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Welcome to the Realising Teaching Excellence blog at the University of Worcester, where we hope to keep you informed about teaching and learning developments, create dialogue around developing excellence, and introduce you to examples of interesting practice.
See the “Teaching Excellence” page for the latest news and the “Interesting Practice” page for learning and teaching case studies. See the “Resources” page for the recently added “Busy Lecturer’s Guide to Inclusive Practice”.

University Educational Development Projects: Progress Reports July 2017

Many colleagues across the University will have been involved in one way or another with some of the development projects that have been undertaken this year to improve the student experience.  Members of the Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Committee recently spent an afternoon with the leaders of these projects reviewing progress.  The projects are at different stages of development – some have completed and make clear recommendations, whilst some are just getting off the ground.  We have now made the progress reports/slides available under the Projects page.

Report on the Blended Learning Consortium – 2020 Vision conference (27/06/2017) from Lee Badham, IoHS

This conference report relating to the Blended Learning Consortium established by Heart of Worcestershire College, includes links to resources, including free software for learning design, YouTube resources, a self –assessment tool to ascertain staff digital skills and much more ….. Continue reading “Report on the Blended Learning Consortium – 2020 Vision conference (27/06/2017) from Lee Badham, IoHS”

HEPI/Unite Students Reality Check report published today

Results from a survey carried out by HEPI/Unite examining university applicants’ attitudes and perceptions have just been published. This is a new survey looking at how young people applying to university for the first time think about the upcoming transition to life as a student.

Headline outcomes are as follows:

  • For over one-third of applicants (36%), the university open day is one of the main reasons for choosing a particular institution
  • Almost three quarters (72%) rated a TEF Gold rating as important, with just over a quarter (27%) of all applicants rating it as very important
  • More than half of applicants (53%) expect that there will be more support for mental health issues at university than is available at school
  • 78% of applicants expect more financial advice from university than they received at school
  • In comparison to their school experience, two thirds (66%) of applicants expect more group work
  • More than half (60%) expect to spend more time in lectures than in their school classroom
  • Almost half of those surveyed (46%) believe that there will be more one-to-one academic support available at university, compared to their experience at school

The report is available at http://www.hepi.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Reality-Check-Report-Online1.pdf.  There are some interesting examples of how universities are addressing these issues, including providing pre-arrival support for disabilities and mental health issues, and promoting the idea of the ‘Sticky Campus’ which is of particular benefit for commuter students; UK universities implementing the sticky campus concept include Abertay University, the University of Manchester and Staffordshire University.

How sticky do you think our campus is and what can we do to make it stickier?!

Inclusive praxis, the university moral imperative of our time

Dr Seán Bracken, Institute of Education writes:

It is conference season once again in the UK and this provides a welcome opportunity to recharge the intellectual batteries and to garner new ideas for the future of learning, teaching and assessment. In an increasingly competitive and individualised environment, the past week (w/c 26 June 2017) has been one exemplified by all that is good in the sector, including generosity of collegiate learning and a willingness to provide insights to what works in differing universities across the country.

Setting a roadmap for inclusion in Scotland

Towards the latter part of the week, I attended a conference hosted by Higher Education Teaching and Learning (HETL), an international organisation that facilitates cross-global learning in Higher Education. This year, the overarching theme focused on developing and embedding inclusivity within learning and teaching. The conference took place in Scotland, a country which I learned has hugely ambitious plans for the future for inclusivity in HE; these plans are single mindedly focused on enhancing university opportunities for all young people, especially those who have been disadvantaged for one reason or another.  Continue reading “Inclusive praxis, the university moral imperative of our time”

Developing the Students as Academic Partners Scheme by reflecting on a High Impact Pedagogy model

Karen Blackmore (Academic Lead for SAP), Carolyn Nisbet (Project Manager), Sophie Pearce (Final Year Physical Geography Student)

2017 has seen 24 projects selected for inclusion in the Students as Academic Partners (SAP) scheme.  As the scheme continues to grow, we reflect on one highly successful project which was chosen to showcase the UW SAP scheme at the JISC Change Agents Network Conference at the University of Exeter in April 2017.

The SAP project was developed between Ian Maddock (Professor in River Science) and Sophie Pearce (Level 6 BSc Physical Geography Undergraduate student) and aimed to create resources which included a lecture, a taster session of a drone flying and a practical session introducing Structure from Motion photogrammetry software. The overall aspiration of the project was to integrate the practical sessions into a second year module GEOG2120 Mountain Environments, Landscapes and Hazards, as well use them to bolster recruitment on interview days.

In addition to developing an innovative and technically interesting resource for both the course and interview days, the project also provided an excellent example of how staff/student collaboration within the SAP scheme can enhance the student experience.

Continue reading “Developing the Students as Academic Partners Scheme by reflecting on a High Impact Pedagogy model”

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF): Outcomes for UW

The University is delighted to have achieved Silver in the first TEF assessment. The award is valid for up to three years.

As for all other HE Institutions in England and Wales, the TEF Panel reviewed the provider metrics and provider submission according to the process and criteria specified in the TEF guidance.

The TEF ‘statement of findings’ (the conclusions of the TEF Panel based on consideration of our metrics and submissions) is as follows: Continue reading “Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF): Outcomes for UW”

Beyond Boundaries: University Learning and Teaching Conference 2017

The annual University Learning and Teaching Conference held on 15/16th June was a huge success.  The theme Beyond Boundaries drew over 70 papers, workshops and ‘Ignite’ sessions, plus 7 posters.  Twenty-one papers came from students as academic partners projects, and over 200 people attended the conference including colleagues from the Netherlands and from other UK Universities.

Comments on the conference Twitter feed (#Beyondboundariesconf) included:

  • Many assumed boundaries, challenged, shoved and smashed by students and staff
  • Lots of energy and enthusiasm Beyondboundariesconf and excitement about collaboration in education
  • Loved my time @worcester_uni Beyondboundariesconf lots of research-informed practice possibilities.
  • #beyondboundariesconf confident, informed and professional student presenters
  • Good to see so many students presenting beyondboundariesconf – living the theme of breaking down boundaries.

Continue reading “Beyond Boundaries: University Learning and Teaching Conference 2017”