Teaching Enhancement Projects (current)

Teaching Enhancement Projects 2019/20


Scott McLaughlin, School of Music

Title: Teaching how to ‘inter-’: a resource for understanding how to work across disciplines

Overview

This project will develop an online resource to help teach the ‘inter-’ part of interdisciplinarity.

The primary use-case is modules in which students are expected to reach outside their core discipline and confidently work with other disciplines: for example, commenting effectively on other disciplines, collaborating with other disciplines, or drawing on methodologies/data from other disciplines.

The resource will use a mix of case studies and pedagogical literature to teach students how to engage with different disciplines and how to think ‘inter-’: studying extracts from key texts that define ‘Interdisciplinary’ from different perspectives, and exercises that guide students through the process of examining differences across disciplines.

The outcome will be a two-week course that can be attached to existing modules as a digital resource.

Initial research will focus on identifying key sources and case studies, then assessing which of these are most suitable across a variety of different learning scenarios.

These will include different scales of interdisciplinary work, from methodological differences that may exist between applied and theoretical subdisciplines that share a common topic, to the epistemological differences that can exist between larger domains.

Parallel to this, the project will identify and liaise with a cohort of ‘test-bed’ modules across the span of the disciplinary spectrum.

Through discussion with staff and students on these modules, the resource materials can be tested and refined.

Finally, the project is working with the Digital Education Service on content creation and deployment, and integrating this resource effectively with other digital resources.

For more information contact: S.McLaughlin@leeds.ac.uk


Maria dos Santos Lonsdale, School of Design

Title: Using information and instructional design principles to enhance accessibility and inclusivity of course material on Blackboard VLE

Overview

Previous research has shown problems with the way information is presented and structured on Blackboard VLE in terms of accessibility, orientation, consistency and legibility.

Such inefficiency leads to frustrated students and a failure to assure teaching and learning quality.

This is worrying, considering that Blackboard is the main tool of communication, management, and assessment used by staff on a daily basis.

Moreover, it is a tool with great potential to offer high quality teaching to our generation of students who are always online and are very tech savvy.

The aim of this project is to use an information and instructional design approach to enhance accessibility and inclusivity of course material on Blackboard VLE at the University of Leeds. To achieve that aim, the objectives of this study are as follows:

  • To conduct a scoping study to identify how tutors organise and display course information; reasons why Blackboard VLE is used by tutors at a minimum level; student usage, views, and expectations of using Blackboard VLE.
  • To develop new design solutions using information and instructional design principles, as well as user-centred research methods.
  • To involve students as co-creators of education: as designers and researchers, as well as participants in any testing conducted.
  • To disseminate the findings and good practice through a Blackboard VLE Design Guidelines booklet, as well as workshops that will be delivered to staff at the University of Leeds.

For more information contact: M.Lonsdale@leeds.ac.uk



Huahui Zhao, School of Education

Title: New assessment criteria: an interdisciplinary investigation of their construction, introduction, implementation and impact across schools

Overview

This project aims to create expanded communities of practice in how new assessment criteria have been constructed, introduced, implemented and impacted learning and teaching experience across schools at the University of Leeds. It aims to generate comparative and cross-disciplinary attitudinal and evidential results of:

  • how new assessment criteria were constructed, introduced and implemented in different schools
  • whether and how new criteria have informed and supported assessment practice
  • how the development, introduction, implementation and consequential impact of the criteria affected each other
  • where improvements could be made and support could be provided

The results will generate evidential bases for effective implementation of new assessment criteria to make assessment of, for and as learning from teaching and learning perspectives.

This project will also employ mixed research methods to explore the construction, introduction, implementation and impact of new criteria across schools individually and then interactively. It will involve:

  • document analysis related to the introduction of new assessment criteria to understand their context and rationale
  • content analysis of assessment criteria and assessment related data to reveal their design and alignment with assessment practice
  • interviews with different stakeholders including DOSs, assessment leads, tutors and students in different schools to measure constructive alignment between assessment practice and criteria and the impact of new assessment criteria on teaching and learning.

