UKGCE Good Supervisory Practice Framework

A suite of online training sessions on the 5th and 12th April has been added to the LTEU pages for staff working within supervisory roles. Staff are welcome to attend as many sessions in suite as they wish depending on availability: each session is independent.   


Book online:.https://stafftraining.aber.ac.uk/sd/list_courses.php

These sessions are aligned to the UKCGE “Good Supervisory Practice Framework”: more information can be found here.
 
For enquires please contact Dr Maire Gorman, mng2@aber.ac.uk.

External Speaker: Feedback Engagement, Dr Robert Nash

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The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit is pleased to announce our next External Speaker.

On Friday 11 March, 10am-12pm, Robert Nash will be running a masterclass on strategies for feedback engagement.

Bookings for the event are open via the CPD Staff booking page.

The workshop will take place online via Teams. A link will be sent to you before the event. 

Please see below for the session description and speaker biography.

Session Description

Why don’t they listen to my feedback?

Most people prefer to perform well than to perform badly, and one of the primary aims of giving feedback to students is to help them improve their performance. So why do our students so often ignore, resist, and reject the feedback we give them, and what can we do about it? To set the scene for this workshop, we will first consider the extent to which these problems are unique to students. In particular, I will share some insights from diverse domains of social psychology that shed light on the very human motives behind avoiding feedback. With these insights in mind, we will go on to explore the perceived and actual barriers that limit students’ effective engagement with their feedback. We will contemplate practical ways by which we, as educators, might play a role in breaking down these barriers. Throughout these discussions, sustainability is key: with academic workloads spiralling ever higher, our fixes cannot involve us always giving more feedback, quicker feedback, and fancier feedback. I will share my own mixed experiences of trying to implement into my own teaching practice what I’ve learned from almost a decade of working on these problems.

Speaker Biography

Dr Rob Nash is a Reader in Psychology at Aston University, where he is currently Director of Undergraduate Learning & Teaching for the School of Psychology. A experimental psychologist, Rob’s primary expertise is in human memory, particularly the ways in which memories become biased, distorted, and fabricated. However, he also conducts and publishes research on the topic of feedback in education, with an emphasis on how people respond and react when given feedback. Rob is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Associate Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Legal & Criminological Psychology, and co-author of the Developing Engagement with Feedback Toolkit (Higher Education Academy, 2016).

If you’ve got any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us (lteu@aber.ac.uk).

Annual Learning and Teaching Conference Announcement

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The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit is pleased to announce the theme and strands for this year’s Annual Learning and Teaching Conference.

Save the Date: this year’s conference will take place between 12th and 14th September 2022. It’s hoped that we will see the return of some face-to-face elements that we’ve enjoyed in the past.

This year’s conference theme is:

Designing the Teaching of Tomorrow: Innovation, Enhancement, and Excellence

Celebrating 10 years of Aberystwyth University’s Learning and Teaching Conferences

With the following strands:

  • Inclusive and sustainable pedagogies 
  • Assessment validity, authentic assessment, and feedback engagement
  • Scaffolding skills across the curriculum and beyond
  • Developing a Bilingual University community
  • Working with students as partners to design learning 
  • Active learning in today’s higher education landscape

We can’t believe that it’s our tenth annual conference, with the first one starting in 2013. We’ll have lots of highlights from the past ten years. Ahead of the conference, we’ll be making our archive of materials available so look out for those.

Save the date and look out for the forthcoming call for proposals, guest speakers, and booking announcements on our blog and webpages.

External Speaker: Universal Design for Learning Masterclass, Kevin L. Merry

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The Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit is pleased to announce our next External Speaker.

On 16th February, 2pm-4pm, Kevin L. Merry will be running a masterclass on Universal Design for Learning and its implementation at De Montfort University.

Bookings for the event are open via the CPD Staff booking page.

You can read more about Universal Design for Learning on the CAST Site.

The workshop will take place online via Teams. A link will be sent to you before the event. 

Please see below for the session description and speaker biography.

Session Description

In 2015, De Montfort University adopted Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as its institution-wide approach to learning, teaching, and assessment in response to its exceptional level of learner diversity. UDL is an approach that incorporates a variety of options to allow it to be accessible and inclusive for diverse groups of learners possessing a wide variety of learning needs and preferences.

In this masterclass, Dr Kevin Merry, will introduce the “Cheese Sandwich” approach to supporting learner mastery. The Cheese Sandwich has become the vehicle by which colleagues at DMU have begun to embed UDL into the design of their teaching sessions, modules, and programmes. Specifically, Kevin will provide a series of practical activities that will help colleagues to uncover the pedagogic foundations of the Cheese Sandwich. Furthermore, Kevin will invite colleagues to begin thinking about some of the key considerations that teachers must make when planning and designing learning experiences from a UDL perspective, and how this can be done using the systems approach of the CUTLAS method.

