Excellence and Innovation Fellowships 2017/18
Samantha Pugh, School of Physics and Astronomy
Title: Reimagining university assessment by learning from secondary education (RUALSE)
This project is inspired by the recent A-level reforms that have moved A-levels from modular teaching and assessment to final, synoptic exams.
It presents a golden opportunity for the University of Leeds to also move away from modular assessment to a more holistic, programme level assessment, by focusing on the capabilities and attributes of graduates, and therefore a programme assessment framework based on programme learning outcomes.
Investigations will centre around whether a programme-based assessment framework is feasible in a variety of disciplines across the university. It will also be informed by feedback from teachers on the impact of A-level reform on teaching and learning practices in secondary education.
For more information contact: S.L.Pugh@leeds.ac.uk
Kelvin Tapley, School of Chemistry
Title: Maximising and exploiting assessment criteria through inclusive co-construction (ME-ACTIC)
This project aims to look at ways for all staff and all students to have a shared understanding of and to be using clear assessment criteria that have been developed through a co-construction model. Additionally, the project will be investigating the benefits of clearly understood criteria being used to enhance learning, via peer- and self-reflection/assessment.
For more information contact: K.Tapley@leeds.ac.uk
Maria Kapsali and Scott Palmer, School of Performance & Cultural Industries
Title: Mobile phones and digital creativity
This research project explores the use of mobile phones in creative learning and skill development. The project was conceived as a response to the ubiquity of mobile devices in everyday life and the apparent ambivalence of educators towards phone use during class time. Indeed, mobile phones can be seen as both inimical and conducive to the learning process, depending on the cultures of use that may develop within any particular setting.
This project asks the following questions: How might mobile phones contribute to digitally mediated forms of creativity? How can the potential use of mobile phones as tools for learning and creative expression relate to existing cultures of use within the student population of the University of Leeds? And, in what ways might learning and creative activities involving mobile phones allow us to advance alternative conceptualisations of attention?
To begin with, the questions will be approached in relation to the performing arts and will be extended to other subject areas with the aim to articulate both discipline-specific and cross-disciplinary findings.
A range of research methods will be employed, including practical workshops, playful experimentation, questionnaires, seminars and interviews, and several aspects of the mobile phone will be explored, including basic functionalities and bespoke apps, such as Sonolope and My Tours.
Jacqueline Houghton, Clare Gordon and Graham McLeod, School of Earth and Environment
Title: Investigating the impact of screen-based virtual reality environments on students’ spatial thinking skills
This project builds on the existing, successful Virtual Landscapes project (www.see.leeds.ac.uk/virtual-landscapes/) that develops screen-based virtual reality environments to enhance the training students receive in preparation for geological mapping fieldwork and to help them develop 3D visualisation skills.
A geological map expresses the 3D relationship between the rocks and the landscape in a 2D form. To map, understand and interpret the outcrop patterns of the rocks on a geological map it is necessary to be able to visualize the 2D map in 3D.
Our interactive 3D geological map block models demonstrate the 3D interaction of the geology with the landscape and the outcrop patterns produced. These block models can be enlarged, rotated, walked and flown around. Our mapping training worlds are virtual landscapes, with rock outcrops, which can be mapped in a similar way to real world examples.
Our project aims to develop new and improved mapping training worlds, based on feedback from students on the current worlds, to develop further the geological map 3D block models, and to investigate how to test the impact of these on students’ mapping and spatial thinking skills.
Teaching Enhancement Projects 2017/18
Helen Durham, School of Geography
Title: Enhancing the taught postgraduate pre-sessional experience
As the University expands its PGT programmes, ensuring that students can ‘step-up’ to Masters level study, or adapt to distance learning, will become a challenge that many Schools will face. New geography undergraduates undertake the 5 credit module ‘Studying in a Digital Age’ that provides a mix of generic induction resources, academic skills and School-specific tasks; a similar resource is not available to PGT students.
In view of the academic and experiential diversity of incoming PGT students the project seeks to develop a series of online resources that can be packaged in different ways (e.g. pre-sessional training, pre-course reading equivalent, late arrival activities, taster and outreach resources) to enhance their experience, academic skills and digital literacy in preparation for study.
For information contact Helen at: H.P.Durham@leeds.ac.uk
Brian Henson, School of Mechanical Engineering
Title: Benchmarking assessments of final-year projects
The aim of this project is to benchmark standards of assessment of final-year projects, and to make recommendations about the form and assessment of projects to ensure consistent standards across different types of projects using different assessments.
