Current LITE projects

Excellence and Innovation Fellowships 2018/19

Dan Trowsdale, School of Mechanical Engineering

Title: Co-Creation of design for learning


As academics we are all designers, we design modules and courses to deliver learning.  We also design activities and opportunities for learning. We design exams and other methods to assess learning.

Over the past few years the complexity of designing for learning has increased massively.  Digital technologies are changing how we teach and how students study.

It appears that this new world of opportunity continues to provide limitless opportunities to engage new curriculum models, and deliver feedback and assessment. Curriculum requirements for the modern graduate add to this complexity and such requirements may be; research based learning, attributes for employability, ethics and responsibility or global and cultural insight.

Complex poorly undefined problems such as this are perfect for the application of design thinking and other design methods.

In this project I plan to explore visual, social and participatory methods in the process of design for learning. How might we include students, colleagues and other stakeholders in this important process and what impact that might this have on the quality of the teaching and learning experiences for tutors and tutees.

For more information contact:

Helen Sadig and Cecile De Cat, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies

Title: Building a civic curriculum: Helping local schools better support EAL children through enhanced student impact and teacher CPD


Increasing diversity in schools is reflected in the rise of pupils with English as an additional language (EAL) for whom many are linguistically and academically disadvantaged.

The highly successful Students into Schools (SiS) scheme offers students the opportunity to discover and respond to this growing civic need. However, many students are unaware of the needs of EAL pupils, and unprepared to provide adequate language support.

This project aims to address this need and achieve civic impact on two fronts: by providing language training to maximise the effectiveness of the SiS scheme in terms of EAL support, and by offering that training to teachers as a Continuous Professional Development opportunity.

In order to inform the development of this training programme, data will be collected through teacher interviews, student questionnaires and reflective journals.

The main objectives of this programme are to:

  1. raise awareness of the importance of language for learning;
  2. give students a better understanding of how language works;
  3. raise awareness of the language needs of EAL pupils.

This project aims to achieve real regional impact in the local community and place language support firmly at the centre of the SiS agenda.

For more information contact Helen Sadig or Cecile De Cat

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:

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:

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.

A website that captures more of this evolving LITE project plus other resources and news can be found here.

For more information contact: or

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 ( 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.

For more Information contact: or or

Teaching Enhancement Projects 2018/19

John Balfour, Student Education Service, and Kate Watkins, School of Media & Communication

Title: Employability non-engagement data (ENED) project


This project is an innovative cross institution collaboration that takes an original, data-driven approach to the examination of student non-engagement.

It specifically addresses the following questions:

i) what are the barriers, challenges and/or reasons which may prevent undergraduate students from engaging in specific employability initiatives such as industrial placement year, study year abroad; and,

ii) Are there any associations between particular characteristics of ‘non-engaged’ students, for example, socio-economic background, entry tariff, gender and domicile, and does non-engagement affect attainment and graduate outcomes?

The study is based on statistical interrogation of a five-year institutional-level data set, followed by qualitative data obtained from students through qualitative approaches.

For more details contact or John Balfour

Tom Jackson, School of Media and Communication

Title: The Practice-led PhD programme


A wealth of invaluable information and guidance exists to help PhD students write their doctoral thesis. However, there is an unmistakable lack of comparable resources for students taking the increasingly popular practice-led variant.

This project will provide a collection of resources, guidance and recommendations for students undertaking a practice-led PhD programme and their supervisory team. Whilst recognising the diversity of potential solutions and without being prescriptive, it will provide information and advice that is as clear and specific as possible.

Students completing a practice-led PhD programme will be one of the key groups of informants for this project. Their insights into the challenges this programme of study presents and the creative approaches they have devised in addressing them will be invaluable.

The students who are consulted will not only provide a wealth of information, they should also benefit from their inclusion in the project as this will provide them with access to the resources in development and to staff with relevant expertise.

This process of consultation should foster debate and interaction between PhD students and academic staff regarding important matters of student education.

