This study block sees the first phase of the Electronic Management of Assessment (EMA) project having been kicked off. The Educational Technology Team are working closely with Quality Assurance and Enhancement (QAE) and SPA, this phase of the project focuses on improving clarity of grading and summative assessment feedback.
It was clearly highlighted in the last NSS that students have significant challenges in terms of understanding marking criteria, and from that the fairness of marking. Over 600 responses on the ROS (reps online system) suggested that this area is not working as well as it could do, and they see and feel there are big differences in assessment feedback practice.
A study block 2 pilot is underway involving fourteen modules across five academic departments. This involves the use of learning space submission and feedback tools, working to a new set of assessment feedback principles, and marking against an assessment rubric. A review of this pilot, and engagement from a new EMA Academic working group will help shape an approach for an institutional wide rollout. Assessment Rubrics are already widely used at Falmouth and across academia, each one is unique to the assessment element. Using the learning space submission and feedback tools academic staff can visually represent students’ achievement (and therefore mark) in relation to their assessments. Essentially, laid out in a table format, rows display the learning outcomes being assessed, and the columns show the level to which the student is, isn’t and could be working to. See the example below:
Some comments from academics that have experience of using rubrics like the one above:
Rubrics develop/drives a level of professionalism and enables me to provide more timely feedback
Rubrics give the marker confidence that they can be more objective than subjective
Rubrics let students know how their grade was calculated and where they could improve their work
Rubrics set out expectations to aid the student to understand what they’re being graded against
Determining a consistent approach to providing summative assessment feedback to students at Falmouth will enable them to be supported centrally more effectively, and for us to measure and enhance feedback practice. The mix of practice within courses and schools causes challenges when students seek support from central services, can create a disjointed experience for both the students and staff. As we move towards more trans-disciplinarity and grow our online delivery, these challenges are worsened.
The platform for this will be Learning Space, it has submission and feedback tools available that are widely used across the HE and FE sector.
Students will receive summative assessment feedback and provisional marks for their work (ratified marks will still be available through MyFalmouth) regardless of the type of submission (artefact, performance, essay, image etc) online through Learning Space. This creates a standard process and it is one that can be centrally supported, understood, measured and enhanced.
We will be continuing and expanding the pilot to ensure that courses that have been through the new Curriculum Management process are trialling these new methods in Study Block 3.
If you’d like to get involved, or have any questions about EMA in general, please get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This case study looks at one way in which guest lectures are being preserved by Steve Braund, course coordinator for MA Illustration: Authorial Practice. By using tools available to all members of staff, Steve, working with the Educational Technology team, is able to offer students 24-hour access to valuable course materials from experts in the world of illustration.
The Absurd Event: Approaches to Absurdity in Illustration, 2012
Bringing Experts Together
Steve and his colleagues have organised the MA Illustration: Authorial Practice annual Illustration Forum since 2003. The event brings together world-renowned illustrators & publishers that speak to an Authorial Illustration Practice. Famous names from past events include, Lorenzo Mattotti, Audrey Niffenegger and Sara Fanelli.
Unlike a conference, the Forum’s speakers are hand selected, which allows the team to create an interesting mix of voices and opinions around each year’s particular theme. This has unintentionally led to picking up on many very early career practitioners who have gone on to become stars of the illustration discipline including; Laura Carlin and Anna Bhushan – the forum archive offering retrospectively, rare, and fascinating insights into an artist’s early practice.
2009 Forum: Under the Covers: a one-day forum
exploring convergences in illustration, literature and design.
Left to right: Prof. John Vernon Lord, Sara Fanelli, Dr. Leo de Frietas,Viviane
Schwarz, Steve Braund and Audrey Niffenegger.
The Challenge & Solution
Initially each forum event was captured by audio only, with video being adopted later on. Over the years these have been hosted on various technologies e.g. Echo360 and Falmouth OnAir – but as technologies change, content was at risk of being lost. There was also an important extra requirement that content should be restricted to Falmouth students only and not accessible by the general public.
To solve this, the Educational Technology team worked with Steve to create a Forum archive on the Learning Space. It was advised that all video files should be retrieved, backed up and uploaded to a password protected Vimeo account. Then, the Learning Space Forum activity was used to organise the videos and audio into a catalogue of content on the MA Illustration course page. This allows the students to search and find videos by year, presenter and theme.
The university has so many renowned guest speakers that it makes sense to build archives of these, as they make such a rich resource for future students and staff and, as with our Illustration Forum, they eventually take on historical significance too. Much thanks to the Educational Technology team.
– Steve Braund
The solution is scalable as the technology is secure and new videos can easily be added at any time by a member of staff. It could also be used to build repositories of example dissertations, internship opportunities and other collections of useful resources. Steve is now looking even further to the future by live-streaming the most recent Forum so that the Falmouth Flexible MA Illustration students can also participate.
For help with creating an archive of valuable course content, please get in touch with the Educational Technology team using email@example.com
This case study exhibits an innovate flipped classroom approach used by Lucy Cokes, Senior Lecturer for BA(Hons) Creative Advertising as part of a final year module. A flipped classroom reverses the traditional teaching structure by asking students to learn material outside of the classroom in exchange for more meaningful face-to-face activities. Through careful planning and maximising the potential of features available in Learning Space, students found the new approach to be an engaging way to learn.
Flipping the Class
Lucy’s flipped approach focused on teaching students the laws and regulations that marketing campaigns must adhere to. Traditionally this was delivered via a 2-hour lecture with no time to put the knowledge into practice inside the classroom. By swapping the lecture with an online series of short video lectures, students could instead use the 2-hour class time to apply the knowledge using interesting small group activities.
Is the traditional lecture on the way out? | © Arabelle Zhuang/Mayn Creative
An Innovative Strategy for Teaching and Learning
To help the students adapt, Lucy was clear in outlining her expectations of the students on the Learning Space. With the learning resources hosted online, students could access them anywhere at any time. Students could pause, speed-up or slow-down video lectures to meet their individual learning needs and then test their knowledge using a multiple-choice quiz activity and immediately receive feedback.
“The use of audio as opposed to reading is particularly helpful for students with dyslexia, of which we have a significant number in our cohort. I was touched when some of my students made a point of thanking me for producing these online resources as they found it really helpful compared to attending lectures.”
– Lucy Cokes
You may be wondering how can staff be sure that students are participating with the online resources… The activity completion setting is a handy tool built into Learning Space which can be used to track student progress. Checkboxes appear next to each activity which can either be ticked off by students, or automatically triggered when certain conditions are met, such as by completing a quiz. Staff can then view an activity report which provides an overview of where each student is at.
A challenge when using a flipped approach is ensuring that not only students are on board but also that staff are fully invested too. To sell the benefits of the approach, Lucy piloted a flipped session with the course team as part of her PGCHE with Falmouth Flexible, to great success. One colleague noted that ‘all students could benefit from a flipped class structure’.
A flipped classroom accommodates multiple learning styles. | © Ignas Vincerzevkis
Lucy has already applied what she has learnt from her first flipped classroom to a first-year module. Although by her own admission, it can take some time to initially create the online resources – the benefits to the students however, is invaluable. From a pedagogical perspective, the approach is forward thinking, as higher education continues to adopt blended learning.
Thinking about incorporating a flipped classroom within your own module? Get in touch with the Educational Technology team using firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help support you find the right technologies and provide top tips for incorporating them within a flipped classroom.
Ed Tech attended Digifest 2019 this week. Run by JISC, this HE/FE conference aimed to “explore the power of digital and look in detail at what next-generation digital students need to thrive”.
The impact of machine learning was a recurring theme in the keynote speeches and take-home messages included:
- to avoid bias, we need to ensure that data sets used in machined learning are explicitly inclusive;
- today’s graduates will have multiple careers, mostly in jobs that do not currently exist;
- to be employable in a world where machine learning/artificial intelligence is ubiquitous, humans will need three key skills: creativity, empathy, accountability.
Liz Sproat, Google’s head of education for Europe
Workshop sessions attended by Ed Tech included:
Th University of Essex’s student data dashboard
JISC’s digital literacy framework
Finally, there was an excellent simulation of a day in the life of Natalie, an undergraduate student in 2029 whose learning is via VR.
Nathalie, student 4.0
We look forward to Digifest 2020!
New UK regulations on accessibility became law in 2018 and content made available on Learning Space needs to be compliant by September 2020.
What does it mean for Falmouth teaching staff?
You will be responsible for making your Learning Space compliant by 2020. You will need to
- become familiar with the regulations;
- learn and apply relevant practical IT skills.
What are some of those practical skills?
- structuring Word documents using Word’s heading styles (NOT by formatting text as large and bold);
- using meaningful headings on every PowerPoint slide (even if they are hidden behind an image);
- tagging (in the correct way) all images with a meaningful alternative text description;
- using descriptive text for links (NOT ‘click here’).
What help will I get with this?
As well as offering training and guidance, we are looking at procuring an “accessibility checker” for staff, to be embedded in Learning Space. When you upload a document, it would:
- tell you how accessible your content is;
- highlight where you need to fix things by hand.
It would also provide management information on how accessible each module area is.
Do I need to do anything right now?
For now, do your best to make any new materials accessible and inclusive (a) using accessibility checkers built into Microsoft Office and (b) following accessibility guidance from gov.uk. We will be in touch regarding training and content-wide compliance later this year.
Today sees the end of the project! 🍾
We have successfully upgraded Learning Space to the latest version, moved from an internally hosted system to a cloud hosted platform, re-designed the theme to ensure branding is appropriate, completed 363 user stories over the past 11 months, and made 2,238 changes within the system to ensure that it is running smoothly and in line with our requirements; amongst other things:
We’ve run 81 training sessions with you since the launch of the live system in May 2018 between the 4 of us, plus hundreds of email support inquiries and hours of phone calls.
Collaboration with various teams across the institution has seen the project delivered successfully on time to provide a reliable and up to date service to you and your students, over the last 11 months some of the teams we’ve worked with have included:
- FXPlus IT – supported the project and successfully integrated University systems with Learning Space
- Communications – advice on branding guidelines
- Student Programmes and Achievement – supporting refer/defer work and decisions about setting up online hand-ins
- Information Governance – Compliance and GDPR guidance
- Library – Talis integration and testing
- Quality Assurance and Enhancement/SITs – central module details and student enrolments
We are now moving the project into ‘Business as Usual’ which means that we will start to work on user stories that were not in scope for the main project, and on improvements to the system. Please get in touch if you have any ideas or requirements.
With the first term underway and Learning Space in daily use by most students and teaching staff, the upgrade project is nearing its end. We have been responding to user queries and feedback, some of which have led us to tweak the system settings. We have also been supporting students, particularly in the use of the university’s e-portfolio tool. Other behind-the-scenes work has included expansion of our guidance notes (see below) and work on improving business analytics. Over the next fortnight, the upgrade project will formally end, and maintenance and further development of the system will become “business as usual”.
Guidance for Staff
Here is a reminder that there are comprehensive yet accessible notes for staff and students. Among the 38 topics you will find:
Staff workshops coming soon!
Following this Summer’s successful training sessions, we are planning a series of short staff workshops covering e-feedback, online peer review, tips and tricks and accessibility. We’ll be in touch with all courses at a later date to explain more.
With the academic year now underway, students are logging into Learning Space, checking their modules, accessing sign-ups and downloading lecture notes and handouts. By now your modules should be compliant against our audit criteria but if you’re having difficulties please get in touch using our contact information below.
As logins have increased, as have the number of questions that the team have been receiving. Please find some of their questions below:
Q) I can log in but I can’t see my modules.
A) Students will be able to log in once they have completed enrolment. If they can’t see any of their modules then you will need to contact student records to ensure that they have been assigned to their modules. Once this has been completed it will take a few hours to update in Learning Space.
Q) I can’t access MyTimetable, MyFalmouth, or my email.
A) These aren’t systems that the Educational Team directly supports but a great place to direct students to is the portal. Here they can find all of the information they will need for the duration of their time here at Falmouth.
Q) How can I access another school’s resource page?
A) We recently contacted school admins to remind course coordinators to link to the resource pages of other schools that students frequently use. For example, for a student in Fine Art to access the Institute of Photography’s resource page, the Fine Art course coordinator will need to add a link to it from the Fine Art course page. All of the links can be found in our technical resource guide.
Please be sure to point your students to our Learning Space guides or access them by clicking the question mark in the top right of the page.
We have also been receiving lots of requests from staff needing to be added to modules in Learning Space. Don’t forget, as a member of staff you can add another staff member to any page you have access to or you can ask your course coordinator or school admin.
If you need any support with Learning Space, the Educational Technology team is on hand to answer any questions and hold 1 to 1 sessions, please simply email email@example.com for more information.
The last couple of weeks have seen the launch of the new Learning Space and everyone’s use of it. The switch over went really smoothly and apart from a few teething problems that were solved quickly feedback so far suggests that the new Learning Space is more intuitive to use and fresh.
The new user guidance is now available at http://etsupport.freshdesk.com/support/solutions and accessible through the help button on the top bar of Learning Space, next to your profile link. These guides have been updated to align with the new look and feel of the system, and there are instructional videos available if you prefer them.
All staff, including School Admins are now able to add and remove other staff to and from modules. Please ensure that current staff on modules, and/or School Admins are the first port of call for getting added onto modules that you need.
We are doing our final audit for this year this week. We will be in touch in the same way as before for any modules requiring additional work.
Today marks the launch of the new environment, this morning when you visit the usual Learning Space address you’ll see that we’ve now made live the new system. This is in preparation for students starting back with us in a few weeks and we hope you’ll find the system easier to use and more resilient.
Last week we’ve held additional drop-in training sessions and this week those sessions will continue. Please pop into see one of the team to discuss any help or assistance you may need with the new system in preparation for the start of term.
- Tue 4th, 9:00 – 17:00 – Penryn – Exchange Blue
- Wed 5th, 9:00 – 17:00 – Falmouth – Seminar F (Treetops)
- Thurs 6th, 9:00 – 17:00 – Penryn – Exchange Blue
As always we’re available for any additional questions you may have by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the last few weeks we’ve also been enhancing all our support materials, each has been reviewed and updated to reflect the new environment, video versions can be found at the bottom of more complicated articles to demonstrate what’s being described.