Qualitative and quantitative methods will be used. Probabilistic measurement models, the Rasch model, will be used to establish whether the different categories of marking schemes can be justified, are we really measuring something? And to identify the relative difficulty of obtaining marks in the different categories, and to make the marking schemes linear.
Individual and team project outcomes across the Faculty of Engineering will be compared. Using the same techniques, student evaluations of project-modules will be analysed to identify whether existing feedback captures the important aspects of the student experience.
For ore information contact Brian at: B.Henson@leeds.ac.uk
Bronwin Patrickson, Lifelong Learning Centre
Title: Mobile learning Innovation Project
Via a blended learning module delivered using Blackboard Collaborate, supported by intermittent face to face instruction and downloadable interactive lessons, students will be taught research and engagement design skills and asked to collaboratively conduct a practical research project exploring the strengths, weaknesses and ethics of mobile learning.
As they work, students will document their participatory experience. These documents are guided by teacher led prompts including online Q-sorts, drag and drop sorts that rank value statements, or opinions on a visual grid, journal posts, video diaries and data trace prompts, sharing online records of the student’s recorded higher education activity.
In order to ensure free expression, the assessment criteria for this research module will focus upon participation efforts.
For information contact Bronwin at: B.L.Patrickson@leeds.ac.uk
Lata Narayanaswamy, Politics and International Studies
Title: Exploring research partnerships with development NGOs to enhance student skill-building and future employability (starts August 2017)
Development NGOs frequently generate vast amounts of data as part of their programmes but rarely do they have the capacity to analyse or reflect on this data in any systematic way or to think outside the narrow parameters set by donors. The proposed project builds on a pilot undertaken in 2015-16 to support MA Global Development students to engage with real-world issues through the MA dissertation process in order to address research gaps and generate new insights on the existing datasets and programmes of development NGOs. Students gain a wide-range of skills, including greater self-awareness and confidence in their ability to work with others, to take individual responsibility for planning and management of research and to appreciate how their knowledge and skills in international development can be transferred and applied in development practice.
For more information contact Lata at: L.Narayanaswamy@leeds.ac.uk
Caroline Campbell, Languages for All, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, and Karen Llewellyn, Strategy and Planning
Title: Co-Discovery – a student/staff collaborative evaluation of the value of Broadening within the undergraduate student journey; the case for language learning
The process of evaluating the Leeds Curriculum has begun, seeking to measure the effectiveness of a large-scale curriculum transformation project. One specific priority focuses on the value of Broadening through Discovery Themes; how this value is understood by students and its effect on their learning, their choices and their career aspirations; and how this understanding relates to that of employer perceptions of Broadening.
This specific project seeks to surface that relationship, linking directly to original LC objectives and aligning with the wider University evaluation. Importantly, this will be a collaborative enterprise between the two project leaders and four undergraduate student ‘ambassadors’ who together will co-construct and co-deliver the planning, execution and dissemination of the project’s objectives and outputs.
The focus will be on language learning within two of the Discovery Themes, namely, Languages and Intercultural Understanding (LIU) and Personal and Professional Development (PPD). It will explore the role played by language discovery modules in enhancing UG knowledge, skills and graduate attributes and how this enhances career opportunities.
The work is supported by co-researchers: Akeisha Brown, Chandni Panda and Robert Irnazarow.
Alice Shepherd, Leeds University Business School, and Mark Sumner, School of Design
Title: Year in industry placements: Barriers, challenges and motivations
More than 90% of the UK’s leading graduate employers offer paid work experience (High Fliers, 2016). There is evidence suggesting placement completion positively impacts subsequent academic performance (Crawford and Wang, 2016 and Jones et al, 2015) and career development (Hergert, 2009).
The Careers Centre has developed an online resource: Your Placement Year, to support year in industry students. However, barriers to taking a year in industry and challenges faced by students are less clearly understood (HEA, 2014).
Some of these issues may reduce student opportunity in the context of social mobility and widening participation. We believe that a comparative approach between our two schools will generate findings and practical advice which are broadly applicable. The project will start by analysing existing data in our schools. We shall survey pre, peri, non-placement and post-placement students, to understand attitudes, beliefs and decision-making relating to year in industry and how this may be influenced by social mobility factors. Student focus groups will explore issues in greater depth.
