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

National Teaching Fellowship Scheme (NTFS) and Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) : University application process open

Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence and National Teaching Fellowship logos

We are pleased to announce the launch of the University process to determine the institutional nominees to the 2022 Advance HE National Teaching Fellowship Scheme and Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence.

NTFS: Nominations are welcomed from colleagues who feel their work has a major, positive impact on student teaching and learning. Colleagues who would like to be considered should provide a maximum of 1000 words which address the following criteria.

  • Individual excellence
  • Raising the profile of excellence
  • Developing excellence

Find out more about the NTFS criteria and nomination process.

CATE: Nominations are welcomed from teams who feel their work has a major, positive impact on student teaching and learning. Collaborative teams who would like to be considered should provide a maximum of 1000 words, which address the following criteria:

  • Evidence of excellence in the team’s collaborative approach
  • Excellence in the impact of collaborative working – evidence of the team having a demonstrable impact on teaching and learning beyond their immediate academic or professional area

Find out more about the CATE criteria and nomination process.

Application to be an institutional nominee

Submissions for both NTFS and CATE should be sent to ltds@ncl.ac.uk by Wednesday 10 November 2021 at 12.00 noon

Find out more: NTFS/CATE webinar

If you are considering applying and would like to find out more, please sign up to the NTFS/CATE webinar, on elements taking place on 11 October 2021, 09:00-09:30. 

QAA invites expressions of interest for Chairs and Deputy Chairs for Subject Benchmark Statement Reviews

QAA is inviting expressions of interest from the academic and subject community to act as Chairs and Deputy Chairs for the review of 14 Subject Benchmark Statements. QAA leads the development of Subject Benchmark Statements and reviews them on a cyclical basis to ensure they are useful as possible for discipline communities and can fulfill a range of purposes across the sector, including course design and providing support for securing academic standards.

Members of the academic and subject communities are encouraged to apply. More information on how to submit an expression of interest is available on the QAA call for expressions of interest web page. The deadline to submit an expression of interest is midday on Monday 4 October 2021.

For full details please visit the QAA website.

Outstanding Contribution to Feedback

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”

Podcast 006: Ideas in Academic Practice: An Audio Tour of the Newcastle University Branch Campus Sites

006: Ideas in Academic Practice: An Audio Tour of the Newcastle University Branch Campus Sites

Listen to episode 6 of the learning and teaching podcast.

You may (or may not) already know that Newcastle University has two branch campuses; one in Malaysia and one in Singapore. In this episode Sue Gill from the Learning and Teaching Development Service (LTDS) and Dr Paul Hubbard (Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at New Med and currently based at our Malaysian Campus in Johor) look at what academic life is like in a branch campus, what the learning and teaching issues to consider are, and how Covid changed the branch campus experience.

This discussion point, taken from the meeting of the Academic Progress Board in 2021, looks at the two main branch campuses in South East Asia. In this wide ranging conversation Paul takes various aspects of the branch campus life, including

  • Location – what does it mean to be 10,837km away from Newcastle?
  • Culture – how do these campuses compare to our Newcastle campus?
  • Role – what does Paul do on and for the campus?
  • Connections – what are the links from the branch campuses and the broader University?
  • Experience – what does learning and teaching look like?
  • Pandemic – how Covid changed the branch campus experience?
  • Value – what is the importance of these campuses?

This is the second of a set of podcasts developed from the meetings of the Academic Progress Board of Studies and for more information on the work and support of the Academic Progress Team please contact: apt.lts@newcastle.ac.uk or visit https://www.ncl.ac.uk/ltds/professional/

New webinars: School and Programme Data and The Power of Feedback: Student Surveys

Students on campus

The Educational Governance Team have developed new webinars for 2021-22 for academic and professional services staff in Schools. 

School and Programme Data

The first session aims to help make more use of the range of available programme data to inform and identify areas of effective practice and where actions are needed to address issues. 

The sessions are split into two parts and are bookable via Elements at:

Part 1 will focus upon how to use the new Power BI dashboard which brings together programme and school data from recruitment and admissions through to progression and award.  The dashboard also provides links to the various internal and external student surveys results.   The session will show you how to drill down in the data to look at trends and at specific student groups.

