Meetings

Future Meetings

Incubator fellow Dr. Alison Hill will be presenting at the University of Exeter Academic Practice Network on April 18th 2018. Dr. Hill's work is concerned with addressing the 'mathematics gap' in biosciences, producing resources that can teach students important mathematics and statistical skills to improve learning, research skills and employability.

Upon doing some research into this issue I read the Wakeham report and was horrified to discover that the problem with poor mathematical skills is not just confined to my classes but is endemic across Higher Education in Biosciences across the UK.

Wakeham described a ‘mathematics gap’ in Biological Sciences that results in poorer employment outcomes including students in high tariff institutions like Exeter. Simply put Biosciences graduates lack a lot of the ‘work readiness’ skills graduate employers are asking for.

This deficit in mathematics and statistics is not just confined to Biosciences: the HEA have identified Geography, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Business, Management and even Computing among the degree programmes affected by this skills gap (Hodgen et al., 2014). 

Dr. Hill's project follows the 'Learning Reimagined' theme of the Education Incubator, supporting pedagogical innovation at Exeter.

 

Incubator fellow Dr. Sue Prince will be hosting the Learning Spaces Symposium, asking the question: 'Do We Need Lecture Theatres in the 21st Century?', on the 3rd March in the Newman Collaborative LT, Peter Chalk Centre, Streatham Campus, Exeter.

The event will take place from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM and will include external guest speakers, breakout workshops and a free lunch to conclude.

To find out more, please visit the EventBrite for the symposium here.

More details to follow.

Incubator Fellows’ work will be presented at the University of Exeter Education Conference on the 4th May 2018.

Incubator fellow Alex Janes will be presenting at the University of Exeter Academic Practice Network on May 18th 2018. Alex Janes project addresses group work at Exeter and how this important learning process can be refined, promoting student engagement and providing tutors with new resources designed to enhance pedagogy.

This project aims to pilot a new approach to supporting group work by developing tutors’ knowledge and skills in leadership coaching. The project will also provide more detailed data on the key issues and successes students experience in group work assignments at Exeter. This should lead to the development of resources to help scaffold group work more effectively.

Alex Jane's project follows the 'Success for All' theme of the Education Incubator, evaluating and developing the educational support offered at Exeter.

Incubator fellows Dr. Emma Taylor and Dr. Vrinda Nayak will be leading a session on Academic Tutoring at the Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference, formerly HEA Annual Conference, being held on 3rd-5th July 2018 at the Aston Conference Centre, Birmingham. Dr. Taylor and Dr. Nayak's work is concerned with developing a 'skills audit' electronic platform, making the most out of academic tutor sessions and will be presented on July 3rd:

This development aims to increase student awareness on the transferable skills they develop during their study in order to increase employability, whilst also encouraging reflection on one’s own practice. Reflective cycles had been part of students’ studies, and this has now been brought into the tutoring system.

As part of an ongoing skills audit, students regularly evaluate their own skills using an Academic & Professional Learning Support (APLS) form and set SMART targets as goals for their own development. This is then discussed with their tutor so that each student can be supported on a personalised basis (e.g. by prescribing targeted resources if needed). Emma gave colleagues opportunity to have a go at filling in the APLS form, and discuss how this might be adapted to other disciplines.

Dr. Taylor and Dr. Nayak's project follows the 'Success for All' theme of the Education Incubator, evaluating and developing the educational support offered at Exeter.

Incubator fellow Dr. Andrew Pye is to present his work at the Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference, formerly HEA Annual Conference, themed: 'Teaching in the Spotlight: Learning from Global Communities', being held on 3-5 July 2018 at the Aston Conference Centre, Birmingham. Dr. Pye will give a talk entitled ’What do our students consider to be 'academic support'? Implications for interpreting National Student Survey (NSS) data’ on the 4th July 2018, SP3.11c 14:30-15:40.

When our students complete the National Student Survey (NSS) what do they think ‘academic support’ is? When answering: ‘I have been able to contact staff when I needed to’ what do they mean? Do they only consider ‘academic staff’ teaching them on their course, or do they consider the professional services teams, careers advisors and other ‘staff’ available to them? This session will present students views (from questionnaire data and focus groups) on what they understand to be ‘academic support’, as well as their views on academic tutoring, peer support and the future provision of academic support through digital platforms.

Although this study was conducted in a Biosciences department the data will be relevant to all institutions wanting to have a better understanding of their NSS data. This session will present data from a questionnaire sent to 400 1st and 2nd year Biosciences students at the University of Exeter, as well as student quotes from follow up focus groups. The data answers questions about what is and isn’t considered academic support, as well as questions on academic tutoring, peer support and the future provision of academic support through digital platforms. This data will be presented through traditional 15 minute oral presentation with student quotes and data backing up the wider discussions. This information will help academics at all levels from academic tutors to VCs as well as the wider university community (careers advisors, professional services staff). The data on ‘what is academic support’ will be the main focus of the presentation (as this is expected to have the widest audience.

Dr. Pye's project follows the 'Success for All' theme of the Education Incubator, evaluating and developing the educational support offered at Exeter.

 

Previous Meetings

UK Advising and Tutoring Annual Conference - Dr. Vrinda Nayak, Dr. Emma Taylor and Dr. Andrew Pye - 27-28th March 2018

  • Incubator fellows Dr. Emma Taylor and Dr. Vrinda Nayak lead a session entitled 'Integration of students’ reflective analysis of skills with the University student support system' at the UKAT Annual Conference at the University of Derby on the 27-28th March 2018.

Preparation for graduate employment requires the student to reflect upon their development of numerous academic and personal skills sought by employers. However, formal assessment of reflection is notoriously difficult and students frequently neglect this aspect of education, only noting (or valuing) acquisition of academic knowledge. We are currently developing the tutoring programme in BSc Medical Sciences to incorporate more formal evaluation, discussion and recording of transferable skills, alongside more effective signposting to skill development resources, to promote success for all students. This session will involve an interactive demonstration of our approach to aligning student tutoring to tangible evidence of employability skills.

  • Incubator fellow Dr. Andrew Pye also presented at the UKAT conference, leading a workshop entitled 'Student perceptions what is ‘academic support’ and ‘digital academic support’'

Dr. Pye outlined the problems that Exeter currently faces with regards to providing academic support to students; namely, that Students don’t always turn up to tutorials with staff, and when they do, they have a 5 minute meeting, where they sit and shift uncomfortably in their seats, then leave. Using online surveys, focus groups and yammer groups, Dr. Pye gathered students opinions about pre-existing academic tutoring session in order to address the problem.

Dr. Taylor and Dr. Nayak's project follows the 'Success for All' theme of the Education Incubator, evaluating and developing the educational support offered at Exeter.

HEA STEM Conference - Dr. Barrie Cooper - January 31st 2018

  • Incubator fellow Dr. Barrie Cooper presented his work at the HEA STEM conference on January 31st 2018 in Newcastle. Below is Dr. Cooper's abstract for this presentation:

Increasingly students are looking for anytime, anywhere access to learning resources and particularly resources that are rich, interactive and can provide real-time feedback on learning. Online tools for developing such learning experiences for scientific and mathematical education have matured to the extent that there are serious alternatives to traditional forms of teaching and assessment in these subjects.

In this workshop, we will report on the progress of a funded project exploring digital pedagogy, jointly undertaken by staff and students at the University of Exeter, and we will provide hands-on experience with some of the most promising online tools for mathematical education, such as CoCalc and Cody Coursework.

Academic Practice Network - Dr. Emma Taylor - 7th December 2017

  • Incubator fellow Dr. Emma Taylor presented her work at the Academic Practice Network on Wednesday 7th December 2017 in Northcote House Council Chamber, Exeter. Dr. Taylor's talk, entitled 'Developing a Formal “Skills Audit” in Medical Sciences', is concerned with equipping students with the correct employability skills throughout medical sciences at Exeter. Below is a blog post for Dr. Taylor's presentation:

Emma introduced the ‘skills audit’ aspect of the tutoring system in Medical Sciences.

This development aims to increase student awareness on the transferable skills they develop during their study in order to increase employability, whilst also encouraging reflection on one’s own practice. Reflective cycles had been part of students’ studies, and this has now been brought into the tutoring system.

As part of an ongoing skills audit, students regularly evaluate their own skills using an Academic & Professional Learning Support (APLS) form and set SMART targets as goals for their own development. This is then discussed with their tutor so that each student can be supported on a personalised basis (e.g. by prescribing targeted resources if needed). Emma gave colleagues opportunity to have a go at filling in the APLS form, and discuss how this might be adapted to other disciplines.

Academic Practice Network - Dr. Matt Finn - 7th December 2017

  • Incubator fellow Dr. Matt Finn, alongside Associate Professor in Political Geography Dr Sean Carter, also presented his work at the Academic Practice Network on Wednesday 7th December 2017 in Northcote House Council Chamber, Exeter. Dr. Finn's talk, entitled 'Academic Support: Education Incubator Project and GEO1309 Study Skills in Human Geography', investigates the new linear A-levels and how this affects incoming first year students at The University of Exeter. Below is a blog post about the presentation that Dr. Finn gave:

Matt noted significant changes in A Levels and school/college education, and introduced his Incubator project which investigates how this may impact students’ transition from school to university in future cohorts. Questions include whether we need to change our expectations regarding students’ prior knowledge, and what changes we may need to make to teaching at Exeter.

Matt and Sean then focused upon a single module, GEO1309 Study Skills in Human Geography, and the changes made to this module over three years to better meet the needs of students and its module staff. The classroom was flipped so that tutorials focused on discussions drawing from online and independent study, all academic staff were involved in teaching tutorials and marking assignments, and the module was refocused to address a smaller number of core skills held by all staff (e.g. writing skills). This helped staff to form better relationships with tutees, improve student writing skills, and students gained a greater sense of presence within the department.

 

Contact educationincubator@exeter.ac.uk for further information and queries.