The Newcastle University Learning and Teaching Conference took place on March 31. This year’s theme was all about learning together, sharing effective practice, and exploring an education for all.
The event was opened by Professor Tom Ward, PVC Education, and was followed by a keynote presentation from Professor Paul Ashwin, Professor of Higher Education and Head of Department for Educational Research at Lancaster University.
As a result of the fantastic response to our call for submissions we ran several parallel sessions throughout the day, including over 40 workshops, lightning talks and presentations. Video recordings of the event presentations are now available to view via ReCap.
Join us for this year’s conference to celebrate learning and teaching and share ideas across the University. We can’t wait to come together, in-person, for those much-missed opportunities to catch up over coffee and we can promise a fantastic lunch.
Come along to:
Hear from Paul Ashwin, Professor of Higher Education and Head of the Department of Educational Research at Lancaster University who will deliver the keynote ‘What is a university education for?’
Get involved in interactive workshops.
Be inspired by approaches to assessment, wellbeing, student voice, changing practices and much more.
The full programme will be ready early March so keep an eye on the conference website. There’s also lots of opportunities to get involved online and we’ll be sharing which sessions you can take part in on the website.
All colleagues and students are invited to attend. Colleagues can book here and students can book here.
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.
Ok, now I’ve hopefully got some attention … (honestly, this post doesn’t take too long to get to the ‘free stuff’ bit).
Perhaps one of less noticed, but still in some ways important, elements of the huge changes in the English higher education sector over the last four years has been the changes for some long-established sector agencies. QAA lost what was in effect its role as the lead national agency in England for academic quality and standards, and has reinvented itself (including a very significant slimming down) as a membership organisation. The Higher Education Academy, Equality Challenge Unit and Leadership Foundation for Higher Education combined forces to become AdvanceHE.
Good question. One of the things it has meant is that QAA and AdvanceHE have now put huge amounts of their resources behind what amounts to a paywall – if your university’s not a member you’re not getting in. The good news for Newcastle staff is that the University is a signed-up member of both QAA and AdvanceHE, so you can access both organisation’s resources using your Newcastle email address.
So a lot of the kind of thing you might expect QAA to do, but quite a lot that might make you think ‘I didn’t’ know QAA were interested in that’. Some of this is open access; other areas you’ll need to register to get access to (but it doesn’t take long – the form is at https://www.qaa.ac.uk//en/membership/resources/register and all you need is your NU email address).
There are a small number of QAA resources we don’t have access to (it’s like a gym with levels of membership, and we didn’t go for the maximalist option), but there’s still a lot of valuable stuff up there that you can access for free.
Again all you need is your NU email address to access the site and its resources. One thing to look out for though is that while there’s a lot of things you can access for free, there’s also quite a bit of AdvanceHE activity (particularly events) that are chargeable. People at NU get a member’s rate, but there’s still a fee for quite a bit of what they’re offering.
So there’s a lot on offer. A lot of it supports areas that we’re strongly committed to as a University and as individuals. It’s worth a look. And (lots of it) is free.
Example H5P Hotspot item – click the + to try it out
Adding engaging and interactive content to your online course materials will get easier very soon. The University has bought an enterprise licence for H5P for use by colleagues for a year. Towards the end of August we’ll be making it available to all Canvas and MLE Teachers giving them the ability to make accessible interactive widgets, like the ones on this post. H5P isn’t just restricted to Canvas and MLE, it can be used on web sites too.
We’re particularly excited about H5P! Once it is turned on there will no longer be a need to be an HTML guru to do things like:
Add single question formative quiz questions
Generate branching scenarios
Create 360 degree virtual tours … and much more
H5P has been successfully used by our friends in other universities– it’s very well documented and each content type has its own tutorial.
We will be using the fully supported (H5P.com) version of H5P and, while we are plumbing this in, if you would like to have a peek at what is in store do check out H5Ps web pages for their documentation. We would recommend holding fire on creating accounts on H5P.org and wait instead until we have our Newcastle H5P site up and running. It won’t be long!
How you can help us?
We have H5P for a one-year pilot initially – so we will need feedback on how you are using it, how your students are finding it, and how you would like our H5P support to develop.
If you would like to get early access to H5P, receive updates, or help our evaluation please JOIN OUR H5P COMMUNITY by filling out this form.
Sample H5P Course Presentation – try moving between the slides and answering the questions
Firstly, thank you to everyone who joined a session this week and engaged with the new material we released for Art of the Possible 2021. A big thank you to all our hosts who delivered wonderful online sessions to full or nearly full capacity.
The week started with a welcome message from Tom Ward to introduce the week, and continued with a really thought-provoking keynote session with Helen O’Sullivan Chair of the Association for Learning Technology, and DVC at Chester University. Helen’s session was called ‘Preparing students for their future, not our past: How the pandemic pushed us past the tipping point into education 4.0.’ And really dug deep into how education has changed and adapted since March 2020. Participants said they really enjoyed the session, the session was recorded (please note all video will require a Newcastle University log in and closed captions are currently being added) and can be viewed at any time.
