELA award winners
  • 1st Prize: Dr Alesssio Ianetti, Teaching Fellow, School of Pharmacy Who wants to be a millionaire: A game for the Pharmacy curriculum
  • 2nd prize: Dr Emma Cockburn, Lecturer, School of Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Sciences Fusing team-based flipped learning and animations 
  • 3rd prize: Dr Chris Graham, Director of E-Learning, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics  Building flexible and accessible web-based course material 

Dr Alessio Ianetti shares more about his project and how he used his award in this blog post.

If you are interested in finding out more about the learning and teaching conference visit the conference website. Registration and the call for submissions will open on the 1st October 2019.

National Teaching Fellows

The Advance HE National Teaching Fellowship scheme is a prestigious, national competition where nominees submit a reflective account of their approach as an educator, hoping to be one of the 55 NTF’s created annually. The University is delighted to announce that all three of the institution’s nominees have been awarded National Teaching Fellowship.

Dr Lindsey Ferrie, School of Biomedical Sciences

Dr Lee Fawcett, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics

‘I feel lucky to be part of an institution that promotes the development of excellent teaching practice.   I’m now excited about joining a community of National Teaching Fellows across a range of disciplines, to share examples of good practice and to further develop the impact of my teaching.’ Dr Lee Fawcett, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics

Dr Helen Webster, Writing Development Centre

‘Learning Development is an exciting new field, and I’m very proud that this award demonstrates how Newcastle is leading best practice nationally and internationally.’ Dr Helen Webster, Writing Development Centre

Find out more from the winners on the Newcastle University website.