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10:45-11:30 Session 4A: Parallel Session: Stream A
Location: Room 5
The Factors Affecting the Adoption of Technology Enhanced Assessment in Further Education

ABSTRACT. Research into assessment in higher education shows that current practices are not meeting student expectations and are not fostering the skills required for lifelong learning and the 21st century workplace. Many studies suggest that technology may offer opportunities to improve and enhance assessment practice. As this is now a feature of recent national education strategies, it is essential to explore the readiness of teachers to implement technology enhanced assessment practices. My research examined the factors affecting the adoption of technology enhanced assessment (TEA) in an Irish Institute of Further Education. This mixed methods study combined qualitative and quantitative data on teachers’ perceptions of the role of technology in assessment, the tools being used and factors contributing toward the use/non-use of technology for assessment. It demonstrates positive attitudes toward the use of technology for assessment and recognises colleague influence, continuous professional development, students and policy as enabling factors. It also highlights lack of training, time and teachers being unsure of the possibilities TEA presents, as barriers. Student digital competences, the digital literacy of staff and support are presented as factors that need to be considered. This study addresses a gap in the literature surrounding the use of TEA in Irish Further Education and demonstrates similarities with studies in other sectors of education in Ireland and the UK. The results of this research may be helpful in identifying the issues which decision makers at national and institutional level should prioritise to further encourage and prepare teachers for changes to assessment in the digital age.

Teaching History in 21st Century Ireland: How Have Traditional Pedagogies Changed in Response to the Digital Age?

ABSTRACT. Technology-enhanced learning (TEL) has become a mainstay of classrooms since the 1990s, radically reshaping teaching and learning environments. The discipline of History has been amongst the most affected, owing to the rise of TEL, in tandem with an explosion of history on the web. Historians, such as Shep et al and Hughes-Warrington, have begun to examine the impact of these technologies and resources on both their students’ learning and their teaching practices. In Ireland, while a national survey of TEL use had taken place, no discipline-specific study for history had been completed. Therefore, this study explored how history teaching has changed in response to the Digital Age. It specifically examined what technologies historians are using; the supports and barriers enhancing, or inhibiting, use; and perceptions of how technology has impacted on teaching and students’ historical thinking skills.

The study used a descriptive survey, adapted from the The National Survey on the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning in Higher Education 2014. It was distributed to 144 historians teaching in the Republic of Ireland. The findings concurred with discipline-specific studies elsewhere. Irish historians are confident using technology and use a wide range of digital technologies and resources in their teaching. Barriers to use, however, exist, including time and poor discipline-specific training. The study exposed scepticism, however, towards the impact of these tools on pedagogy and student learning. It concludes that Irish historians believe traditional approaches are still critical, and technology should be used as, and when, pedagogically appropriate.  

Building Supports That Help Learning in Further & Higher Education

ABSTRACT. Paper: Building Supports that help learning in Further and Higher Education. Adults who return to further and or higher education benefit from targeted and specific supports that assist them in their learning journey. This paper sets out the results of research that explored what it was that helped such students in their educational experiences. Narrative interviews were conducted with mature students in higher education. They told their stories and experiences as students; what helped and what hindered. They identified supports that could and should be put in place as the standard for all institutions of education. The findings of this research give clear and unambiguous signposts for such institutes as to what our adult/mature learners need and want in way of support. Such supports would benefit both students and institutions and have limited impacts on budgets. Not only this, but the experience of this cohort of students suggests that their insights and suggestions could (and would) benefit all students in further and higher education, regardless of age or entry route. This paper sets out a model of good practice, which can have lasting effects and impact on student and institution alike, including; quality of learning, the learning environment, retention, and transformation.

10:45-11:30 Session 4B: Parallel Session: Stream B
Location: Room 7
Here’s My Story: Mature Students’ Narratives of Further Education

ABSTRACT. Public policy in Ireland continues to encourage increasing participation by non-traditional learners in Further and Higher Education. Mature students account for 50% of the Further Education (FE) population and while their experiences are well studied in Higher Education (HE) there is surprisingly little work on FE. This study set out to hear the narratives of mature students’ experiences in FE and explore how they make sense of these. Five mature students at a FE college in the North East of Ireland participated in an exploratory narrative inquiry study. The interviews focused on the participants’ telling and understanding of their experiences of returning to study in FE. McAdam’s (1993) Life-Story protocol was used as a framework to guide the analysis. The participants all shared a progressive narrative of advancement, achievement and success. All the participants saw their re-engagement with education as being positive and transformative. They understood the decision to begin this journey as rooted in significant turning points in their lives. While the stories told of success and achievement the students also experienced significant challenges along the way. Participants told of overcoming these challenges and they explained this in terms of personal resilience, perseverance to succeed, and support received. In conclusion, despite numerous challenges encountered and overcome, the participants viewed their experiences in FE to be very positive and having ‘dipped their toes in the water’, their experiences have led them to embrace lifelong learning and contemplate progressing to HE. Reference McAdams, D, (1993)

An Investigation of the Impact of a Work-Based Learning Programme on Personal and Professional Development from the Perspective of the Learner: a Case Study from an Irish Higher Education Institute