For more information contact Alice at: A.K.Shepherd@leeds.ac.uk or Mark at: M.P.Sumner@leeds.ac.uk
Sofia Martinho, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies
Title: Excellence in Speaking Skills
Alongside a review of the literature concerning learning and teaching Speaking Skills within HE, the project includes the collection and analysis of data – interviews with staff, an online survey about the teaching and assessment of speaking skills in LCS and focus groups with students – in order to explore current practices and suggest how these can be further improved.
The outcomes of the project will include: a guide to good practice for staff teaching speaking skills, with a literature review, guidelines for the learning, teaching and assessment of oral skills and examples of good practice which can be disseminated across the wider higher education sector.
A student-facing interactive webpage with videos and hyperlinks to the different university platforms and resources for developing speaking skills.
Workshops for students focusing on a) strategies to develop speaking skills; b) capitalising on the Year Aboard to develop oral skills and c) job market and further study opportunities offered by oral skills.
Scholarship output on the experience and support needs for learning and teaching speaking skills at higher education.
For more information contact Sofia at: S.Martinho@leeds.ac.uk
Nimesh Mistry, School of Chemistry
Title: A strategy to enhance conceptual understanding using active learning
The first stage of the project is to identify student’s conceptual understanding using concept inventories. The context of this study will be organic chemistry, the chemistry of carbon-based molecules.
Student responses will be analysed to identify the common misconceptions related to this topic which will then form the basis to develop novel active learning tasks. We will develop tasks that can be used in a lecture, tutorial, and laboratory setting.
The active learning tasks will be piloted with small groups of students with pre and post-intervention tests to measure learning gains. The success of both the overall strategy and individual learning tasks will be analysed.
The findings from this project will be shared to through blogs, publications and educational conferences both during the project and after its completion.
For more information contact Nimesh at: N.Mistry@leeds.ac.uk
Kevin Macnish Teaching Fellow, IDEA, and Chair of Research Ethics Committee, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures
Title: Teaching Research Ethics – A New Resource for an Old Need
The course will equip students to: Understand the history of the development of research ethics principles; recognise key principles of ethical research.
Apply principles of ethical research to a case study in their discipline; identify particular ethical issues in their discipline and understand the University research ethics approval process.
It will also help students: design a research project in accordance with the University’s process; respond to potential ethical issues that arise during research; students and staff will be involved in the consultation stages to ensure that the content provided and the means of its provision is both relevant and engaging and undergraduate and taught postgraduate student input and assistance in evaluation will also be key to the effective development of this course.
For more information contact Kevin at: K.N.J.Macnish@leeds.ac.uk
Clair Souter, Careers Centre and Melissa Schuessler, Leeds University Business School
Title: Re-entry and Post-Experience Learning: Supporting Placement/Study Abroad Students to Enhance and Articulate their Experience
Leeds does a tremendous job of providing yearlong placement opportunities to students including ‘work placement’ and ‘study year abroad’ options. Supporting learning at the re-entry stage allows students to reflect on this important learning experience and to articulate the skills they gained.
Since academic year 15/16 two modules have supported re-entry, LUBS3910 The Global Business Professional and CSER 3030 Valuing and Articulating the Experience. Both modules have proved successful and were very well received by participants, however they are only accessed by a small number of students in relation to the much larger numbers who could benefit from participating.
This project seeks to ensure wider accessibility and wider dissemination of learning – particularly with students who do not take the module but who will benefit from sharing its output.
Luke Burns, School of Geography, Faculty of Environment
Title: Massive, Open and Online: Credit-bearing courses to help meet the data demands of industry
This project fuses the University of Leeds’ status as one of eight higher education institutions offering credit-bearing online courses via FutureLearn with the changing face of graduate employment and the increasing demand placed on data skills and problem solving. The output will be a suite of freely available courses with the option to formalise and use towards a degree.
Courses will be developed with the support of two collaborative partners:
The Open Data Institute (ODI), a non-profit organisation with a mission to connect, equip and inspire as many people as possible around the world to innovate with data.
Q-Step, an initiative established in response to the shortage of quantitatively-skilled social science graduates in the UK.
This project not only meets the requirements of an exciting online and credit-bearing suite of courses but also the wider academic remit to generate more quantitatively skilled graduates (Q-Step) and the national objective to engage more people with data (ODI).
For more information contact Luke at: L.P.Burns@leeds.ac.uk