Finally, Kevin will finish off the session by addressing the elephant in the room – the issue of universally designed assessment. By providing guidance and practical examples from De Montfort University’s own Postgraduate Certificate in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education (PGCLTHE), Kevin will hopefully dispel some of the myths that exist around UDL and assessment, supporting colleagues to adopt more UDL centric ways of assessing learning.

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New Functionality in Turnitin: Assignment Template

Turnitin, our e-submission software, has introduced some new functionality regarding assignment templates.

It’s now possible to exclude templates from showing up in the Similarity Score.

To apply the exclusion, go to the Optional Settings in the Turnitin submission point and upload your assignment template:

Assignment Template.
Includes:
Upload template Create Custom template

There are requirements for your template:

  • Uploaded files must be less than 100 MB
  • Accepted file types for upload: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, WordPerfect, PostScript, PDF, HTML, RTF, OpenOffice (ODT), Hangul (HWP), and plain text
  • Templates must have at least 20 words of text

As well as uploading, you can also create a template from this interface too.

This functionality can only be applied to a submission point if there have been no submissions. Further information on using Turnitin can be found on our E-submission webpages  or you’re welcome to email us (elearning@aber.ac.uk).

Mini Conference Materials Available

Before the vacation, the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit ran their final mini conference of the year.

The theme for the mini conference was using polling software to enhance learning and teaching. If you were unable to make the event then check out the recordings on our Mini Conference webpage.

Since the University procured a licence for Vevox polling software earlier this year, we’ve seen a whole host of colleagues making use of it. In semester 1 1873 polls have been run by 136 staff members with 6485 student responses.

If you want to know more about polling software then we’ve got a Vevox webpage which has all our guidance. Kate and Jim led a webinar for Vevox on our implementation and how colleagues have made use of it in their teaching. Check out the recording on YouTube or Vevox’s own website for other case studies. You can read about Vevox’s latest updates on our recent blogpost.

The conference kicked off with a session run by Dr Christina Stanley from Chester University. Christina gave us an overview of how she’s been using polling software to boost student confidence and promote inclusivity.

Next, our client managers from Vevox, Joe Probert and Izzy Whitley gave us an update on future developments with Vevox polling software and some product enhancements that will be coming down the line.

Then we moved onto colleagues from Aberystwyth University who shared with us how they are using polling in their teaching. Dr Maire Gorman who teaches in the Graduate School and the Physics Department gave us an overview as to how polling software can be used in statistics teaching to facilitate peer learning and inter and intra-cohort bonding.

Next, Bruce Fraser Wight, from the Business School demonstrated how he has been using polling software for ice breaking activity. We were grateful to hear from two of Bruce’s students to find out how they found using polling software.

Finally, Dr Jennifer Wood from the Department of Modern Languages outlined how polling software can be used for language learning and encourage engagement.

If you’re doing something interesting with polling software, we’d love to hear from you for a potential blogpost – drop us an email on lteu@aber.ac.uk.   

Welcome to new staff joining Aberystwyth University

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Welcome to new staff joining Aberystwyth University

We’re the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit. Based in Information Services. We work with staff across the university to support and develop learning and teaching. We run a wide range of activities to do this.

All the information that you need is on theLearning and Teaching Enhancement Unit webpages. We have recently worked intensively with academic colleagues to develop solutions in response to the Covid 19 pandemic. Our Supporting your Teachingwebpages will help you with various teaching solutions.

We write a blog full of the latest updates, details on events and training sessions, and resources.

If you need to get in touch with us, you can do so using one of two email addresses:

lteu@aber.ac.uk (for pedagogical and design questions, or to arrange a consultation) or

elearning@aber.ac.uk (for technical queries regarding our e-learning tools listed below)

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Vevox updates December 2021

One of the advantages to having an institution subscription is that we can benefit from enhancements and updates.

One of the recent enhancements was to the word cloud style question. Previously only one word was able to be submitted to the word cloud style question, but now participants can provide multi-word submissions as well as single words. Word clouds also accept non-English characters and emojis. Vevox has also been working on the accessibility of the word cloud question and the colour scheme has been enhanced to improve its display.

We’re really pleased at how colleagues are making use of Vevox. If you’re after some ideas on how you can use it in your teaching, then Kate and myself recently presented a webinar on Vevox’s behalf. As well as giving an overview of our rollout of Vevox since we procured it in March, we also outlined some exemplary practices taking place by colleagues:

  • Module Evaluation (Dr Emmanual Isibor and Dr Chris Loftus, Computer Science)
  • Stats generation (Dr Maire Gorman, Physics and Graduate School)
  • Anonymous Q and A (Dr Megan Talbot, Law and Criminology)
  • Peer assessment and word associations (Dr Michael Toomey, International Politics)
  • Asynchronous Q and A (Dr Victoria Wright, Psychology)
  • Pin on image and session impact (Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit)

Thank you for the colleagues above for sharing their practices and experiences with us. A recording of the webinar is available on YouTube.