Part 2 will allow participants to explore in more detail specific uses and interpretation of the data to help inform decisions at Board of Studies and for reflection in Annual Monitoring and Review reports.

The Power of Feedback: Student Surveys

The second session relates to the student voice and how to encourage students to engage with surveys.  An overview of all the range of survey activity that takes place over an academic year both nationally (National Student Survey, Postgraduate Taught/Research Experience Survey) and internally (stage evaluations, informal module check-ins) will be provided and an exploration how the survey results can be used to inform changes to the student experience. 

Space will be available in the session to discuss with colleagues’ ways in which surveys are promoted and methods used to improve student engagement across the institution.   

This session will run twice per semester and is bookable at:

If you have nay queries about any of the sessions please get in touch with LTDS@ncl.ac.uk

New Podcast Episode

Episode 005: Introducing Emily and Josh our student podcast voices. National Teaching Fellowship with Dr Lindsey Ferrie. Part one of our look back at learning through the pandemic with Dr Adam Potts

Episode 005: Introducing Emily and Josh our student podcast voices. National Teaching Fellowship with Dr Lindsey Ferrie. Part one of our look back at learning through the pandemic with Dr Adam Potts.

In this newest podcast episode, we have three topics that will explore different aspects of learning and teaching at Newcastle University.

The first section introduces Emily and Josh, two students here at Newcastle University, who will share what it is like to be a student in 2021. In this first conversation Emily and Josh talk about the excitement of achieving A-Level results and confirming your place at Newcastle University. What did they do first and what do they recommend before coming to university? Emily and Josh will pop up in future episodes throughout the year.

The second section of this episode is a conversation with Dr Lindsey Ferrie. We caught up with Lindsey to discuss National Teaching Fellowships, why she applied, what it was like to be awarded her fellowship in 2019, and what the process for applying involves. The winners of the 2021 National Teaching Fellowship have just been announced. Congratulations to Newcastle University’s very own, and friend of the podcast, Dr Paul Fleet who was awarded his National Teaching Fellowship this year.

In the final part of this episode, we introduce another regular podcast feature: Learning through the pandemic. Dr Adam Potts talks to Newcastle University students about what it was like to learn through the pandemic. What have we learned that we will continue to use, what have we learned that may not benefit students moving forward? This conversation concentrates on lectures and seminars. We will hear move from Adam throughout the next few months.

We hope you enjoyed this first magazine style episode. Longer form conversations will continue to pop up in future episodes as well.

So, remember to download, like, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from. If you are new to podcasts, you will see some useful links on each episode page.  You can listen and subscribe directly from there. If you are listening through a phone, there are many podcast apps like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcast, that you may need to download but ideal for listening on the go.

If you would like to get in touch or have an idea you would like to share, please email ltds@ncl.ac.uk and use the title ‘Learning & Teaching @ Newcastle University Podcast idea’.

Authentic Assessment with Professor Tina Overton

Tina Overton

SAgE Faculty presentation on Authentic Assessment with Professor Tina Overton

Conversations about more authentic forms of assessment have proliferated of late, as Universities everywhere had to rethink assessment formats at short notice.

We are delighted and honoured that Professor Tina Overton has kindly agreed to work with the SAgE Faculty to help us examine how we currently think about assessment in STEM disciplines.

In this one-hour online session, Tina will share her experiences of implementing authentic assessment in Chemistry at Monash University, drawing from her distinguished career in STEM education.

A presentation will be followed by a Q&A session where you can raise issues of interest or concern about assessment in STEM subjects with Tina.

The session will be recorded and made available afterwards.

Time: Sep 15, 2021, 14:00 London

Colleagues can sign up here.

SAgE Faculty workshops on Authentic Assessment with Professor Tina Overton

In this one-hour online workshop, presented twice, Tina will encourage you to rethink your approach to assessment, to consider where you might already be providing authentic assessments, and to reflect on where and how you might want to do more in your programmes/modules. Supported by colleagues in LTDS, the session will be recorded and made available afterwards.

Workshop 1

Time: Sep 30, 2021 13:00-14:00 London.

Or Workshop 2

Time: Oct 4, 2021 13:00-14:00 London

Colleagues can sign up for either workshop here.