For more information please contact:

Ruth Payne, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies

Title: Accessible Assessment: an inclusivity toolkit for assessment design


Assessment in Higher Education has fallen behind its own contextual setting and the diverse nature of contemporary student cohorts. Students’ needs are currently responded to via a system of assessment practices that are fundamentally reactive, revealing a real need for substantial change.

This project works in partnership with Level 2 students to explore alternative assessment practices and their potential impact on marking and parity of treatment.

The project will develop a range of innovative ways for students to demonstrating individual learning, thereby facilitating equivalent opportunities through inclusive assessment design.

By routinely embedding key principles of inclusive practice in assessment, we will be able to develop a model that aligns more fully with guidance being developed in Leeds by the University’s Inclusive Learning and Teaching Development strategy group. Outputs from the current project will therefore help us respond to the University’s key value of inclusivity, as well as facilitating implementation of the University’s guidance on assessing less, better.

For more information contact:

Antonio Martínez-Arboleda, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies

Title: Desktop Capture Feedback


The provision of unequivocal, constructive and specific, yet measured and tactful comments, is a very time-consuming task whose effectiveness can be severely limited by the lack of affection imposed by written language, writing conventions and Quality Assurance protocols.

Research on screencast feedback has shown excellent responses from students and staff. Screencast allows the precise contextualisation of tutors’ oral comments on student work, usually a Word document that is also captured on the screen by the video as the tutor highlights relevant extracts.

This is perceived as a kinder and more personalised and motivating form of engagement with the students. However, the latest literature also shows that staff workload is a concern.

This project will look at the educational benefits of this method as a genre in the making from currently unexplored perspectives and suggest administratively efficient and educationally effective user journeys for tutors and students. Issues such as the decoupling of feedback from marks will be considered.

For more information contact:

Dave Lewis, School of Biomedical Sciences

Title: Final Year undergraduate research projects or Capstone experiences at a research-intensive University: Student and staff expectations, outcomes and impact on employability


As a research-intensive institution, Leeds views undergraduate research projects as a key element of its research-based learning provision; the Leeds Curriculum requires all students to undertake a “major autonomous piece of research“, towards the end of their studies.

Whilst final year research projects or Capstone experiences are common within STEM degree programmes, both nationally and internationally, a requirement of QAA Benchmark statements and of Accrediting Bodies, they are less common in other disciplines.

In spite of the significant impact they may have on the student learning experience and degree outcomes, there are no published large-scale evaluations of different formats of project or Capstone experience, leaning gain or skills development from each, or their impact on employability.

This project will build on work I’m currently undertaking nationally across the Biosciences – my National Teaching Fellowship project, to investigate student and staff expectations for final year undergraduate research projects or Capstone experiences at Leeds.

As well as the outcomes – including academic, skills, graduate attributes – and impact on career choices and employability across multiple disciplines from Arts and Humanities, the Social Sciences to STEM disciplines.

For more information please contact:

Megan Kime, Digital Education Service

Title: Pathways to Success for Taught Postgraduate Students – Preparing for Masters Study


The transition to taught postgraduate study can be a challenging one for students from all backgrounds. It involves stepping up to a higher level of academic practice, and for many students, operating within an unfamiliar academic culture, whether because they are returning to formal education after a break, or are new to study at a UK institution.

Added to this, the study period for taught postgraduates is accelerated, with less time to acclimatise and settle in that in a traditional 3-year undergraduate degree.

Building on work to develop an online induction course for online distance learning PGT students – ‘Pathways to Success’ – the project will develop a framework for the provision of online transition support resources for PGT students, which can be deployed flexibly in different discipline contexts and for different student groups.

The output is expected to include a series of online ‘lessons’ which provide a structured learning journey but can be embedded within the context of the local curriculum.

For more information contact:

Cait Dennis and Nancy Davies, School of Medicine

Title: TiME to Teach – Recognising the value of placement teachers


Currently Medical students spend the vast majority of their five years of the MBChB programme out on placement in a variety of healthcare workplaces, taught by a wide variety of NHS health professionals, many of whom have no formal educational training or qualifications.

