Faculty of Engineering & Design staff

Sharing experience and best practice across the Faculty of Engineering & Design

Topic: Staff event

Assessment - using Moodle Assignment


📥  Staff event, Technology Enhanced Learning

assignment_imgOn 31 March Rachel Applegate and I held a presentation and practice workshop on the Moodle Assignment tool. Our presentation looked at the settings and Rachel explained the impact (on staff and students) of choosing particular ones.

The presentation was recorded so you can view at your leisure. (The recording finished before the session did put you can see the remaining slides in the PowerPoint file).

panopt_screenshot, link to video recording


Also, the PPT slides may be a useful reminder and can be downloaded for your own use.

There wasn't much practice in the practice part of our session so we've put some links to resources here.

  1. Screencasts - videos that work through the process
    • Setting up a Moodle assignment
    • Grading and feedback (within the Moodle grading area)
    • Grading and feedback (exporting submission and offline grading)
  2. Handout - overview of marking methods in Moodle Assignment

If you couldn't make this session, we're also going to be on hand for a couple of drop-in sessions on 27 April 2017 - details will follow in a faculty email.

And finally... some answers to a couple of questions we said we would investigate.

Q&A from the workshop

Question: What do allocated markers see when you use marker allocation with marking workflow?

Answer: Teachers will be able to see (and mark) any student regardless of whether they have been allocated to them or not.
When marker allocation is on, Teachers can apply the marker filter to show only those students allocated to a specific individual.
Non-editing Teachers can only see their allocated students however (so they don't have the marker filter).

Question: What happens when you upload a grading worksheet with grades for some students in the cohort, but not others (e.g. if there are multiple markers and you have marked a sub-set of students)?

Answer: When you upload the grading worksheet, the grades and feedback will only apply to the sub-set of students you have marked – the empty records in the grading worksheet for the other students won’t overwrite any grades which are already recorded in Moodle




Forming a cross university networking group to share best practices and experiences


📥  New initiative, Staff event, Staff insight

Jane L Phippen, Taught Programmes Manager at the Faculty of Engineering & Design, reflects on her involvement in forming a cross university networking group and hosting the University’s first Taught Programmes Administration Networking Event.

February 28 may have been the last day of the month, but it saw the first Taught Programmes Administration Networking Event hosted by the University of Bath.

During the summer of 2016 the Undergraduate Managers visited the Universities of Birmingham, Exeter and Oxford-Brookes to ascertain if there was any interest in forming a networking group with the aim to share best practices and experiences, create a forum for discussions, understanding different processes and organisational structures.  We were enthusiastically welcomed and it did not take long to realise that there was indeed huge interest in this initiative.

Over the next few months we established the common areas for discussion and the event was planned.

On the 28 February we welcomed support staff from the three Universities to a networking event in The Edge.  During the course of the day 38 people participated, including our own colleagues from Bath.  The day consisted of group discussions and demonstrations of processes around the Curriculum Management Information System (CMIS), BSS Boards, Student notes on SAMIS, exam preparation on Moodle and we saw the iPhone Student Apps that Exeter have developed.  The conversations were lively and enjoyed by all and my highlight was to witness the open, animated discussions taking place.

So what is the next step?  There is certainly an appetite to continue with this type of engagement, whether it takes place here again at Bath is uncertain; we would like to encourage one of the other Universities to host the event – watch this space!


Building networks at the Engineering Placement Fair


📥  Staff event, Staff insight

Alison Ukleja, Placements Manager, writes about our recent Engineering Placement Fair:

In November we welcomed over 70 companies to campus for our Placement Fair. Our industrial partners got the opportunity to promote their businesses and talk with our students about placements, summer jobs and graduate roles. We aimed to promote engineering businesses on campus that may not be household names and introduce students to companies they may not have heard of.

Although our focus is on 12 month placements, we wanted to expand the scope and appeal of the Fair to STEM undergraduates, finalists and postgraduates as well. With over 1200 students through the door (mostly engineers, but also some Maths and Physics students) we felt we achieved what we hoped to do.

Showcasing a variety of technology

Martin Baker Aircraft Company brought a jet pilot ejector seat, Saietta an electric motorcycle, Honeywell Aerospace a cooling system, while Anthony Best Dynamics demonstrated their steering robot for driverless cars. Bryden Wood drew the crowds giving a virtual reality demonstration where students toured construction projects in a virtual world. Most companies were able to show a range of technology and products to engage students’ interest including Herman Miller from Bath displaying a range of their innovative ergonomic chairs. Two popular stands were Mondelez with a supply of chocolate that lasted all day and Heineken handed out beer and cider prizes in their quiz.

Alex Powell, IMEE finalist in a pilot ejector seat at the Martin Baker stand

Alex Powell, IMEE finalist in a pilot ejector seat at the Martin Baker stand

The Fair was also a great opportunity for employers to discover the impressive achievements of our student projects. Team Bath Racing, Team Bath Racing Electiric, Bath Zero Emissions Motorcycles, Team Bath Drones and Bath Underwater Racing Submarine Team all exhibited their work enabling the teams to make new contacts for technical support or sponsorship. Our Drone team attracted attention from defence company Harris Corporation, with their expertise in release mechanisms, opening up new possibilities to drop things!

A great day

The whole event demonstrated real energy and enthusiasm for engineering, making for a successful day of recruitment, networking and collaboration. Our industrial partners fedback how brilliant it was to talk with such motivated future engineers. I'd like to thank my team for their hard work in organising the event and look forward to doing it all again in two years' time.


Transportation in the low carbon age

  , ,

📥  Research, Staff event

Professor Jamie Turner summarises his recent inaugural lecture on Transportation in the low carbon age:

My inaugural lecture looked at the challenge of how society can offer freedom of transport while facing up to climate change.

The stark facts

In the UK, road and air transport (both overwhelmingly fossil-fuel based) use energy at a rate twice that of the average power transmission of the national grid. In 2015, road transport alone used energy at an average rate slightly more than the peak electricity demand in that year. In simple terms, if we electrify the road transport fleet we are going to need a grid – and electricity generation system – at least twice the capacity we have now. To generate this from nuclear power we would need 16.5 more Hinckley Point C power stations at a total cost of £404 billion.

The success of the IC engine and the failure of alternatives

Personal transportation using the internal combustion (IC) engine has brought great economic development because of its affordability. The IC engine is made from cheap and abundant materials using cost-effective processes while using a cheap energy storage system. Liquid fuels are energy dense, easy to transport and also provide low energy losses both in the vehicle and the energy distribution system. Moving away from this is a significant danger to our economic model that makes transport affordable for all (including manufacturers, fuel companies, governments and consumers). This financial system relies on the consumer being able to afford what is offered and will collapse if this is not the case.

The government provides some stimulus for low-carbon vehicles in the form of rebates for electric vehicle purchases; however, EV sales rarely exceed 1% as a monthly maximum and since the rebate reduction this year they have dropped. I think it unlikely that this will break out into the mainstream any time soon. Unfortunately one can largely discount hydrogen as a solution as well. In addition to the power requirement, we have no hydrogen distribution infrastructure at all and the energetic losses in such a system would be considerable, to say the least.

But we absolutely do need to change from a fossil-fuel based transport economy.

Ensuring the polluter pays

The problem of fossil CO2 emissions from cars (and by extension vehicles in general) is not actually the fault of the manufacturers – the fossil carbon that is emitted comes from the fuel, the sale of which the fuel suppliers alone profit from. Yet, car manufacturers have more significant legislation raised on them to reduce CO2 emissions than the fuel suppliers have to take the fossil carbon out of the fuel. Fuel suppliers have a vast revenue stream which dwarfs that of the car makers, and which could and should pay to develop the means of fully decarbonising their product. They are not made to meaningfully do this, which is not aligned with the maxim ‘the polluter should pay’.

It is also somewhat ironic that, after 130 years, most people assume that the IC engine has to use fossil fuel, whereas it was originally fuelled using biofuels and we later made it operate on fossil fuels for cost reasons. In this regard, clearly we are in a circle of hell of our own making.

The pragmatic solution

To this pragmatist at least, the solution appears to be to keep affordable IC engines, but to find a solution in the form of decarbonising the liquid energy carriers. This would keep travel affordable. We could use their high energy density to facilitate access to the huge amounts of renewable and clean energy that falls on the earth (the power of wind energy at turbine heights alone amounts to about 78 TW while the total transportation draw is about 3 TW).

Technologies exist to capture CO2 directly from the atmosphere; this can be combined with hydrogen from water electrolysis to produce methanol at about 50% process efficiency, and this in turn can be onward synthesized to ‘drop-in’ fuels for existing vehicles with about an 8% point penalty. If all of the energy used is renewable, we have a fully-decarbonised energy vector. We would need 6-7 TW of renewable energy to decarbonise transport – or less than 10% of global wind energy (and this is without accessing solar energy in deserts, for which I estimated that an area half the size of Somerset could gather the same energy as Europe currently uses in its transport fleet).

Transitioning to a decarbonised transport system

With a taxation system based on taxing energy purchased (and not the liquid volume), in combination with a factor penalising any fossil carbon associated with providing that energy, governments could facilitate migration to a decarbonised energy stream while keeping their tax take at a constant level. This is not something provided by the current inducements for EVs. Supply of such fuels – which is being researched by forward-thinking companies and research institutions, including Audi – enables all vehicles to start to be decarbonised immediately. Contrast this with a gradual movement to an electricity or hydrogen-based transport system, where the small number of such vehicles cannot provide an immediate large revenue stream to pay for the change.

If fuel companies do not embrace the requirement to decarbonise their product, but continue to lobby against any change they could find their businesses severely impacted by a move to another energy economy that their resistance has brought about. They have the revenue stream to do the research and to facilitate decarbonisation via industrialisation, as well as the infrastructure to distribute the product – and they also have the ultimate and moral responsibility for CO2 emissions from the fossil fuels they currently supply.


TEL Event #3 - Web conferencing

  , ,

📥  Staff event, Technology Enhanced Learning

Our third event saw Dr John Orr describe how he and his colleague, Dr Saverio Spadea, used a web conferencing tool called Adobe Connect to deliver a successful, blended workshop – with 20 participants on campus and another 50 online.

Their workshop included:

  • 4 presentations, 2 presenters on campus, 1 in the USA and 1 in Canada
  • A lab demonstration via webcam in 6E lab
  • Online Q&A using the web chat tool
  • Face-to-face Q&A using a mic

A number of tips were identified for anyone delivering this kind of online event:

  1. Time your event to take account of different time zones where possible
  2. Set defaults to mute/no video for participants
  3. Use a USB web cam which can be moved around easily
  4. Keep to strict timescales for remote presenters – avoids having to interrupt them to get them to stop
  5. Use a sign-up form to judge how many people may watch online – you may need to  ask for extra seats for your virtual room
  6. Have a contingency in place in case one of the remote presenters hits a technical snag
Image: web conference icon.

Adobe Connect is software which allows groups of people to meet virtually using video, text chat or audio.  It lets people collaborate through the use of shared presentations, shared files or shared desktops.

It also provides opportunities for interaction via a series of simple tools, such as hands-up and polling.  It gets used for a variety of purposes when the participants can’t all meet in person.

Example uses are:

  • Online events such as workshops, conferences or meetings
  • Broadcasting presentations or lectures to students
  • Online tutorials with students
  • Group work – online collaboration between students
  • Revision or exam preparation sessions for students
  • Student presentations for formative or summative assessment
  • Guest speaker presentations
  • Online demonstrations via desktop or video

Thanks to Marie Salter from the e-learning team who presented an overview of Adobe Connect and the process for setting up and accessing a ‘virtual room’.  If you’re interesting in finding out more you can contact e-learning@bath.ac.uk for details on getting set up.

Want to know more?

Link Details
Image Designed by Freepik For tips on setting up this kind of event watch the video recording of John describing how they did it. (You'll need to log in to Panopto).
Image Designed by Freepik For more context about this blended workshop.
Image Designed by Freepik For the Adobe Connect recording of the workshop, where you can see the interaction between the different parties. (It can take a few minutes to connect and play).

If you'd like to talk to us about this or other Technology Enhanced Learning events please contact Rachel and Yvonne on fed-tel@bath.ac.uk


TEL Event #2 Summary


📥  Staff event, Technology Enhanced Learning

Focus on Assessment & Feedback

This event enabled teaching staff to share an example of how they’ve used technology to enhance assessment and feedback activities.  We recorded this to share with everyone and here we offer a brief summary. (The final presentation by Philip wasn’t recorded as the session overran our lecture capture booking slot – there’s a lesson for the future! However, we’ve added a link to Philip’s slides so you can see what was covered.)

noun_10681_cc Tel Event #2 Recording
noun_345939_cc Using Moodle for FYP marking - for distribution (Philip's slides)

Presentation 1

Sabina Gheduzzi (Mechanical Engineering) explained how she came to use rubrics for assignments in Moodle.  The rubric enabled students to see the criteria by which they would be assessed but it also allowed Sabrina to mark work more swiftly.  The rubric also provides students with consistent feedback that can be supplemented by Sabrina’s comments and as a result she has seen fewer issues with students questioning their marks. Student evaluation data has also demonstrated an increase in satisfaction from students when rubrics are used.  The students like it!

Find out more about Moodle rubrics: https://docs.moodle.org/30/en/Rubrics

In discussion, after Sabrina’s presentation, there were questions related to suitability of rubrics when:

  • Assessment is based on creative tasks where the rubric may be interpreted too rigidly by students
  • When there are very large class sizes

Sabrina explained that in the context of this unit, rubrics enabled her to effectively address a specific issue raised by students in their unit feedback.

Presentation 2

Tim Ibell (Architecture & Civil Engineering) explained how he used a Moodle database to provide a peer assessment experience for a large first year Undergraduate co-hort.  The database was set up with help from the Faculty Learning Technologists and used in the classroom by students accessing Moodle from their mobile devices (i.e. through BYOD – bring your own device).  Students were able to see feedback for their group presentations and receive a score – which was moderated by Tim before being displayed to the groups.   This exercise was part of a planned move to a flipped classroom approach with reduced summative assessment and more time spent problem solving with students.

Find out more about Moodle database activity: https://docs.moodle.org/30/en/Using_Database

Questions raised following Tim’s presentation related to the suitability of peer assessment when:

  • Such peer assessment is included in courses which are accredited - would such activities be allowed?
  • Students may turn up without a suitable mobile device (or with insufficient battery power) – was there a contingency plan in place?

Presentation 3

Philip Shields (Electronic & Electrical Engineering) explained how he used the Moodle database to keep track of final year student projects and in particular to provide a double blind marking process which couldn’t be achieved easily in other Moodle tools.  Working with a Faculty Learning Technologist and the eLearning team Systems Developer (for some JavaScript expertise), Philip was able to create a database that allowed people in specific roles (e.g. second or third marker) to only view the information they needed.  This was done by creating tabs in the templates which only displayed if the person logged in matched a specific role.

Find out more about Moodle database templates: https://docs.moodle.org/30/en/Database_templates

In discussion after Philip’s presentation, Sabina pointed out that she was able to take a copy of Philip’s database and adapt it for her own programme.  This is done by sharing the database via a Preset option available in Moodle.

Thank you to our three presenters for sharing their experiences.

We hope those attending found it useful and if you have any feedback please contact us at fed-tel@bath.ac.uk

We would particularly like suggestions for the next TEL event - what should the focus be?


TEL Event #2 - Focus on assessment and feedback

📥  Staff event, Technology Enhanced Learning

Please come along to the second Technology Enhanced Learning event on 24 June 2016 11:15-12:05, CB 3.5

  • Assessment and feedback using the Moodle rubric - Sabina Gheduzzi (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Using a Moodle database for peer assessment with a large cohort of students - Tim Ibell (Architecture & Civil Engineering)
  • Managing group project assessment using a Moodle database - Philip Shields (Electronic & Electrical Engineering)

This will be a chance for colleagues to share some different approaches to assessment and feedback, and to discuss how they might work for you in your learning and teaching context. There will be a series of three short presentations, with time for questions and discussion on each topic.

This event follows on from the successful Faculty TEL event in March. An attendee at the last event found:

"It was great to see some of the innovative use of technology in the faculty. I found it particularly useful that staff were sharing actual experiences; the pitfalls as well as the opportunities."

To register, please sign up via the following link: http://doodle.com/poll/yemp6ch77fm7ekct

Image Designed by Freepik

Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog to keep up to date with news and events. You can enter your email address (look for the subscription box to the right) to receive notifications of the latest posts.


Raj Aggarwal's retirement event


📥  Staff event

After over 40 years in the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, Professor Raj Aggarwal is retiring. Raj, who started at the University in October 1973, is a familiar face around the campus.

Colleagues from across the University are warmly invited to mark the occasion with tea and cakes in Wessex House Restaurant on Tuesday 14 June at 4pm.

Please email Ann Linfield if you would like to attend.

There is a card for signing and an envelope for contributions in the EE Department Office, 2E 2.10.

Raj has requested that any money from a collection be donated to MIND and Sightsavers.


Our second Faculty PGT Learning & Teaching Conference

  , , ,

📥  Staff event

Sally Clift, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, gives an overview of our second Faculty PGT Learning & Teaching Conference: 'Defining Excellence in Postgraduate Education' and where we go from here:

The conference
Following on from the work of the ‘Defining Excellence in Postgraduate Education’ working groups, we organised a conference to draw together current practice on master's courses particularly with regard to dissertations, and discuss ways forward given the anticipated increase in numbers of master's students.

The conference attracted both academic and non-academic staff from across our Faculty and the larger University community including the Academic Skills Centre.

I opened the morning session with an overview of our new master's courses that will be offered over the next four years. A survey of our current master's courses revealed a range of assessment patterns for dissertations, though all reveal similar aims and learning objectives.

In the first discussion session mixed groups discussed the challenges that increased numbers brought to dissertation supervision. Topics that were highlighted included:

  • staff resourcing and recognition
  • spread of load across departments
  • complexity of marking
  • possibility of linking with research centres

Following this were presentations from Dr Bruce Rayton (Associate Dean for PGT programmes, School of Management), Dr Peter Wilson (Electronic & Electrical Engineering, formerly University of Southampton) and Dr Dirk Schaefer (Mechanical Engineering, formerly Georgia Tech) who offered up their experiences of handling large numbers of master's level students.

In the afternoon, I opened the session by looking at alternative formats to the traditional dissertation. Following this, Dr Ricardo Codinhoto (Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering) gave an in-depth look at the use of industrial projects in the highly successful MSc Modern Building Design programme.

The second discussion session looked at what we should be doing as a Faculty to move forward. Ideas included:

  • better definition of the student-supervisor relationship
  • integrate projects with research groups
  • embed skills development within MSc courses
  • develop company-based alternatives to the traditional research project
  • streamline assessment
  • review resourcing for PGT programmes

The group sessions yielded valuable insights into issues such as maintaining the quality of the student educational experience whilst student numbers increase. We also discussed ways that we might meet these challenges that could bring improvements to the student experience overall and improve our ways of working.

Resources from the conference can be found on the Defining Excellence in Postgraduate Education Wiki.

