NU Reflect: engaging with reflective practice

ePortfolio is being redeveloped and relaunched as NU Reflect for September 2021 to help support personal, professional, and academic reflection in both modular and non-modular contexts. For improved functionality and ease of use, the system will be split into two landing pages in Canvas:

The NU Reflect landing page will provide the opportunity to record and share reflections, recognise and categorise personal skills being developed, e.g., against the Graduate Framework, and to participate in Groups and collaborate with other students in Communities.

The Personal Tutoring and Support landing page will provide options to engage with tutors/tutees, create and manage individual and group meetings, and for students to access School specific and global support and guidance materials.

The benefits of reflective practice

Incorporating reflection in programmes and modules provides an effective way to support students to understand their own learning processes, and to develop their awareness of their own skills and abilities and evidence these, applying theoretical knowledge to real experiences and supporting employability. Guidance and case studies on how colleagues at the University have incorporated reflective practice are available.

If you have any questions regarding NU Reflect, please contact ltds@newcastle.ac.uk

Coming soon: NU Reflect

Man working on laptop

Driven by a need to engage better with reflective practice, a strategic review of the University’s current ePortfolio system has taken place. In line with the outcomes of the review, and feedback from colleagues and students, the system will be redeveloped and relaunched as NU Reflect for September 2021.

NU Reflect will be relevant to all students and provide the tools to support personal, professional, and academic reflection in both modular and non-modular contexts, as well as providing opportunities for students to discuss their personal development.

Incorporating reflection in programmes and modules provides an effective way to support students to understand their own learning processes, and to develop their awareness of their own skills and abilities and evidence these, applying theoretical knowledge to real experiences and supporting employability.

NU Reflect will also support Personal Tutoring as colleagues can use the system to create and record meetings with any student. Meetings can take place in a variety of contexts, such as Personal Tutor meetings or group meetings for student projects. It will also offer access to individual records of all tutees including their UCAS Personal Statements, assessment marks through NESS, timetable, and student information from SAP.

Guidance and case studies on the use of reflective practice are available, and further information about NU Reflect will follow soon.

If you have any questions regarding NU Reflect, please contact ltds@newcastle.ac.uk

Eportfolio redevelopment workshops

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.

Workshop times:

  • 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.

If you have any questions regarding ePortfolio, please contact ltds@newcastle.ac.uk

Have your say: staff focus groups on enhancing the student learning experience

With increased emphasis on online and remote learning, and the need to focus on innovative ways to support students, Newcastle University is currently reviewing the use of student data to support students’ learning, and how to incorporate reflective learning as part of staff and student practices.

We need your input…

The University is running focus groups that will offer you the opportunity to contribute to two topics that impact on the student learning experience and provide you with the tools to enhance student engagement and attainment. Please see below for details.

Using data to support student learning

We would like to invite you to take part in an online focus group on the use of student data to support teaching and learning. Newcastle University aims to understand whether staff and students would benefit from the use of a learning analytics system to enhance teaching, personal tutoring and student attainment.

Learning analytics can be understood as the process of making meaning of students’ participation in online content and activities with the aim of providing informed feedback to optimize learning.

The focus groups give us the opportunity to share ideas, needs, and challenges with the use of learning analytics, and your valuable opinions will help inform the University’s investigation into the use of student data to enhance the student learning experience. 

DateTime
Monday 30 November 202010.00 – 11.30
Monday 30 November 202013.00 -14.30
Tuesday 1 December 202010.00 – 11.30
Tuesday 1 December 202013.00 -14.30
Wednesday 2 December 202010.00 – 11.30
Dates and times of analytics focus groups

If you are able to take part in a learning analytics focus group, please complete the following form by Thursday 26 November 2020: data focus group sign-up sheet 

Re-defining ePortfolio

We would like to invite you to take part in a focus group on how best to incorporate student reflective learning, both academic and personal, within your practice.

Driven by a need to engage better with reflective practice, the University’s current ePortfolio system is under review. We are returning to a baseline of what we need to achieve to support students and staff to understand, undertake, provide evidence for, and in some cases assess, reflective practice.  

This gives us the opportunity to share ideas, needs and challenges with reflective practice in order to identify what is needed from a ‘system’ that is relevant to all students. Furthermore, we aim to identify technology that will work in parallel with current University systems to ensure streamlined working processes for staff and students. 

We need your valuable opinions to help shape the University’s ePortfolio review process. If you are able to take part in a focus group, please complete the following short form by Thursday 3 December 2020: ePortfolio focus group sign-up sheet

DateTime
Tuesday 8 December 202010.00 – 11.00
Tuesday 8 December 202015.00 – 16.00
Wednesday 9 December 202010.00 – 11.00
Wednesday 9 December 202015.00 – 16.00
Dates and times of ePortfolio focus groups

If you have any questions about the focus groups, please contact ltds@ncl.ac.uk 

Recent updates to ePortfolio

To improve functionality, and in line with staff and student requests, there have been some recent updates to the ePortfolio system.

Graduate Framework

The new Graduate Framework was embedded in ePortfolio for the start of this academic year, and is now the default skill set for taught students. Students can link blog posts (reflections/evidence) to attributes of the Framework. Students can download their information as a PDF, including a summary of number of posts by graduate attribute. The old Graduate Skills Framework is still available for those who have used it previously.

Supervision Groups

Supervision Groups are used to support projects, placements and other activities. Supervisors can communicate with groups of students, whilst students share reflections and updates with just the supervisors in a safe environment for non-collaborative work.

