Category Archives: News

National recognition for Newcastle University’s teaching excellence

For the second year in a row, three Newcastle academics have been elected as National Teaching Fellows. 

Awarded by Advance HE, the fellowships recognise excellence in enhancing and transforming student outcomes and teaching. Newcastle University’s Dr Clare Guilding, Professor Simon Tate and Dr Iain Keenan are among this year’s 56 new National Teaching Fellows.  

In 2017, Dr Guilding took up the position of Dean of Academic Affairs in Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed), leading the development and implementation of Newcastle’s new MBBS curriculum there. She also played a key role in developing the British Pharmacological Society’s (BPS) new undergraduate pharmacology curriculum, now used to develop pharmacology curricula nationally and internationally.  

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Flexible Learning 2020 Webinars, Drop-ins and Q & A sessions

Webinars, Drop-ins and Q & A sessions are now available to support you with the planning and delivery of your modules for 2020/21. 

Webinars  

  • Rethinking your module design 
  • Make your own module intro video 
  • Canvas: Fundamentals, Professional Services, Assignments, Collaboration and Communication, Quizzes and Online Marking and Feedback 
  • Turnitin 

Q  & A sessions  

Based on the relevant sections in the Flexible Learning 2020 course that all staff have access to via Canvas (https://ncl.instructure.com/courses/28542 ), we are running Q&A sessions on the following topics: 

Rethinking Lectures, Project Supervision, Online Assessment, Seminars and Small Group Teaching, Laboratory Based Learning, Content Accessibility, Building a Learning Community and Making, Producing and Creating. 

Come along and bring your module design questions with you. We can share examples of effective practice and talk through your ideas. 

Daily Drop-ins  

You can bring any of your questions to these drop-in sessions. We also have some themed drop-ins (covering a range of topics from audio and video to Canvas, to hosting effective online discussion), but you can bring any question or issue to any drop-in session – even if it doesn’t fit with that session’s specific theme.  

View the schedule or visit the webinars and support information pages to find out more. 

Further support is available on the Flexible Learning 2020 web pages  which includes useful resources and information and all colleagues have access to the Flexible Learning 2020 Online Course in Canvas. 

Digital exam system usability testing

Are you a member of academic or professional services staff interested in digital exams?

The digital exam system procurement process is going ahead as planned, and we are making adjustments to enable staff to participate in usability testing while remote working. 

We appreciate that this is a very busy time for colleagues across the University. However, it is necessary to go ahead with usability testing now to support the digital exam system procurement process.  If you are interested and have capacity to participate in usability testing your contribution will be very valuable. 

We are looking for volunteers to test digital exam systems, to help assess how user friendly each one is.  Testers’ feedback will be a key part of the evaluation stage of the tender process, and have a direct impact on which digital exam system the University introduces from next academic year.   

Usability testing is open to all University staff.  You can choose to test from the perspective of either: 

An exam administrator testing how to create exam settings, and manage marking and moderation processes.  Approximately 90 minutes per system. 

An academic testing how to create exam questions, and carry out marking and moderation.  Approximately 2 hours per system. 

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

Full instructions and video demonstrations will be provided for each testing task. You can complete the testing tasks at any time that suits your schedule over the usability testing period from Monday 1 June to Monday 15 June. 

To register your interest in doing usability testing please complete this form by 12 noon on Tuesday 26 May 2020.  Please contact digital.exams@newcastle.ac.uk with any queries. 

Latest Update on Transition to canvas

As many of you know, the University will be moving to Canvas on the 1 August 2020 and all use of Blackboard will end on the 31st July.

We know colleagues across the University are working incredibly hard at the moment to implement the remote delivery and assessment of the University’s programmes. We have therefore postponed the start of the workshops for colleagues in academic units from this week, until after the Easter break.

The way we are delivering this support is also changing. The face-to-face workshops we had intended to deliver will not now take place. These will be replaced by a programme of shorter webinars, supported by a range of online resources. We have arranged these webinars so that in total, there will be the same number of spaces available on webinars as we had planned to deliver in face-to-face workshops. As with the face-to-face workshops, there is no requirement to attend these webinars if your preference is to get familiar with Canvas via the other online resources we are providing.

We know that the demands on colleagues means that many will not be able to engage with the training opportunities at this time. We will be offering a comprehensive programme of webinars throughout the summer, so that if you wish to participate in a webinar you will be able to do so at a time that fits with all your other commitments.

If you are unable to attend a webinar, you also have access to the Canvas Online Orientation Course available on the dashboard when you log in to Canvas. This has been designed by University colleagues to support you in using the key features and tools in Canvas and there are a number of self-check quizzes for you to check your understanding as you work through each section.

If you have any queries please contact the Canvas implementation team.

 

Support for online marking

There are an extensive range of new resources available on the Digital Learning Website to support you with setting up assignments and marking online.

These include screencasts and TEL Guides that you can work through in your own time, as well as daily webinars and drop ins, if you would prefer some real time support.

A number of resources cover how to get started with Turnitin and how to get the most out of the marking tools in Turnitin Feedback Studio. There’s a summary of what’s available below.

The website also includes support for other tools including Blackboard Tests, Numbas and how to use Recap assignment folders for presentations.

Turntin

Getting started with marking online

For colleagues who want to find out:

  • How to access the Turnitin assignment
  • How to use the main marking tools including bubble comments, inline comments, feedback summary and audio feedback.

Support available


Making use of the additional tools in Turnitin

As well as the tools outlined above you might also be interested in additional marking tools including:

Quick Marks

Comment libraries that can help speed up your marking.

Support available

Rubrics

Rubrics can help the marker provide consistency in marking, and will help students clearly understand what is required to improve on future assignments.


Have a question about marking online?

Come along to an online drop in session, happening everyday, to speak to a member of the team. We can help with questions about the application of any of the tools and approaches to support remote delivery of teaching and assessment.

You can also send your questions to LTDS@ncl.ac.uk or to the IT Service Desk.

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.