Tag Archives: teaching

Simon Meacher explains the Higher Education Review

Pencils

The University will undergo QAA Higher Education Review in the week commencing 18 April 2016. Higher Education Review (HE Review) is the process of review for all higher education institutions in the UK.

The University last underwent review by QAA in December 2009 according to the QAA’s Institutional audit process.

The overall aim of HE Review is to inform students and the wider public as to whether an institution:

  1. sets and maintains UK-agreed threshold academic standards for its higher education awards
  2. provides learning opportunities which allow students to achieve those higher education awards and qualifications
  3. provides information for the general public, prospective students, current students, students on completion of their studies, and those with responsibility for academic standards and quality that is fit for purpose, accessible and trustworthy
  4. plans effectively to enhance the quality of its higher education provision

HE Review considers these key issues through a review process in which review teams consider the academic quality and standards of an institution through the investigation of core structures, policies and processes for quality management, and the way in which an institution addresses these issues in relation to a specific theme which can vary from year to year.

To achieve these aims, QAA convenes a team of peer reviewers – staff and students from other providers.

Review teams are asked to make judgements on these four key issues, and will also identify features of good practice, affirm developments or plans already in progress and make recommendations for action.

What will this involve?

The substantive element of the review process is a week-long visit to the institution which allows the review team to meet with staff and students (and other stakeholders where appropriate) and to scrutinise further information.

During the visit will include contact with staff, particularly those with institutional and faculty responsibilities for quality assurance. Review team meetings with staff will also involve a sample of colleagues working at academic unit level, including those with direct responsibility for educational partnerships such as representatives of partner institutions or staff at overseas campuses, and other academic and professional service staff with responsibility for supporting learning, teaching and the student experience.

The review team may also ask to meet with recent graduates, external examiners and employers.

They will certainly want to meet with a small sample of students (for example up to 30-40 across two or three meetings is typical), to find out their views of the learning experience they receive at Newcastle.

The University is also required to submit a Self-Evaluation Document (SED) which must be received by QAA by 25 January 2016.

The SED has three main functions:

  1. to give the review team an overview of the University, including our track record in managing quality and standards, and details of external reference points that we are required to consider (such as those of accrediting bodies);
  2. to describe the University’s approach to assuring the academic standards and quality of its provision;
  3. to explain to the review team how we know that our approach is effective in meeting the Quality Code Expectations (and other external reference points), and how it could be further improved.

We will be required to provide a significant amount of supporting documentation to illustrate and substantiate the narrative within the SED. This allows the team to test whether what our SED says we do, is what we do in practice and assess how effective it is.

Review teams also have the right to request additional documentation.  Experience of HE Review at other universities indicates that significant amounts of additional documentation are typically required by review teams.

It is therefore possible that any documentation relating to the quality management of the areas under review might be requested, including those held by academic units and faculties.

What will the team be looking for?

Higher Education Review has a core element and a thematic element.

The core element focuses on academic standards, quality of learning opportunities, information, and enhancement.

The thematic element focuses on an area which is regarded as particularly worthy of further analysis or enhancement. Themes, which change periodically, are chosen by the Higher Education Review Group – which includes representatives of HEFCE, Universities UK, GuildHE and the Association of Colleges. The University is required to explore one of these themes.

Following discussions involving a number of colleagues including representatives of NUSU, the PVC Learning and Teaching recommended to ULTSEC on 14 January that the University should select the theme of Student Employability for the review in 2016.

This theme is the logical choice for the University, as it would allow special emphasis to be given to the work that has been undertaking to develop students’ employability and entrepreneurial skills, and to give a detailed picture in our submission of how the University has made further progress since the good practice commendation received by the University in this area in the last QAA audit in 2009.

Who will this involve?

A Higher Education Review Steering Group, chaired by the PVC Learning and Teaching, is overseeing the production of the Self-Evaluation Document and supporting documentation, which is being coordinated by staff in the Learning and Teaching Development Service (LTDS).

When will it start?