Biography: Professor Tina Overton

Tina was until recently Director of the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence, having previously been Distinguished Professor at Monash University where she successfully implemented large scale moves to active and context-based learning and authentic assessment in Chemistry. She has a 20 year plus track record in STEM education and is passionate about improving the student learning experience.

If you have any queries about these events please get in touch with LTDS@ncl.ac.uk

You might also be interested in other upcoming learning and teaching events and webinars.

Launch of Learning and Teaching @ Newcastle website

Learning & Teaching @ Newcastle ncl.ac.uk/learning-and-teaching

Innovative teaching is happening across Newcastle University, and our new  Learning and Teaching @ Newcastle hub is designed to showcase that work and promote effective practice across the institution. From case studies and recommended guidance to tools, techniques and strategic priorities, you’ll find everything you need to support your teaching, develop your pedagogic knowledge, enhance your digital expertise, and further your professional skills – all in one place. 

Learning and Teaching @ Newcastle is an evolving website that will be continually developed and updated. If there are any teaching-focussed content or services you would like to include on the site – resources that can help support and drive effective teaching practice – we’d love to hear about it. 

Getting ready for the new academic year

Colleague typing on a laptop

With the new academic year fast approaching, we at LTDS are offering a week of online interactive learning sessions to help you get ready for the new academic year.

Here are more details about the new and exciting sessions. You can enrol on each of the six sessions below.

Learning from strategic digital education projects 

This session will take place on Thursday 9 September, 12.00 – 13.00.

This session will outline the achievements made in three strategic blended learning projects in the School of Engineering, Newcastle University Business School and the School of Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Sciences. It will demonstrate the changes made to programmes and provide an opportunity to ask how it was done in a Q & A.

Sign up to the session through elements.

How to Make a Podcast

This session will take place on Friday 10 September, 13.00 – 14.00.

Newcastle University Learning and Teaching podcast was launched recently. The appetite for podcasting in education is going through a surge in interest in using this engaging medium with students. This workshop will take you through everything you need to know to feel confident and capable to make your own podcast.  

Sign up to the session through elements.

Saving time and enriching your courses with Canvas Commons  

There are two sessions available on Tuesday 7 September, 14:00 – 15:00 and Thursday 9 September, 11:00 -12:00.

Canvas Commons gives us a really easy way of sharing, finding and importing course content into Canvas courses.  We can use Commons to share a whole range of content types including, assignments, pages, quizzes, images as well as entire modules.      

This hands-on webinar provides an opportunity to explore  Canvas  Commons.  You’ll add content from Commons to your sandbox course.  We will consider what you need to do before sharing content and  discuss  examples of how sharing content can save time and enrich your courses. 

Sign up to the session through elements.

Getting your Canvas course ready for next year  

There is a session taking place on Monday 6 September, 15.00 – 16.00 and you can find further dates here.

The aim of this short webinar is to support you while you create your new Canvas courses for the 2021/22 academic year.   You will learn the process for new course creation, how to build your canvas course, and how to check your content is accessible.

The topics that are covered include, blueprints, content and assignment import from the previous year’s course. As well as homepage, curse navigation menu, accessibility, and publishing your content and your canvas course.

Sign up to the session through elements.

Using H5P to create engaging digital content

There are three H5P sessions over the course of this week. Monday 6 September at 13.00, Wednesday 8  September at 9.00, and Thursday 9 September at 14.00.

What is H5P? H5P is a resource that lets you create simple interactive content like interactive videos, quizzes, games, presentations, and more.

This training webinar offers a 30-minute introduction to H5P looking at some of the benefits in using this tool, followed by an optional 30-minute task where you can try creating some H5P content, with guidance.

Sign up to the session through elements.

Digital assessment – outlining the possibilities and processes

This session will take place on Thursday 9 September, 15.00 -16.00.

Assessing students in new ways and delivering feedback remotely during the pandemic has given us as a community of educators and learners a wealth of new experiences and ideas.  As we begin to return to campus, further digital assessment opportunities open up with the introduction of the Unversity’s new digital exam system Inspera Assessment

This session will share some of these new possibilities and provide an opportunity to reflect on what to retain from our recent experiences, as well as exploring how digital assessment can further enhance authentic assessment and ensure it is accessible to all our students. 

Sign up to the session through elements.

If you have any questions please get in touch with LTDS@ncl.ac.uk.