We’ve also got our Mini Conference on Thursday looking at how polling software can be used to enhance learning and teaching activities. There’s still time to book onto that. We’re grateful to be joined by Joe and Izzy from Vevox, as well as our external speaker, Dr Christina Stanley from the University of Chester.

Vevox guidance is available on our webpages. If you’ve not used Vevox before then sign up for the Zero to Hero sessions which are run every Tuesday at 3pm. We’re also re-running our training session Designing Teaching Activities using Vevox on 16 March 2022 at 10am. You can sign up via our Course Booking page.

What is a well-designed Blackboard module? Project

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Written by Ania Udalowska

A well-designed Blackboard module may mean different things for different people. We asked our group of Student Learning Ambassadors to brainstorm what does it mean to them that a module is well-design. The findings of this discussion divided into categories can be found below.

Module Information

Teaching schedule – showing what is expected throughout the semester (which is carried out throughout the design of the module in folders). It is not necessary to have to release all content at the start of the module rather a roadmap showing students what they need to plan for. Download the teaching schedule example:

Module handbook – one of the students explained that the handbook is almost like a contract between a student and a module coordinator. It should include all essential information (which may be, and in some cases, should be also included in different sections, e.g., all assessment-related information in Assessment & Feedback). Take a look at this blog post on comprehensive handbooks.

FAQs on the module – FAQs could be generated throughout the module based on queries received by the module coordinator and could be then used to help future students, e.g., what textbook is best / how do you set the assignment out/ suggestions of resources to help with a tricky concept etc. You could use the discussion board functionality to ask students for questions they want to know answers to.

Short introduction video – it would be nice to include a video that welcomes students into the module, explains how to navigate it and briefly outlines what will the teaching schedule look like. It does not have to be long nor formal!

Learning Materials

Folders – content should be divided into weeks (or topics). It should correspond with the teaching schedule. Consistency within folders is just as important, try to include the same type of learning materials in each folder (you can use small icons to indicate the type of activity) and keep them in a consistent order:

  • Live session preparation tasks – make it clear what needs to be done.
  • Teams links to live sessions.
  • Pre-recorded lectures (clear/ small chunks/ and no background noise)
  • Lecture slides and lecture handouts with space for notes (how to convert PowerPoint slides into handouts)
  • Activities to complete that give instant results/feedback to test knowledge. You could use Blackboard tests or Panopto quizzes.
  • Examples, relating theory to real-world as much as possible.
  • Reading – which items from the reading list refer to that week’s content.

Note: Where possible use review status and adaptive release – students progress at a different pace, some prefer for the content to be released all at once, others in stages. Having the review status and adaptive release can give students control over how much content they see at once and it also helps them to stay organised.

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Implementing ‘Tools for Academic Writing’ across all departments – Student Learning Ambassadors

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Written by Lucie Andrews, English and Creative Writing

The best Blackboard modules are organised effectively, easy to navigate and kept updated. However, I would like to focus on how Blackboard could be used as a resource for study skills and excellent academic practice. During the Student Learning Ambassadors project, we discussed what is a well-designed Blackboard module and some of the feedback included the way we felt that the referencing and citing guide was not easily accessible nor comprehensive enough to cover all student’s needs. We also talked about the idea of including assignment model answers as a template of what needs to be included and how to format assignments correctly. One way to act upon this feedback would be to include a new folder within the assessment and feedback section that focuses on study skills in order to improve Blackboard as a student resource.          

When analysing the different approaches to how different departments used Blackboard during the usability testing, I realised there was a useful section in the module menu called ‘Tools for Academic Writing’ in my department of English and Creative Writing that was not in the other departmental menus. Therefore, I would recommend that we should implement ‘Tools for Academic Writing’ across all departments by creating an additional folder within the assessment and feedback section to act upon some of the student feedback. Why should you consider this? And what will this new folder include? As Blackboard is the site used for the learning and academic aspect of the student experience, I believe that all students would gain from a folder dedicated to providing students with study skills and tips that will enable them to achieve excellent academic practice. Within this folder, it would provide a unique list of study skills relating to each department’s needs. Here is a general template of what this folder could include:

  • a detailed referencing and citing guide that meets each department’s stylesheet
  • a guide of essential study tips and skills including essay writing pointers
  • links to workshops offered by the university on study skills
  • a FAQ on study skills and general module information

As a student, I have personally found that there is mostly a focus on the material covered in lectures, seminars and workshops and a focus on the marks scheme and assessment criteria. However, there is generally less focus on how you can improve your writing/study skills independently and how to write an essay/assessment / referencing to the expectations that meets the standards of university practices. Therefore, this folder on ‘Tools for Academic Writing’ should be implemented in all department’s assessment and feedback section across the University as it would offer Blackboard something new that would enhance the student academic experience, and this would aid students to achieve better grades. Thus, I feel that by implementing a folder dedicated to study skills within each module that is specific to what students on that module need would enhance student’s learning experience on Blackboard and improve its resources.