Brookes Teaching Fellowships (and projects) 2011

  • Teaching Fellowships have been awarded to:

  • Project: Developing historical Imagination through undergraduate teaching and assessment.

    Project: Responding to student feedback: supporting lecturers and improving courses.

    My aim in this project was to identify a better process for academics to respond constructively to student evaluations. I investigated the following aspects of student feedback to lecturers

    • Whether the evaluation data is valid and reliable
    • How to motivate students to give appropriate feedback
    • Whether lecturers interpret feedback accurately
    • How to motivate lecturers to respond to feedback
    • How to ensure that lecturers have sufficient skills to adjust their teaching strategies in response to the feedback

    My findings so far have indicated that lecturers use a broad range of strategies at different stages in their modules to encourage students to give feedback on their teaching. Possible ways to motivate students to engage in evaluation include sticks, carrots and/or warm relationships between students and lecturers. There is some scope for lecturers to misinterpret feedback, since (despite previous research evidence to the contrary) students’ underlying views are not always accurately expressed by the scores they give on the module evaluation form. It is vital that academics supplement end-of-module questionnaires with qualitative approaches to gathering feedback in order to understand better what the students have experienced, particularly given the low response rate to the online module evaluation system. The new Principal Lecturers (Student Experience) are already looking at ways of supporting lecturers to develop their skills in order to respond to student feedback effectively.

    Project: Engaging Business students in curriculum development related to Global Citizenship - can global citizenship align with global business students?

    This project aims to develop a mechanism to increase the engagement of students in shaping the design and delivery of their curriculum. The project will take place in the context of a Business and Management UG degree programme and concerns the embedding of Global Citizenship, with specific reference to environmental sustainability, within a programme .  One of the key drivers for the project is the hope that there will be an embedding of Global Citizenship offering students meaningful opportunities to engage with this area and shape our understanding of this contested concept.
    A permanent place has been found in our curriculum for the discussion of Global Citizenship with first year students, the project will be complete when a mechanism is in place to take the outputs from those discussions and feed them into module content in later years, this process is under construction.

    Project: Transition Mentoring for the MSc Business Management students

    Peer Mentoring (PM) is one of the enhancement initiatives proposed in the Oxford Brookes Strategy for the Enhancement of Student Experience suggesting the possibility of links between student participation in PM and the development of Graduate Attributes. In mapping Graduate Attributes against the literature of PM it can be concluded that such schemes typically address critical self-awareness and personal literacy and academic literacy. In the context of the international student profile of postgraduate programmes within the Business School a PM scheme can provide an opportunity to foster a greater degree of integration between home and international students and can underpin the development of cross-cultural capability a key aspect of global citizenship, as well as increased engagement in the life of the university.

    Building on my experience of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) with undergraduate students I propose to develop a PM framework focusing on supporting postgraduate students within the Business School). Trained Peer Mentors from within the programme will be able to support small groups of new students. The groups will be made up from diverse national backgrounds to ensure a range of intercultural encounters. The project will provide an opportunity for research evaluating the impact on cultural capacity of both mentor and mentees and it is anticipated that the results will lead to publication.

    Project: Peer mentoring within Hospitality and Tourism programmes

    Jane Anderson (Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment)

    The Live Projects Network is an online resource to connect students, clients and academics who are, or wish to become involved in live projects. The purpose of the network is to promote and extend live project practice and dialogue. The authors have analysed case studies and proposed a definition of a live project plus a method of typological analysis to broaden understanding of the diversity of current live project practice. At the moment the network is focused on architectural live projects but there is scope for it to serve an interdisciplinary purpose in the future.
    Live project case studies are rarely analysed and there is little research into, or theoretical basis established for, the pedagogy and practice of live projects. The Live Projects Network seeks to connect existing and new practitioners and to deepen understanding of the potential of educational live projects. The establishment of an online Live Projects Network stemmed from our observation that many architecture schools were tentatively engaging with live projects but had few resources to help them do this in a pedagogically informed way. By our definition, a live project comprises the negotiation of a brief, timescale, budget and product between an educational organisation and an external collaborator.

    Project: Assignment Brief Design CPD Resource

    Assignment Brief Design CPD Resource

    The fellowship project is to design CPD resource for academic staff aiming to develop professional practice in assessment setting. It focuses on improving the effectiveness the assignment brief (instructions) design. Although assignment feedback has received a great deal of attention at Brookes and across HE, the pre-task stage of the setting stage itself has not.

    Assessment Task Process

    1. Designing 
    2. Setting
    3. Supporting
    4. Feeding Back 
    5. Assessing 
    6. Monitoring
    7. Re-designing  

    Figure 1: The assessment task process

    My collaboration with a colleague’s research into assignment types and student perception of assignment tasks, has led to the realization that the student experience and potentially performance could be enhanced by working on this area of practice. This has led to the development of a set of brief design guidelines. 
    Mid way through the project I find that the work has made a significant contribution to my teaching practice in the use of new technology for learning & teaching as well as for designing staff development in this area.

    The CPD resource will be delivered in conjunction with a staff consultancy -The ABC service, targeting primarily Stage k of the assessment cycle, offering suggestions and recommendations to staff on improving effectiveness of assignment briefs. This service is currently in operation, with several staff already having submitted briefs and received feedback. 
    Coupled with my CPD resource, an integrated staff support and development opportunity will be provided.

    Project: Using virtual film sets to produce triggers and scenarios for the VFP in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

    My fellowship project within the Department of Clinical Health Care in Oxford Brookes University focused on finding a suitable technology for the creation of triggers that will engage students in the virtual family concept, and will thus best help students achieve the set of learning outcomes outlined in the new NMC guidelines. Two problems were at the heart of the project: Working together in a team with lecturers on creating motivational triggers for online self-study units, and creating them in a sustainable way.

    My journey through this project has taught me different things. At the centre of my discoveries was the visible surprise in the faces of the colleagues in my team with the insight that "putting learning online means you need to think about what you teach". This, of course, does not mean that they normally do their teaching without thinking. It just shows that creating study material for online learning requires the anticipation of learner needs and reactions in an extensive way, rather than reacting ad-hoc to learners’ needs, which is possible in face-to-face teaching and learning. Creating the resources requires a kind of team effort where each team member has to put in effort to learn new skills, and this is a ‘vice versa’ process. The lecturers have had to acquire new skills working with a software tool like Articulate Storyline, and DMeLDs need to learn how best to use such tools to transform content into an interactive learning package.

    All team members are still in this process, and it is - by definition - a never-ending story, because there are many variants involved. The technology keeps changing, products need to be evaluated and adapted depending on the evaluation. There has to be some flexibility in the make-up of the team if the project is to be sustainable in an on-going way. Evaluating the student experience will hopefully show us how to continue our journey with the Virtual Family.