Faculty of Engineering & Design staff

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

Using Wiki to improve processes

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📥  Staff insight

I first used Wiki when I started in my current role to share papers for a group meeting. I only used very basic features to start with, such as uploading papers and using permissions to give new members access, but I was curious to learn more.

Learning about Wiki

I was initially a bit nervous about creating my own Wiki pages, but support from Tracey Madden, Learning Enhancement Adviser, gave me an overview of Wiki and also introduced me to macros. Macros allow extra functionality to be added to a page and range from including an attachment to inserting content from an Excel spreadsheet, or embedding a twitter feed or video. Every month, Tracey publishes a macro of the month blog post, which is great for finding out about different macros.

Improving processes

In discovering more about Wiki, I began to see potential for using Wiki to improve the efficiently of a number of processes. I have now created Wiki pages to enhance information sharing and to contain extensive resources for staff to access (for example, the documents for the Faculty’s REF paper grading workshops). I also use Wiki to manage informal meetings, contribute to project work and find information on the Faculty’s Staff Wiki space.

Advantages of Wiki

There are many advantages of using Wiki. You can set up and manage permissions to allow individuals or groups access to all, or some, of your pages. Wiki provides a permanent hub of resources that are available at any time. It is also useful for project work, particularly when working with staff throughout the Faculty or University, as pages can be easily accessed and updated by various staff.

Your turn!

If you haven’t already, now is the time to engage with Wiki, especially since the Faculty’s internal staff webpages have now moved to the Staff Wiki space. For Wiki guidance, have a look at the Faculty’s help with Wikis page. If you want a few tips on using macros, watch out for Tracey’s macro of the month blog posts.

Staff Wiki space

The Faculty’s staff Wiki space

 

FED Learning Technologies survey prize winner

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📥  Technology Enhanced Learning

Firstly, a big thank you to staff who completed the Faculty of Engineering and Design Technology Enhanced Learning survey.

There were 50 respondents. The results give us some useful insights in key areas including

  • which learning technologies are a high priority for staff?
  • what are the most helpful types of support and guidance?
  • which learning technologies do staff want to know more about?

We've been busy analysing the results and collating the key findings.

We will be working with Marianne Ellis (Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching) to develop an action plan. We'll also be coordinating with the eLearning team and colleagues in Learning Technologist roles across the University to work on the outcomes. Watch out for more news coming soon!

In the meantime, we're pleased to announce the winner of the survey prize - Michael Carley was randomly chosen to receive a Flip video camera. This is a very simple device, handy for capturing video footage when out and about. Michael's first thought was that it would be great for capturing student projects such as the human powered aircraft.

Picture of Michael Carley receiving the prize

Yvonne Moore (Learning Technologist) presents Michael Carley (Senior Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering) with the survey prize

 

The Life of a Business Apprentice

  

📥  Staff experiences

Apprenticeships are government funded training programmes that combine job training with nationally recognised qualifications. It is an incredible opportunity to gain and develop skills, have a wide range of opportunities and you get paid whilst you learn!

I started my apprenticeship in Business Administration at an intermediate level in December 2015, after briefly starting my A levels. I have now been working at the University for just over ten months and it is safe to say that I have really enjoyed it. I have had the opportunity to move around different offices within the Faculty such as: finance, departmental offices, placements and marketing. By moving around, I have gained an understanding to how the Faculty links together and which offices integrate well with each other.

I have been able to increase and develop skills in daily administrative tasks such as recording customer information in Access for placement students and SAMIS for potential applicants, taking calls from students and academics, and providing accurate advice to problems that may occur in the workplace to my colleagues. I have been able to collate documents for reports, organise data and provide customer service to students.

My two greatest achievements, of which I am most proud of, is creating a social media training module and helping organise the Vice-Chancellor's visit to the Faculty. I made this learning tool for members of administrative staff who were uncomfortable or not confident with posting on social media. I planned and mind mapped what I wanted to include in the module on areas such as how to post on Facebook, how to effectively use Twitter, and tips on social media in general. I used software called Xerte and created different activities such as an annotated diagram, an interactive list and model answers with feedback.

For the Vice-Chancellor's visit I ordered the catering, sorted out the layout of the venue and informed colleagues of the plan of the day. I also had the chance to show the Vice-Chancellor my social media training module and she indicated that this was a good achievement.

I have been very fortunate as I have been offered to continue working at the University, doing an advanced apprenticeship, which means I will be able to study for an additional eighteen months. I hope to be able to continue providing support to my colleagues and gain more valuable experience.

 

MSc student induction: improving the experience

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📥  New initiative, Top tips

Our previous MSc induction events had taken the form of a one morning introduction to the Faculty with lunch, followed by a team building exercise during the afternoon. This year we decided to increase the number of presentations and include a social event to enhance the student experience. As a result our timetable expanded to accommodate three mornings, two afternoons and one evening.

