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Incubator Projects 2017/18

Incubator Projects 2017/18

Education Incubator 2017/18

The Incubator is running 12 projects under three themes in 2017/18. The projects focused on supporting the transition to university through tutorials and student coaches, learning analytics, academic skills, and digital academic support. The project fellows also developed MOOCs related to Grand Challenges, the Circular Economy, and Chinese Culture, as well as innovative learning spaces, the mathematics gap, and digital pedagogies. The Incubator Catalogue at the bottom of the page contains more details on the outcomes of these projects.

Matt Finn (CLES). Transition to university following the introduction of the new A-Levels: supporting undergraduates through effective first-year tutorials

This was an interdisciplinary study on the effects the new linear A-Levels may have on students’ transition to university. Working with student researchers, Matt looked at how the revised content and changes in assessment structure and the skills taught – across selected subjects - impacted the transition from school to university for the first cohorts of students taking these A-Levels, and who entered university from 2017-2019.

Alex Janes (UEBS). Training tutors to coach students in shared/distributed and emergent forms of leadership for managing project teams

This project aimed to pilot a new approach to supporting group work by developing tutors’ knowledge and skills in leadership coaching. The project provided more detailed data on the key issues and successes students experienced in group work assignments at Exeter. This lead to the development of resources that helped scaffold group work at the University more effectively.

Alice Osborne (UEMS). Using the learning analytics dashboard to support students; training and resources for tutors

This project piloted one-to-one and group-tutoring training, resources, and activities in the ELA dashboard, which supported students to develop self-regulated learning skills; reflect on and engage with feedback, monitor their progress, choose suitable strategies and activities to enhance their learning and employability and develop the Exeter graduate attributes.

Andy Pye (CLES). Digital Academic Support (DAS)DAS).

The aim of this project was to investigate student views on ‘academic support’ and how it could be delivered through digital technologies. Existing applications such as ‘Yammer’ and ‘Skype for Business’ were used to transform the way we think about academic support; taking academic support out of dusty academic offices and into the 21st century by linking them to the iExeter App. Yammer has been adopted within the University and is used to facilitate communication between students and their academic tutor, and between tutees in tutor groups. These technologies have enabled the creation of online peer support groups across the University.

Emma Taylor, Vrinda Nayak, Clare Gallon, and David MacDonald (UEMS). Building bridges between academic skills and employability through the Academic Tutor Group system

This project developed an electronic platform where students perform an annual ‘skills audit’, and link their experiences to employability. The platform provided a space where the most essential skills could be identified through review of >20 authentic STEM graduate-level job specifications, across multiple potential career paths. Academic Tutors have access to this platform, enabling them to engage with their tutees’ skills audits, helping them to recognise learning and development opportunities and prescribing suitable training sessions.

Nicole Goodey, Chris Laing (CLES). Cornwall Grand Challenges: Sustainable Oceans/Sustainable Earth

Sustainability is a classic example of a “wicked” problem, requiring the kind of outside-the-box thinking and innovation that makes University of Exeter students highly employable. The theme of sustainability celebrates the cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research conducted in the college and exploits its powerful connections with local innovative businesses. State of the art documentary-style film-making was used to capture high-quality on-location lectures by Exeter’s world-leading academics and external specialists on land, at sea and underwater. The MOOC utilised 360-degree interactive videos to create a virtual learning experience, showcasing Cornwall’s natural marine and terrestrial assets.

Stefano Pascucci, Steffen Boehm, Allen Alexander, David Monciardini, Stephen Hickman, Peter Hopkinson, Michele Miller (UEBS). An introduction to the Circular Economy

This MOOC introduced the goals and key principles and concepts of a circular economy and provided creative opportunities for learning more about the ‘economy of the future’ that had gained widespread interest and attention with policymakers, academics and business.

The MOOC was linked to a Grand Challenge for undergraduate (UG) students around two themes: Ocean plastics and Regenerative agriculture. The MOOC formed the first step in a series of new online courses on Circular Economy based in Penryn.  

Ting Guo, Yin Zhiguang, Yue Zhuang (HUMS). The Many Faces of Chinese Culture: A Visual Journey through China

This project developed an open online module on aspects of Chinese cultural life, moving beyond the country's history and politics, giving an insight into the rich culture of Modern China. In this module, students studied a wide range of topics such as underground queer cinema in China, Chinese fansubbing and knowledge sharing, Africans in Guangzhou, Chinese Selfie beauty apps, classic gardens in Chinese modern cities, and Chinese square dancing. The diversity of these topics provided students with a fresh and critical perspective of modern China and helped them to understand and analyse new cultural phenomenon and trends emerging in Chinese society. 

Sue Prince (CSSIS). Reimagining the learning space to fit the 21st Century curriculum: active learning, simulations, and built pedagogy

The project informed the development of teaching spaces at the University of Exeter into the future. It developed the means by which technology can be most effectively integrated into physical teaching space to help support staff who wish to use active learning techniques and group work. An example was that it considered what sort of space best encourages all students to participate in an active task. 

Barrie Cooper, Bob Beare, Nicky King (CEMPS). Towards a digital pedagogy in mathematics

This project explored how online tools can be used effectively to shape the learning journey for scientific and mathematical education courses and developed to create rich interactive resources and learning experiences. It looked at “collaborative calculation in the cloud” and bringing in ideas from gamification, initially focusing on the revised mathematics curriculum, before disseminating potential applications more broadly to other to online courses and MOOCs.

Alison Hill (CLES). Addressing the mathematics gap in Biosciences

This project developed a bespoke resource that provides support in maths skills for all students in Biosciences. An output of this project featured in the module BIO3041, in which Hansch equations are used to correlate biological data with physicochemical properties of molecules. Students were taught to do basic algebra, differentiate a quadratic equation, and understand what log is (and take an anti-log), and how to calculate a reciprocal. Student success with the mathematics in Biosciences improved as a result of this project, leading to the methodology being utilised in other colleges and modules.

Steven Palmer, Damien Mansell, Anne Le Brocq (CLES). InVEnTA: Interactive Virtual Environments for Teaching and Assessment

This project developed software tools for quickly and efficiently producing ‘free-roaming’ immersive Interactive Virtual Environments from a range of different digital terrain datasets and imagery. It produced 'case-study' Virtual Environments to showcase their potential for delivering innovative and engaging teaching and learning content. The success of the project led to it being extended for a second year to further develop the platform.