Digital Event

Seeking to improve NSS Scores in Assessment and Feedback utilising Technological Solutions #ALTC2012

Seeking to improve NSS Scores in Assessment and Feedback utilising Technological Solutions #ALTC2012

Academic Digital Event Speaker

Speaker: Programming Collaborative Learning #collabmedia

Programming Collaborative Learning (HEA, University of Winchester)

View more presentations from Bex Lewis.
This will be followed by a 4-6000 word (inc references)  publication shortly.
Academic Digital Event

#PELC12: Digitising Programme by Programme

Just about to give this talk:

Academic Digital

Abstract: Programming Collaborative Learning

Name: Dr Bex Lewis
Conference: Exploring collaborative learning in Higher Education media education programmes

The HEA funded TESTA (Transforming the Experience of Students through Assessment) has worked across 22 programmes in 8 universities. TESTA has built a community of practice (CoP) interested in assessment and feedback processes at a sector level. FASTECH is a new JISC-funded project which builds upon this CoP, and starting with 15 core programmes, seeks to use standard technologies that have already been piloted to address the problems identified in TESTA: quantity of effort across the course, quality and quantity of feedback, usefulness of feedback and appropriate assessment.

The wide range of programmes from TESTA has provided a holistic overview of the student experience of assessment and feedback, data which can then be incorporated at a programmatic level. As TESTA has demonstrated, improving practices within particular degree programmes enables us to work with the grain of teachers’ subject interests, disciplinary emphases, and departmental loyalties, and to address the full course experiences of students. FASTECH, drawing on internal and external expertise, seeks to ensure fuller collaborative working across modules, identifying and incorporating individual processes, particularly those using technology, at a programmatic level. Successful processes are provided as case studies to enable those across the disciplines to benefit from the lessons learnt. Both staff and students benefit from engagement with wider communities of practice enabled through social media and other Web 2.0 technology.

Student expectations have risen with increasing fees, and assessment expectations have to fit, amongst others, the employability agenda, which emphasises strong communication skills. As such assignments, including blogging and other social media engagement, need to reflect what is required in the workplace, encouraging students to use the tools critically as part of their Personal Learning Environment (PLE). Drawing upon Wenger’s (1998) notions of a CoP, where there is a “shared endeavour” for professional excellence, and an improved student experience, the paper will focus upon the challenge of engaging whole programmes collaboratively with the feedback and assessment agenda, rather than initiatives enforced from the centre out. Informed by theoretical underpinning the paper will draw upon examples from a range of programmes at the Universities of Winchester and Bath Spa, including media studies.


Higher Education Academy Discipline Seminar: Thursday 3rd May 2012
School of Media and Film, University of Winchester and the Higher Education Academy.
Collaborative learning is a key pedagogic activity in many media education programmes at universities and higher education establishments in the UK. Research indicates that when well executed, collaborative work enables students to learn much from each other (Gokhale, 1995; Johnson and Johnson 1999). Likewise, media educators argue educational practices and approaches should evolve and shift better to suit the networked nature of contemporary media (Merrin 2009; Hong and Sullivan 2009; Jukes et. al. 2009; Christen 2009). Though collaborative learning activities have raised concerns over increasing the risk of plagiarism and of students not contributing equally to a task, these issues these can be addressed through the design of the assessment process (Brooks & Ammons, 2003; Oakley et al. 2004).

While a variety of methods may be used to foster collaboration, one key way in which collaborative learning can be facilitated is through the use of social media and other web 2.0 technologies. Research on information skills education indicates that social media offer a useful means of building skills in students (Buzzetto-More, 2009; Sumar et. al. 2009; Burton Browning, 2010). Moreover, social media constitute a considerable element of the contemporary media environment and developing criticality in the use of them is now considered an important aspect of media education (Jenkins, 2009).

This one day seminar will allow for academic staff from different higher education institutions across the UK to convene and to discuss the benefits, problems and pitfalls of collaborative learning in media education. Particular attention will be paid to the sharing of good practice and to how technologies (including but not limited to social media) can be used to facilitate collaborative learning.

Papers are sought that examine:

  • The theoretical underpinning of using collaborative work in teaching
  • The advantages and disadvantages of using collaborative work
  • Old and new technologies for facilitating collaborative work
  • Social media and collaborative work
  • Planning, trouble shooting and pre-empting problems in collaborative teaching
  • The impact of collaborative learning on other aspects of learning and teaching
  • Case studies of the successful (and unsuccessful) use of collaborative activities.