The groups now support multiple supervisors following requests for this. In addition, the interfaces for Supervision Groups and sharing portfolio content have been simplified and made more efficient.

Placement Support

The Placements sub-system for ePortfolio supports access by external supervisors as well as students and staff. It includes rubric-based assessment, custom forms, automated form scheduling, and 3-way file sharing. This went live in 2018/19 for PGCE programmes and additional programmes are using it in 2019/20.

There have been numerous enhancements based on requests from different placement schemes, including additional options for rubric-based assessment, CSV downloads of form data, admin notes, and quick links to create record meetings.

Other Changes

There have been various other enhancements/bug fixes in ePortfolio, including:

Meeting records – now includes a duration (requested for Admin recording of meetings and avoiding overlapping events).

Accessibility – you may notice some changes, including darker colours for buttons in order to meet accessibility colour contrast requirements.

Various changes – to support switching to a new institutional data feed, which is more efficient and sustainable.

If you would like to know more about any of these changes, or would like to know more about utilising new functionality, please contact Sam Flowers in LTDS.  

Why is my list of tutees displayed incorrectly at the start of the academic year?

At the start of the academic year, some staff members have reported that students are appearing in the wrong year, or across two years. Some images are set as graphics rather than the student photograph.

Previous tutees show in ePortfolio because of a ‘grace period’ for students from the previous academic year which we apply so that returning students don’t ‘disappear’ as they come to the end of their registration period. This is to support students if there is a delay in them registering (as is frequently the case) and also it enables returning students continuing access to various systems over the summer prior to the formal start of the academic year – especially important for the numerous programmes which start before the main start of the academic year.

Our practice has been developed over the years to address the short period where registration data is so fluid that it cannot be the sole basis for identifying current tutees.

This problem is compounded because it is common practice by Schools to assign tutees to tutors on SAP for an indefinite time, so we cannot reliably use the recorded end date. We have also include admissions data so that tutors can see new tutees prior to registration.

From the 2nd of October, the ePortfolio system will revert back to registration data as the vast majority of students will have had time to register.

Information for Senior and Personal Tutors

The University’s Framework for Personal Tutoring has been updated following the approval of revised meeting arrangements by University Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Committee in July. With effect from the start of the 2017-18 academic year, tutors should record the first meeting that is offered and those that have taken place for undergraduate students. For taught postgraduate students, tutors should record the offer of meetings in ePortfolio. If tutorial meetings do not take place, reasons why not should also be recorded.

We have clarified what should happen if meetings do not take place. If a tutor offers a meeting within ePortfolio using meeting slots, but a student chooses not to pick a time to meet with the tutor, this should be regarded as sufficient reason why the meeting has not taken place. Only if a meeting slot is not created by the tutor within ePortfolio should a reason be recorded elsewhere why a meeting has not taken place.

We have distributed to Senior Tutors a new version of the briefing slides for Senior Tutors to discuss with Personal Tutors in their School or subject area. The slides provide information which will hopefully be helpful for ensuring that Senior and Personal Tutors are familiar with University expectations. They also provide advice on how to find and signpost further support.

Additional resources for tutors have also been brought up to date and can be found on our website.

The Senior Tutors Discussion Forum will continue to meet on a quarterly basis beginning in October.  A Role of the Senior Tutor Training Workshop will also be held twice this coming academic year.

If you have any questions or can suggest examples of effective practice in personal tutoring, please contact LTDS.

 

Meeting slots are now available for use with any group of students

We are pleased to announce the release of new functionality that will allow you to create meeting slots with any group in the University. Meeting slots are a popular part of the tutoring functionality in ePortfolio that allows tutors to specify particular timeslots they are free, and tutees can then sign up to a slot.
In the version released today, you can use meeting slots with supervision groups, tutees, whole modules, and any other bespoke group of students or staff.
To access the new functionality, navigate to the Meetings section using the drop down menu at the top of the screen (9 dots icon). You will see a new section labelled “Slots”. By selecting this you will be taken through to the page where you set up the slots, but you will notice in the top right hand corner of the page the option to “Add people to Slot Group”.
Meeting slots button

Selecting this will bring up the a search tool that shows your tutees/supervisees on the right hand side, but also allows you to search for anyone in the University.

Search people in ePortfolio

You can search by programme or module code, username, and by first or surname. If you search by module or programme code, there is an “Add All” button at the bottom of your search. This will add all students from the module / programme to your set of slots, allowing you to offer contact to a cohort of students in an organised manner.
If you are a user of supervision groups, you will see a new button on the Supervision Group page. This will allow you to create meeting slots for your supervision group.
Meeting slots for supervision groups
Having selected the students that the slots are to be offered to, you will then pick the length of slot and times you’re available and the students selected will be sent a booking email.
If you would like some extra support with the use of meeting slots, please email ltds@newcastle.ac.uk.

ePortfolio Personal Tutoring Rollout for Academic Year 2015/16

The University ePortfolio system was rolled out for Stage 1 Personal Tutoring during the last academic year. It has been mandatory to record meetings that you are having with your tutees in line with the Personal Tutoring Framework. For Stage 1 students, this is two meetings in the first Semester, one of which should be within the first 4 weeks of the student’s arrival at University.

Please see this video to find out how to meet this University requirement.

The rollout moves on to Stage 2 and PGT students. Again, the use of ePortfolio should be in line with the Personal Tutoring Framework, and it says that the offer of tutorial contact should be made at least once a semester.

Currently, offers of meetings can be made through meeting slots and the record meeting functionality. The development will be working on improving the “offer” functionality and we hope this to be in place before the start of the academic year.