Find Your Course
Liverpool Hope Logo

Excellence in L&T

The Excellence in Learning and Teaching Prize

The annual Liverpool Hope Excellence in Learning and Teaching Prize aims to recognise the Department(s) who can best demonstrate a commitment to enhancing the student experience through one or more of the principles of the Learning, Teaching and Enhancement strategy and to encourage the dissemination of good practice by sharing innovations with the wider University.

Each Department is invited to submit one entry for the excellence prize. The winner is given an additional £1000 for the winning Department(s) book budget. The Prize winners are also invited to share their good practice with the University community at a future Learning and Teaching Day.

The prize is open to all Liverpool Hope University Departments. 

Selection Criteria:

All innovations ideas should have the following characteristics:

  • Originality;
  • A demonstrated significant impact on student experience;
  • Potential for widespread use within or across disciplines.

 

2015/16 Prize Winner

Congratulations to the Disability and Education team, led by Laura Waite, who were awarded the Excellence in Learning and Teaching Prize by the Vice Chancellor at his annual address to all staff on 21st September.

The prize for 2015/6 addressed Principle 9 within the L & T Strategy which states that all students at Hope will experience "Learning opportunities developed with recognition of diversity of the student body". We asked colleagues to present items of good practice which demonstrate enhancement of the student experience in the context of this principle i.e. in recognition of the diversity of the student body.

The judging panel was unanimous in awarding the prize to The Department of Disability and Education their entry based on a Level I assessment in the SEN undergraduate major. In this assignment students are asked to select an area of interest, choose a target audience, and produce an alternative information resource pack that draws on different theoretical perspectives to that seen in traditional information resources.

The panel noted that this activity involved students in addressing diversity at a fundamental level whilst producing artifacts which could used beyond the University.

The panel also commended and made awards to:

Manel Herat (Department of English): The use of webinars for intercultural dialogue and learning with Christ University in Bangalore India.

Namrata Rao and Frank Su (Department of Education Studies): Using Community of Practice (CoP) to facilitate the development of an inclusive institutional Blended Learning (BL) Pedagogy.

Asad Ghalib (Business School): The sharing of International Case Studies by International Students.

 

2014/15 Prize Winner

"Blending the curriculum through a student-led community of practice”, co-authored by Dr Daniela Mangione, Lecturer in Education Studies, and students from the Network of Hope, was the winning project of the Liverpool Hope University Prize for Excellence in Learning and Teaching in 2014/15.

This project was collaboratively created by nine first year mature students and Dr Daniela Mangione, their Year Lead and tutor, who has developed their blended learning provision, made by face to face and virtual learning opportunities. The underpinning pedagogical framework of this work sees the learners’ experience and voice, the dialogue, the sharing of expectations and the negotiation of meanings among students and their tutor as key elements of a learner-led blended learning provision. The main focus of their discussion was on ‘how to make a blended learning provision work more effectively’ for themselves and for other cohorts of adult learners. They annotated their ideas and worked at a metaphorical level, pretending that they were making food for a blended learning party. This imaginative learning mode helped all of them become freer to express their thoughts, perceptions and ‘disorienting dilemmas’ faced, without referring to personal or professional matters. The team identified some fundamental ‘ingredients’, a ‘method of preparation’ and the ‘participation at a knowledge buffet’.

The main outcome of this project emphasises the importance of including students’ learning experience, especially those of mature students enrolled in a blended learning provision, in the ‘community of practice framework’ that Daniela and her team have been developing at Liverpool Hope University.

For further details about this project, please contact Dr Daniela Mangione at mangiod@hope.ac.uk.

Arts & Humanities

LecFeed: A Mobile Application to Capture Student Feedback

Dr Asad Ghalib, Lecturer in Management Sciences, has been awarded a Learning and Teaching Innovation Award for creating a mobile application for capturing student feedback. It will be available on Windows, Android and iOS operating systems. This application will comprise a very simple feature of capturing student feedback. It will consist of a field to input the email address of the lecturer and three further text boxes that will enable students to input their feedback: ‘stop doing’, ‘start doing’ and ‘continue doing’. It is envisaged that the simplicity and ease of use, coupled with the anonymity of the sender will enable and encourage users to send candid feedback to lecturers that can contribute towards improvement in delivery and content. As opposed to capturing feedback along the same lines by using ‘pen and paper’, this free application will make it very convenient for students to give instant and anonymous feedback. The application will not be department-specific and will be designed in such a way that it can be used across all departments irrespective of the field of study. LecFeed and the accompanying website will be launched in August 2015.

For further information about this app, please contact Dr Asad Ghalib at ghaliba@hope.ac.uk.

 

A Reflection on Student Learning

From my experience, student learning often happens when

  • learning is connected to the students' own frames of reference and lives 
  • students are taken out of their comfort zone
  • students have ownership of their own learning.

I have been trying to combine these three aspects throughout my teaching, and particularly the annual field trip to Belfast that I organise for Level H and MA students. The students are exposed to a context which, on the one hand, is similar to the lives they lead: a city, its contradictions and energies. On the other hand, the trip brings its challenges for them, in that they have to find a place in the group, engage with an unfamiliar environment and deal with challenges (of conflict and poverty as well as resilience and creativity) that is new to many of them. The students have to take the lead on introducing themselves to their interlocutors, juggle what kinds of questions are appropriate to ask and become responsible of the way in which any of the meetings that we have is being conducted. I found that the students tend to develop a higher degree of self-confidence but also humility from this experience. They have to rethink the categories they have been able to uphold comfortably for a long time, as nothing is so neat or black-and-white anymore when considered with more proximity. It is when this discrepancy between deeply-ingrained categories and preconceptions is challenged and critically analysed that I find student learning to take place. This cognitive dissonance, occurring when the mental comfort zone is left, seems to be a very productive learning stimulus to me.

Dr Stefanie Kappler, Senior Lecturer in International Relations and winner of this academic year's 'Thinkers' Hope Star Teaching Award


Digital Humanities Hub (Launched March 2015)

A Digital Humanities Hub is now available to access through the Department of History and Politics web page.

The Hub provides free links to primary source databases and documents related to research and teaching strands in History at Liverpool Hope University. The Hub is the culmination of months of research by graduate interns, Phillip Gallagher and Lewis Teare and the web design was overseen by Steven Hargraves. The project was designed and directed by Senior Lecturer in History Dr Sonja Tiernan.

This digital hub is an invaluable learning and teaching resource for students and staff across the University covering not only history but crossing over to themes of literature, drama, art, music, criminology and many other subject areas.

 

Good Practice from Learning and Teaching Day, 18th February 2015

The February Faculty Learning and Teaching day saw many examples of good practice but the interdisciplinary focus from History and English (Trish Ferguson and Sonja Tiernan) and Dance and Music ( Manuella Blackburn and Declan Patrick) were particular highlights. The genesis of both projects can be traced to peer observation sessions from 2013/14 and it is encouraging to see consciously randomised teaching conversations having such a productive spin-off – great serendipity. Trish and Sonja showed an imaginative, collaborative approach with their ‘Victorian Crime: fact and Fiction’ MA module and Manuella and Declan worked with Level H Electroacoustic Music Composition students and Choreography students to create some highly imaginative performance events in the Capstone Theatre. Their presentations can be seen in the published booklet which will be circulated to all Arts and Humanities staff and available to other faculties on request.

Another highlight for me was Gary Anderson and Lena Simic’s performative presentation on engaging students with the realities of climate change. As I was watching their passionate articulation of some very worrying data, I was struck by how well this chimed with the University Learning and Teaching strategy – in particular Principle Four – ‘A curriculum informed by current research’, here bullet point seven states: 'Students will be empowered to contribute to social change and staff will support them to be change agents'. This was a palpable example of this principle in action and, once again, showed the interdisciplinary potential of the Faculty to promote student agency.