Student researchers will get involved in the project alongside the principal investigator to generate insightful data from the students’ perspectives alongside perspectives from other stakeholders.

For more information contact: H.Zhao1@leeds.ac.uk


Chloe Wallace, School of Law

Title: Dealing with pedagogic culture shock during a study year abroad

Overview

Throughout the University, over 600 students a year choose to study abroad; an experience which should help them develop global and cultural insight into their studies.

However, the experience of culture shock, including pedagogic culture shock, can lead to students being unable to make the most of the unique learning experience which study abroad provides.

The aim of this project is to explore the pedagogic culture shocks which students experience on study abroad, and to develop evidence-based guidelines to assist students in transition to study abroad and in their development and wellbeing throughout and after the study abroad period.

The positive impact of a study abroad experience can be limited by the experience of culture shock, including pedagogic culture shock.

Pedagogic culture shock here means the experience of moving from one educational culture to another, and dealing with different teaching and assessment methods, as well as different expectations of learning, support and relationships within the institution.

In this project, I will work with student participants from different disciplines completing reflective diaries of their experience starting a study abroad year.

This data, together with desk research on educational and disciplinary cultures, will form the basis of an exploration of student experience of pedagogic culture shock, how they react to it, and what can be done to help students not only manage the culture shock but also learn from the experience.

For more information contact: C.J.Wallace@leeds.ac.uk

Craig A. Evans, School of Electronic & Electrical Engineering and Sam Wilson, School of Computing

Title: Development of an automated assessment and feedback platform

Overview

Using simulation software and learning to write computer code are common practical activities across engineering and scientific subjects.

Due to their nature, they are often taught in laboratory sessions during which students complete learning exercises to gain knowledge and develop their skills.

Class sizes can be very large and so it is not always feasible to provide formative feedback to students after each learning exercise, with feedback usually provided following formal summative assessment.

We aim to address this lack of formative feedback by developing an automated platform to which students upload their solutions to the formative learning exercises and receive feedback in return. If their solution is incorrect, they can re-attempt the exercise and try again.

In addition, the platform will also be able to be used for formal summative assessment. Academic staff will be able to create assignments and tests which are automatically graded when students submit their work.

The platform will be designed to be configurable so that it can support multiple programming languages and simulation packages. The initial plan is to focus support on C/C++ and Python but we are looking to hear from colleagues from around the University who are interested in support for other languages.

For more information contact: C.A.Evans@leeds.ac.uk or S.S.Wilson@leeds.ac.uk


Chris Thompson, Digital Education Service

Title: Navigating unbundled higher education: Design, development and reusability of effective digital learning

Overview

How do you design engaging, learner-centred digital learning experiences with authenticity, criticality and relevance? How do you empower creative professionals to guide subject matter experts to find their digital academic voice? How do you create the right project management environment for rapid technology-enhance learning design?

Through my project, I seek to empower academic and professional staff to assess and evaluate the opportunities of technology-enhanced learning and digital education.

My aims are to:

  • raise awareness and understanding of the opportunities of digital learning to enhance student education
  • illustrate the benefits of different learning platforms to inform decision-making in the un/re-bundling of student education
  • demonstrate the value and process of technology-enhanced learning design and content development through examples of good practice supported by sound pedagogy

Unbundling describes the disaggregation of service provision into constituent parts, typically through approaches to digital technology, driven by market or quasi-market forces (Morris et al 2017).

In higher education, unbundling impacts not only the design of learner-centred activities but also the development and selection of appropriate technologies and media, as consideration of delivery models and the re-use potential across different contexts come into play.

This changing educational landscape is complex territory to navigate.

The intended output of this project is to provide guidance to enable educators, schools and faculties make informed decisions about technology-enhanced learning to devise new educational outputs, reach wider international audiences and promote knowledge exchange.

This guidance will be supported by rich case studies and underpinned by an evaluation of relevant pedagogies.

