Peter Sloan, Department of Physics
In this case study (from accounts first published on his blog), Peter Sloan discusses the implementation of randomised coursework, followed by an evaluation over two years looking at the outcome on exam performance and considering additional questions such as bias in the outcomes.
Dr Christine Edmead, from the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology at the University of Bath, discusses why and how flipping was used in a core immunology course, and some of the lessons learnt over time.
The University has successfully run two Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs); one on ‘Inside Cancer’ and one on ‘Sustainability for Professionals’. These MOOCs have attracted different communities of participants, as reported internally at Exchange! 2014.
Social Network Analysis (SNA) is a technique used to identify the characteristics of a network. A variety of SNA metrics can be used to detect the overall character of a network (density, connectedness, ‘small world’ and so on). In addition node-level metrics (one at the level of the individual participant) can be used to identify different types of participant (for example, ‘hubs’, ‘spokes’ and ‘links’).
This project has applied SNA techniques to these two Bath MOOC courses. The study has been mainly descriptive rather than proscriptive. The hypotheses that have been explored are that:
- The differences between the courses leads to measurable differences in the nature of the resulting network;
- These differences could guide the development of new MOOCs.
In order to explore these hypotheses, the courses have be compared using a variety of SNA metrics. The findings show that:
- A pedagogical design encouraging community driven (‘connectivist’) learning does indeed lead to measurable structural differences in a MOOC network. Thus, design of a MOOC needs to take into account the desired learning behaviour of the participants;
- We were able to identify network learning – in which conversations are driven by the community rather than by tutors. Thus, the role of community gatekeepers are key and these individuals can be identified and supported;
- There is some evidence that a more centralized MOOC becomes more community led over time. Thus, it may be important to redesign a MOOC over time to take account of the evolving participant behaviour.
This 2014-15, international, cross-university, collaborative, student-led project promoted and enhanced the learning of foreign languages through multilingual and multicultural interviews and case studies using social media.
5 students from the University of Bath studying Spanish as a foreign language were put in contact with 5 students from the University of Mar del Plata studying English as a foreign language. They were given a set of guidelines to conduct the project together with topics related to their syllabus such as personal information, university life, cultural differences, etc. Each student was allocated a partner to work with. They carried out interviews and arranged online meetings. All communication was conducted in their respective target language. Students exchanged experiences, learnt about different academic and cultural life, built new relationships and developed their languages skills in a real context.
They presented their findings in a variety of forms ranging from class discussions, a short oral presentation or a written report. The project was supervised by their Spanish tutor at different point of its course. When it was finished all students taking part received a letter certifying their participation and conclusion of the project. Overall the project was highly successful on different levels and easily transferable to other languages or departments. (more…)
This 2014-15 project made an important contribution to the overall cost of a one-semester (S1, 2014/15) sabbatical aimed at improving the student experience through enhancing teaching, learning and feedback outcomes during UG degrees in Chemical Engineering at two leading universities in the Southern Hemisphere (and the most highly ranked Australian universities for Chem Eng): UQ (Brisbane) and the University of Melbourne. To maintain our excellent NSS position for student satisfaction we need to innovate and learn from other leading academic institutions. This sabbatical proposed to do this by:
- Benchmarking UoB measures of student satisfaction (including feedback methodologies) and other tools for enhancing the student experience against those in UQ and Melbourne;
- Examining the effectiveness of the teaching, feedback and student experience innovations that have been introduced in UQ and Melbourne. This was done both by examining outputs such ranking of subjects and universities, and by conducting interviews with academic staff, students and administrative support managers;
- Examining how QA documentation is interpreted through to the institutional committee structures down to improving and enhancing the individual student experience through assessment, feedback and student support outcomes. Of key concern was academic ownership of programme and changes made to it, which affects both student and staff identities, and social cohesion within universities.
Fabio Nemetz, Computer Science, Director of Studies
In the Department of Computer Science, we introduced agile mini, stand-up meetings between the Director of Studies (DoS) and the student representatives. The idea is very simple: between SSLCs, separate short informal meetings are held with each year group’s student reps separately.
The main benefit is that reps don’t need to wait for SSLCs to introduce their issues. If problems are minor, solutions can be suggested that can be implemented quickly, or we place an item for the next SSLC. This enables the SSLCs to concentrate on more major issues and for reps to raise issues they would otherwise feel too minor or not timely for the SSLCs themselves. This can however in turn resolve issues quickly before they become major and and the structure could help to potentially save time overall.
Dr Aydin Nassehi from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath discusses using the Poll everywhere audience response system in his lectures to gain feedback from students.
In the second video, Aydin directly compares the Poll Everywhere system with the common option of using clickers as an audience response system for use within lectures.
Dr Kit Yates from the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Bath reflects on his experience of using iPads in mathematics lectures as part of a trial to provide his pros and cons for their use.
Dr Kit Yates from the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Bath describes how he recorded his working through problem solutions on a tablet as an online resource to replicate some of the advantages of the live session over the solution sheet.
Dr Kit Yates from the Departmental of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Bath discusses how and why he changed his mathematical biology problem classes to focus more on the act of coding, inspired by a combination of flipping and apprentice model approaches.