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Yesterday, after an excruciating three-week wait, it was the
Education Services Charity Bake Off Final. I had made it through to the final
after winning my heat (cheese and rosemary scones, if you must know) and I had
been practising for my chance at winning the title ever since.
I was as happy with my cake as a novice baker could be,
having opted for a chocolate and passionfruit cake, and eagerly awaited the
results as the morning went on. By the time it came to 1pm, when colleagues
from across the office gathered around waiting our Director to announce the
winner, I was actually nervous.
I didn’t win. I didn’t expect to win – there were some
amazing cakes on offer from some equally amazing bakers – but no one likes to lose
do they? I spend the afternoon texting my husband about how I was never going
to bake again and fanaticising about throwing my rolling pin away when I got
And I don’t plan on entering another baking competition; I didn’t
like the waiting around for weeks not knowing what the result is going to be –
yet this is exactly what so many 17 and 18-year olds are going through today.
Having sat their exams months ago, they have spent their
summer nervously awaiting the results that will determine their future. Whether
they go to university or not, and whether, if they do choose on university, that
university is their ‘first choice’, or whether they have to go though ‘clearing’
(an awful process and even more awful word to use for it – surely there is a
better way it can be done?*).
But there is no option for a university student to ‘never
bake again’ – doing a degree is like a three-year baking competition. For the
few students who do well in all of their assessments this is fine (read: smash
the soufflé), but for the majority of students who struggle though at least some
of their degree, the process of endlessly awaiting the next result is hugely detrimental
for their wellbeing – and yet we continue to assess in this way.
As an adult, we don’t experience this same kind of stress.
The wait to hear if you’ve been accepted for a mortgage, or if your latest paper
has been accepted in to journal, is about as close as we come. But these are annual
occurrences at best and, as adults, we have the experience of know we can
always resubmit a paper or apply for a different mortgage. I wonder if we experienced
the continual insecurity and nerves that students face around assessment that
we would still choose to assess in this way?
One way to reduce this insecurity could be a move towards
more formative assessments and less summative assessment may be one approach,
or a move away from numerical
grading may be another, but it is difficult to know what balance could be
reached between keeping students motivated while still removing the carrot of a
grade they are happy with.
So, while I’ll be hanging up my apron for the foreseeable future,
I’ll be thinking of all the students starting in September (and coming back)
who will be facing another year of blind bakes and wondering what we can do to
help reduce the anxiety around results and assessments this causes.
*If this area interests you, I highly recommend this
WonkHE piece on making university admissions truly inclusive – including two
very viable recommendations.
Throughout the year, Student Fellows led a variety of events through 4 Projects on Assessment, Big Data, Study Spaces and Student Engagement. Phoebe Graham and Corrie Macleod led ‘Empowering Students in Their Teaching and Learning’. Their goal was to engage staff and students in casual conversation about pedagogy, engagement and university life…
This short video shares the main lessons we’ve taken away from students this year. We also wanted to celebrate and showcase the fantastic projects led by Student Fellows (and friends) Zoe Backhouse, Lisa Howarth and Johannes Schmiedeker. Our position as Student Fellows was an enriching and valuable experience we will all fondly look back on. We’ve learned so much from staff, students and the BILT team throughout this creative and collaborative process.
We hope you enjoy our final little showcase and we can’t wait to see what the next generation of Student Fellows come up with…
There were two masterclasses
running in Dundee – an introductory and an advanced session. This was the advanced session. Although the number of attendees was small at
around ten, everybody had some experience of running team-based learning.
All the activities and discussions of the day were run in a team-based format and this included the usual items such as:
Individual readiness assurance test
Team readiness assurance test
Having read papers about this
approach to teamwork it initially seemed unnecessarily complicated to me but,
now that I’ve been through it a couple of times, I can see the value in
it. It’s actually very straight forward
in practice. In all cases the tests have
been quite challenging in that they ask for the best answer when several
of the answers could be correct. This
prompted discussion in the teams (and it meant we didn’t get everything right
first time). This made me think about my
own approach to teamwork questions and how valuable this aspect is. The ‘appeals process’ was then a discussion
about our thoughts before moving on to consider how to address team-based
situations like the same person verbalising a team’s answer and different
methods for students to evaluate each other.
As is often the case with these sessions, it is the people you meet who are often the most interesting part of the day and their experiences gave me some ideas for the upcoming team-based work we will be starting in the School of Chemistry next term. One colleague talked about how she got the students to give their team a name and draw up a social contract. I’d been thinking about how we would need an introductory session to the team-based format and these seemed like great ideas to help cement a group together. I’m going to incorporate these ideas this year.
Several resources from the Masterclass are included but additionally here is some useful info:
With their graduation on the horizon, BILT Student Fellows Corrie Macleod and Phoebe Graham reflect on their collaborative project, centred on empowering students to impact their learning and teaching at the university.
Humans of Bristol University
The main aim of our BILT project was to bridge the interpersonal gap between academics and students, a rift often caused by an educational environment dictated by high academic workloads, large student numbers and often low contact hours.
We devised ways of tackling this kind of alienation at university; we decided to create a fun and informative platform that students could access in order to get to know their fellow learners and teachers alike, beyond the boundaries of their own department.
Humans of Bristol University takes inspiration from the internationally renowned online platform, ‘Humans of New York.’ We used audio, videos and photographs alongside text in order to tell the stories behind the faces of the university community. We began by interviewing the Best of Bristol lecturers in support of their annual lecture series. We then expanded wider and curated stories from library staff as well as students, covering topics from student engagement, mental health, and university accessibility. You can find the array of interviews here.
We had a fantastic time facilitating workshops and activities for the Student Union’s Education Forums, working with over 40 students from across the university.
We had students writing poems about their pedagogical experience, making a washing line of what they had learnt at university, shooting videos on teaching spaces and talking about big data at Bristol.
The Education Forums are key in getting a wide range of students together in order to discuss how to improve educational practice and policy at the university, and we were thrilled to be involved.
Coffee and Conversations
Throughout the year, we have had so much fun going into the heart of campus to meet students, share coffee, take surveys and talk about their educational experience across various departments.
We have compiled and presented this data into an infographic video, to give a flavour of the intricacies of student satisfaction, and what they think can be done to improve teaching and learning practices at the university.
Pedagogical Pub Quiz
To celebrate the end of the academic term, we ran a pedagogical pub quiz with plenty of pizza and food for thought in the White Rabbit. We made a space where students could come and relax amidst the pressures of the revision period, reflect on the year gone by and take part in activities designed by the BILT Student Fellows and their respective projects.
Our rounds were designed to stimulate curiosity in and around teaching and learning practice at Bristol, including a good old general knowledge round, identifying spaces and notable alumni of the university, as well as songs relating to education.
The pub was full to the brim with people, pizza and thoughtful discussion.
We have really enjoyed working on the many facets of our project this year, and we hope it has demonstrated that pedagogy at Bristol University is at its strongest when the dialogue between students, staff and academics is democratised, interpersonal and collaborative. Being a BILT Student Fellow has been an absolute highlight of our university careers, and we will dearly miss working for the Bristol Institute for Learning and Teaching. We look forward to seeing what the next cohort of Student Fellows will get up to next year.
Lizzie Blundell is about to graduate with a first-class degree in Liberal Arts. Bathed in the blossoming summertime sunshine, Lizzie and her daughter, Maria, joined me on Brandon Hill to blow some bubbles, to eat some treats, and to discuss the state of university accessibility.
So Lizzie, how did you come to take Liberal Arts? What was your journey into your degree?
I didn’t do conventional A-Levels. I physically couldn’t take them because of my health. I had a load of surgeries at that point, and I was in A&E pretty much every other day, so it wasn’t really feasible to continue at the school I was at. There weren’t many access things out there for me to be able to use, and I was in a wheelchair at the time.
But I did want to go to university, and I was a bit upset to see everyone else go before me in my year. It was my mum who actually found the course called the Foundation Year in Arts and Humanities at the University of Bristol, and she suggested that I go for it.
The Foundation Year is a relatively new initiative, isn’t it?
Yeah, so I was in the second year that it ran in 2014. You complete the foundation year and then you can apply to get into the University of Bristol again the next year for undergraduate study, where you can choose specifically what you want to do.
Could you talk a bit about what the Foundation Year exactly entails?
It’s a bit like Liberal Arts in the sense that each week you have your set reading with seminars and lectures, but it’s from a different department each time. You get to try a bit of everything.
Because the classes were so small, you’d have such a great relationship with your tutors, like Josie McLellan, and I was still able to access the other things that undergrads would be able to do, such as accommodation and the experience of being a fresher.
And I guess there’s going to be so many people from different walks of life as well. When you enter a conventional undergraduate degree, everyone tends to be from very similar backgrounds, traversing similar academic trajectories.
There were more mature students on the Foundation year, and people from different backgrounds. Some people had been out of education for years, so coming back to university was this big thing, and it was still exciting.
That’s what I especially like about this course. It’s suggesting that education is for whatever point in your life, a lifelong thing. It’s not just something that you do from 0 to 21. You can come back and dip in and out of it throughout your life.
Exactly. And the Foundation tutors were so supportive of me because my health went in and out at some points, and I ended up back in a wheelchair. They were rallying behind me and trying to push for changes at Bristol, because I had loads of issues with accommodation. They put me in Durdham Hall which is at the top of a very steep hill. Let alone the fact that I couldn’t reach any of the things in the accommodation when I was in a chair, and the doors couldn’t open automatically. But I was able to talk to Sarah Serning and Josie and they said “look, this is what we’re going to do” and I really appreciated that.
How did you find the change to Liberal Arts and the transition into your undergraduate following the Foundation Year? What were the biggest changes?
It was mainly the difference in who was actually around, especially as I’d been used to people who were mid-thirties minimum. But because I already knew the university setting, I felt more at home and more comfortable with speaking up in class.
That being said, I felt quite a shock when I was in seminars. Suddenly I seemed to be the only one who didn’t come back from a “normal” background in education, and I sometimes felt that I couldn’t speak up because I didn’t have their experience, even though I was used to that university setting. I also suppose it was obvious that I wasn’t the same age as everyone else.
That’s interesting. At least the Foundation Year is starting to ease that transition and democratise the academic voice irrespective of backgrounds. So going on from that, and this is a big question: what do you think about the state of accessibility at this university – physically and maternally speaking?
So physically, it’s hard to get around the university. We’re in a city campus, so you have to understand the limits there. But also we’re on hilly terrain, so actually getting from A to B can involve quite a lot of steep areas, especially depending on the care that you’re in or depending on how well your mobility is that day. It can be completely different from one day to the next.
In somewhere like Woodland Road, the parts that are wheelchair accessible are still quite steep, and recently with the new renovations to the Arts complex, they did put in some ramps. But these ramps were quite small, so they wouldn’t fit every type of wheelchair.
So you go in there expecting to have the same level of treatment as an able-bodied person, but you don’t. And you don’t want to make a fuss about it, because you don’t really want to think about what you can and what you can’t do because it’s already quite physically exhausting, let alone the emotional exhaustion of constantly having to push and be like “Please just get me a ramp!”
I’ve been thinking a lot about the role that buildings play in the identity of universities. There’s a pride in old buildings as they point to prestige and tradition and stuff, but this pride can be isolating for people if they’re not willing to adapt the building to make it accessible for everyone as times change.
So I have an invisible disability. I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which means that I dislocate everything quite frequently, like earlier today I dislocated my jaw. Not a big deal! But having to use the things that I need to get by and looking the way I look, especially when I’m not in my chair, is quite isolating as my disability cannot always be visibly seen.
Those are the main mobility issues, but Sarah Serning, who I believe is the greatest woman that the university has to offer, is always there to help with these things and she’s amazing and I don’t think people know enough about her.
What is Sarah’s specific job?
She’s a senior tutor, so she’s there to just help you, in the most basic of terms. You think “senior tutor” suggests that you only go for academic purposes, but no! She’s there for everything. And it was great to go and talk about the problems I had.
But I suppose this year has been more about me being a mother. When I was on maternity leave, I was worried about how it was going to be coming back. Because firstly, I had taken a year out of education, so I wouldn’t be at the same level as everyone else doing their third year, academically speaking. And then it was a case of just being able to navigate everywhere financially physically and emotionally, so Sarah was really great at helping me with all of this.
For more context, I found out that I was pregnant when I was on my year abroad. I also found out that I was pregnant when I was 32 weeks. So I had 6 weeks of pregnancy. I had to come back from America because I was studying in Boston at a Jesuit college, nonetheless.
Wait, Boston College is a Jesuit university?
Yeah! The first question they asked me when they found out that I was pregnant was “How has your faith been moved?”
And what did you say?!
“I think I just need to talk to my mum.” It was down the phone as well! They had me in this tiny room. There was even a crucifix!
But anyway, I decided to email my personal tutor, Emma Cole, saying “Hi Emma Sorry for the late email, just found out I’m 32 weeks pregnant. I’m going to fly back on Friday.” She sent a lovely email back laying out all my options.
And what were your options?
Either to come back or not to come back to Bristol. So I came back and decided I was going to finish my third year.
But obviously I had a lot to figure out. At that point I was on universal credit because I had no income and I was a lone parent. Her father decided he didn’t want to be involved. So it was just us two, and my parents who were very supportive.
I had to figure out accommodation for me and Maria, as well as how I was going to manage being at university, so had to sort out nursery and its fees. Money was the big issue. I came back with a huge economic disadvantage. I had more money coming through student finance but more coming out.
I now have my accommodation through the university which is for parents, but it’s not great. I’m in a one bedroom small flat. Maria won’t let me sleep next to her, so I have to sleep on the floor. There’s no washing machine, so I have to wash everything by hand. There’s also a bit of damp which has given her asthma, and I pay quite a lot. It was going to be a push, I knew that from the beginning.
My place doesn’t have wheelchair access, so I had to choose between my physical ability and my maternal needs. There’s a duty of care with this accommodation which I don’t think is being met. I thought I could get through it, but it’s the end of the year now and I’m ready to move out of that flat.
So what’s happening next year?
I’m going to be doing distance learning for a research master’s. It’s easier for me. I think that’s one of Tom Sperlinger’s things isn’t it? He’s a big fan of distance learning, and the notion of education being an ongoing process. Next year, I’ll be undertaking a research on breastfeeding and metaphors of the body.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about breastfeeding on campus!
There’s no place to breastfeed on campus! There’s no parents’ room or anything. I’ve only seen one other mother breastfeeding at the university, and that was at the library. Now I am very pro-breastfeeding. I used to breastfeed in public. But I also always liked having my own space to do it as well. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it in public, but there’s something more secure in a private space, especially if you’re feeling uncomfortable. I think it should be a right to have that space and change your child, to sort out anything they need.
Recently in Beacon House, I even had an issue where they didn’t want me to enter the building at all with Maria. I’m guessing because of health and safety, and I know other student parents who had similar issues with different buildings. But if you’re not being given the same respect or treatment as other students and the main cause is having a child, then that’s maternal discrimination. There’s no other way to put it.
So there are times when it’s tough, when she’s teething, when I haven’t slept the night, and I still have to go in and still be the same student as everyone else, while being very aware of my limitations. But the fact is that, as I wrote in my dissertation acknowledgements, maternity should not be a barrier to education.
For me and other student parents, we are constantly trying to navigate being a student and being a parent and having two separate mind frames when at university. I can’t push myself as a student because then I’m not being a good mum if I’m tired and stressed, and being a mum is my priority. It’s trying to find that balance.
As we said, it’s about getting that shovel and digging everything up and readjusting it all to make education truly accessibly. No longer thinking of education as something for young people or for one particular demographic. If education is a universal right, it’s got to be for everyone at whatever age or stage of life you’re at. And that’s actually difficult to implement when education was not founded to be like that. It can feel like you’re hitting a brick wall sometimes.
So much research at university is being focused on gender relations at the moment, and that’s hugely important, but many people don’t see maternity as part of that parcel. I don’t really understand that.
Maybe it’s just internalised judgement on my behalf, but I feel guilty for being on benefits and being a young mum, especially as I chose to go back to education rather than choosing to go to work straight away.
But that internalisation is still significant, because we live in a society that allows you to internalise that guilt; the system makes it very difficult for you to balance all of these facets of work, learning and maternity.
I never expected to come to university and get pregnant, and so I also feel the guilt of having to rely on friends and family for emotional support. But I was raised to believe that education is one of the most important things, and I stand by that.
At this point, Maria gets bored of blowing bubbles, so we carefully take her down the steep path to the play park at the base of Brandon Hill. Lizzie rocks her on the swings and answers some quick-fire questions.
What’s been your favourite class at Bristol, and why?
I really loved ‘Literature and Medicine.’ I’ve been really been getting into medical humanities. One of my last essays was on the relationship between sign language, AIDS and posters. With most of my units, I tend to take an interdisciplinary approach, and I find it quite liberating.
I actually really enjoyed ‘Public Role of the Humanities.’ I wasn’t expecting to as it was a compulsory unit for Liberal Arts. We had a guest lecturer each week from around and beyond the university. And the question they each answered was “What is the public role of the humanities?” They would respond from their own discipline, and most of lecturers came from an interdisciplinary angle.
One of the core elements of the module was a work placement, so I chose to work in a library. Someone worked at Colston Hall. Someone worked in a theatre. People did loads of different things.
Whenever you get a chance, what do you do to relax?
Drag Race. I love Drag Race. I love watching films. I suppose I feel sad I can’t read that much anymore during the day. At night I just need to switch off, so I never read for fun anymore. But I’m hoping now that the dissertation’s over, I get more time to do that. When Maria’s in bed, my head turns to house work. I can’t really switch off and of course I worry about her.
Aside from the academic side of things, what has university taught you?
Don’t underestimate students from different backgrounds. They bring so many different arguments and experiences. For me, that’s defined everything I do because I relate to things differently and see things with an alternative perspective.
What advice would you give yourself if you were starting university now?
Just because it went differently doesn’t mean that it’s not ok.
Interview conducted by Phoebe Graham, BILT Student Fellow.
Emilie Poletto-Lawson is an Educational Developer (based in Academic Staff Development) and a BILT fellow working on the BILT theme of inclusive assessment.
This blog of a follow up from the blog post “ABC Learning design: workshop at UCL” which presented how the ABC Learning Design approach works. In this post, we will explore how colleagues at other institutions are using the kit.
First of all, many thanks to Clive Young and Nataša Perović for giving away a complete kit to all participants. It was extremely useful when reflecting back on the day. It is worth noting that all the ABC resources are available on line under a Creative Commons licence Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.
Here is what the kit looks like:
I personally find the material very inviting and a great
testimony to the hard work of all involved. After our hands-on session, Clive
and Nataša opened the second half of the morning with a history of the project
and update on what it is now and where it is being used. This was then followed
by presentations by colleagues from other institutions who shared their take on
Gill Ritchie and Ben
Audley from Queen Mary, University of London
First of all, Gill Ritchie from Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL), presented how the ABC for Learning Design has become part of their PGCert Academic Practice programme. In the module “Teaching with learning technologies ”, participants are introduced to the technology wheel and a set of amended cards that contain the technology available at QMUL. They are then expected to design an online activity by December, that they then try out between January and April before writing up their reflection on how it went for their PGCAP.
The updated version of the wheel by QMUL aims at highlighting what is available and supported by experts within the institution while being less daunting than the pedagogy Wheel Model developed by Allan Carrington based on Bloom’s taxonomy that can be seen as offering an overwhelming amount of options. The University of Reading also created its own version (link here ).
The wheel and activity types cards from the ABC kit are used with participants to discuss possibilities within their teaching leading to what sounded like fruitful conversations. If you are interested in finding out which technological tools the University of Bristol supports, you can contact the Digital Education team .
Gill’s presentation was then followed by her colleague’s, Ben Audsley, dental electronic resources manager in the School of Dentistry at QMUL. Ben supported lecturers with the transition of a module on dental public health to be fully online for distance learning. His approach was to look at the topics for each week and to then think about the technology that could be introduced to support learning. He used the kit focusing on the online suggestion of activities. It was interesting to note that his biggest challenge was to keep staff on track.
Luke Cox from the London School of Economics
Luke Cox, from the London School of economics, introduced a
very interesting element in the process: using a critical friend. His
presentation was on designing distance learning process and the way he
approached it was to request having the course designer and a critical friend
together to work and reflect on the design. He identified, actually, getting
that critical friend in the same room at the same time as the designer as the
Moira E Sarsfield, Shireen Lock and Jessica Cooper from Imperial College London
The presentation by colleagues from Imperial College London
was a great follow up to Luke’s as further to the critical friend, they
suggested involving graduate teaching assistant (GTA). I believe this would be
a fantastic opportunity to give GTAs a voice and to make them feel more
strongly part of the community so long as their time is compensated and at an
appropriate point of their studies. Colleagues at Imperial identified that
lecturers and teaching fellows are not ready for the 25% module transformation
in engineering objective they have. They also added a “fixed approach to
teaching and learning” as a key issue. Their solution is to show a sign of
remission from leadership around the area of workload and availability.
Peter Roberts from Goldsmiths, University of London
Peter Roberts from Goldsmiths, University of London, adapted the cards so that instead of names of activities they list verbs. He then adapted the concept to an online activity on Trello , creating a deck with the learning activities (acquisition, collaboration…) to then drag and drop to create their design online.
He also recommended the use of “Learning Designer ” developed by Laurillard at UCL, originally for school teachers.
Another online approach was mentioned in the questions following the presentation. The University of Lincoln has developed “Digital Learning Recipes” to support staff with the technological side of the design. The website gives examples of activity for each learning type and it is then followed by extra resources on the tools available and guides to use them.
And those were just lessons learnt from the morning!
Many thanks to Clive Young and Nataša Perović for sharing
the ABC learning design and providing a kit to take home as well as inviting
colleagues from other institutions to share their take on the method. It was a
very insightful day and I look forward to finding out what’s next.
Emilie Poletto-Lawson is an educational developer (based in Academic Staff Development) and a BILT Fellow working on the BILT theme of inclusive assessment.
If you are at the stage of reviewing how the year went or planning next years teaching, the ABC Learning Design approach might be for you.
This blog post will share how the ABC Learning Design method works. Asecond blog postwillshare how colleagues at other institutions are already using the approach.
An only slightly delayed train journey got me right on time to start a workshop on the ABC Learning Design kit designed by Clive Young and Nataša Perovićat University College London. No time to sit back, our two hosts, full of energy, guided us through a 90-minute session in just an hour. Clive and Nataša ran through the different steps of the process at the speed of light to ensure we would have time to try it out. Each table chose a programme lead wanting to design or review their course and off we all went!
The first step of the method is to complete the “Tweet and Shape” document.
You start with completing information regarding your
programme. Your first challenge is to fit the description of your module/unit
in the size of a tweet (140 characters). Your students should be able to
understand what your module is about by just reading this and ideally wanting
to sign up for the course if it is optional. This was the hardest part for our
You then reflect on where you are/want to be when it comes to the different learning activities. To help you, you can look at the cards, on the front, there is an explanation of what the type means and, on the back, examples of activities. It is worth noting that the activities are listed according to their digital or non-digital nature supporting your reflexion about developing a blended approach.
Finally, you need to reflect on how blended your course is/will be. How much is taking place online and how much face-to-face. You then put this aside and look at your course week by week and populate it with the different learning types activity cards. For example: week 1 could be Acquisition followed by Discussion; week 2 could be Investigation, Collaboration, Production and so on and so forth.
Once you are happy with the shape of your weeks, you can turn the cards over and look more precisely at the types of activities you would do. You then tick the relevant box(es) and you can also add your own.
Nothing is set in stone for your redesign and you can make
as many changes as you see fit.
Your last step for the design is to think of assessment. Do
you have any formative assessments? If so, you can stick a silver star next to
the ticked box. You will do the same with summative assessment, but the star
will be gold. At this stage it is worth taking a step back to reflect on the
student’s experience. What is the timing like? Will they have other assessments
at the same time as yours? Will they have enough time to use feedback to
improve if you have formative assessments built in your course? Are the
activities and assessments aligning with your learning outcomes?
Once you have done all this, you go back to your “Tweet and
Shape” that you completed in red originally and go through all the steps again
with a blue pen to identify which changes, if any, you have made.
Clive and Nataša added another stage which we did not have
time to do in the workshop but that I find extremely valuable. During that last
stage you could use more stickers to identify when the different learning
outcomes are being achieved throughout the weeks. They also suggested identifying
how your module/unit fits in with the university education strategy.
To me, this approach is extremely valuable as it gives you a
very practical tool to design/review your unit/module/programme making sure you
include activities that will be varied and encompass the different learning
types that are key to students’ success. It is also a good way to reflect on
the place of assessment on your course and more generally on your programme.
I can see real value in using the ABC learning design method with your colleagues during an away day to gain an overview of what your students experience is throughout the different modules they attend. A nice way of getting that overview, as suggested by our facilitators, is for colleagues to “promenade” in the room looking at all the designs. I also believe it would go extremely well with the TESTAproject.
Many thanks to Clive Young and Nataša Perović for sharing
the ABC learning design and providing a kit to take home. It was a very
insightful workshop and I look forward to trying the kit out.
and Inclusion or EDI for short seems to be at the top of every University list
of things to be incorporating into their charter and rightly so with nearly 25%
of first year undergraduates being from a BAME background (BBC, 2018).
In May, Advanced HE delivered a workshop on embedding EDI in the curriculum, which started by usefully exploring what we understand by EDI…
I always thought of equality as everyone -regardless of age,
gender, ethnicity, race or physical ability – being able to have the same
opportunities as each other; yet we do not all have the same start in life, so
the question we should be asking along with “do all students have access to
these opportunities?” is “are we equipping all our students with the right
tools based on their personal needs to succeed once these opportunities are
available to them?”
Equality and equity go hand in hand.
Diversity extends beyond ethnicity, age, gender and physical abilities, there are many invisible diversity traits we may not readily consider when discussing it, such as sexual orientation, socio-economic status, beliefs and marital status to name a few (more examples seen below).
Inclusion – not only
making sure that no matter their background or identity, staff and students are
welcomed into the University openly, but also taking proactive measures to mend
eroded relationships where this has not been the case.
At Bristol this work is crucial now more than ever, with ‘33%
BME students saying that inclusion of diverse perspectives was
extremely/relatively bad’ in the 2017 BME Attainment Gap report.
This workshop provided an excellent opportunity to interact
with senior staff members, especially Faculty Education Directors to discuss
what is being done – for example always making sure that the hearing loops are
on and speaking into the mic before starting the lecture – where the gaps are
and what needs to be done better with regards to embedding EDI; using the
framework provided by Advanced HE (pictured
below), it was helpful to see the key domains of EDI as well as highlighting
that though there are pockets of good practise within the University, there’s
still work to be done to standardise the practise across the board.
One aspect which was
agreed unanimously, was the inclusion of student’s voice in all eight domains, especially
policy making, curriculum design and delivery.
As a BME Success Advocate it was heartening to see the steps
that the University has taken, with creating this role, providing a link
between students and faculty; though including more literature by people of
colour in reading lists and providing units on the effects of Colonialism is a
good start, true embedding of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the curriculum
can only be achieved when Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is not viewed as an
‘optional’ choice, but a key corner stone for all faculties (including Science
Technology Engineering and Maths based subjects!). So, I make this plea to you that you work with
us and consult on our views, and trust that we as students are known to
generate creative and effective solutions to the problems.
The 2019 Bristol Teaching Awards took place on Wednesday 12th June, with colleagues from across the institution coming together to celebrate the inspiring teaching that takes place at the University.
The evening kicked off with a drinks reception where nominees, faculty reps, academics and professional services staff mingled together over sparking wine. Attendees then moved into the Great Hall, where they were met with an thrilling performance by the Chinese Lion Dance Troupe. Drums beat and symbols clapped at the back of the room as dancers moved around the table handing out sweets to guests.
After a brief speech from the Vice Chancellor (in which he referred to the event as the ‘Oscars of Teaching’ – thanks Hugh!), the evening continued with a two-course dinner, with dessert accompanied by a performance from the delightful A Capella Society (male group), performing hits such as ‘Sound of the Underground’, ‘Five Colours in her Hair’ and ‘Big Girls’.
The performance was followed by another speech, this time from Sally Heslop, our interim PVC Education, in which she highlighted some of the excellent work done by BILT over the past year. The first set of awards being given were the staff-led awards. Nominees for these awards were nominated by their colleges and included six University Awards for Education (one per faculty), an award for Enhancing the Student Learning Experience and Educational Initiative award (a full list of award winners can be found on the BILT website).
The second half of the evening was given over to students, kicking off with a short video about what our BILT student fellows have been doing over the last six months – you can watch the video here.
Nasra Ayub and Shubham Singh, our outgoing 2018/19 Undergraduate and Postgraduate Education Officers, then gave their speeches, highlighting the fact that excellent teaching takes place across the institution and that celebrating ‘those who have been mentioned and those who haven’t’. We then moved onto awarding the Student Awards for Outstanding Educators, with one award for each faculty, and then the Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Postgraduate Student, the Students’ Award for Outstanding Support and finally the Students’ Award for Outstanding Supervision of Research Students (a full list of award winners can be found on the BILT website).
The evening ended with the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Education, which is selected from the other 17 winners. This year, the award was given to James Filbin, who runs the Engineering Hackspace. Unfortunately, James was on holiday the night of the Awards so his manager, Jude Britton, had to collect both his awards for him, but we’re sure it will be an amazing surprise for when he is back!
Much like the real Oscars, we did have one ‘LaLa Land moment‘ (sorry to the Linguistics team, Mark France and everyone else in those categories!), but aside from that slight blip the evening was a roaring success and a great time was had by all. We are producing two videos of the event and we will share these will you in due course! Well done to all those who were nominated, shortlisted and those who won.
This week saw the start of our student hackathon, kicking off with two days of training and practice in digital storytelling, leading up to a showcase of the students’ own stories. Eva, Sam, Alex, and Samia share their reflections on the process.
Stories are the way in which we share things about
ourselves, make sense of the world, and remember key moments in our lives. In
our first two days, we utilised stories to share pieces of ourselves, to get to
know one another and to warm ourselves up to telling some of the many stories
which make up the university of Bristol.
We were prompted into telling our stories through visual images, a task which at first seemed daunting in a room of people who up to a few hours ago were complete strangers. But through looking at some of the random pictures during the workshop, we found a spark and started to weave a story. The activity allowed us to put our creative hats on, in some cases for the first time in a while.
As for so many tasks, the hardest bit of writing a story is
putting pen to blank sheet of paper. We tried a technique called free writing
to get over this – spend 3 minutes just writing, not worrying about how good it
is or self-editing, but just getting it down. Sounds awful, but in fact takes
the pressure off, and we were all out of the starting gates!
The two days included both creative thinking and technological hands-on practice. We all found it hard to balance the ideal with the achievable, but even though our digital videos may not have been polished, we were amazed how well everyone’s story shone through. Thinking about how to structure and present a story has given us an impetus to explore and communicate experiences.
We were struck by how many educational issues and challenges
were highlighted in our collective stories – think how many more there are in
every lecture hall and lab across the university. It reminded us how important
the student engagement work of the hackathon is, looking at some key issues for
the university with that multifaceted student perspective.
The whole experience so far has been fun, interesting, unexpected, and enjoyable. We’ve connected with each other in novel ways, and the next four weeks don’t seem so daunting any more. We’re excited to see what Monday brings.