Feedback at the end of day indicated that those who had attended had a good opportunity to:

  • learn more about the topic
  • hear the views of others
  • ask questions and offer options

Attendees appreciated the:

  • mixture of talks and discussion
  • range of backgrounds of attendees

"It was great to have an outside perspective from other faculties/unis. We should definitely learn from others' successes."

"Good questions and engagement"

"Good mix of attendees with different backgrounds & perspectives"

"Open, inclusive format"

Next steps
The insights from this meeting will be used to support the development of a Faculty MSc sharing good practice guide for dissertation supervision, support and assessment.


Faculty of Engineering & Design Technology Enhanced Learning: event write up

  , , , , , ,

📥  New initiative, Staff event, Technology Enhanced Learning

Last week saw the first Faculty of Engineering & Design Technology Enhanced Learning event. The event followed on from on from last semester’s LITEbox Technology Panel Debate chaired by Peter Lambert.

Jos Darling (Mechanical Engineering), Marcelle McManus (Mechanical Engineering), Mirella Di Lorenzo (Chemical Engineering) and Aydin Nassehi (Mechanical Engineering) each gave brief presentations. They highlighted their use of different technologies to address specific needs and to engage with students in their own learning and teaching contexts. Around thirty staff attended, in a range of learning and teaching related roles, from all departments and from different faculty teams.


Image of presenters answering questions during the event

Answering questions at the Faculty TEL event

The presenters gave their insights in to a number of developments. Steve Cayzer, an audience member, commented ‘It was great to see some of the innovative use of technology in the faculty. I found it particularly useful that staff were sharing actual experiences; the pitfalls as well as the opportunities.’

A full recording of the event is now available if you wish to watch again or share with colleagues.

Jos shared his experience of using online multiple choice quizzes for summative assessment. This approach helps to provide timely feedback for large cohorts. He shared the findings of initial pilots, and noted future trials and developments across the University.

Marcelle gave some great insights in to the use of lecture capture software for students to record group presentations. Industry experts can access the recordings at any time to provide feedback to students. Students write questions to their peers and develop new digital skills which are useful for online interviews.

Mirella explained how she uses Linoit (a virtual multimedia message wall or ‘post-it’ board). This provides an interactive space for students to ask questions and provide feedback. She shared ideas on how this can support student engagement in different contexts (for example with first or final year students). She also highlighted the positive feedback from students.

Finally Aydin demonstrated how audience response systems can bring presentations to life, allowing large student cohorts to engage and interact during lectures. Aydin gave an interactive demonstration and provided a useful comparison of different technologies (for example 2sli.de and Poll Everywhere).


Word cloud highlighting key themes from the event

Key themes word cloud: Creative Commons Licence (by-nc-nd). See worditout.com


Some key themes emerged through the presentations:

  • learning technologies to encourage and manage interactions with large cohorts of students
  • streamlining assessment practices
  • providing timely feedback to students
  • using technologies to help students engage in the learning process
  • helping students to engage with audiences outside the University (e.g. in industry)
  • how to balance the time invested in development with long-term efficiencies, and the beneficial impacts for staff and students.

We plan to hold further events to continue sharing good practice with learning technologies in the Faculty. If you would like to take part in a future event to share examples from your own learning and teaching context, please do get in touch.

Related events

LITEbox event on 7th April: Using Moodle for summative assessments to reduce marking time – Dr Momna Hejmadi, Department of Biology & Biochemistry

Using online multimedia message walls to encourage participation – workshop write up and recording – Dr Jessica Francombe-Webb

A flipped teaching toolkit for a quantitative module – event write up and recording – Dr Aydin Nassehi

See also Audience Response Systems – event write up and recording – Dr Richard Joiner, and a demonstration of the 2sli.de share system in the Technology Showcase – with Robin Shields

Videoconferencing and innovative teaching in social sciences classrooms – event write up and recording, showing another approach for students engaging with external experts – Dr Wali Aslam