Key-note Address: Prof. David Gauntlett (University of Westminster) “Social media ¡V making, connecting and learning”

Selected papers will appear in an edited collection published by the Higher Education Academy. *We have already been informed that we will be providing a 5-6000 word paper for this. 

Academic Digital

Abstract for #ALTC2012: Seeking to improve NSS Scores in Assessment and Feedback utilising Technological Solutions

This paper is in the submission process, so we don’t know if it’s been accepted yet. 

Key Theme: Openness and Sharing
Type of Paper: Short paper (12 mins + 8 for questions)
Intended Audience: Conference delegates working, or intending to work, in cross-institutional projects, and also those with an interest in the contribution that technology can make to assessment and feedback are likely to be interested.
Intended Outcomes: Conference delegates will gain an insight into a large JISC funded project in process, and gain insights into some of the early findings.


In 2008 the HEA published ‘Exploring the National Student Survey’ (Williams & Kane, 2008) indicating that students have demonstrated concern about issues relating to assessment and feedback since the late 1980s, an issue that continues to be of concern to institutions, particularly with the introduction of higher student fees. From 2009-2012 the HEA has funded TESTA (Transforming the Experience of Students Through Assessment), which has collected data from over 22 degree programmes in 8 universities in relation to both staff and student experiences of assessment and feedback. The research from this project identified many common and distinctive disciplinary challenges facing students and their teachers, notably quantity of effort, quality and quantity of feedback, usefulness of feedback and appropriate assessment.


FASTECH (Feedback and Assessment for Students with Technology) is a new JISC-funded project building on new body of knowledge, and pre-existing community of practice, seeking to undertake institutional change working from a programmatic level, involving 15 core programmes initially. TESTA has demonstrated that improving practices within particular degree programmes enables us to work with the grain of teachers’ subject interests, disciplinary emphases, and departmental loyalties, and to address the full course experiences of students. FASTECH picks up on particular concerns and seeks to identify standard technologies that have already been piloted in educational situations to address the problems identified in TESTA. Many of the key principles of the research and development processes that underpin the FASTECH project have been developed through the work on assessment and feedback undertaken by Professor Graham Gibbs, who works as an external advisor on the projects.


A year into the project, the paper will focus upon how the two institutions are working together, highlighting the processes and digital practices involved, as we seek to encourage greater sharing of knowledge across our respective institutions, including the ongoing sharing of both knowledge and personnel. The project includes an effective mix of formal and informal face-to-face meetings, digital tools for tracking and collaboration, and staff and student surveys and focus groups, leading to positive engagement with those in our communities.


With an interest in constructing real change not only within the institutions involved, but across the entire Higher Education sector, the team is already identifying how best to disseminate the processes and findings, and is keen to encourage interaction and engagement with the HE community as a whole, through a website in development, offering key resources, and developing a template for case studies.

TESTA has already has already had over twenty universities within and outside the UK undertaking further research and development, and FASTECH is expected to be of similar concern to conference participants.

Tags: addressingInstitutionalProblems; problemSolving; openness; sharingKnowledge; sharingResources; research; feedback; assessment; CommunityofPractice; tools; processes

The Association for Learning Technology annual conference:
The time, effort and money that learners invest in their education need to be matched by commensurate learning experiences, improved use of technology in learning, and effective methods of delivery, all underpinned by sustainable business models. Here are three of the hard questions that we face, both as institutions and as individuals, each centered on the development of knowledge about technology in learning:
  • How can learning technology better support the core processes of learning, teaching, assessment, recruitment and retention?
  • What will be the place of open educational resources and other kinds of free, shared, low cost or informal support and organisation in good provision?
  • How should we respond to learners themselves, who are increasingly voluble in their desire for value for money and for effective use of technology?

The conference themes will be:

  • Problem solving – finding effective solutions to technical problems, and using learning technology to solve institutional problems;
  • Mainstreaming – applying learning technology on a large scale in pioneering ways that enthuse learners and are welcomed by teachers and administrators;
  • Openness and sharing – methods and frameworks for collaboration and sharing of knowledge and resources between practitioners and between providers, and the evidence to justify this;
  • Sustainability – of technologies, models, and approaches;
  • Entrepreneurialism – moving resources from where they have low yield for learning and for learners to where their yield is higher.