We took our new students on a guided walk into and around Bath followed by a buffet supper. We wanted the students to have an opportunity to visit the City, ask questions from members of staff and get to know each other, in a relaxed and informal setting. We devised a treasure hunt around campus covering key areas of the University and got our students to post photos of themselves on our Facebook group.

Looking forward to next year

We plan to hold focus groups as an opportunity to reflect on the student experience. In the meantime, initial feedback both verbal and in the form of a survey indicated a very positive student experience.

3 key bits of advice for others planning induction activities

  1. Advanced planning and communication. We booked the venue for the three morning sessions when prompted by Timetabling. This was six months in advance of the event. Key speakers were invited at the same time and we kept them informed (reminded them of their commitment…) during the run up to the event.
  2. Steal ideas from colleagues and ask for their help. People are surprisingly generous with ideas and time.
  3. Never underestimate the lure of free food. We booked a restaurant for 120 people and every seat was taken.

 

Macro of the month: Survey and Vote

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📥  Tracey's macro of the month

Introduction

Survey and Vote are straightforward to set up and can be used in different ways. They enable the gathering of information, opinions and general feedback from visitors. Survey allows you to ask several questions and offers a list of responses from which to choose, Vote allows only one question; apart from this they operate in the same way.

Application(s)

Survey and Vote have the following function:

  • allows you to present questions to the user to elicit their knowledge, opinions, needs etc

How to add Survey/Vote

  • Place you cursor where you want the Survey or Vote macro to appear
  • Click on Insert (in the tool bar above) then Other Macros from the drop-down menu
  • In the pop-up window, type survey or vote into the search box
  • Set the variables up as you wish (you may wish to experiment with the settings)
  • Click Save
  • Type your list of questions into the macro box that appears (for Vote the question is within the settings)

How to use Survey/Vote

Having some interactive elements in your space is a good way of getting your visitors to engage and a great way for you to get some feedback on your work.

Survey/Vote can be a good way to find out from your visitors how they find using one particular page or the whole space. You can use Survey/Vote to find out how visitors would like you to develop the space further or what parts of the space they value most. You can also ask questions that determine what they have learnt from a resource or their opinion on some content.

Example

Staff support

Survey(click on image to enlarge)

 

TEL: latest news... Moodle upgrade and more

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📥  Technology Enhanced Learning

With Induction week drawing to an end, it already seems a while since the summer months.

During that time, we have upgraded to Moodle 3.0, and we also have a new look Moodle theme. I’m sure you will have already had a chance to start trying out new version.

Image showing the Moodle home page

 

Here’s a quick roundup of some of the new features and developments:

  • The user Profile screen has been improved and displays all profile information (course membership, user logs etc.) on a single page
  • A new Preferences screen groups together all of the user defined account preferences (such as message preferences), into a single location
  • Users will now find a My courses menu in the horizontal menu bar—enabling rapid access to any (unhidden) course from within any Moodle page
  • Editing tools have had a make-over. Topic specific functionality is now accessible via a single Edit menu
  • This edit menu includes the option to delete (not just hide) entire topics - this is something that staff have been asking for some time
  • Table formatting via the text editor has been improved, with new Appearance options that let you customise the look of your table through an easy to use interface
  • In terms of new features, the most significant changes are to the Quiz activity, with four new question types

You can access a handy summary of the new developments in PDF format.

Yvonne Moore and I (Learning Technologists, Faculty of Engineering) also had the chance over the summer to run some Getting familiar with Moodle workshops. The workshops aimed to give staff in the Management, Specialist and Administration team an overview of some of the key activities and resources in Moodle, and give them a chance to try out some of the activities they may not have used themselves. This means staff can more easily answer initial Moodle queries, or direct you where to find more help.

Image showing post-it note responses about where to find help with Moodle

Exploring where staff go for help with Moodle

As part of these workshops, we set up a Moodle course (FED Moodle Examples) which introduces some key Moodle tools, and gives examples. To self-enrol as a student on the course, follow the link above, and enter the enrolment key – fedtel02

Image showing the Moodle examples course page

If you are still getting familiar with Moodle, you might find it useful to view the course and try out some of the activities in your own Moodle space. There is also a section on Advanced Editing which shows you how to add some nice web design to your courses using documentation from the developer of the new theme.

Images showing the Advanced Editing section of the course

Don’t forget you can ask for your own Moodle ‘sandbox’ course if you want a space to try things out, by contacting the e-learning team. You can also find tips about getting your Moodle course ready for the new academic year in the Moodle Service Blog.

Coming soon

Next month we will be busy collating the responses to our Faculty Learning Technologies survey (it closes today so there's still time to respond if you are quick!). We will be sharing the findings soon, including future plans for development projects and improvements to the support we offer.

Try me out… tips on the latest useful TEL resources

TELU (Technology Enhanced Learning for you) is a collection of free online micro-courses designed to help you use technology to support your teaching and learning. Sign up for a free account to access over 150 courses designed by experienced educators and designers, based on case studies from real teachers, and collated in useful topics. They are designed to be easily digestible and to save you time. We would love to hear from you if you try any of the courses out and would recommend them to other members of staff.

 

 

Apprentice Technician: Everyday something new

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📥  Celebrating success, Staff experiences

Emma Walker, former Apprentice Mechanical Engineering Technician, has been nominated to receive the Building Services Construction & Engineering Work Place Learner of the Year Award. This award recognises the hard work, application and excellence in both her academic studies and technical ability throughout the final year of her apprenticeship. Emma writes about how she came to the University and what she has achieved here:

I spent 18 months doing work experience at Designability, where they introduced me to the engineering industry and encouraged me to pursue my career as an engineer by applying for an apprenticeship at the University of Bath.

Being an apprentice here at Bath has been an amazing learning experience for me because you never do the same job twice; everyday you’re doing something new. I loved getting involved in the teaching labs, where I would help and guide the first-year students through their time in our workshop. This greatly improved my skills in speaking to a large group of people, and pushed me to grow my social skills.

I’ve learned how to use machinery such as mills and lathes, laser cutters, and 3D printers. I also passed my forklift licence. I finished my apprenticeship six months earlier than planned, and from here I was given the opportunity to cover another unit in composites, where I was able to learn about carbon fibre and other materials, and working with the autoclave. Since finishing my apprenticeship I have gone down the composites route, so being able to cover the extra unit has benefitted me greatly.

I have been very lucky to have such a great support system here in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, where everyone is happy to answer any questions I have and offer advice. My colleague Clare Ball gave me support to help me through my maths module and my Assessor, Rob Aldous, visited me at the University once a month. Rob always made sure I was being treated fairly and that I was getting the best experience out of my apprenticeship.

What I plan to do next is to broaden my knowledge within the work that takes place in the composites department. I want to learn more about the materials I will be working with and also learn about the maintenance work for the autoclave. In the future I want to look into doing a supervisory and management course, this will allow me to climb further up the career ladder and be able to offer more to this company.

An apprenticeship is a fantastic opportunity to start  your career, to learn new things every day and to get paid for it! However, an apprenticeship is not easy and is not something to take lightly, you have to work hard for the rewards an apprenticeship has to offer.

 

Sharing thoughts from the Association for Learning Technology conference (ALT-C 2016)

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📥  Technology Enhanced Learning

Last week I made a trip to the University of Warwick for the Association for Learning Technology conference (ALT-C 2016). I joined on the final day of the three day event. Even attending for just one day, there was a packed programme. I chose to attend lots of short presentations so I could hear about innovations in lots of different contexts.

I always find it interesting to visit another university campus.  I noticed lots of open spaces among the buildings (like mini courtyards or town squares) and plenty of indoor social spaces. This contrasts with the linear layout of our campus, where buildings are oriented along the parade. It felt more like the space outside the Limes and in the Edge. The campus environment seemed to encourage informal meetings.

The short presentations gave an insight into learning and teaching developments in different settings. Some key themes ran throughout the sessions. The messages which seemed especially relevant for us at University of Bath were:

  • How can we work together to ‘join up’ support for the use of learning technologies? How can we make support roles and services more clearly defined and easily accessible? Ongoing work on a new Teaching and Learning Hub, and the development of a Technology Enhanced Learning Strategy are moving in this direction.
  • How can we engage students to share their study strategies and skills? There is a need to open up conversations around staff and student expectations. This could help us to understand how initiatives such as lecture capture can be used in ways that encourage a more critical approach.

Designing for user needs in the Virtual Learning Environment

Highlights

A demonstration of a Moodlerooms theme which

  • removes redundant links
  • improves flow from one learning activity to the next
  • makes activity completion much easier for students to track

The theme moves away from the standard Moodle architecture where the course page acts as a central hub. This allows more flow from one activity to the next.  (Leonard Houx, Senior Instructional Designer at Cass Business School)

Revolutionary Fork to the Snap Moodle Theme Will Streamline Your Learning Workflow

Discussion Points

  • How to deal with the problem of ‘clutter’ in the VLE
  • If the VLE doesn’t meet user needs, how to support best practice in other online environments (e.g. staff or student created Facebook groups)
  • How to make sure the VLE supports different user needs

Designing physical learning spaces, and spaces for blended learning

Highlights

  • A presentation on the use of webinars to expand access to learning, for example to students on placement. This included some top tips on designing interaction into the online experience. (Daniel Metcalfe, Senior Learning Technologist, Plymouth University)
  • A new approach towards ‘joined up design thinking’ at the institutional level, to support staff in their use of learning technologies. This includes
    • prompt cards which neatly summarise and highlight all the supported technologies at the institution
    • a common framework and roles (such as student digichamps)
    • ‘design thinking’ events involving students