 

Some examples of recent good practice identified in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities (by department) include:  

Business School

  • Instigation of the AACSB accreditation process, which involved the appointment of a new designated member of staff;
  • The Business Management Cluster together with Hope Business Gateway has developed for Level I undergraduate students, Youth Enterprise;
  • The Business School and Hope Business Gateway also worked together on a number of company visits and enterprise activity which again offered students an opportunity to get an insight into real business experiences. The Business School itself also arranged a one-week placement for two students at Investec Investment Bank;
  • The Business School operated a number of well attended research seminars which, in the main, were presented by Business School staff. The Business School now has 85% of its staff research active and clear publication targets have been set for the next 18 months;
  • The Business School also has developed an effective conversation strategy for recruitment in 2014-15, which has resulted in achieving its recruitment target without going through clearing;
  • This year has also involved a considerable amount of work exploring partnership with Stella Maris College (Chennai, India) in relation to the delivery in both India and the UK of Hope's IMBA;
  • The University's decision to move Law out of the Business School.

Drama, Dance and Performance Studies

  • Student Evaluation analysis and action plan - "you said, we did". The Head of Department responded to student evaluations (Level H) with a table of issues and actions, with deadlines. The document was then presented to the third years and the actions, such as new flooring and lighting boards, carried through;
  • Student Theatre Companies - Staff working in Applied Practice (Level H Drama/DTS) helped student to found eight small theatre companies, responding to a live brief that took the student companies out into regional schools, community groups and colleges;
  • Post-production sessions - Staff led students (Level I Drama) in post-production feedback discussions regarding their production work;
  • Performing Justice Reading Group and Seminar Series - Staff formed the Performing Justice research group, coming together for seminars and reading discussions. This is a first step in the Head of Department's strategy to support a unified research environment within the department;
  • Methods and Methodologies Lecture Series Guide to Referencing - First year students were provided with an introductory supportive guide in definitions, importance and methodology of academic referencing;
  • Level H Staff Research Lecture Series - All staff delivered one or two weeks of lectures to third year students on the process and content of their own research and practice, with a view to supporting the development of their own final year discourse, whether in practice or for dissertation;
  • Catalogue publication of student practice - Dissemination: The Contemporary Performance Practice Seminar - Level H DTS produced a final catalogue of student practice, with their Artist Statements for dissemination by themselves, at Open Days and as a celebration of their achievements and research discourse.

English

  • Honours conference, showcasing final year undergraduate research with the involvement of students from all years and with sessions chaired by postgraduate students;
  • Development of archival and publishing history tutorials using special collections in the library as well as electronic sources;
  • Establishing ethics procedures and policies used as a model for the Faculty;
  • Collaborative planning with Careers and Library to ensure that career planning is built into the curriculum and that maximum use is made of library resources;
  • Individual progress review meetings with students to discuss feedback across all components of the programme and so to plan strategies for improvement;
  • Enrichment programme of visiting lecturers, fieldtrips, and special interest groups (Medieval Reading Group, Creative Writing Group, and English Society);
  • Implementation of the English departmental newsletter.

Fine and Applied Art

  • Professional Practices External Exhibition - Level I and H Fine Art students held successful public exhibitions at The Baltic Creative and Exchange Court and collaborated with Bluecoat Director on delivering a public discussion in relation to creating a better infrastructure to keep arts graduates in the city;
  • Commission by Friends of the Metropolitan Cathedral - A Metropolitan Cathedral Commission was established during the academic year. The competition was for a graduate student to design and make four medals for the deputies of the girls' choir (Design Level H);
  • Work Placements with National Museums Liverpool - Students from across the MA Art History and Curating and MA Museum and Heritage Studies respond well to formal partnerships which they find an enriching experience;
  • Taster Days - Staff and students at Levels I and H (Fine and Applied Arts) work collaboratively to deliver master classes to potential applicants. Students gain valuable experience and enhance their employability skills;
  • Liverpool Biennial - 11 Fine Art students (Levels I and H) participated in the Young Fellows Scheme with Liverpool Biennial;
  • Walker Art gallery - Decorative Arts Curatorial staff work with students (Level I Design) to deliver a live project which culminates in a professional presented public exhibition at walker Art Gallery Decorative Arts showcase.

History and Politics

  • Use of invited external speakers, local councillors and local MP, to bring real life politics into the classroom;
  • Good liaison with the Desmond Tutu War and Peace Centre, including participation of MA students at workshops, guest lectures and conferences;
  • Fieldtrips to National Museums Liverpool, Imperial War Museum North and Berlin;
  • High quality of student dissertations and workbooks.

Media and Communication

  • Technical Review Group meetings to improve efficiency and better respond to staff and student needs around IT provision;
  • Staff training in professional technologies, which has worked to improve taught content and sharpen departmental focus on future curriculum provision and research investment;
  • Guest speakers/performers including a successful collaboration between the Department of Media and Communication and the Department of Music which enabled a sharing of costs, a broadening of the scope of presentation and a wider base of student benefit (i.e. value for money).

Music

  • Revision of the BA Music undergraduate curriculum around departmental strengths and in dialogue with the student voice;
  • External Examiners on the revalidation panel for BA Music, BA and MA in Music Since 1900 and MA in The Beatles, Popular Music and Society all highlighted the care taken for students as a feature of good practice. This is largely achieved by providing high-quality pastoral care, working closely with the outstanding student-led Music Society, and the additional enhancement opportunities offered by Visiting Professors, Partners, and ensembles and additional performance and composition opportunities;
  • New recruitment initiatives for 2013/14 including the updating of the Department website, revising the strategy adopted for Interview and Audition Days, and visiting schools and colleges;
  • Resign of the PGT provision including the development of a new MA Music with dedicated pathways in Musicology, Performance and Composition. This should maximise recruitment, as previous PGT provision was highly specialised, and conserve departmental and staffing resources.

Social Work, Care and Justice

  • Student overnight fieldtrips across level c have been well received by students, enhance learning and aid cohesion amongst the cohort;
  • Student additional skills handbook used to monitor social work students' 'skill days' requirement. Could be adapted by Departments to record HEAR activities;
  • Level C feedback for assessed work is delivered via one-to-one sessions.

Theology, Philosophy and Religion

  • The systematic training of students in the basics of 'scholarship';
  • Integration of undergraduate curriculum content with Primary Research;
  • The integration of Fieldwork dimension and Student Visits into the curriculum;
  • The Level I Academic Writing Workshop.

Education

Feedback to Students: an example of good practice

According to the students, they value feedback that is articulated in such a way that they can relate to it. They were also referring to spontaneous feedback to ideas and suggestions in seminars as well as to feedback on formative and summative assessment tasks. They specifically commented on their appreciation of the use of practical examples from our field of study in order for them to access meaning. The use of authentic examples from the tutors personal experiences (professional and as a researcher), when specifically linked to a theoretical concept, helped them to gain insight (and understand where they had lacked depth or accuracy in their writing). The following forms of feedback were used:

  1. General points, including common errors, were listed and presented to the whole cohort
  2. General feedback was provided on Moodle to the cohort
  3. Individual written feedback with targets for improvement
  4. The date for written feedback is always timetabled to coincide with a taught session, preferably a seminar. This is now normal procedure for our subject. This means that time is allocate for students to consider the feedback, write their response to it in the section provided on the feedback form and, if required, seek clarification from the tutor without any delay.
  5. For the minority who struggled to accept or understand why they had received a mark much lower than they were expecting, 1:1 tutorials were conducted to go into it in more depth. I found that these students, who had been quite upset and angry over their marks, made far greater progress with the next assignment and were subsequently more likely to engage in any tutorials provided. I believe this was because the 1:1 forced them to consider their difficulties and gave them confidence to see that they could make progress if they sought help. Ironically it is these students who struggled and were originally quite antagonistic towards me that are now the most appreciative.

This link between talking through concepts and articulating our thoughts in writing, and considering how the writing is perceived by others is obviously an important skill. It was the subject of research Babs Anderson and I conducted a few years ago with level H students and postgrad students and in with school teachers. An important outcome of this work is that study is necessarily uncomfortable for the students if they are truly learning. A paper from the journal Teaching Anthropology is available on this subject.

Dr Kath Orlandi, Senior Lecturer in Education Studies and winner of this academic year's Hope Star Teaching Award for 'Student Feedback'

 

Dissertation Conferences Enhance Final-Year Experience in Education

In March of 2015, the departments of Education Studies, Early Childhood and Special Educational Needs ran undergraduate research conferences to enable students to present an aspect of their research project work, receive feedback from peers and academic colleagues, and participate in scholarly discussion. Over 150 students presented their work over 3 days, with members of staff chairing, acting as discussant, and offering feedback on the day. Students commented on how they found feedback from peers and tutors constructive and how it informed the development of their work. Students also remarked that the need to summarise an aspect of the dissertation into a 15 minute narrative helped them to focus their ideas. During the Education Studies conference day, there was a presentation about the British Educational Research Association's Transformations student journal from Ashley Kirwan, a Liverpool Hope student who has been active in setting up this exciting project. There were also opportunities to complete the National Student Survey, which contributed to the high levels of NSS participation across the Faculty.

Dr David Lundie, Senior Lecturer in Education

 

The Use of Podcasts to Support Blended Learning on the Network

The University has committed significant resources to enabling a range of programmes to be taught at the ‘Network of Hope’. This network teaching presents a significant challenge: how do we ensure the rich theoretical content and specialised teaching activities across a number of sites and with reduced face-face contact time? The Education Studies team have employed audio podcasts to great effect in providing network students with a richer and more engaging curriculum that really takes seriously the principles of ‘blended learning’. This has the added benefit of ensuring certain key messages are consistently expressed across all sites (which historically has proved another real challenge). Students have benefited from specialised podcasts of topics of relevance to their exams giving that extra bit of confidence at this stressful time. 

The team are delighted to see that a new role of ‘Educational Technologist’ has been developed which David Aldridge is undertaking. This new role will further support the progress made in offering network students a more engaging, educationally rich experience. The team are keen to take podcasts to the next level: screencasts, which involve audio and video taken from the screens of tutors so that they can talk through materials while demonstrating or illustrating specific points.

Dr David Lewin, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy of Education

 

Good Practice from SEN and Disability Studies 

Dr Owen Barden in the Department of Disability & Education developed this 'Powtoon', which illustrates some of the good practice in learning, teaching and assessment in the department. This formed the SEN and Disability Studies team's entry for the Learning and Teaching prize this academic year. 

Ms Laura Waite showcased approaches to blended learning for students studying at Level C in our Network of Hope colleges at a recent faculty event. A significant aspect of her work with first year students involves introducing students to reading, writing and critical thinking through short reading and writing activities with a strong emphasis on formative assessment and feedback. Students gain marks for demonstrating their level of engagement with formative feedback.

 

Other examples of recent good practice identified in the Faculty of Education include:
 

  • A University wide Learning and Teaching programme of four sessions based on the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) was designed for colleagues who are new or relatively new to university teaching. The course consisted of four intensive timetabled sessions of 2.5 hours each;
  • A tailored version of the above programme has been developed for those school teachers who have been seconded to work in the faculty;
  • Pedagogical Workshops on a range of themes including learning from observation, researching and publishing L&T initiatives, UKPSF & CPD, teaching & supervising at masters/doctoral level, teaching for inclusivity, and expanding the learning environment;  
  • The Key Practitioner Initiative is an exciting development to pilot the development of a community of colleagues who wish to develop their profile in academic leadership by mentoring and / or developing peers as part of the Faculty of Education L&T strategy;
  • A Faculty of Education e-bulletin 'Learning and Teaching Special' edition, 3rd December 2014 (Issue 20);
  • Colleagues in SEN, Early Childhood, Education Studies, EdD, and BA Primary Teaching using Aspire reading lists across all levels.  Also, the various CPD modules in Education make good use of them, particularly the Professional Qualification for School Inspectors (PQSI) course;
  • On-going developments in Blended Learning and other aspects of Educational Technology.

Sciences

In the Faculty of Science we have been focusing on enhancement of the student experience through excellence in learning teaching and assessment. Dr Tony Finnegan has identified best practice already in evidence across the Faculty, through a recent systematic analysis of the External Examiners Reports submitted across the disciplines.

This analysis revealed a number of reoccurring themes which provide evidence that the student experience is enhanced through carefully designed, inclusive and creative curricula. Learning is fostered through a wide variety of assessment which is integrated into the curriculum. There were repeated comments from external academics about the excellent opportunities that students in the Faculty have to engage with stakeholders and employers who therefore play an integral role in developing students into employable graduates. A focus on field-work that is sustainable, low-cost and carbon conscious was also an area where the Faculty is leading the way. As would be expected, enhancement through research-informed teaching and internationalism was identified consistently in features of good practice in all areas of the Faculty.

We are continuing to push forward with our enhancement theme, using the latest Learning and Teaching Day to raise awareness of the need to embed and evidence enhancement in all our activities. 
 

Some examples of recent good practice identified in the Faculty of Science (by department) include:  

Biology & Human Biology 

  • Their focus on Scaffolding student learning across the curriculum levels;
  • Their use of local facilities (including museums, gardens and zoos) to enhance student learning;
  • The emphasis they place on inclusive curriculum to support all students (especially LSPs);
  • Their engagement with stakeholders;
  • Their key focus on reducing skills deficit for students as identified by employers;
  • Their approach and key focus on feedback and feed forward;
  • Colleagues using Aspire reading lists on Moodle.

 Environmental Science

  • The range of learning and teaching methods used and the diverse approaches to assessment employed across the programme;
  • The strong commitment employability demonstrated woven into the design of the programme;
  • The creativity of the programme, drawing as it does on the cognate disciplines of Biology and Geography, but with a distinctive environmental sciences thread weaving throughout. 

 Geography 

  • Their engagement with local stakeholders to inform curriculum development;
  • The teaching team have significant contact with local voluntary and professional organisations that is utilised to gain more informal understanding of Geography in practice and provide both work experience and research project opportunities;
  • Their emphasis on engaging with students in the process of curriculum change;
  • The focus they place on the enhancement of the student experience across the curriculum;
  • Their encouragement of active participation of students in the learning process through the use of presentations, reflective study, debates, seminar/workshop/tutorial work and oral assessment here necessary or beneficial;
  • Their efforts to place scholars and their students at the heart of the collegium fostering deeper and independent learning alongside research-informed teaching;
  • Their particular emphasis on low-cost and carbon-conscious fieldwork, in particular through the use of local destinations (utilising public transport) or through students being able to determine their own travel arrangements;
  • Related to this their focus on E-Learning to reduce the carbon footprint even further. 

 Nutrition

  • Their involvement of students in the review and development of provision and curriculum change;
  • Their focus on applied skills and the clear links which are made to wider accreditation frameworks and the opportunities afforded to students to apply for professional accreditation via individual submission;
  • Their focus on student employability;
  • Their focus on local and public engagement, placements with local nutrition organisations, field trips, visiting lecturers, engagement with the external examiner, Business Gateway;
  • Their use of a range of formative assessment tasks to support student learning and progression;
  • Their focus on communication with students and the support given to ensure appropriate choices have been made. 

Psychology

  • Their coherent development of their curriculum provision to match thematic approaches from the BPS - Instead of separating the different approaches the curriculum is grouped around themes that are then considered from multiple perspectives;
  • Their focus on the close links they have with international and UK based experts in psychology thus providing opportunities for students to hear invited speakers presenting current critical thinking on a wide range of perspectives in psychology in a departmental Research Seminar Series;
  • Their use of VLE and Moodle in supporting both the IC and wider student engagement and Learning; 
  • Their focus on a wide range of assessment, including practical reports, portfolios, literature clubs etc; 
  • Their engagement with groups of ten, to achieve the curriculum objectives;
  • Colleagues using Aspire reading lists on Moodle.

Sport

  • Colleagues using Aspire reading lists on Moodle.

Student Services

Some examples of recent good practice identified in the Student Support Services include:
 

Chaplaincy and Residential Life

  • New aspects of training for residential tutors such as; listening skills, suicide prevention workshop, working pastorally, mission and ethos of the university, reflective practice, sex and relationships, mental health awareness, what to do if someone is raped or sexually assaulted, have helped develop tutors skills in the many pastoral situations that are uncounted when living and caring for students;
  • Resident Tutors have developed a good working relationship with Student Development and Well-being and regularly refer students for help with particular needs/concerns;
  • The establishment of a refreshed chaplaincy team has proved a positive step. Students and staff have benefitted from having a team of chaplains with a spread of ages, denominations and experience. Having a team that work flexibly has given additional opportunities to interact with staff and students;
  • The ratio of tutors to students (approximately 1:50) is one of the best in the country, and with the continuing training and team building of tutors this has helped to provide a stable environment where students’ wellbeing and concerns can be addressed;
  • The team have organised a variety of events, both social (such as Dining in Nights) and practical (for example, Finance and Budgeting sessions).  Feedback from the survey of residential life, which was conducted in spring 2014, showed that the events where very popular and that the students would welcome more;
  • The Welcome Week Programme developed by tutors and chaplains was a substantial piece of work that enabled students to transition from home to the University context. Students responded in the Residential Life survey that they received very good pastoral support at the beginning of their university experience.  

International Unit

  • During Orientation there were drop in sessions in the International Unit to discuss course choices/changes and the completion of host university paperwork which reduced student anxiety and the time taken to complete these processes;
  • Development of the Academic Skills Programme for international students.

Library and Learning Spaces

  • The integration of Special Collections materials into the curriculum, as facilitated by the librarians, has continued to increase with a wider range of students having sessions in special collections. This has improved student access to, and experience of, working with primary materials;
  • Significant enhancement in learning resources available to all students registered at Holy Cross has ensured that there is parity with the access to learning materials which Hope Park students’ experience;
  • A major development has been the establishment of a team of Peer Academic Writing Mentors.  Seven postgraduate students were recruited and trained to provide one-to-one sessions aimed at all students across the University with sessions available at The Sheppard-Worlock Library and the Creative Campus. These have proved very popular with students;
  • Another popular development has been the introduction of a 'text a rover' service which allows students to request assistance or raise issues such as noise from wherever they are working in the library;
  • The development of the Library and Information Skills strategy has given a clear menu of opportunities for students and departments to call on to develop their library skills;
  • Relocation of the Student Success Zone at Hope Park to ground floor to make it more visible, accessible and with longer hours;
  • Increased provision of computers and printing facilities is learning spaces;
  • Library staff are now on duty to support students on Bank Holidays;
  • Introduction of online bookings for study carrels and group rooms;
  • Mentors introduce workshops either bespoke to specific student groups e.g. English and Marketing or aimed at all such as Essay Survival workshops run jointly with Faculty Librarians and Students’ Union;
  • Creation of Writing Support resources web page to provide access from any location to resources developed by mentors and also useful external resources;
  • Increased shelving and study space capacity with planned integration of Markland first floor into The Sheppard-Worlock Library (Summer);
  • Faculty Librarians designated with lead roles to liaise with Careers and Employability and Student Support and Well-Being to ensure sharing of experience and joined up working.

Student Administration

  • Improved turnaround times of applications such that all undergraduate applications received by the main UCAS deadline were processed in time for the ‘Decline by Default’ and the postgraduate teacher training applications were all processed within the newly implemented 40 working day deadlines;
  • A range of improvements to the experience of students relating to assessment include the introduction of enhanced checking of the match between examination paper rubrics and titles against approved assessment patterns, with resulting improved quality in exam papers, the production of personalised examination timetables with seat numbers and a new set of guidelines to explain assessment procedures and regulations.

Student Development and Employability

  • The introduction of the Employability e-Bulletin has been key in raising the profile of The Hub.  Since October 2013 a bulletin has been sent to the student body on a weekly basis;
  • The career fairs saw a dramatic increase in numbers; specifically the Teaching and Education Fair attracted 550+ students with each of the four talks having 80+ in attendance;
  • The Creative Careers Day was held at Creative Campus with 65 students attending the event;
  • One example of many new interactions between the support services and academic departments, a bi-monthly teaching job vacancy newsletter is now emailed out by the Employability Hub, in partnership with the Education Faculty, to all BAQTS and PGCE students;
  • SD&E have worked with the Business School to embed employability into the curriculum by utilising the services of Enterprise Rent A Car. They will teach a number of employability skills sessions within the curriculum in 2014/15 and guarantee to recruit one Level H student for their Graduate Fast Track Management Programme;
  • The Employability Team have developed the Creative Industries Award in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Faculty; this has proved popular with students and staff and will continue into next year;
  • Launch of 'My Careers Centre'.

Student Finance

  • The team improved the process for the allocation of the Excellence Scholarship. Whereas in the past students had to apply, and in some cases some eligible students did not apply, now all eligible students are identified by the Student Funds office and receive payment without application;
  • Processes have been streamlined to ensure students are not allowed to have long standing debts. This way they now have help to plan their budget better rather than carrying debt over from one semester/year to the next and therefore building up larger debts.  

Student Recruitment

  • The Student Recruitment Unit has focussed on improvements to the communication with applicants, with Graduate Advocates contacting them via skype, email and by phone, building relationships from an early stage;
  • The development of new applicant-directed booklets firstly, an ‘Invitation to Interview’ for both BA QTS and PGCE applicants and secondly ‘Meeting the conditions of ITT/Social Work offers’, has provided clearer information on these matters to applicants and has reduced the number of queries from these students.

Welfare and Well-being

  • There have been significant improvements across all well-being service areas in relation to gathering student feedback.  Each service now has its own dedicated client feedback questionnaire specific to that particular service.  The questionnaires are administered via the Quicktap iPad survey system and students are normally asked to complete the feedback survey after accessing the particular service.  Client feedback is reviewed by each team and is used to inform quality assurance and future service development.

Learning Support

  • To raise awareness of the services on offer to prospective disabled students, the Learning Support Team developed an information and advice session, which has been delivered across all open and applicant days this year and was listed in the programme guides for each of the recruitment events;
  • The Learning Support Team developed and delivered a series of workshops for academic staff and other university staff who may work with disabled students;
  • They also worked with IT Services to develop an improved search facility for staff wishing to access Learning Support Plans for disabled students. This updated search facility now allows staff to perform a far more detailed search for all students with a LSP.

Counselling

  • A process developed with the Counselling Team and the MHWB Adviser involves a brief set of screening questions which are linked to a set of response actions, should concerns be raised by the student’s response to the questions.  As a result of student demand the number and regularity of drop-in sessions made available to students has been increased.  These sessions are short consultations allowing students to see a specialist practitioner. 

Mental Health and Well-being

  • Mental health and well-being information sessions delivered to FSAAs, advising on mental health issues, well-being services availability and appropriate referral to specialist services;
  • A comic strip based poster campaign was developed by the Mental Health Adviser to promote mental health awareness and reduce stigma, whilst also informing students and staff of the mental health advisory service available at Hope.

Excellence in L&T

The Excellence in Learning and Teaching Prize

The annual Liverpool Hope Excellence in Learning and Teaching Prize aims to recognise the Department(s) who can best demonstrate a commitment to enhancing the student experience through one or more of the principles of the Learning, Teaching and Enhancement strategy and to encourage the dissemination of good practice by sharing innovations with the wider University.

Each Department is invited to submit one entry for the excellence prize. The winner is given an additional £1000 for the winning Department(s) book budget. The Prize winners are also invited to share their good practice with the University community at a future Learning and Teaching Day.

The prize is open to all Liverpool Hope University Departments. 

Selection Criteria:

All innovations ideas should have the following characteristics:

  • Originality;
  • A demonstrated significant impact on student experience;
  • Potential for widespread use within or across disciplines.

 

2015/16 Prize Winner

Congratulations to the Disability and Education team, led by Laura Waite, who were awarded the Excellence in Learning and Teaching Prize by the Vice Chancellor at his annual address to all staff on 21st September.

The prize for 2015/6 addressed Principle 9 within the L & T Strategy which states that all students at Hope will experience "Learning opportunities developed with recognition of diversity of the student body". We asked colleagues to present items of good practice which demonstrate enhancement of the student experience in the context of this principle i.e. in recognition of the diversity of the student body.

The judging panel was unanimous in awarding the prize to The Department of Disability and Education their entry based on a Level I assessment in the SEN undergraduate major. In this assignment students are asked to select an area of interest, choose a target audience, and produce an alternative information resource pack that draws on different theoretical perspectives to that seen in traditional information resources.

The panel noted that this activity involved students in addressing diversity at a fundamental level whilst producing artifacts which could used beyond the University.

The panel also commended and made awards to:

Manel Herat (Department of English): The use of webinars for intercultural dialogue and learning with Christ University in Bangalore India.

Namrata Rao and Frank Su (Department of Education Studies): Using Community of Practice (CoP) to facilitate the development of an inclusive institutional Blended Learning (BL) Pedagogy.

Asad Ghalib (Business School): The sharing of International Case Studies by International Students.

 

2014/15 Prize Winner

"Blending the curriculum through a student-led community of practice”, co-authored by Dr Daniela Mangione, Lecturer in Education Studies, and students from the Network of Hope, was the winning project of the Liverpool Hope University Prize for Excellence in Learning and Teaching in 2014/15.

This project was collaboratively created by nine first year mature students and Dr Daniela Mangione, their Year Lead and tutor, who has developed their blended learning provision, made by face to face and virtual learning opportunities. The underpinning pedagogical framework of this work sees the learners’ experience and voice, the dialogue, the sharing of expectations and the negotiation of meanings among students and their tutor as key elements of a learner-led blended learning provision. The main focus of their discussion was on ‘how to make a blended learning provision work more effectively’ for themselves and for other cohorts of adult learners. They annotated their ideas and worked at a metaphorical level, pretending that they were making food for a blended learning party. This imaginative learning mode helped all of them become freer to express their thoughts, perceptions and ‘disorienting dilemmas’ faced, without referring to personal or professional matters. The team identified some fundamental ‘ingredients’, a ‘method of preparation’ and the ‘participation at a knowledge buffet’.

The main outcome of this project emphasises the importance of including students’ learning experience, especially those of mature students enrolled in a blended learning provision, in the ‘community of practice framework’ that Daniela and her team have been developing at Liverpool Hope University.

For further details about this project, please contact Dr Daniela Mangione at mangiod@hope.ac.uk.

Arts & Humanities

LecFeed: A Mobile Application to Capture Student Feedback

Dr Asad Ghalib, Lecturer in Management Sciences, has been awarded a Learning and Teaching Innovation Award for creating a mobile application for capturing student feedback. It will be available on Windows, Android and iOS operating systems. This application will comprise a very simple feature of capturing student feedback. It will consist of a field to input the email address of the lecturer and three further text boxes that will enable students to input their feedback: ‘stop doing’, ‘start doing’ and ‘continue doing’. It is envisaged that the simplicity and ease of use, coupled with the anonymity of the sender will enable and encourage users to send candid feedback to lecturers that can contribute towards improvement in delivery and content. As opposed to capturing feedback along the same lines by using ‘pen and paper’, this free application will make it very convenient for students to give instant and anonymous feedback. The application will not be department-specific and will be designed in such a way that it can be used across all departments irrespective of the field of study. LecFeed and the accompanying website will be launched in August 2015.

For further information about this app, please contact Dr Asad Ghalib at ghaliba@hope.ac.uk.

 

A Reflection on Student Learning

From my experience, student learning often happens when

  • learning is connected to the students' own frames of reference and lives 
  • students are taken out of their comfort zone
  • students have ownership of their own learning.

I have been trying to combine these three aspects throughout my teaching, and particularly the annual field trip to Belfast that I organise for Level H and MA students. The students are exposed to a context which, on the one hand, is similar to the lives they lead: a city, its contradictions and energies. On the other hand, the trip brings its challenges for them, in that they have to find a place in the group, engage with an unfamiliar environment and deal with challenges (of conflict and poverty as well as resilience and creativity) that is new to many of them. The students have to take the lead on introducing themselves to their interlocutors, juggle what kinds of questions are appropriate to ask and become responsible of the way in which any of the meetings that we have is being conducted. I found that the students tend to develop a higher degree of self-confidence but also humility from this experience. They have to rethink the categories they have been able to uphold comfortably for a long time, as nothing is so neat or black-and-white anymore when considered with more proximity. It is when this discrepancy between deeply-ingrained categories and preconceptions is challenged and critically analysed that I find student learning to take place. This cognitive dissonance, occurring when the mental comfort zone is left, seems to be a very productive learning stimulus to me.

Dr Stefanie Kappler, Senior Lecturer in International Relations and winner of this academic year's 'Thinkers' Hope Star Teaching Award


Digital Humanities Hub (Launched March 2015)

A Digital Humanities Hub is now available to access through the Department of History and Politics web page.

The Hub provides free links to primary source databases and documents related to research and teaching strands in History at Liverpool Hope University. The Hub is the culmination of months of research by graduate interns, Phillip Gallagher and Lewis Teare and the web design was overseen by Steven Hargraves. The project was designed and directed by Senior Lecturer in History Dr Sonja Tiernan.

This digital hub is an invaluable learning and teaching resource for students and staff across the University covering not only history but crossing over to themes of literature, drama, art, music, criminology and many other subject areas.

 

Good Practice from Learning and Teaching Day, 18th February 2015

The February Faculty Learning and Teaching day saw many examples of good practice but the interdisciplinary focus from History and English (Trish Ferguson and Sonja Tiernan) and Dance and Music ( Manuella Blackburn and Declan Patrick) were particular highlights. The genesis of both projects can be traced to peer observation sessions from 2013/14 and it is encouraging to see consciously randomised teaching conversations having such a productive spin-off – great serendipity. Trish and Sonja showed an imaginative, collaborative approach with their ‘Victorian Crime: fact and Fiction’ MA module and Manuella and Declan worked with Level H Electroacoustic Music Composition students and Choreography students to create some highly imaginative performance events in the Capstone Theatre. Their presentations can be seen in the published booklet which will be circulated to all Arts and Humanities staff and available to other faculties on request.

Another highlight for me was Gary Anderson and Lena Simic’s performative presentation on engaging students with the realities of climate change. As I was watching their passionate articulation of some very worrying data, I was struck by how well this chimed with the University Learning and Teaching strategy – in particular Principle Four – ‘A curriculum informed by current research’, here bullet point seven states: 'Students will be empowered to contribute to social change and staff will support them to be change agents'. This was a palpable example of this principle in action and, once again, showed the interdisciplinary potential of the Faculty to promote student agency.

 

Some examples of recent good practice identified in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities (by department) include:  

Business School

  • Instigation of the AACSB accreditation process, which involved the appointment of a new designated member of staff;
  • The Business Management Cluster together with Hope Business Gateway has developed for Level I undergraduate students, Youth Enterprise;
  • The Business School and Hope Business Gateway also worked together on a number of company visits and enterprise activity which again offered students an opportunity to get an insight into real business experiences. The Business School itself also arranged a one-week placement for two students at Investec Investment Bank;
  • The Business School operated a number of well attended research seminars which, in the main, were presented by Business School staff. The Business School now has 85% of its staff research active and clear publication targets have been set for the next 18 months;
  • The Business School also has developed an effective conversation strategy for recruitment in 2014-15, which has resulted in achieving its recruitment target without going through clearing;
  • This year has also involved a considerable amount of work exploring partnership with Stella Maris College (Chennai, India) in relation to the delivery in both India and the UK of Hope's IMBA;
  • The University's decision to move Law out of the Business School.

Drama, Dance and Performance Studies

  • Student Evaluation analysis and action plan - "you said, we did". The Head of Department responded to student evaluations (Level H) with a table of issues and actions, with deadlines. The document was then presented to the third years and the actions, such as new flooring and lighting boards, carried through;
  • Student Theatre Companies - Staff working in Applied Practice (Level H Drama/DTS) helped student to found eight small theatre companies, responding to a live brief that took the student companies out into regional schools, community groups and colleges;
  • Post-production sessions - Staff led students (Level I Drama) in post-production feedback discussions regarding their production work;
  • Performing Justice Reading Group and Seminar Series - Staff formed the Performing Justice research group, coming together for seminars and reading discussions. This is a first step in the Head of Department's strategy to support a unified research environment within the department;
  • Methods and Methodologies Lecture Series Guide to Referencing - First year students were provided with an introductory supportive guide in definitions, importance and methodology of academic referencing;
  • Level H Staff Research Lecture Series - All staff delivered one or two weeks of lectures to third year students on the process and content of their own research and practice, with a view to supporting the development of their own final year discourse, whether in practice or for dissertation;
  • Catalogue publication of student practice - Dissemination: The Contemporary Performance Practice Seminar - Level H DTS produced a final catalogue of student practice, with their Artist Statements for dissemination by themselves, at Open Days and as a celebration of their achievements and research discourse.

English

  • Honours conference, showcasing final year undergraduate research with the involvement of students from all years and with sessions chaired by postgraduate students;
  • Development of archival and publishing history tutorials using special collections in the library as well as electronic sources;
  • Establishing ethics procedures and policies used as a model for the Faculty;
  • Collaborative planning with Careers and Library to ensure that career planning is built into the curriculum and that maximum use is made of library resources;
  • Individual progress review meetings with students to discuss feedback across all components of the programme and so to plan strategies for improvement;
  • Enrichment programme of visiting lecturers, fieldtrips, and special interest groups (Medieval Reading Group, Creative Writing Group, and English Society);
  • Implementation of the English departmental newsletter.

Fine and Applied Art

  • Professional Practices External Exhibition - Level I and H Fine Art students held successful public exhibitions at The Baltic Creative and Exchange Court and collaborated with Bluecoat Director on delivering a public discussion in relation to creating a better infrastructure to keep arts graduates in the city;
  • Commission by Friends of the Metropolitan Cathedral - A Metropolitan Cathedral Commission was established during the academic year. The competition was for a graduate student to design and make four medals for the deputies of the girls' choir (Design Level H);
  • Work Placements with National Museums Liverpool - Students from across the MA Art History and Curating and MA Museum and Heritage Studies respond well to formal partnerships which they find an enriching experience;
  • Taster Days - Staff and students at Levels I and H (Fine and Applied Arts) work collaboratively to deliver master classes to potential applicants. Students gain valuable experience and enhance their employability skills;
  • Liverpool Biennial - 11 Fine Art students (Levels I and H) participated in the Young Fellows Scheme with Liverpool Biennial;
  • Walker Art gallery - Decorative Arts Curatorial staff work with students (Level I Design) to deliver a live project which culminates in a professional presented public exhibition at walker Art Gallery Decorative Arts showcase.

History and Politics

  • Use of invited external speakers, local councillors and local MP, to bring real life politics into the classroom;
  • Good liaison with the Desmond Tutu War and Peace Centre, including participation of MA students at workshops, guest lectures and conferences;
  • Fieldtrips to National Museums Liverpool, Imperial War Museum North and Berlin;
  • High quality of student dissertations and workbooks.

Media and Communication

  • Technical Review Group meetings to improve efficiency and better respond to staff and student needs around IT provision;
  • Staff training in professional technologies, which has worked to improve taught content and sharpen departmental focus on future curriculum provision and research investment;
  • Guest speakers/performers including a successful collaboration between the Department of Media and Communication and the Department of Music which enabled a sharing of costs, a broadening of the scope of presentation and a wider base of student benefit (i.e. value for money).

Music

  • Revision of the BA Music undergraduate curriculum around departmental strengths and in dialogue with the student voice;
  • External Examiners on the revalidation panel for BA Music, BA and MA in Music Since 1900 and MA in The Beatles, Popular Music and Society all highlighted the care taken for students as a feature of good practice. This is largely achieved by providing high-quality pastoral care, working closely with the outstanding student-led Music Society, and the additional enhancement opportunities offered by Visiting Professors, Partners, and ensembles and additional performance and composition opportunities;
  • New recruitment initiatives for 2013/14 including the updating of the Department website, revising the strategy adopted for Interview and Audition Days, and visiting schools and colleges;
  • Resign of the PGT provision including the development of a new MA Music with dedicated pathways in Musicology, Performance and Composition. This should maximise recruitment, as previous PGT provision was highly specialised, and conserve departmental and staffing resources.

Social Work, Care and Justice

  • Student overnight fieldtrips across level c have been well received by students, enhance learning and aid cohesion amongst the cohort;
  • Student additional skills handbook used to monitor social work students' 'skill days' requirement. Could be adapted by Departments to record HEAR activities;
  • Level C feedback for assessed work is delivered via one-to-one sessions.

Theology, Philosophy and Religion

  • The systematic training of students in the basics of 'scholarship';
  • Integration of undergraduate curriculum content with Primary Research;
  • The integration of Fieldwork dimension and Student Visits into the curriculum;
  • The Level I Academic Writing Workshop.

Education

Feedback to Students: an example of good practice

According to the students, they value feedback that is articulated in such a way that they can relate to it. They were also referring to spontaneous feedback to ideas and suggestions in seminars as well as to feedback on formative and summative assessment tasks. They specifically commented on their appreciation of the use of practical examples from our field of study in order for them to access meaning. The use of authentic examples from the tutors personal experiences (professional and as a researcher), when specifically linked to a theoretical concept, helped them to gain insight (and understand where they had lacked depth or accuracy in their writing). The following forms of feedback were used:

  1. General points, including common errors, were listed and presented to the whole cohort
  2. General feedback was provided on Moodle to the cohort
  3. Individual written feedback with targets for improvement
  4. The date for written feedback is always timetabled to coincide with a taught session, preferably a seminar. This is now normal procedure for our subject. This means that time is allocate for students to consider the feedback, write their response to it in the section provided on the feedback form and, if required, seek clarification from the tutor without any delay.
  5. For the minority who struggled to accept or understand why they had received a mark much lower than they were expecting, 1:1 tutorials were conducted to go into it in more depth. I found that these students, who had been quite upset and angry over their marks, made far greater progress with the next assignment and were subsequently more likely to engage in any tutorials provided. I believe this was because the 1:1 forced them to consider their difficulties and gave them confidence to see that they could make progress if they sought help. Ironically it is these students who struggled and were originally quite antagonistic towards me that are now the most appreciative.

This link between talking through concepts and articulating our thoughts in writing, and considering how the writing is perceived by others is obviously an important skill. It was the subject of research Babs Anderson and I conducted a few years ago with level H students and postgrad students and in with school teachers. An important outcome of this work is that study is necessarily uncomfortable for the students if they are truly learning. A paper from the journal Teaching Anthropology is available on this subject.

Dr Kath Orlandi, Senior Lecturer in Education Studies and winner of this academic year's Hope Star Teaching Award for 'Student Feedback'

 

Dissertation Conferences Enhance Final-Year Experience in Education

In March of 2015, the departments of Education Studies, Early Childhood and Special Educational Needs ran undergraduate research conferences to enable students to present an aspect of their research project work, receive feedback from peers and academic colleagues, and participate in scholarly discussion. Over 150 students presented their work over 3 days, with members of staff chairing, acting as discussant, and offering feedback on the day. Students commented on how they found feedback from peers and tutors constructive and how it informed the development of their work. Students also remarked that the need to summarise an aspect of the dissertation into a 15 minute narrative helped them to focus their ideas. During the Education Studies conference day, there was a presentation about the British Educational Research Association's Transformations student journal from Ashley Kirwan, a Liverpool Hope student who has been active in setting up this exciting project. There were also opportunities to complete the National Student Survey, which contributed to the high levels of NSS participation across the Faculty.

Dr David Lundie, Senior Lecturer in Education

 

The Use of Podcasts to Support Blended Learning on the Network

The University has committed significant resources to enabling a range of programmes to be taught at the ‘Network of Hope’. This network teaching presents a significant challenge: how do we ensure the rich theoretical content and specialised teaching activities across a number of sites and with reduced face-face contact time? The Education Studies team have employed audio podcasts to great effect in providing network students with a richer and more engaging curriculum that really takes seriously the principles of ‘blended learning’. This has the added benefit of ensuring certain key messages are consistently expressed across all sites (which historically has proved another real challenge). Students have benefited from specialised podcasts of topics of relevance to their exams giving that extra bit of confidence at this stressful time. 

The team are delighted to see that a new role of ‘Educational Technologist’ has been developed which David Aldridge is undertaking. This new role will further support the progress made in offering network students a more engaging, educationally rich experience. The team are keen to take podcasts to the next level: screencasts, which involve audio and video taken from the screens of tutors so that they can talk through materials while demonstrating or illustrating specific points.

Dr David Lewin, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy of Education

 

Good Practice from SEN and Disability Studies 

Dr Owen Barden in the Department of Disability & Education developed this 'Powtoon', which illustrates some of the good practice in learning, teaching and assessment in the department. This formed the SEN and Disability Studies team's entry for the Learning and Teaching prize this academic year. 

Ms Laura Waite showcased approaches to blended learning for students studying at Level C in our Network of Hope colleges at a recent faculty event. A significant aspect of her work with first year students involves introducing students to reading, writing and critical thinking through short reading and writing activities with a strong emphasis on formative assessment and feedback. Students gain marks for demonstrating their level of engagement with formative feedback.

 

Other examples of recent good practice identified in the Faculty of Education include:
 

  • A University wide Learning and Teaching programme of four sessions based on the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF) was designed for colleagues who are new or relatively new to university teaching. The course consisted of four intensive timetabled sessions of 2.5 hours each;
  • A tailored version of the above programme has been developed for those school teachers who have been seconded to work in the faculty;
  • Pedagogical Workshops on a range of themes including learning from observation, researching and publishing L&T initiatives, UKPSF & CPD, teaching & supervising at masters/doctoral level, teaching for inclusivity, and expanding the learning environment;  
  • The Key Practitioner Initiative is an exciting development to pilot the development of a community of colleagues who wish to develop their profile in academic leadership by mentoring and / or developing peers as part of the Faculty of Education L&T strategy;
  • A Faculty of Education e-bulletin 'Learning and Teaching Special' edition, 3rd December 2014 (Issue 20);
  • Colleagues in SEN, Early Childhood, Education Studies, EdD, and BA Primary Teaching using Aspire reading lists across all levels.  Also, the various CPD modules in Education make good use of them, particularly the Professional Qualification for School Inspectors (PQSI) course;
  • On-going developments in Blended Learning and other aspects of Educational Technology.

Sciences

In the Faculty of Science we have been focusing on enhancement of the student experience through excellence in learning teaching and assessment. Dr Tony Finnegan has identified best practice already in evidence across the Faculty, through a recent systematic analysis of the External Examiners Reports submitted across the disciplines.

This analysis revealed a number of reoccurring themes which provide evidence that the student experience is enhanced through carefully designed, inclusive and creative curricula. Learning is fostered through a wide variety of assessment which is integrated into the curriculum. There were repeated comments from external academics about the excellent opportunities that students in the Faculty have to engage with stakeholders and employers who therefore play an integral role in developing students into employable graduates. A focus on field-work that is sustainable, low-cost and carbon conscious was also an area where the Faculty is leading the way. As would be expected, enhancement through research-informed teaching and internationalism was identified consistently in features of good practice in all areas of the Faculty.

We are continuing to push forward with our enhancement theme, using the latest Learning and Teaching Day to raise awareness of the need to embed and evidence enhancement in all our activities. 
 

Some examples of recent good practice identified in the Faculty of Science (by department) include:  

Biology & Human Biology 

  • Their focus on Scaffolding student learning across the curriculum levels;
  • Their use of local facilities (including museums, gardens and zoos) to enhance student learning;
  • The emphasis they place on inclusive curriculum to support all students (especially LSPs);
  • Their engagement with stakeholders;
  • Their key focus on reducing skills deficit for students as identified by employers;
  • Their approach and key focus on feedback and feed forward;
  • Colleagues using Aspire reading lists on Moodle.

 Environmental Science

  • The range of learning and teaching methods used and the diverse approaches to assessment employed across the programme;
  • The strong commitment employability demonstrated woven into the design of the programme;
  • The creativity of the programme, drawing as it does on the cognate disciplines of Biology and Geography, but with a distinctive environmental sciences thread weaving throughout. 

 Geography 

  • Their engagement with local stakeholders to inform curriculum development;
  • The teaching team have significant contact with local voluntary and professional organisations that is utilised to gain more informal understanding of Geography in practice and provide both work experience and research project opportunities;
  • Their emphasis on engaging with students in the process of curriculum change;
  • The focus they place on the enhancement of the student experience across the curriculum;
  • Their encouragement of active participation of students in the learning process through the use of presentations, reflective study, debates, seminar/workshop/tutorial work and oral assessment here necessary or beneficial;
  • Their efforts to place scholars and their students at the heart of the collegium fostering deeper and independent learning alongside research-informed teaching;
  • Their particular emphasis on low-cost and carbon-conscious fieldwork, in particular through the use of local destinations (utilising public transport) or through students being able to determine their own travel arrangements;
  • Related to this their focus on E-Learning to reduce the carbon footprint even further. 

 Nutrition

  • Their involvement of students in the review and development of provision and curriculum change;
  • Their focus on applied skills and the clear links which are made to wider accreditation frameworks and the opportunities afforded to students to apply for professional accreditation via individual submission;
  • Their focus on student employability;
  • Their focus on local and public engagement, placements with local nutrition organisations, field trips, visiting lecturers, engagement with the external examiner, Business Gateway;
  • Their use of a range of formative assessment tasks to support student learning and progression;
  • Their focus on communication with students and the support given to ensure appropriate choices have been made. 

Psychology

  • Their coherent development of their curriculum provision to match thematic approaches from the BPS - Instead of separating the different approaches the curriculum is grouped around themes that are then considered from multiple perspectives;
  • Their focus on the close links they have with international and UK based experts in psychology thus providing opportunities for students to hear invited speakers presenting current critical thinking on a wide range of perspectives in psychology in a departmental Research Seminar Series;
  • Their use of VLE and Moodle in supporting both the IC and wider student engagement and Learning; 
  • Their focus on a wide range of assessment, including practical reports, portfolios, literature clubs etc; 
  • Their engagement with groups of ten, to achieve the curriculum objectives;
  • Colleagues using Aspire reading lists on Moodle.

Sport

  • Colleagues using Aspire reading lists on Moodle.

Student Services

Some examples of recent good practice identified in the Student Support Services include:
 

Chaplaincy and Residential Life

  • New aspects of training for residential tutors such as; listening skills, suicide prevention workshop, working pastorally, mission and ethos of the university, reflective practice, sex and relationships, mental health awareness, what to do if someone is raped or sexually assaulted, have helped develop tutors skills in the many pastoral situations that are uncounted when living and caring for students;
  • Resident Tutors have developed a good working relationship with Student Development and Well-being and regularly refer students for help with particular needs/concerns;
  • The establishment of a refreshed chaplaincy team has proved a positive step. Students and staff have benefitted from having a team of chaplains with a spread of ages, denominations and experience. Having a team that work flexibly has given additional opportunities to interact with staff and students;
  • The ratio of tutors to students (approximately 1:50) is one of the best in the country, and with the continuing training and team building of tutors this has helped to provide a stable environment where students’ wellbeing and concerns can be addressed;
  • The team have organised a variety of events, both social (such as Dining in Nights) and practical (for example, Finance and Budgeting sessions).  Feedback from the survey of residential life, which was conducted in spring 2014, showed that the events where very popular and that the students would welcome more;
  • The Welcome Week Programme developed by tutors and chaplains was a substantial piece of work that enabled students to transition from home to the University context. Students responded in the Residential Life survey that they received very good pastoral support at the beginning of their university experience.  

International Unit

  • During Orientation there were drop in sessions in the International Unit to discuss course choices/changes and the completion of host university paperwork which reduced student anxiety and the time taken to complete these processes;
  • Development of the Academic Skills Programme for international students.

Library and Learning Spaces

  • The integration of Special Collections materials into the curriculum, as facilitated by the librarians, has continued to increase with a wider range of students having sessions in special collections. This has improved student access to, and experience of, working with primary materials;
  • Significant enhancement in learning resources available to all students registered at Holy Cross has ensured that there is parity with the access to learning materials which Hope Park students’ experience;
  • A major development has been the establishment of a team of Peer Academic Writing Mentors.  Seven postgraduate students were recruited and trained to provide one-to-one sessions aimed at all students across the University with sessions available at The Sheppard-Worlock Library and the Creative Campus. These have proved very popular with students;
  • Another popular development has been the introduction of a 'text a rover' service which allows students to request assistance or raise issues such as noise from wherever they are working in the library;
  • The development of the Library and Information Skills strategy has given a clear menu of opportunities for students and departments to call on to develop their library skills;
  • Relocation of the Student Success Zone at Hope Park to ground floor to make it more visible, accessible and with longer hours;
  • Increased provision of computers and printing facilities is learning spaces;
  • Library staff are now on duty to support students on Bank Holidays;
  • Introduction of online bookings for study carrels and group rooms;
  • Mentors introduce workshops either bespoke to specific student groups e.g. English and Marketing or aimed at all such as Essay Survival workshops run jointly with Faculty Librarians and Students’ Union;
  • Creation of Writing Support resources web page to provide access from any location to resources developed by mentors and also useful external resources;
  • Increased shelving and study space capacity with planned integration of Markland first floor into The Sheppard-Worlock Library (Summer);
  • Faculty Librarians designated with lead roles to liaise with Careers and Employability and Student Support and Well-Being to ensure sharing of experience and joined up working.

Student Administration

  • Improved turnaround times of applications such that all undergraduate applications received by the main UCAS deadline were processed in time for the ‘Decline by Default’ and the postgraduate teacher training applications were all processed within the newly implemented 40 working day deadlines;
  • A range of improvements to the experience of students relating to assessment include the introduction of enhanced checking of the match between examination paper rubrics and titles against approved assessment patterns, with resulting improved quality in exam papers, the production of personalised examination timetables with seat numbers and a new set of guidelines to explain assessment procedures and regulations.

Student Development and Employability

  • The introduction of the Employability e-Bulletin has been key in raising the profile of The Hub.  Since October 2013 a bulletin has been sent to the student body on a weekly basis;
  • The career fairs saw a dramatic increase in numbers; specifically the Teaching and Education Fair attracted 550+ students with each of the four talks having 80+ in attendance;
  • The Creative Careers Day was held at Creative Campus with 65 students attending the event;
  • One example of many new interactions between the support services and academic departments, a bi-monthly teaching job vacancy newsletter is now emailed out by the Employability Hub, in partnership with the Education Faculty, to all BAQTS and PGCE students;
  • SD&E have worked with the Business School to embed employability into the curriculum by utilising the services of Enterprise Rent A Car. They will teach a number of employability skills sessions within the curriculum in 2014/15 and guarantee to recruit one Level H student for their Graduate Fast Track Management Programme;
  • The Employability Team have developed the Creative Industries Award in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Faculty; this has proved popular with students and staff and will continue into next year;
  • Launch of 'My Careers Centre'.

Student Finance

  • The team improved the process for the allocation of the Excellence Scholarship. Whereas in the past students had to apply, and in some cases some eligible students did not apply, now all eligible students are identified by the Student Funds office and receive payment without application;
  • Processes have been streamlined to ensure students are not allowed to have long standing debts. This way they now have help to plan their budget better rather than carrying debt over from one semester/year to the next and therefore building up larger debts.  

Student Recruitment

  • The Student Recruitment Unit has focussed on improvements to the communication with applicants, with Graduate Advocates contacting them via skype, email and by phone, building relationships from an early stage;
  • The development of new applicant-directed booklets firstly, an ‘Invitation to Interview’ for both BA QTS and PGCE applicants and secondly ‘Meeting the conditions of ITT/Social Work offers’, has provided clearer information on these matters to applicants and has reduced the number of queries from these students.

Welfare and Well-being

  • There have been significant improvements across all well-being service areas in relation to gathering student feedback.  Each service now has its own dedicated client feedback questionnaire specific to that particular service.  The questionnaires are administered via the Quicktap iPad survey system and students are normally asked to complete the feedback survey after accessing the particular service.  Client feedback is reviewed by each team and is used to inform quality assurance and future service development.

Learning Support

  • To raise awareness of the services on offer to prospective disabled students, the Learning Support Team developed an information and advice session, which has been delivered across all open and applicant days this year and was listed in the programme guides for each of the recruitment events;
  • The Learning Support Team developed and delivered a series of workshops for academic staff and other university staff who may work with disabled students;
  • They also worked with IT Services to develop an improved search facility for staff wishing to access Learning Support Plans for disabled students. This updated search facility now allows staff to perform a far more detailed search for all students with a LSP.

Counselling

  • A process developed with the Counselling Team and the MHWB Adviser involves a brief set of screening questions which are linked to a set of response actions, should concerns be raised by the student’s response to the questions.  As a result of student demand the number and regularity of drop-in sessions made available to students has been increased.  These sessions are short consultations allowing students to see a specialist practitioner. 

Mental Health and Well-being

  • Mental health and well-being information sessions delivered to FSAAs, advising on mental health issues, well-being services availability and appropriate referral to specialist services;
  • A comic strip based poster campaign was developed by the Mental Health Adviser to promote mental health awareness and reduce stigma, whilst also informing students and staff of the mental health advisory service available at Hope.