Monday, 10 December 2012

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Hands on assessment

I was inspired by this article on how hands on science assessment are a much more accurate reflection of student comprehension. The computer based and physical tasks set for the students, involved much more than you would ever get out of a pen and paper exam, and the students got much more out of it. The study was conducted by the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress)

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Other kinds of "impact" REF 2014

David Willetts speech-at UUK conference today was interesting for many reasons. The biggest 'impact' for me was where he was talking about what will be REF'able and how research will be assessed for the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
The most surprising thing was that you could include unpublished work and journal impact factors would have no relevance!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Supporting the research process

Research is a pivotal part of Higher Education, all universities do research to some extent, even if it is research into their teaching that never get published in peer reviewed journals.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Academic Mentoring



Anyone at the start of their career needs to be shown the ropes. But why is mentoring so important in HE?

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Sharing Practice 2012

We held the Sharing Practice conference in Livesey House at Uclan today. It was a great event with many more people than we were expecting. Really positive feedback from participants...

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Should Lecturers have teaching qualifications?

The view that university lecturers in the UK should have teaching qualifications is not new, but with the increase in fees the NUS president is demanding that it be made mandatory for all lecturers to have teaching qualifications, as at the moment it is considered advisable but not mandatory...

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Refworks Vs Mendeley: The battle of the online reference managers

I have been using Mendeley for a while now, and I find it easy to use and a great way to organise and share research. But then my University released access to Refworks  and so I thought I would try it out and see if was as easy to use as Mendeley.  This review is based on my experiences in using both platforms to organise my references....

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

University A Levels

In the news at the moment is a story around universities, specifically 'Russell Group' elite universities  being given control over A-Levels, by the Education Secretary  Michael Gove ...

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Pedagogic Research Model

Recently we published an Impact guide to Pedagogic Research, with members of the PRF and the Centre for Research informed Teaching. We had a highly successful Launch event, with posters, resources and contributions from 10 different schools, demonstrating inspirational teaching, and a speech from our Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience).


What I would like to share with you is our Model of Pedagogic research...

Monday, 26 March 2012

Teaching Exchange

Uclan  PRF and LDU  is hosting a Teaching Exchange, on Wed 13th June 12-3pm
The teaching exchange is open to anyone who teaches at Uclan or partner colleges and who is interested in developing their teaching skills...

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

HEA guide to pedagogy for employability

The HEA (Higher Education Academy) has published a new revised guide to pedagogy for employability to help embed employability skills into the curriculum.....

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Teaching in Higher Education: A beginners guide

It can be daunting starting off as a new lecturer in HE, there is so much to know and plan before you get near a classroom.
The key starting point for all lecturers  is...

Friday, 2 March 2012

Digital Literacy in Higher Education

What is digital literacy?  Do we need to expand our definitions to include new social media interactions? What are we talking about?.. What does digital literacy mean to you?

Friday, 24 February 2012

Sitting on the shelf: Do we really need to disseminate our research?

Most research ends up sitting on the shelf in a library or behind some publishing companies pay wall.  Even with  the current rise in open access, hardly anyone outside of a university ever hears about our research.  Do we really need to disseminate our research to the wider public? And if we do how do we break it down so they can understand it? With the current pressures on academics is it worth our time to condense, simplify and disseminate our research to the lay person?....

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

How to improve your writing in 10 steps

There are some really good resources on Literature review HQ, heres a sample on improving your writing. Not all of which are doable if you are short on time, but gives some good ideas...

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Challenges facing Higher Education

The HE Guardian has come up with this great infographic detailing the research they did on the challenges facing HE today. The changes in the sector section indicated that most people think things are getting worse and that the coalition government has no coherent set of policies to see HE through this turbulent time.... but

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The REF 2014 Update

HEFCE now has an updated page with the final criteria and working methods that the Research Excellence Framework (REF) panels will use when assessing research. REF panel criteria....

Friday, 27 January 2012

social media and a community of co-learners

Writing for Digital Media and Learning Research Hub, Howard Rheingold suggests that academics should use social media to encorporate student feedback into lessons.  He also discussed group work and collaborative learning techniques and sets up a "community of co-learners" The article makes for an stimulating read!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

University funding for 2012-13

Here is the letter  from BIS. There is going to be a cut in teaching funding but research is mostly ok, with Willets saying "Our universities play a vital role building the skills and knowledge Britain needs to grow. That is why we have protected HEFCE funding for research " 
but it looks like he does not think teaching plays a role in the knowledge economy? We knew the teaching cuts were coming but the £830M drop is still staggering!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Figshare, a new tool for sharing data or a revolution in academic publishing?

What is figshare? well it seems to be a faster way of sharing your data, away from the ponderous route of normal journal publishing.

"figshare allows researchers to publish their data in a citable, searchable and sharable manner. The data can come in the form of individual figures, datasets or video files and users are encouraged to share their negative data and unpublished results too. All data is persistently stored online under the most liberal Creative Commons licence, waiving copyright where possible. This allows scientists to access and share the information from anywhere in the world with minimal friction."

It already boasts usage by prestigious universities, and uses the creative commons licence.  Could it be a useful way to share openly data including negative results, as it claims, we shall see, it seems to be mainly science based data at the moment but there are no restrictions on what you can upload so it has the potential to upload qualitative data and for performing arts staff to upload videos as well. So we shall see if it will be the ground breaking invention it claims to be. It could certainly come in useful!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

HEA four year strategic plan for teaching


HEA focus on professionalisation of teaching continues in four-year strategic plan


Strategic priorities over the next four years include:

• to inspire and support effective practice in learning and teaching;
• to recognise, reward and accredit excellent teaching; 
• to influence policy, future thinking and change; 
• to develop an effective, sustainable organisation that is relevant to, and valued by, higher education.

All good intentions but lets wait and see how they are implemented. This should hopefully make lecturers lives better as well as the improving student experience. The main problem is too much work and little recognition. so as long as these concerns are reasonably addressed I am all for the new plan.  Staff should be valued for their excellent teaching in the same way that they can be venerated for excellent research, whether this new strategy will do enough, we shall see.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Open access learning courses.The top 400!

Open access learning really is taking off, from the Open University  to  MIT OpenCourseWare, the OCW consortium  iTunes U and universities even having their own YouTube channels. Its a wonder where to start or stop.  One website has collated a group of good courses (mostly american) that are sorted by subject. http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses, but my recommendation is have a look around the various options available to see what takes your fancy. The OCW has lots of choice, many universities all over the world take part, including MIT and the OU, the courses are available in many languages and it has a good search facility, so that would be my starting point and move on from there.
Happy new year!
Edit: MIT are expanding on their successful OpenCourseWare and creating a not for profit, free interactive elearning platform which will offer the online teaching of M.I.T. courses free of charge to anyone in the world.
You will not get a full degree but a official certificate from MIT instead. See link.