Tuesday, 12 July 2011


Many people gave their time and expertise to make the 11th Middlesex University Annual Learning and Teaching Conference a successful event. Sincere thanks and gratitude to everyone involved especially those mentioned here...

2011 Organising Committee: From left:Kirsteen Macdonald, Joanne Mullarkey, Steve Chilton, Carole Davis (Centre for Learning and Teaching Enhancement), Pat Cartney (School of Health of Social Sciences), Caroline Reid (Centre for Learning and Teaching Enhancement)
Thanks to:

Shauna Torrance for administrative support and help on the day

Karen Ridout for sharing her expertise and support on the day

Angus Macdonald and John Parkinson for filming and producing the keynote sessions (Cat Hill for the loan of an extra camera)

All session presenters and chairs

Joyce Clancey for her guidance and support

Neesha Kodagoda and Artemis Parvizi for persuading participants to allow their conference impressions to be captured on video

Louis Slabbert and media support services at Hendon

Colleagues in the Centre for Learning and Teaching Enhancement for their support, contributions and report writing

EFMS and Ben Hill, Vitorio Pollame, Chartwells' Catering Services

Question Time Panel

Bob Rotheram - Keynote presentation

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

PGCHE Prizewinners

Congratulations to the recipients of the Middlesex University Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education 2011 awards:
  1. Enver Ever,  Department of Wireless Communications, School of Engineering and Information Sciences
  2. Jackie Meredith, Department of Psychology, School of Health and Social Sciences
  3. Kate Herd,  Department of Engineering, School of Engineering and Information Sciences
  4. Julie Haddock Miller, Department of Human Resource Management, Business School
  5. Sukhy Kaur, Business Information Systems, School of Engineering and Information Sciences.
Many thanks to Josie Taylor for giving the presentations.

Apologies for the quality of some of the images from the 'amateur' photographer

Bob Rotheram - feedback

Monday, 4 July 2011

Track F: e-Requirements

TRACK F - From Tasks to e-Requirements
Presenter: Carl James Reynolds

Carl proposed that instead of selecting software tools for e-assessment and trying to adapt to them, we should be in the driving seat and adapt the tools to suit us.

Run as a workshop, his session took us back to basics, in search of a set of requirements rather than tools. In small groups, we were asked to each adopt a ‘stakeholder’ role (programme leader, school administrator, student etc), for the other group members to interview for 10 minutes and then swap around. The aim being to explore our existing processes around assessment.

After some debate as to why we were looking at the assessment process in general, rather than e-assessment and seemingly taking a step backwards, Carl explained this was in order to identify all the tasks around assessment – not just pedagogy; thus being better prepared for evaluating existing tools and developing new ones.

Carl was assisted in the session by a student and together they aimed to collate all the recorded tasks from each group.

Louise Merlin
e-Learning Content Producer
Centre for Learning and Teaching Enhancement

Keynote: Bob Rotheram - Assessment and Feedback: Technology to the Rescue?

Lunch break

Track H: Using Turnitin

TRACK H - Using Turnitin: From Plagiarism Detection to e-Assessment
Presenter: Franco Raimondi

Franco presented an interesting, informative and often humorous session of his experinces of using Turnitin. Franco explained how students are allowed to submit their work via Turnitin several times as a development and feedback tool as well as a plagiarism detection device. He then went on to explain some of the many creative methods that students have come up with to reduce their plagiarism scores in Turnitin; an eyeopener!!. The session was a thought provoking exploration of both the strengths and weaknesses of Turnitin. Franco concluded by saying that Turnitin is by no means a fool proof method of detecting plagiarism and as such should be treated with caution. However, it has a very useful role to play in supporting students as part of an overall module assessment methodology geared towards developing the students throughout the process of learning and assessment on a module.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

TRACK D: iPadagogy: Using Apple iPads within the Assessment and Feedback process

Hosted by: Agi Ryder, David Westwood

Agi and David hosted a lively and informative session, in two parts; an introduction and brief report back presentations from project participants, followed by Q&A and discussion to share wider experiences of using iPads. As Agi explained, funding was secured to purchase five iPads, “distributed to schools to use in teaching practice”. The timing of this dovetailed with the e-Assessment initiative and the resulting aims for the iPad project became - how iPads can be used: as a tool for mobile marking, to deliver timely feedback and to deliver audio feedback. The five presentations came from a variety of disciplines across the schools; Nursing, Sports, Psychology, Finance and ICT in Education.

Venetia Brown (HSSC) compared the iPad, in terms of both efficiency and convenience, to traditional methods when marking text based assessments. They found that it was efficient and also lighter to carry around. Using the iPad as an e-reader for dissertations was “great”. On the negative side was connectivity – 3G was essential 3G rather than wifi and the lack of Flash on the iPad meant Turnitin couldn’t be accessed.

Phil Barter (HSSC) and colleagues went for a different approach. They wanted to improve feedback across their programme and increase the variety of format. Their aim was to upload videos of students in action, to the iPad, annotate them and email screen shots back to the student. After much trial and error two apps appeared that enabled this video annotation (ScreenChalk) and also, marking during student presentations via a click through rubric (Vernier Video Physics). Both enabled feedback to be emailed to students immediately after presentations and performance, which the students really liked. Students felt better equipped to progress to the next year of study.

Ellie Franklin (BS) was positive about its portability and ease (“I love the iPad”), although felt that battery life could be improved. Her aim to use it alongside PebblePad for feedback was thwarted as it doesn’t support Flash. An app called SoundNote, which records audio tracks note taking, enabled her to mark a mock test with audio and written feedback, to email directly to the students as a PDF. She recommended using a pencil instead of purchasing the stylus, as preferable to touch screen typing.

Stephen Nunn and Nollaig Frost (HSSC) also found the typing difficult over time. They did find the iPad useful as a “second screen” – allowing portability whilst reading the essay and returning to a computer to mark it. A different application of the iPad, using the app Audio Memos, enabled them to mark student poster presentations, recording both verbal and written feedback – all within one session. The results were immediately emailed to the students so there were no carry over tasks for the tutors.

Gary Meek (A&E) completed the report back presentations by highlighting that the iPad doesn’t arrive with a manual or any useful software, which leads to heavy use of the apple store for “must-have” apps, in this case, note taking software. He found the iPad useful as a less intrusive device in classrooms when observing trainee teachers – an environment he wouldn’t take a laptop in to - you can “wander around the room taking notes”. Connectivity was an issue but Gary temporarily used his mobile phone as a wireless network. His recommended apps were: Documents to Go, Nebulous Notes and SoundNote.

This led neatly into the discussion, where topics included: useful apps, technical clarification on being able to link the iPad to a screen for presentations, the university infrastructure for supporting full connectivity and easy set up and use of equipment, security of data stored in cloud computing, the need for a policy covering the control and distribution of recorded media and training for using the new technologies.

To continue the discussion beyond the session, it was requested that participants add their comments, requests, ideas and issues to the eAssessment wiki, in order for them to be addressed by CCSS. David rounded the session off by pointing everyone towards the wiki and said that a ‘toolbox’ of recommended apps was in the pipeline.

Louise Merlin
e-Learning Content Producer
Centre for Learning and Teaching Enhancement

Staff development sessions

Please do take a look at the excellent resources and reports from the staff development sessions here.

Showcase of wiki session participants work.

Track B: Employability

TRACK B - Rea Prouska, Mike Mimirinis : Empowering Students by Enhancing Employability Skills: The Case of the BA Human Resource Management Programme

This informative and interactive session from Mike and Rea highlighted an approach from the BA Human Resource Management programme on how to focus students on identifying and developing their employability skills through the use of e-portfolios. Both Mike and Rea were interested in; the wealth of skills and attributes students enter into higher education with, how these skills are added to and develop during their time in HE and how they continue to develop skills after HE. The use of e-portfolios with first year students helped to engage students in both thinking about employability but also to reflect upon and evidence the skills they had and furthermore think about the skills they wished to develop.

It was lovely to see firsthand some e portfolios presented by two HRM students who discussed their experiences of, the benefits and uses they felt creating the portfolio had and the different ways in which the e-portfolios had been used (to apply for jobs, share resources between students, etc). It was interesting to note that students on this programme had been encouraged to engage with the e-portfolios with the incentive of marks, however not all students chose to produce or engage with the e-portfolios. Those students who did engage with the e-portfolio found it to be beneficial in numerous ways; in boosting confidence in identifying skills, in helping to articulate and evidence their skills and helping them to reflect on their experiences and identifying learning from their experience. Within the session the common problem of ‘how do we engage the students that are not engaging?’ arose, particularly as the engaged students cited many benefits. Learning from this year, Rea is making the use of e-portfolios compulsory for first year students within HRM and discussion centred on what more can be done to encourage students to engage with e-portfolios throughout their studies. No definite answers as yet but we look forward to hearing more as the project progresses.

Deeba Parmar
Senior Researcher
Centre for Learning and Teaching Enhancement

Track G: e-Assessment Case Studies

TRACK G - E-assessment project case studies: the triumphs and challenges
Presenters: Nicky Spawls (School of Arts and Education), Thomas Bending and Toby York (Business School)

This session showed the perspectives of three different departments (Education, Economics and Maths, Accounting and Finance) involved with the e-assessment pilot project. The e-assessment project asked for representation from all departments for modules to take part in e-assessment in the form of e-submission and e-feedback. Thomas, Toby and Nicky all showed the approached their areas had taken to e-assessment and highlighted some of the benefits identified and challenges encountered.

Toby talked of 7 pieces of assessment and how the ‘cloud’ has been used in encouraging student to collaborate on projects together and furthermore start to work on assessments as a process over time. However, it was shown that students were still deadline driven and less discussion and engagement between students occurred than was originally hoped for. However, from his own evaluation of his students’ experiences, 91% stated that they preferred the e-assessment – a strong indicator of his students’ satisfaction with the e-assessment method.

Thomas, from a financial mathematics programme, discussed electronic submission of a group presentation requiring the inclusion of text, tables, possible use of graphs and formula in one single document. A practice opportunity was provided although this was not taken up by all students. He did state that marking online did take slightly longer than marking by hand although more detail was able to be provided in the feedback that was given by compiling a bank of common feedback comments that could be cut and paste into the required feedback document. It was felt that the take up of feedback was better as it was delivered via email rather than left in an office waiting to be collected. There were challenges of students unsure of submitting work (due to a lack of receipts) and the additional time taken for getting used to marking online but overall students found submitting and receiving feedback electronically to be positive.

Nicky discussed the benefits and challenges that she and staff had encountered using the institutional VLE, turnitin and grademark. High praise for the support given by the educational technologists was mentioned highlighting the important link between central services and Schools in delivering such an initiative. Nicky highlighted the practical challenges (not having correct access on certain computers or facilities to work remotely, wifi, etc) and pedagogic challenges (interpreting Turnitin reports accurately) in changing practices in this way. She stressed that although staff were initially resistant the experience had made staff more positive to the move to e-assessment.

It was important to note that although challenges were identified all 3 examples showed that students were overwhelmingly positive to e-assessment.

Deeba Parmar
Senior Researcher
Centre for Learning and Teaching Enhancement

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Delegate video feedback

Jackie Meredith, School of Health and Social Sciences, Middlesex University

Simbo Ajayi, Learner Development Unit, Middlesex University

Jonathan Garnett, Institute for Work Based Learning, Middlesex University

Toby York, Business School, Middlesex University