In terms of other principal stages in the University’s preparation for the review, in mid-late October 2015 the QAA will inform the University of the size and membership of the review team. In early December 2015, a preparatory meeting with QAA will take place, the main purpose of which is to discuss the information to be provided to QAA and will therefore include those most immediately involved with the production of the SED and the student submission, and with responsibility for the operational arrangements for the review.

Around one month before the review visit, the QAA will inform the University of the duration of the review visit, the team’s main lines of enquiry, who the team wishes to meet, and any further requests for documentary evidence.

So what’s the point?

The review culminates in the publication of a report containing the judgements and other findings. The University is obliged to produce and publish an action plan in consultation with students, describing how it intends to respond to those findings.

STAR CASE STUDY – Mobile Devices in Teaching and Learning

NUTELA Award winner Graham Patterson has been spearheading innovative technology-led teaching in the School of Civil Engineering and Geomatics.
Graham has worked extensively with staff to oversee the adoption of mobile Android-devices to support teaching and learning across the School.
Graham said: ‘We started using Android tablets three years ago, giving one to each student in their first year
‘They get used for all sorts of things. We use software called Responseware to get feedback in lectures, polling students on the correct answers to questions or to see if they understand.
‘We’ve also used it to replace paper handouts which we used to use a lot, so now students can download PDFs before lectures.
‘We have worked with staff over the last three years to format these PDFs so that there is room for a slide or diagram and then for the student to take notes as the lecture goes on.’
At the beginning of their first term Graham and academic lead on the project, CEGS Teaching Associate Henny Mills organise three sessions to introduce the students to the technology.

Graham Patterson
Graham Patterson

The first session is aimed at familiarising them with the device and the Android operating system, the second focuses on University facilities on the tablet, such as accessing University drives and timetables and the third is a Drop-In session to address any teething problems.
Students have responded really positively to the changes and to the scheme is going from strength to strength is CEGS.
‘Students really like being able to use the tablets in practicals, as a second screen.
‘The Galaxy Note 10 was very carefully selected because it allows them to have two screens open at once, so they can be looking at a PDF and taking notes on the lecture.
‘It also allows them to view AutoCAD documents and others and has a great camera for field trips which they find useful, health and safety permitting.’
As more and more schools across the University start using responseware and other sorts of technology to enhance their learning and teaching experience, it’s becoming increasingly important to share good practice in what sorts of devices, software and support systems work.
Graham said: ‘We thought that this system was going to require a lot of technical support but actually after the initial sessions, students are very capable of using the devices provided there are no problems with the hardware.
‘We were also concerned about students using facebook and twitter in lectures and not paying attention but I think, with mobile phones and laptops, students who wanted to do that were always just going to find a way anyway.
‘We’ve made it clear to students that this is not a gimmick or a toy, it’s something they must bring to lectures and it’s something that they are responsible for.
‘Most of them respect that and use it responsibly.’
Is there an example of innovative or good practice in teaching in your school? Email: Katherine.cooper@ncl.ac.uk. For other great teaching ideas have a look at our Case Studies Database.

Looking for Teaching Ideas? Check Out Newcastle’s Brand-New Teaching Case Studies!

Are you looking for innovative ways to improve your modules? Need to rejuvenate that survey module you’ve been teaching for years?

Why not have a quick look at our new Case Studies Database.

case studies

Ever thought of using actors to demonstrate a problem or technique, gauging student and understanding by using TurningPoint technology in lectures or getting students to make animations or videos instead of doing presentations?

Compiled by staff in the Learning and Teaching Development Unit, the website has example of good teaching practice from across the University.

From using peer review to improve essay writing to buddy systems for PG teaching staff, bringing in industry professionals to student-input in module design, the database has practical solutions to everyday teaching problems, with advice on how schemes were set up and why they’re successful.

The website is easy to search, so if you are looking for innovative assessment techniques, you can just search ‘assessment’, to look at examples of good postgraduate teaching you can search ‘postgraduate’.

