Reflective Writing e-Learning Project

Developing support for reflective writing across the disciplines

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Dr Sally Clift reflecting on e-Learning

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Three months on from taking up the role of Project Director for a new e-learning project on Reflective Writing, I thought I would reflect a little myself on the project and our progress so far. Although leading projects is a core part of professional life, this type of project is a first for me so I am delighted to be working with more than twenty new and more familiar colleagues from across the University. This project is also really timely, as it comes at a time when the University is developing a new learning technology strategy to support our institutional direction for the future.

Observing my own students, it is clear that their daily lives function through engagement with a diverse range of technologies and that bringing these and other technologies into their learning experience presents a wonderful opportunity for us to capitalise on. We have to embed and contextualise e-learning in a way that excites, engages and enriches our students’ learning. The overwhelming message from our students at our first focus group was ‘we want more e-learning’ and the access to mobile technology means it is possible to support students to use those little bits of time, eg while travelling to and from campus on the bus, to enhance their learning experience.

Our project on reflective writing is exciting and ambitious, and seeks to:

  • Develop a core e-learning module, relevant to the needs of multiple academic disciplines and the Bath Award, to introduce students to the concept of reflective practice and the fundamental characteristics of reflective writing within their own learning context.
  • Tailor the core module by academic discipline using easily accessible and technologically straightforward authoring tools thus enabling individual academic staff to further contextualise and maintain the modules beyond the project.
  • Explore the development process and tools/technologies to refine an approach that enables a Professional Service to support the academic community to produce e-learning that utilises resources to best effect and results in sustainable materials.
  • And finally, evaluate the e-learning modules produced with students and staff to ascertain their effectiveness in meeting the learning objectives and to inform future developments.

Our Project Manager, Sarah Turpin, Head of Academic Skills Resources, Skills Centre, is working with Vic Jenkins, our e-learning consultant from Scriptive Limited, to ensure that we allocate our project resources appropriately to use individuals’ expertise and save everyone involved precious time, i.e. development team evaluate authoring tools, academic staff collate and pool existing learning and teaching materials, writing tutors develop core content. Sarah is the driving force behind this project, and it is an absolute delight to work with her, Vic and all the project team members. The team comprises ten academic staff: from Civil Engineering (Dr Mark Evernden), Pharmacy (Dr Andrea Taylor) and Pharmacology (Dr Christine Edmead), Chemistry (Dr Gan Shermer), Psychology (Dr Richard Joiner), Management (Dr Robin Shields), Health (Drs Emma Rich and Jessica Francombe-Webb), Physics (Drs Gary Mathlin and Fran Laughton in collaboration with Ed Stevens from the Public Engagement Unit), Samantha Chaffey, Bath Award Manager, Students' Union and myself from Mechanical Engineering together with three core content writing tutors (Tim Ratcliffe, Jackie Dannatt, Diana Hopkins) from the Skills Centre and an institution-wide development team that includes central and Faculty-based e-learning colleagues (Marie Salter, Dr Tracey Madden, Kevin Renfrew, Keith Brown, Geraldine Jones and Paul Pinkney). I am confident that with such a strong, enthusiastic and experienced team, the learning we capture during the project will be of immeasurable value.

Dr Sally Clift, Associate Dean (Graduate Studies), Faculty of Engineering & Design





Welcome to the Reflective Writing e-Learning project

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The Reflective Writing e-Learning project was launched officially on 1 December 2015 and is planned to run until the end of AY 2016/17. The main aim of the project is to develop a core e-learning module (customised by subject discipline) to raise awareness of, and provide new and enhanced support, to enable students (UG and PG) to develop their skills in reflective practice and reflective writing.

The project team plans to use this blog as a way of capturing their activities throughout the project and sharing their learning with the wider University community.

The cross-institutional project team, led by Professor Sally Clift, Associate Dean (Graduate) Studies and Project Director, comprises:

Sarah Turpin, Head of Academic Skills Resources, ASC - Project Manager
Jackie Dannatt, Writing Centre Leader, ASC - Core Content Author
Tim Ratcliffe, Pre-sessional General Course Leader, ASC - Core Content Author
Vic Jenkins, e-Learning Consultant, Scriptive Limited - Lead Developer and Project Consultant
Dr Emma Rich, Reader, Dept. for Health - Subject Expert
Dr Jessica Francombe-Webb, Lecturer, Dept. for Health - Academic content Expert
Dr Richard Joiner, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Psychology - Academic content Expert
Dr Andrea Taylor, Director of Studies, Dept. of Pharmacy & Pharmacology - Academic content Expert
Dr Christine Edmead, Senior Teaching Fellow, Dept. of Pharmacy & Pharmacology - Academic content Expert
Dr Gan Shermer, Senior Teaching Fellow, Dept. of Chemistry - Academic content Expert
Dr Mark Evernden, Lecturer, Dept. of Architecture & Civil Engineering - Academic content Expert
Dr Robin Shields, Senior Lecturer, School of Management - Academic content Expert
Sam Chaffey, Bath Award Manager, Students' Union - Content Expert
Marie Salter, e-Learning Development Manager, e-Learning team, LTE) - technical and pedagogical development
Tracey Madden, Learning Enhancement Advisor, Faculty of Engineering & Design - technical and pedagogical development
Kevin Renfrew, Learning Technologist, ASC - technical and pedagogical development

The project’s objectives are:

  • To develop a core e-Learning module (45 minutes duration maximum) across a minimum of six academic disciplines (and potentially the Bath Award) in order to introduce students to the concept of reflective practice, in the broadest sense, and the fundamental characteristics of reflective writing within their specific subject/learning context.
  • To pilot the developed e-Learning modules with students, in Semesters 1 and 2, academic year 2016-17, in order to evaluate their effectiveness in both meeting the learning objectives of the different academic programmes and to obtain feedback on this learning approach from students to inform future developments.
  • To explore the development process and tools/technologies in order to refine a project methodology that enables a Professional Service to work in partnership with the academic community to produce e-Learning that is sustainable and easy to re-purpose by them.

Project Deliverables

  • Short desk-based research report providing overview of existing online learning materials on reflective writing within the higher education sector
  • Evaluation of a range of technology tools for e-Learning to identify the most appropriate and effective to meet the objectives of this project
  • A core e-Learning module (45 minutes duration) across a minimum of six academic disciplines (and potentially the Bath Award) introducing students to the concept of reflective practice and reflective writing customisable with subject-specific examples and some additional content
  • Evaluation of e-Learning modules through piloting process with both students and staff
  • Key learning captured in end-of-project report from development process for wider dissemination across the institution to inform future e-Learning activities.

Further information: Sarah Turpin, Project Manager, ext 4355