[WEBINAR] What are undergraduate students telling us this year about their learning and teaching experiences?

Introduced by Helen May, HEA

Presentation by Jason Leman

  • Application of methods not really changing so it’s a change in perception
  • Confidence in asking questions, language barriers – expect less questions in STEM subjects
  • Staff accessibility is important, identity other routes of communication, e.g. email, especially regarding language fluency. Not just about fluency but about cultural factors (especially feeling that they can question the tutor’s judgement).
  • How do we encourage students that they are spending more time on their studies – clear correlation between time spent on task (not just in the classroom) and learning outcomes. Typically those with more extra-curricular activities were even more engaged (see more applicability?) – more structured life and clearer end-goal appear to be clear factors – too many ‘drifters’.
  • Not unexpected to see the number of amount of those undertaking 10+ hours of independent learning increasing by the third year.
  • Questions about whether the classroom context is the best place for delivering the outcomes.
  • Many of these graphs are perceptual, rather than ‘reality’, but perception needs to be dealt with.
  • Once the survey becomes more embedded institutionally, there’ll be a higher response rate, and the data will become even more useful.
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

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. 


Will we mourn HEA subject centres?

HEA doesn’t need subject centres, advocates argue, but critics disagree. Jack Grove reports

The Higher Education Academy’s plan to scrap its teaching support centres sparked an outcry when it was announced last autumn.

More than 1,000 people signed a petition calling for the body’s chief executive, Craig Mahoney, to reverse the decision to shut the 24 subject centres, while MPs raised their plight in the House of Commons. Others registered their concern in the press, including a letter of protest to Times Higher Education in November signed by 180 academics.

But despite the unease, the shake-up has continued apace.

Roaming discipline and subject leads have now started to replace the centres, which will be phased out by the end of the year. The overhaul will result in the loss of the equivalent of 130 full-time posts, with the HEA’s workforce falling to about 120, of which 80 are “academically focused”.

The question now is whether the streamlined HEA will have enough staff and the right structures in place to fulfil its remit of helping academics to improve as teachers.

Read full story.


Opposition grows to subject centre cuts as Germany cribs key lessons

MPs and sector unite to pressurise HEA as model is replicated overseas. Rebecca Attwood reports

The Higher Education Academy is coming under mounting pressure to reconsider its decision to scrap its network of discipline-specific teaching support centres.

A petition against the plan has gathered more than 1,000 signatures, while 15 MPs have signed an early day motion demanding that funding for the 24 subject centres be maintained.

The motion says that the centres play an important role in “championing the teaching and learning of diverse disciplines” and “nurturing innovation in teaching”.

“This House…deplores the proposal emanating from the (HEA) to disband the centres,” it states.

The subject centres are all based in universities and directly employ their staff.

But the HEA, which faces losing one-third of its core funding by 2012-13, plans to replace them with roaming subject heads whom it employs itself.

Margaret Freeman, director of learning and teaching in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health at the University of Sheffield, said that most of her colleagues were “very concerned” about the loss of the centres.

“They’ve been a really useful way of networking, sharing resources and encouraging thinking and action about the student learning experience,” she said.

“At a time when we are all working to demonstrate the value and quality of our teaching, it seems rather perverse to cut off an active and valued resource.”

Read full story, and find The History Subject Centre, and on Facebook. Sign the petition.