For more information contact: C.J.Thompson1@leeds.ac.uk


Nina Wardleworth, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies

Title: Decolonising the Leeds Curriculum

Overview

This project continues the work on inclusive curriculum design begun by the Leeds University Union and the university’s ‘Why is my curriculum is so white’ task and finish group and will run in tandem with my work as Student Success Academic Lead.

There will be a range of project outputs including:

  • A new 10 credit discovery module on decolonial university studies for Level 1 students across the university. This module aims to provide students with an introduction to decolonial methodology that will then inform their future studies at Leeds.
  • The recruitment and training of decolonial student champions for each faculty to give students a strong voice in curriculum changes and to help to engage the student body more widely.

For more information contact: N.A.Wardleworth@leeds.ac.uk

 


Teaching Enhancement Projects 2018/19


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

Title: Employability non-engagement data (ENED) project

Overview

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 k.watkins@leeds.ac.uk or John Balfour  J.P.Balfour@leeds.ac.uk


Tom Jackson, School of Media and Communication

Title: The Practice-led PhD programme

Overview

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: T.Jackson@leeds.ac.uk

Ruth Payne, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies

Title: Accessible Assessment: an inclusivity toolkit for assessment design

Overview

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: r.payne@leeds.ac.uk


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

Title: Desktop Capture Feedback

Overview

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: A.Martinez-Arboleda@leeds.ac.uk


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

Overview

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: D.I.Lewis@leeds.ac.uk

Megan Kime, Digital Education Service

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

Overview

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: M.Kime@leeds.ac.uk


Cait Dennis and Nancy Davies, School of Medicine

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

Overview

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: timetoteach@leeds.ac.uk


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

Overview

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 p.wilding@leeds.ac.uk or Cathy Coombs c.e.b.coombs@leeds.ac.uk


Lynne Cade, Lifelong Learning Centre 

Title: Encouraging educational engagement in Armley prison, Leeds.

Overview

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: E.A.Cade@leeds.ac.uk


Teaching Enhancement Projects 2017/18

Brian Henson, School of Mechanical Engineering

Title: Benchmarking assessments of final-year projects

Overview

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: B.Henson@leeds.ac.uk


Bronwin Patrickson, Lifelong Learning Centre

Title: Mobile learning Innovation Project

Overview

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)

Overview

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


Alice Shepherd, Leeds University Business School, and Mark Sumner, School of Design

Title: Year in industry placements: Barriers, challenges and motivations

Overview

Year in Industry: Barriers, challenges and motivations

There is a well-established link between completing an undergraduate Year in Industry (YiI) placement and a subsequent improvement in both academic performance and graduate employability (Crawford and Wang, 2016; Jones et al, 2014, Hergert, 2009).

Despite the significant benefits that a YiI can provide, the uptake of this option is variable across the University the Leeds (UoL) with a large proportion of students not choosing this route.

Although there is some literature exploring student decision-making about YiI, the barriers that deter students from YiI options are not well understood.  It has been strongly suggested by some (All Party Parliamentary Group, 2017; Lee, 2015) that the most important barrier to YiI access is the impact of unpaid placements, but more detailed analysis of the barriers to YiI options suggests that the barriers to uptake are much more complex and specific to individual students.

The aim of this project was to explore and understand the motivations and barriers that influence student decision-making about YiI options.  By analysing existing university data, combined with student surveys and interviews, a comparative study of student experiences and opinions was developed with undergraduate students from Leeds University Business School and the School of Design.

These two schools have very different placement contexts and YiI structures, but both have high levels of engagement with YiI options, with 40% of all UoL YiI students coming from these two schools.  We found that the barriers to a YiI were perceived as the same by both YiI and non-YiI students.

However, it is how an individual student resolves or mitigate these barriers during the trading off of costs and benefits of YiI that differentiates them.   We make a number of recommendations around university, school and programme-level employability support based on our findings.

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

Overview

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

 


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

Overview

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: M.C.Schuessler@leeds.ac.uk or Clair at: c.l.souter@leeds.ac.uk