You can hone in on a range of other keywords or requirements to see examples relevant to your work or your learning outcomes, from student engagement to employability.

You can also scroll through categories of examples, including ‘Assessment and Feedback’ and ‘Research-informed Teaaching’, to see how colleagues in other Schools are responding to particular challenges or better incorporating their own work into their teaching practice.

It’s always interesting to see what staff in other Schools are doing with their teaching and to share good practice – perhaps you’ll even find something you can use!

Or maybe  you’re already doing something interesting and innovative yourself – you can add your own Case Studies to the database by clicking ‘Submit Case Study’ and filling out a simple form.

submit cs

Or you can contact us directly about good practice in your school – email katherine.cooper@ncl.ac.uk.

 

Previous ULTSEC Innovation Fund Winners 2014-15

Past years’ awards

2014-15 Awards

In 2014-15 the following awards were made:

  • 7 Responsive Projects, each for up to £2,500
  • 5 Strategic Projects, each for up to £10,000

Details of all the projects can be found in the 2014/15 list of funded projects.

2014 Awards: Strengthening the relationship between research and teaching, Diversifying our portfolio of programmes, and Assessment and feedback.

In 2014 the panel funded 14 projects, each for up to £5k. Six projects were funded under the priority theme ofAssessment and feedback.  Five projects were funded under the priority theme of Diversifying our portfolio of programmes.  Three projects were funded under the priority themes Strengthening the relationship between research and teaching. Relevant resources are:

  • the 2014 list of funded projects – congratulations to all the award winners
  • guidance notes for applicants, including suggestions for projects aligned with each of the priority themes
  • resources from the Innovation Fund dissemination and welcome event on 9th December 2013 which included presentations from a number of Innovation Fund 2013 project teams. Here is the running order for the event and here is the ReCap recording (the recording lets you navigate between presentations). The table below has links to speakers’ slides and other materials
  • this short video for applicants, talking through the application process and judging criteria.
Chris Phillips and Simon Pallett (Introduction to the Innovation Fund): slides Laura Greaves and Ellen Tullo: slides
Rene Koglbauer and Paul Miller: slides, school visit news article Jarka Glassey, Katie Wray and Jess Jung: slides
Lynne Rawles, Alison Clapp and Laura Delgaty:slides Michelle Robson/Kate Aitchison and Marie Devlin: slides
Lindsey Ferrie and Simon Cotterill: slides Jean-Christophe Penet: slides
Kathryn Hollingsworth: slides John Lockey, Didier Talamona, Kenny Dalgarno: slides
Lee Fawcett: slides, ACC1012/3 course website Sara Marsham, Alison Graham, Jon Goss and Christie Harner: slides, Assessment & Student Dialogue event resources
Storify archive of tweets from the event

Previous ULTSEC Innovation Award Winners 2012-13

2012 Awards: Coherent Curriculum and Access to HE

In 2012 the panel funded 17 projects, each for up to £5k to support the development of learning and teaching activities.  By funding twice as many projects as in previous years it was intended to offer additional institutional support for work done in preparation for 2012.

Four projects were funded under the priority theme of Access to HE.  Thirteen projects were funded under the priority theme of Coherent Curriculum. Relevant resources are:

  • the list of funded projects – congratulations to all the award winners
  • the 2012 call for proposals document with more information on the two priority themes
  • the ReCap recording of the dissemination and welcome event (December 2011) with project updates from the 2011 Innovation Fund project teams. Their slides are also available:
Suzanne Cholerton: introduction Moira Bent: project update
Alison Clapp: project update Rachel Lofthouse: project update
Phil Ansell: project update Grace Cooper: project update
Lindsey Ferrie: project update Simon Cotterill: project update

Mei-Yen Chan (Food and Human Nutrition) and her students have set up a project using Facebook to help BSc students on the Singapore and Newcastle campuses to interact with each other. Their project update is presented as a video interview.

The following list of project outputs will be updated as projects progress. Outputs so far are: