Faculty of Engineering & Design staff

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

Top 5 worries for new MSc students

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📥  Engineering & Design staff insight, Engineering & Design staff top tips

Kat Bayly, Faculty Administrator, has surveyed our current and recently graduated MSc students to find out what their worries were about starting an MSc:

1.    Getting back into the momentum of studying as quickly as others on your course

You may have had an absence from academic studies for a number of years or simply be worrying about missing your working life and becoming bored as a student.

Advice:

Set a timetable and stick to it. Beat the nasty habit of procrastination. Enjoying student life is possible but you have to have good time management skills to make the difference between a good grade and an excellent one.

2.    Flying to a foreign country and not knowing anyone

This is a big fear for most people and totally normal! It’s a big thing arriving in a country where you don’t know anyone. There’s also the fear of not knowing if you will meet anyone on your course that you will work well together with.

Advice:

You won’t be the only foreign student who is struggling to re-adjust or to grasp the language. Be wise and get to know as many people as possible in your first few weeks. If you are lucky, you will meet great study partners who you will stick with until the end.

Another tip is to get used to studying alone. Learning to rely on yourself for assignments and revision can be beneficial as you may not work at the same pace as others. It’s about finding balance and being wise about who you choose to work with. Working alone can give you time to reflect on your achievements and help you to realise you have done so much and come so far on your own.

If you’re worried about the language barrier, students should get prepared before arriving at the University. The University provides many sessions to help international students to improve their English. We advise you to take part in these learning sessions.

3.    Anxiety about finding the right accommodation

Advice:

Overseas students

Please visit our student accommodation web pages for advice on how to find the right accommodation for you. The accommodation office are happy to help you with any questions you have.

Home students

It's a good idea to sort out your accommodation early on. If you can, we advise travelling to Bath during the summer months to arrange your living plans. This way, you only have to return to Bath again in September when it's time to move in! Two weeks is not enough time to sort out everything before your course starts! Start looking for accommodation early and you'll avoid last-minute panic. And don't forget about bank accounts, phone numbers, transportation, and academic applications and registration.

4.    The social side of studying as a Postgraduate student

Advice:

Be confident. It’s easier said than done but people pick up on confidence. If you are an international student, use these social events as a way to practice your English skills. The more you practice, the more confidence you will gain!

Take up the opportunities offered by the SU through a variety of societies and clubs. Join a club or two and meet more people this way.

5.    Delays in procuring a Student Visa

Advice:

Don’t leave this until the last minute! Find out about what Visa you need as early as possible. Speak with the staff in the International Student Advice Team (ISAT) to find out more information about Visas. They are there to help!

 

Don't forget to complete our Faculty Learning Technologies survey

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📥  Engineering & Design staff insight, Engineering & Design staff new initiative, Technology Enhanced Learning

Hi there,

You may have already heard about our Faculty Learning Technologies survey – many thanks to staff who have already completed it!

In our new roles (Learning Technologists) we’re keen to get a clear picture of how academic staff (or those in teaching-related roles) make use of learning technologies in the Faculty.

We would like to hear from as many staff as possible, no matter what your current level of experience with Learning Technologies.

This will help us to understand your priorities as we plan new development projects and provide support.

Please take 10-15 minutes to complete our survey by 30 September. https://bathreg.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/fed_tel_survey

The responses will inform our planning going forward and we will share the outcomes and plans via this blog (don’t forget you can subscribe to receive email updates).

And don’t forget we have a Flip video camera to give away to a randomly chosen respondent!

Image showing computer interface

Future Interfaces 2014, NYC Media Lab, CC BY-SA 2.0

 

Macro of the Month: Column

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📥  Tracey's macro of the month

Introduction

Column is another basic macro with one specific use. It is useful for breaking up areas of the page to allow you to control the layout.

Application(s)

Column has one function:

  • allows you to subdivide a section of a page

How to add Column

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

How to use Column

Although the Page Layout button allows to you add sections to break up a page, Column allows you much more control over the layout

Example

Faculty of Engineering and Design staff area

Capture(click on image to enlarge)

 

A shared MSA mission

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📥  Engineering & Design staff new initiative

Iain Forster-Smith, Director of Administration, sets out our Management, Specialist and Administrative mission statement:

The Faculty Professional Services are vital to the academic and student success we achieve. Without the dedicated team, who are enthusiastic, supportive and creative, many successes would not have been achieved.  We are in extremely exciting times with Postgraduate developments and our International agenda, the team are ready and geared up to support and make our new avenues even more successful than our past.

To ensure we all focus on the same goals and objectives I have developed a shared mission statement.

Our shared mission statement for the future is:

Collaboration, communication and planning between teams and the wider community

  • Increased collaboration and service sharing amongst our faculty teams.
  • Stronger and more integrated planning on local approaches to support our academic and student requirements.
  • Reduced duplication through service delivery efficiencies.
  • Improved coordination of decision-making and investment in our infrastructure, facilities, and equipment.
  • Increased accountability, as users and management will be better able to evaluate the performance of each faculty service.
  • Stronger services, benefitting from the collective strength of the faculty to meet common needs, and plan for the future.

Communication achieved by:

  • creating awareness
  • imparting knowledge
  • projecting an image
  • shaping attitudes
  • stimulating a want or desire

Collaboration achieved by:

  • fostering innovation
  • supporting the development of a team
  • creating more appropriate and effective outputs
  • building enhanced legitimacy and creditability

 

Macro of the month: Children display

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📥  Tracey's macro of the month

Introduction

Children display is another basic macro with one specific use. It is particularly useful for spaces with many nested pages ('child pages') which can be hidden from view; this macro enables you to help visitors to find those pages quickly.

Application(s)

Children display has one function:

  • makes a live, dynamic list of pages that are nested under a chosen page (does not have to be the one where the macro is placed)

How to add Children display

  • Place you cursor where you want the Children display to appear
  • Click on Insert (in the tool bar above) then Other Macros from the drop-down menu
  • In the pop-up window, type children display into the search box
  • Set the variables up as you wish (you can, for instance, choose to limit the level of nested pages that are displayed)
  • Click Save

How to use Children display

Look at how a list of the 'child' pages could be added to a page in your space to enable visitors to find the materials they need quickly. The addition of this macro is useful where:

  • you have a large number of pages, many of them nested (so not easily found)
  • you want a list of child pages (e.g. a contents list) to be dynamic to reflect frequent changes in the space

Example

children display

(click on image to enlarge)

 

 

TEL Event #2 Summary

  

📥  Engineering & Design 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?

 

Women in Engineering

📥  Engineering & Design staff experiences

To celebrate Women in Engineering Day, Dr Min Pan, Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, shares her experiences of studying and working in engineering:

How will you be spending Women in Engineering Day?

I think I will spend the morning in the office doing some research and then go to the lab in the afternoon to carry out experimental work just like any other normal day. To me, women are always 'in engineering'.

What are the most rewarding parts of your role?

I enjoy doing my research work and supervising students’ projects. I get a great sense of satisfaction when I see my ideas work and my students make progress.

What have you learnt from your career so far?

Find something you enjoy and find role models who inspire you. I have found something I really enjoy and it’s such a privilege being able to make a living doing something you love. I also think it is very important to be creative and confident when you are doing research.

Why did you choose to study engineering?

My father is a Civil Engineer and he was a big influence on me. Growing up I was very proud to tell people that he designed bridges and buildings. He taught me basic maths and physics when I was young, which I then excelled at in school. However, when I came to apply for university I insisted that computer science was the right choice for me. I enjoyed using programmes to analyse practical problems, to design smart controllers and find solutions, not just for fun and solving puzzles! I then applied for an MSc programme in Mechanical Engineering followed by a PhD, which was in the same area.

What is the future like for women in engineering?

I believe there is a rosy future for women in engineering. More and more female students are starting to consider engineering courses, and universities generally have very good support groups/systems to help women build confidence and develop skills. Industry also now offers more opportunities to women in different sectors. If you are creative, engineering is something you should consider.

I think the key influencers of young people are their parents and teachers. We need to present engineering as enjoyable; there is still some work to do and improve, but the future is definitely bright!

 

Introducing our Faculty Staff Wiki space

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📥  Engineering & Design staff new initiative

As part of the CMS transition, our Faculty’s internal web pages have migrated to the University’s Wiki (called Confluence).

Our new Faculty of Engineering & Design Staff Wiki space means:

  • Faculty staff information is contained in one place
  • teams can take ownership of their own content and easily update their pages
  • staff can share information and collaborate more effectively

Since starting the project back in January, we have moved across our current content, as well as creating new content. We’ve also undertaken a user testing process to refine usability and design.

Where is the space?

You can find the Staff Wiki space in the same way as the old internal pages: by clicking the padlock link on the Faculty’s external landing page.

You can also log in to Confluence and search for the space or type in the web address go.bath.ac.uk/fedstaffwiki directly into your browser.

Who can access the space?

All staff at the University (who have a University log on) can view the space but certain pages may have viewing or editing restrictions applied to them. This is so that they can only be seen or edited by a select group or individual.

Design

The space has been designed by Rosie Hart (Postgraduate Taught Programmes Officer) using a colour palette of Faculty Orange, Stylus grey and About blue. All pages have consistent headers and footers. To reduce scrolling we have hidden some content under expandable headings.

Each page has been assigned a webmaster or masters who are responsible for creating and keeping content up to date (these names are listed within the page footer). Page design inevitably varies depending on the webmaster, but should retain the same design ethos and colour scheme as the rest of the space.

Navigation

The page tree in the left-hand sidebar lists all top level pages. Page headings with ‘>’ next to them (rather than a bullet point) expand to reveal child pages beneath them with further content.

The search box in the top right toolbar searches the whole of Confluence (all University of Bath Wiki pages). The search box on the Faculty Staff Wiki homepage only searches the space.

You can always return to the homepage by clicking the Orange Minerva head logo at the top of the Wiki space’s left-hand sidebar.

Each page is tagged with its function or team, which formulates an index (or A-Z) linked to in the left-hand page tree and on the homepage.

Take a video tour of the space


Managing the space

The Staff Wiki space will always be a work in progress. All staff are expected to take an active responsibility for keeping the space up to date. We all have editing rights for any page containing an edit button (located at the top right of a page). Teams who do not wish people to edit their pages can restrict this, so if an edit button is present then the webmaster is happy for others to contribute. The Wiki has a history function so if anything goes wrong you can always publish an earlier version of a page.

The homepage has a feedback link for staff to provide comments on usability, content and design. This feedback will be evaluated tri-annually (October, February, June) by the Wiki space editorial group consisting of Becky Garner, Beth Jones, Rosie Hart and Tracey Madden. The group will also review the space to ensure design and content standards are being met, and offer advice to webmasters.

Creating new pages

Should your team have a presence within our Staff Wiki space? In the first instance, it is best to contact Tracey Madden (Learning Enhancement Advisor) through the new content request table. Tracey can advise on your content needs, the design of your page and provide bespoke wiki training for your team. You may find that the Staff Wiki space is not the correct location for your content or that you only need to link to your own pages from it.

Webmasters of top level wiki pages already in existence can create as many child pages as they wish. All new pages must contain a header and footer to match the rest of the Wiki space and comply with our colour styles and brand principles.

Developing your wiki skills and finding help

Tracey Madden has created a bespoke help section with how-to guides and page templates to aid staff in using the Wiki space and creating their own content. You can also take a look at Tracey’s Macro of the Month feature and Rosie’s Top Wiki Tips on the blog to develop your wiki skills. You can practise editing and using macros on your personal wiki page (everyone automatically has one) or book wiki training with Computing Services. Tracey Madden is also available to provide bespoke training to members of our Faculty.

Thanks to...

Thank you to Rosie Hart (supported by Bex Mills) who transitioned our existing internal content and designed the space, and to Tracey Madden who has worked with teams to create new content. Thank you also to our user testers.

 

TEL Event #2 - Focus on assessment and feedback

📥  Engineering & Design 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.


 

Macro of the Month: Labels List

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📥  Tracey's macro of the month

Introduction

Labels List is a very basic macro with one specific use. It is particularly useful where you have a large space with a lot of content, including multiple different items on a page, as it enables you to create a dynamic A-Z or alphabetised index to help visitors find what they want.

Application(s)

Labels List has one function:

  • makes an alphabetised list of the labels used in a space

How to add Labels List

Firstly...

  • add labels to the pages of your wiki (click on the icon at the right hand side of the foot of the page)
  • type in a label and click Add
  • repeat this process until you have added all the label for the page
  • repeat the process for attachments if you wish

Then simply...

  • Place you cursor where you want the Labels List 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 label list into the search box
  • Set the variables up as you wish (you can, for instance, exclude some labels from appearing in the list)
  • Click Save

How to use Labels List

Look at how labels could be added to the attachments in your space and/or the pages themselves to enable visitors to find the materials they need. The addition of labels (and the availability of a labels list) is useful where:

  • you have a large number of pages
  • there are multiple items on a single page (which are not all reflected in the page title)
  • some items in your space can be known by multiple names

Example

Index

(Click on image to enlarge)