Independent researcher Helen Beetham delivered a fantastic two-part session on designing online activities for university learning. This was a great opportunity for participants to learn, discuss, and reflect on some of the work they have been doing and what others have been doing, to give the best possible education to students, especially in an ever-increasing digital world. Highlights from part one and part two can be found online and viewed at any time.
Nuala Davis and Graeme Redshaw-Boxwell delivered two sessions called ‘Saving time and enriching your courses with Canvas Commons’. These sessions looked at how we can use Canvas Commons and how it can enhance our courses. Further information can found in the session slides and Canvas Orientation course.
Dr Cees van Der Land led a session entitled ‘A Series of lightning talks and Q&A about virtual fieldwork and virtual labs’ that looked at some of the inspiring, inventive, and innovative ways we have adapted our teaching to give the students great learning experiences in the absence of present in person land and fieldwork. Eight speakers did a series of lively presentations giving a cross university perspective of the work that has been done to move the hands on elements of a students experience to a digital platform. You can find all seven videos on ReCap.
Throughout the week we have been releasing a series of new case studies that will take you through some of the creative and innovative ways we have adapted since March 2020. These case studies really highlight the fantastic work we’ve achieved.
Finally, we were extremely excited to release the first two episodes of the Learning &Teaching @ Newcastle university Podcast. This fortnightly podcast will explore some of the great things we’ve been doing in Learning and Teaching here at Newcastle University.
All colleagues who have a Teacher role in Canvas can access and contribute to a huge repository of content in Canvas Commons. You can use Commons to share content with the global Canvas community or choose to restrict its visibility to teachers at Newcastle University. You can also share content with yourself!
For the Art of the Possible we hosted workshops to explore Commons with Colleagues. Our participants got stuck in enthusiastically.
What we liked:
Commons is a great way to access generic content e.g. getting started with the library, or to share content across programmes. (Our induction project team are using Commons to share induction materials with schools this year.)
Even if you don’t want to use the content it’s helpful to see how others have approached teaching your subject – it can give ideas and inspiration
The ability to gather quiz questions to adapt
It could help improve consistency between modules / courses
Commons is a good way to hold content that needs to be included in all/some courses – assignment templates, school policies, supports consistency.
You can use Commons to hold content that is private to you – making it easy to add content into multiple courses.
It makes it easy share content across the institution – rather than importing/exporting or adding permissions
Why would you share content to Commons?
A way of sharing effective practice, building your reputation, and that of the University
Evidence your impact / influence for promotion
Building in consistency
When you don’t know who specifically will need to access the content
By sharing you are contributing to the educational community
To share knowledge and expertise
Several participants commented on the huge amount of material in Commons, we saw how we could filter this by stage (UG/PG) or restrict our searches to content shared just with the Newcastle University. We saw how we could share permalinks to content elements in Commons to make finding resources easier.
Canvas Commons content isn’t policed so we had good discussions about the need to check content for accuracy, and also to look out for international differences (eg prescribing guidance, legal regulations etc…). We spoke about how different creative commons licenses could be added to support reuse and about how to give attribution to Commons Content shared with CC licenses.
The ePortfolio system is being redeveloped and relaunched for academic year 2021/22 and we would like your feedback. We aim to develop a system that emphasises reflection and supports students to capture and develop their learning activities whilst at Newcastle University, supporting employability in the future.
After consultation with colleagues and students, prototype designs have been created to show how the key tools within ePortfolio will appear in Canvas.
The ePortfolio team will be holding 30-minute workshops for colleagues on Thursday 20 May to explore the prototype designs and to answer any other questions. To sign up, please declare your interest in this sign-up sheet.
09:00 – 09:30
09:30 – 10:00
12:00 – 12:30
12:30 – 13:00
16:00 – 16:30
16:30 – 17:00
Your feedback is valuable in helping us to redevelop the system to support student reflection and enhance skills development.
The last three were supported by strategic investment by the University in developing capability and capacity under Priority Actions 10 & 11 of our Education Strategy (formerly known as the TEL Roadmap).
The outcomes from all four were fascinating with intriguing insights into the programme level design processes which took place, the types of content produced to support learning key concepts, and the blends of online and face to face delivery which stood the teams in good stead as they had to move to wholly online.
The teams produced videos, presentations and case studies for each project and presented headlines at the DELT Forum, for which a slide deck is available to Newcastle University staff.
Each project above is linked to a webpage where you can see finished films and case studies – which will grow in number.
If you have ideas for strategic projects, please talk to your Faculty in the first instance. Or you can contact email@example.com
The University is currently exploring the use of learning analytics to support students’ learning. To find out more about our approach to analytics and how you can use analytics to enhance the student experience, visit the learning analytics pages on the Digital Learning website.
Here you will be able to find out more about the benefits of using analytics in your programmes, how you can use the analytics tools available to you, and answers to frequently asked questions.
Canvas New Analytics
As part of the learning analytics available to colleagues, Canvas New Analytics is an interactive tool that offers insights into students’ performance and engagement within courses in Canvas. The Canvas New Analytics pages on the Digital Learning website have been updated to include guidance on using New Analytics in your courses, as well as answers to frequently asked questions, and possible scenarios where analytics can be used to support student engagement and performance.