The University of Leeds, School of Medicine is at the forefront of technology enhanced learning and in particular we have developed an innovative mobile learning programme which poses challenges to clinical staff who never experienced these methods of learning themselves.

We are aware that there are many university programmes which have elements of work based learning and that we face similar challenges and have created a number of innovative solutions to this.

We intend to create a network for work based learning education where we can share what we have learnt and support our colleagues to find innovative solutions particularly in light of TEF and the increasing emphasis on ensuring quality educational practices.

We would like to showcase the lessons we have learned with Time to Teach and also engage with other colleagues to share good practice and develop further LITE BITE training courses which can be accessed by all work based educators who teach Leeds students.

The outcome of this work will be a multi-professional guide on how to provide an excellent student experience on placement through focused faculty development activities.

For more information contact:

Polly Wilding, School of Politics and International Studies, and Cathy Coombs, School of History

Title: Keeping Everybody Happy? Delivering Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning on a Blended Learning Module


This project arises from the development of an innovative interdisciplinary and blended learning module to introduce the discovery theme Power and Conflict to level one students. Working as an interdisciplinary team on this module design raised a range of questions about how innovative methods are actually experienced by students and how far our aims translate in their learning journey.

The research aims to:

  • Evaluate curriculum change as it happens, signposting for other programme and module leaders seeking to develop similarly blended and interdisciplinary approaches
  • Explore the effectiveness of interdisciplinary teaching practice, asking whether interdisciplinary teaching actually produces interdisciplinary students
  • Further develop an existing community of interdisciplinary teaching practice
  • Gather a body of evidence reflecting student experience of innovative teaching methods

We are setting out to review the success of this module and to use it as a basis for enhancing student experience of Discovery, one of the core elements of the Leeds Curriculum.

For more details contact Polly Wilding or Cathy Coombs

Lynne Cade, Lifelong Learning Centre 

Title: Encouraging educational engagement in Armley prison, Leeds.


Building on the findings of a report published by The Ministry of Justice; ‘Unlocking Potential’, Coates, 2016, the project aim is to raise the profile of the University of Leeds’s Lifelong Learning Centre in raising educational aspiration for non traditional learners who are currently engaged in learning activities at Armley Prison.

The Prison Education Trust works alongside universities and UCAS to find ways to better support people with convictions to enter higher education. The project methodology and findings will provide an insight into how we at the LLC can engage potential learners whilst incarcerated and on release.

A timetable of workshops will be delivered at the Prison in partnership with the LLC Community Partnership Team and the Prison’s teaching staff. Evaluation of the workshops will include assessment of the input in terms of providing an experience of learning at a Higher Education level and whether this has had an impact on a learners understanding of H.E. and has prompted consideration of further educational engagement. 

The data collection method will be led by those attending the workshops as co-researchers, and will support self observation. The project findings will be disseminated to contribute to pedagogies of practice in inclusive learning and teaching methods.

For more information contact:

Norma Martin Clement, School of Law

Title: The use and impact of Collaborative Lecture Theatres


An initial evaluation study was undertaken between March and August 2017 in relation to the three redesigned collaborative lecture theatres (CLTs) on behalf of the Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence (LITE).  This project is intended to build on this initial evaluation through two distinct elements.

The first element is four case-studies which seek to develop an understanding of the extent to which the materiality of the learning spaces shape teaching practice.  This will begin by observing the classes taking place in the redesigned lecture theatres followed up by in-person semi-structured interviews with the instructors.

The second element will consist of in-person semi-structured interviews with those who have responsibility for student education in Faculties of Medicine and Health and Engineering.

The focus of these interviews is to review the managerial decision-making in “sponsoring” the lecture theatres which are linked to these faculties and to identify the institutional factors that promote or hinder the adoption of different instructional strategies within the redesigned lecture theatres and in delivering broader curriculum change.

For more information contact:

Teaching Enhancement Projects 2017/18

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 more information contact Brian at:

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:

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:

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.

For more information contact either Caroline at or Karen at:

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: or Mark at:

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:


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.

For more information contact Melissa at: or Clair at: