Six teams have been selected to participate in the Change Institute (June 11-14). Descriptions of the projects they’ll be developing are available below.
Imperial College London, UK
Nick Burstow, Deputy President (Education), Imperial College Union; Luke McCrone, President, Graduate Students Union; Mike Streule, Director, Student Shapers; TBD, Deputy President (Education) elect; Fran Hyatt, Education & Welfare Manager; Kieron Creagh, Education Strategy Officer
Imperial College London launched a new Learning and Teaching Strategy (https://www.imperial.ac.uk/learning-and-teaching-strategy) in June 2017. This sets out an ambitious programme of work aimed at establishing Imperial as a global leader in innovative, evidence-based education. The implementation of the Strategy will be underpinned by significant new investment in education which will support new, innovative, evidence-based teaching and learning methods across the College. Central to the achievement of our strategy is a clear commitment to working with students as partners. We aim to create and nurture a supportive environment that recognises and rewards innovation, and encourages active student engagement in driving positive change.
The College has long had a close and constructive working relationship with the Students’ Union, Imperial College Union, which seeks to improve the educational experience of all students at Imperial. The Union had significant input into developing and drafting the Learning & Teaching Strategy, demonstrating the College’s commitment to work with students as partners. As part of this ongoing collaboration, we are planning the launch of a new, high-profile programme called Imperial StudentShapers. This scheme will provide funding for students, enabling them to work with staff and each other to identify and address priorities for change within their departments. A new programme lead has recently been appointed to work with our students and staff to design, launch, and evaluate this new initiative.
The aim of the programme is to create opportunities for students across Imperial to become co-producers of teaching innovation, being empowered to and by making authentic contributions to disciplinary pedagogy and its evaluation, contributing to their own development and conferring high levels of student engagement, input and impact.
Our approach to change includes:
- Ensuring that students who actively contribute to these changes are supported and recognised.
- Establishing new ways for our students to contribute both to their own and their peers’ educational experience, including in the online and digital space.
- Creating a series of new grants that support our students to work with staff in determining priorities for change and recommending improvements, enabling students to engage in the implementation of relevant changes within their own departments.
- Funding a series of projects that create an opportunity for students and staff to work together in addressing shared issues of concern, reaffirming the students as partners approach that is supported at all levels of the College.
In judging the success of our Strategy, we aim to evidence opportunities for students to contribute to improvements in their discipline’s curricula, pedagogy and assessment. Students will be involved in evaluating/researching the scheme and its outputs as partners in, and co-producers of, educational research and evaluation as well as curriculum innovation. We aim to evidence funding of student-led education improvement projects in each academic department at Imperial.
An explanation of its fit with the ‘Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching’ theme
By providing funding and opportunities for students to work alongside staff in recognising and addressing areas for innovation within education/teaching, the Imperial StudentShapers embodies the ethos of the ‘Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching’ theme. Students are often best placed to identify areas for improvement within their curricula. Imperial StudentShapers aims to empower them to be able to work in partnership with staff to deliver these changes.
An indication of how the attending team members will benefit from participating in the institute
Participating in the Change Institute will enable the team to come together at a critical time in the planning of the project. The opportunity to benefit from external facilitation, focussed and structured implementation planning, as well as the opportunity to learn from best practice elsewhere in the global higher education sector, will help to kick-start the project and help to build a cohesive team.
Faculty of Science at McGill University, Canada
Marcy Slapcoff, Educational Developer; Tamara Western, Associate Dean (Academic), Faculty of Science; Armin Yazdani, PhD Student, Integrated Studies in Neuroscience; Oceane Marescal, Undergraduate student, Science; Maha Nagaria, Undergraduate student, Science; Cynthia Feng, Undergraduate student, Science
In the Faculty of Science at McGill University, students from around the world learn from leading researchers, both inside and outside the classroom. Programs range from traditional disciplines to cutting-edge interdisciplinary combinations such as neuroscience, sustainability science, green chemistry, and a selection of biomedical and biophysical programs. In addition, research experiences with individual professors provide the opportunity for students to participate in world class science. With ten departments and schools, five affiliated biomedical departments and over 4350 students, the Faculty of Science strives to prepare students for their futures as engaged citizens, community members and professionals.
When it comes to pedagogy, most Faculty of Science instructors are self-taught, although many participate regularly in events sponsored by McGill’s Teaching and Learning Services, and others benefit from mentoring and other departmental initiatives. However, curriculum demands, departmental cultures and other institutional forces often work against faculty and students working together to enhance learning. Lecturing is still the most common pedagogical approach and assessment mostly takes the form of traditional quizzes, exams, lab reports and research papers.
To address this challenge, several pilot projects have been launched to re-imagine the role that undergraduates may take in shaping their education. Most notable is the TEAM mentorship program in which undergraduate students mentor students in classes they have previously taken. During the last academic year (2016-2017), nearly 450 TEAM awardees were allocated for over 150 courses, and the number is about the same for 2017-18. To date, the feedback from the instructors and students is excellent and we are expanding this project to ensure more students are partners in re-invigorating teaching and learning within the Faculty of Science and McGill University as a whole.
Our current plan is to create an Office of Science Education, a partnership between McGill’s Faculty of Science and Teaching and Learning Services that will have student-faculty collaborations at its core. The goal of this Office will be to make explicit the commitment of the Faculty of Science to in meaningful, collaborative and innovative learning experiences. Rather than viewing faculty as the transmitters of knowledge and students as recipients, our aim is to develop a McGill framework for faculty-student collaboration in teaching and learning based on principles of mutual respect, reciprocity and responsibility.
How this project fits with the ‘Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching’ theme
We have three priority areas we wish to develop:
1) Instructor-student collaboration at the course level. McGill offers regular course design workshops geared to faculty members that we would like to refocus towards faculty-student collaboration. In this new model, faculty and students will work in teams to select content, develop learning outcomes, and create instructional strategies aligned with meaningful assessment strategies.
2) Instructor-student collaboration at the department level. Most faculty members work alone to develop their course materials, instructional approaches and assessment strategies, even when students take a series of related courses in a prescribed sequence. In our new model, faculty and students will co-design clusters of courses by mapping the curriculum and devising pathways for students to develop their skills with increasing degrees of sophistication. With this approach will likely come the development of capstone courses and/or more synthetic approaches to evaluation.
3) Instructor-student collaboration at the institutional level. McGill is a research-intensive university with the strategic
goal of involving more undergraduates in research. Why not use the campus as a research site itself, and involve students in guided inquiry led by faculty and staff? We intend to train students to conduct focus group sessions, surveys, and other assessment activities aimed at improving the learning experience. This type of collaboration would allow students to experience a high impact practice while benefiting the campus community as a whole.
How the McGill team members will benefit from participating in the institute
Our team is made up of one Associate Dean, an Educational Developer, one PhD student and several undergraduates. Our multiple areas of expertise, our diverse backgrounds and our divergent perspectives will enable us to build on Faculty of Science pilot projects to take a comprehensive approach to re-imagining science education. The undergraduates are all experienced TEAM peer mentors and are committed to applying their newfound knowledge to the expansion of our current pilot projects. Further, we all excited for the opportunity to apply new ideas to the creation of the Office of Science Education and to receive guidance and feedback during the Institute.
Murdoch University, Perth, Australia
Kylie Readman (PVCE), Chris Cunningham (Peer Learning Officer), Loic Munso (Student Change Agent & Student Guild Exec), and David Scholefield (Student Disruptor/ Ambassador)
Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, has more than 22,000 students and 2,000 staff from across 90 different countries with campuses in Australia, Singapore and Dubai. The university fosters staff and students with a desire to discover, use their imaginations and ultimately make a difference. We embrace free thinking and encourage our Murdoch community to share ideas, pool knowledge and find new ways of thinking. Across Australia, we are recognised for excellent teaching, ground-breaking research and our high number of satisfied students. In 2017 a new scheme was piloted, Students as Change Agents in Learning & Teaching (SCALT).
This scheme invited Murdoch students to design and then lead projects in learning and teaching at Murdoch. It empowered students to take the lead in a project of their choice that explored innovative solutions to create change in learning and teaching practice at Murdoch. Students lead the projects with mentors from their school and/or the Centre for University Learning and Teaching (CUTL) or Student Guild to support their work. Seven students took part leading 5 projects which included: – Experience Your future: A First Year Job Shadowing Program – Study, anywhere-anytime – Murdoch University Innovation Ecosystem – Seeking Engaging Law Units: The final frontier – Improving Mental Health Literacy in Murdoch Students Based on the success of this pilot, the scheme has doubled in size for 2018. In addition to recognising the need to support students in change the university also is keen to address the student voice in decision- making.
The Higher Education Standards Framework (2015) calls for practice that includes: – A comprehensive review which includes the changing needs of students (Section 5.3). – All students to have opportunities to provide feedback on their educational experiences and student feedback informs institutional monitoring, review and improvement activities (Section 5.3). Informed decision making by students that is supported and students have opportunities to participate in the deliberative and decision-making processes of the higher education provider (Section 6.1). – Students have opportunities to participate in academic governance (Section 6.3). – Avenues for students to participate in decision making and opportunities to participate in student representative bodies (section 7.2). Although the university governance structure includes student representatives on committees, participation can be low.
This project would explore how the student voice can be further developed at Murdoch, considering initiatives, feedback mechanisms, development opportunities, recognition and structure of current decision-making forums. The success of this project will be reviewed through an evaluation strategy that considers the students perspective on their experiences; the views of the staff who engaged with the project; and the impact the work has had on the university. The student voice will be key to project, it is important that the students are empowered to make decisions and given the opportunity to lead. The training, and reward elements of the program would rely on input from the student population to shape the initiatives to best suit the needs of the students. An envisaged outcome of the training would be strengthening the impact students have in their representative roles (through developing a climate of true collaborative work between staff and students as equal partners) so that the student voice has more impact and engagement is not tokenistic. Participation in the summer institute will be beneficial to all members of the Murdoch team in providing a time and space to become more informed about effective practice; in sharing examples of good practice with other teams; in developing training and resources to support student as partners initiatives; and in collaboratively planning future activities.
University of Wyoming, US
Olivia Cole, Matt Van Norman, Dilnoza Furkatovna Khasilova, Janel Seeley, Mark Lyford, Donal Skinner, Brett Ralston
The University of Wyoming (UW) is the only 4-year institution of higher education in the state of Wyoming, serving a student population of 12,000 students. As the only 4-year institution, it serves the dual role of providing undergraduate education for state citizens and remaining research intensive to provide excellent graduate programs. The Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning (ECTL), the sponsoring entity for our team, has a rich history of supporting faculty and graduate students with professional development in teaching and learning to foster student success.
While always a focus of the ECTL, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) is becoming a stronger area of emphasis as we look to engage more faculty in deeper, longer-term projects to understand and improve student learning and success. As such, we are initiating three independent SoTL faculty learning communities in 2018. Our annual Summer Institute will engage 20 instructors, guiding them on 3-year, team-based SoTL projects. We also initiated an international collaboration partnering 15 UW faculty with 30 faculty from Uzbekistan on collaborative SoTL projects, also planned over the next 3 years. Finally, the ECTL is collaborating with 10 science faculty to develop SoTL research projects. We anticipate initiating new cohorts of SoTL teams each year, creating a rolling set of projects, each at different stages of completion. By doing so, we can engage numerous faculty across our campus. However, in development of these projects, we realize that while we considered graduate students as partners, we had not considered inclusion of undergraduate students. As part of our SoTL work, we hope to support undergraduates with internship opportunities to work on a wide variety of SoTL projects, realizing the undergraduate voice has largely been missing from conversations about student learning on campus.
By including undergraduates in SoTL teams, we see a variety of benefits relating to the goals of the ECTL, and more importantly, the improvement of student learning opportunities at UW. Most directly, and perhaps obvious, inclusion of the student voice in how we approach the study of our teaching and learning practices will lead to more meaningful and directed SoTL projects, and more authentic and impactful changes/recommendations. We also hope that supporting undergraduates will provide means to engage a wider variety of instructors on our campus, growing the population of faculty who are engaged in deep and impactful teaching and learning work. While our undergraduate students can help inform our work, we also see immense opportunity for these students to become advocates for the importance and value of SoTL, as its value is often diminished by research faculty. One of the ECTL’s broad missions is to continue to advocate for the value of teaching and learning as viewed on a research intensive campus. The undergraduate student voice provides powerful advocacy for this. We envision numerous types of projects that would benefit from the undergraduate voice. For example, effective use of technology in and out of the classroom would be best informed by our digital natives. The impact and perception of our University’s growing first-year experience, only in its initial years, can best be evaluated and improved having the student voice at the table.
In addition, this work supports goals of our University’s Strategic Plan (examples):
- Graduate students who have experienced the frontiers of scholarship and creative activity
- Cultivate a community of learning energized by collaborative work among students, faculty and staff
- Elevate expectations for research and creative activities
- Embrace informed and innovative approaches to assessment and improvement of student learning
- Expand and grow quality of undergraduate and graduate scholarly experiences
How this project aligns with the institute theme
Students as Partners aligns perfectly with the work we envision. Beyond simply including students in our work, we want the students to be true partners in the development, implantation and presentation of SoTL work to improve educational opportunities for our students.
How the team will benefit from attending
The Change Institute will help our team learn best practices for engaging students as true partners in our work. We hope that by bringing a diverse team (undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, professional development staff, and administrators) we can think about how practices may apply to our SoTL work, and we can also take what we learned back to our campus to help build other areas where we can include students in the work and decision-making at our university.
HAN (Hogeschool Arnhem and Nijmegen) University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands
Douwe van der Hucht (Policy Advisor; firstname.lastname@example.org); Janique Scharenborg (Student); Sandra Boertien (Student); Hedi Windgassen (Staff)
In the Netherlands is the problem of the connection between secondary schools and university getting bigger and bigger. Too many students fail in higher education. Within the HAN we expect that another way of participating of students can help. Young people come to HE as pupils but they have to develop themselves to students, to partners in education and finally to colleagues. How can we guide them in this process? We assume and we already had the experience that partnership is a good step. But how can we prepare 10 thousand young students to this development? How can we make mass and volume in this?
Our goal is that more students than at this very moment find their way in HE and become successful
T.A. Marryshow Community College (TAMCC), Grenada
Vanessa Whiteman, Zhona Joseph, Gillian Lazarus, Neisha Romain
Engaging Students in Assessment Design and Implementation
The background/rationale for the project
In the current TAMCC context, student involvement in course design with respects to assessment is non-existent. Lecturers assume total responsibility to design and administer both formative and summative assessments and students’ perspectives are generally limited to the end-of-semester evaluation of courses. Assessment is integral to the teaching and learning process. It allows educators to gain empirical data on students’ competencies and remedial needs. Also, recognizing that students are key stakeholders in the learning process means they should share how best they learn, what assessment works for them and most importantly indicate gaps that faculty may miss when designing assessments. As noted by Fluckiger, Tixier, Pasco & Danielson, (2010) “creating a climate that maximizes student accomplishment in any discipline focuses on student learning instead of assigning grades. This requires students to be involved as partners in the assessment of learning and to use assessment results to change their own learning tactics.”(p.136). Consequently, this project is proposed as a second student engagement initiative at the T.A.Marryshow Community College.
This project is designed to develop a teaching and learning culture which encourages students’ feedback on three aspects of their learning: (1) product, (2) process, and (3) progress. Due to the nature of this project and its importance in the teaching and learning process, it will be ongoing. Students will be regularly involved in the assessment process, throughout the academic year. At the end of each engagement process, the following outcomes should be realized:
- Learners will provide specific, timely feedback and focused on task
- Learners will offer feedback on teacher/educator designed assessment, instruments and marking scheme
- Educators will promote an inclusive classroom where students are involved in designing and administering assessments
- Students and educators will discuss possible forms of assessment for given courses, which will be informed by the course outlines; for instance, whether a project should be given in the place of an end of semester exam.
- Assessment methods that are fit for purpose will be selected collaboratively. In this step, consideration must be given to the type of learners and their learning styles.
- Assessment materials/tools will be created by taking into consideration; the purpose of the assessment, descriptive wording and the weight of the criteria.
- Upon completion of the design phase, assessments will be administered to a group of students for testing. As an evaluative measure, students will give their feedback and suggestions for improvement.
NB This project endorses students’ feedback on all aspects of learning. Assessment design should include but is not limited to content from classroom instruction, readings, lecture notes, discussions, background content knowledge and real-world application.
Fit with the ‘Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching’ theme
In this era where student centred approaches and methods to learning are encouraged, it is fundamental that students are involved in the planning, designing and testing of assessments. Students should be viewed as partners in the teaching and learning process, as a means of improving the quality of the products and services offered to them. According to (AAQ, 2017); ‘by working together to a common agreed purpose, steps can be taken that lead to enhancements for all concerned’. That way, students will begin to take ownership of their learning through involvement in the assessment process.
To ensure effectiveness and relevance of assessment materials, student involvement is paramount. Student involvement is fundamental in the design phase and also in testing of the assessment instrument for validity, thoroughness, clarity and appropriateness among other criterions. ‘Choice of task, design of the assessment brief, development of grading criteria, provision of alternative methods for accessibility and even choice of tools and technologies can all be usefully informed by dialogue between tutors and students’; (University of Northampton, 2017). This dialogue will help educators to see and understand the assessments from the students’ perceptive and where necessary, take corrective and enhancement measures before administering assessments. This will ultimately ensure that the given assessments are fit for purpose.
As part of the Students as Partners initiative, student representation and student voices are critical components. Therefore to facilitate this process, a number of focus groups will be formed; which will include student representatives from the various schools within the T.A. Marryshow Community College.
In order for students to be selected, the following criteria will be given consideration:
- The selected student(s) must be currently undertaking the course upon which the assessment will be based or must have taken the course in the past.
- The groups can comprise of both present and past students of TAMCC
A pilot phase is proposed with faculty members who are willing to volunteer or are receptive to the idea.
How the attending team members will benefit from participating in the institute
By participating in the institute, it is the hope of the team to acquire a greater level of understanding of the purpose and role of the Student as Partners/Student Engagement initiative and where it all fits into the teaching and learning process. Additionally, we are hoping to gain invaluable advice and insight on how this project can be effectively designed and implemented. Mentoring and scaffolding provided by facilitators would allow for deeper reflection on additional perspectives that can be harnessed by the team.
AAQ, U. (2017, December). UK Quality Code For Higher Education: Assessment of Students and the Recognition of Prior Learning. Retrieved April 2, 2018, from The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education: http://www.qaa.ac.uk/assuring-standards-and-quality/the-quality-code/quality-code-part-b
Fluckiger, J., Tixier y Virgil, Y., Pasco, R., and Danielson, K. (2010). Formative Feedback: Involving Students as Partners in Assessment to Enhance Learning. College Teaching, 58, 136-140.
University of Northampton. (2017, July 25). The role of the student: Assessment literacy and learner empowerment. Retrieved April 2, 2018, from University of Northampton: Institute of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: https://www.northampton.ac.uk/ilt/academic-development/the-assessment-and-feedback-portal/assessment-design/role-of-student/