(Amber Thomas and Robert O’Toole, University of Warwick)

Student engagement in assessment

Highlights

  • Insights into different experiences with peer assessment
  • Involving students being in writing their assessment criteria. (Sara Hattersley, University of Warwick)

Further resources at www.bit.ly/2caoVxA

Discussion Points

  • The importance of the ‘social space' for discussion around peer assessment activities – to help build up trust
  • The need for expert presence and intervention to guide the activity – it’s not a time-saving exercise

Student engagement in their learning

Highlights

  • A fascinating presentation on coordinating lecture capture. This involved engaging with students to find out how they use recorded lectures, for example during revision time and during term time. Video guides were developed to share with all students, showing how they can make use of lecture capture in a focused way. (Matt Cornock, Lecture Coordinator and E-learning adviser, University of York). https://www.york.ac.uk/staff/teaching/support/recording-lectures/student-advice/
  • A presentation on using mind mapping with undergraduate students to help them develop a ‘learning design’ plan. The idea is to encourage independent learning and help students take charge of developing their study skills. (Asanka Dayananda, Middlesex University)

Discussion Points

  • The final keynote (Donna Lanclos and David White) considered the dilemma between technology for efficiency, and the potential it offers to open up a more transformative, ‘messy’ and human dimension
  • How can we provide reliable access to technologies and support digital skills, and at the same time move beyond this to help develop practices, behaviours and new identities?

 

New woodworking and timber engineering workshop in 4ES

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📥  Celebrating success, Staff insight

Julian Sulley, Director of Technical Services, updates us on 4 East South developments:


After months of planning, the ACE woodwork and timber engineering workshop moved into its new facility back in June. We now have a much larger workshop capacity than the old 6 East workshop and an adjoining dedicated laser cutting / rapid prototyping laboratory. The project has been an unmitigated success and is a reflection of the close co-operation and teamwork between the 4ES project management team, the contractors and our technicians throughout the planning process and move itself. We can be rightly proud of a spacious, light, energy efficient, state-of-the-art facility, ready to welcome its first students in the coming academic year.

Improved use of floor space and a radical rethink of dust extraction and energy conservation

As the project developed we implemented a number of new initiatives to better use floor space and rethink dust extraction and energy conservation. We originally intended to have a central dust extraction unit to service the four heavy application machines and this was to be housed in an internal bunker adjoining the workshop. However, following further evaluation, we decided to install individual extraction units to each machine, replicating the dust extraction provision to the other smaller demand units throughout the rest of the workshop. Not only did this represent a significant saving in capital outlay, it allowed dust extraction units to be controlled as needed (as opposed to a common system running irrespective whether the machines were being used or not).

A further benefit was that the surplus room previously designated to locate the cyclone could now be used for much needed material storage. The workshop incorporates a new technician’s office affording unrestricted viewing of the entire workshop, a key safety factor given the nature of the activity. A roller shutter door allows for material deliveries to be offloaded directly into the workshops material storage racks.

4 East South woodwork and timber engineering workshop

4 East South woodwork and timber engineering workshop

Cost saving and additional space

The move of all our tools, equipment and machinery was undertaken by our departmental technicians in May. Once again, this represented a significant cost saving to the project. Technicians relocated the machines to a signed off layout leaving connection of electrical supplies to the contractor. The additional space has also allowed us to purchase a vertical sheet panel saw, a valuable addition to our existing comprehensive range of machinery. Three new laser cutting machines have been ordered to supplement our existing three, giving a substantial increase in capacity of these heavily used machines.

A team effort

Members of the ACE technician team have been heavily involved in planning the new workshop layout, primarily fronted by the woodworking and timber engineering senior technician, Walter Guy. Thank you for all your hard work.

 

Macro of the Month: Search box

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📥  Tracey's macro of the month

Introduction

Search box is another basic macro with one specific use. It enables visitors to find information on the space relating to their choice of search term

Application(s)

Search box has one function:

  • allows you to create a search box for your space into which visitors can type their own search term

How to add Search Box

  • Place you cursor where you want the Search box macro to appear
  • Click on Insert (in the tool bar above) then Other Macros from the drop-down menu
  • In the pop-up window, type search box into the search box
  • Set the variables up as you wish (you may wish to experiment with the settings)
  • Click Save

How to use Search Box

Bear in mind that different visitors will want to search in different ways. This gives visitors an alternative method of finding what they need, other than browsing through the left hand page tree or using the Index (if there is one). The more complex a space (greater number of pages, greater range of topics) the more useful the search box is to visitors.

Example

Faculty of Engineering and Design staff area

Capture(click on image to enlarge)