ABSTRACT. Work-based learning (WBL) is a relatively new concept on the higher education landscape which can be described as a learning programme that derives from the needs of the workplace and the learner and not from a pre-defined academic curriculum. The aim of this small-scale pilot study in one Irish higher education institution is to investigate the impact of a work-based learning (WBL) programme on the personal and professional development of the learner. An examination of the literature relating to WBL programmes shows that are relatively fewer studies which focus on whether successful completion of such programmes impacts on performance of learners in the workplace. This small-scale study yields a learner profile, explores learner motivation to undertake WBL programme of study and investigates the personal and professional development impacts from the learner perspective. Methodologically, following a documentary analysis, a mixed methods approach was used. This involved design of a survey instrument and a topic guide for depth interviews. Learners from two cohorts from 2015-2017 were surveyed and a subset of these were subsequently interviewed to gain an insight into learner perspective. The main findings demonstrated a heterogenous learner profile in terms of age, experience, previous educational attainment and distance travelled to attend classes; personal development as the leading motivator of learners to undertake the WBL programme; and that the WBL programme of study had a positive impact on the personal and professional development of learners. This study did not address the employer or higher education institutional perspective on WBL programmes.

Enough Is Enough! What Should Professional Assessment of Dyslexia for Students in FE & HE Look Like?

ABSTRACT. This presentation will outline the issues around Further Education and Third Level students accessing professional assessment for dyslexia; share findings of recent research in this area; identify the continuing barriers; and go on to suggest solutions to ensure all students with dyslexia are included and supported optimally. This presentation will examine the issues facing students with regard to needing to access costly private educational psychology assessment reports in order to be able to access support for dyslexia in FE & HE settings. The session will (1) share issues that repeatedly arise in the DAI when students seek support and advice around this area – this information is based on many years of advice and advocacy work that the DAI has provided for students with dyslexia; and (2) share the findings of recent research carried out with current and recently graduated students of HE establishments around Ireland. The session will summarize the main barriers that students face with having to resort to decontextualized or needlessly repeated external private assessment. The will include issues related to finance, stigma and socio-economic bias. Finally the presentation will suggest practical policy solutions that would address the identified problems in a cost effective and socially just way.

10:45-11:30 Session 4C: Parallel Session: Stream C
Location: Room 12
Online MCQ Quizzes - Do They Enable Student Engagement and Learning or Are We Just Fooling Ourselves?

ABSTRACT. The benefits, or otherwise, of online quizzes in education are the subject of much debate, and their value in terms of student learning and engagement is disputed. In 2014/2015, in response to the challenges of assessing large numbers of students, we replaced a paper-based quiz with an online quiz to assess over 200 students.

A bank of over 200 questions aligned to the learning outcomes of the module was created. As each topic in the module was delivered, an online formative assessment quiz focussing on that subject was made available to the students. They could attempt it as many times as they wished. Formative assessment was not previously an option in this module. When students submitted their formative assessments they were automatically graded online and immediate feedback given. The summative assessment had questions that were randomly selected from those used in the formative assessments making it advantageous for students to engage with the formative assessments.

The main concerns with the paper based quiz were lack of flexibility for students, the potential for marking errors, delayed feedback, and its time and resource intensiveness. The online alternative addressed these issues; once opened formative quizzes were continually available and could be attempted repeatedly. They were marked automatically and prompt feedback given. Time and resources are no longer needed to photocopy papers, manually mark questions, enter results, and give feedback to students.

This flexible, student centred approach has been used each year since 2014/2015 allowing us to collect a large bank of data. This paper will present our analysis of the data to further add to the debate in relation to the value of online MCQ quizzes in terms of student learning and engagement.

What’s Wrong with This Picture? Visualising the Reality of Student and Staff Assessment Workloads

ABSTRACT. Over assessment in higher education remains a perennial problem. Multiple intensive assignments and an apparent lack of ‘joined-up’ thinking behind assessment timings are a regular feature of student surveys and evaluations. Furthermore, there may be limited opportunities for staff to communicate, discuss, and potentially revisit assessment strategies within the context of a programme overall.

This paper describes a research project that sought to profile and visually represent the summative assessments in place across a range of programmes and disciplines. The researchers’ goal was to clearly illustrate the assessment experience of both staff and students within these programmes with a particular focus on the continuous assessment (CA) workload.

For this study, programmes were reviewed for the number, type, and due date(s) of assessments employed. Students were surveyed to specify the time they spent on completing specific assessments to reveal how much preparation time was allocated to a range of assessment types and weightings. Staff were asked to specify the time they spent on designing, marking, and providing feedback on the assessments within their module(s) and were interviewed about their perceptions of associated workload.

This paper describes the initial findings of this research, highlighting the scheduling of assessments and the amount of time on task reported by students and staff. It outlines how this body of evidence will be used to inform approaches intended to enhance programme design at this institution in future. For example a new Moodle-based Calendar tool, which displays a graphical view of all assessment activities across a programme, will be discussed.

The Nature of Teaching and Learning in a PLC College

ABSTRACT. Lightening Talk: The Nature of Teaching and Learning in a PLC College

Further Education and Training is often refered to as the "Cinderella" of Irish Education (ESRI, 2014; SOLAS, 2014). Recent policy development (SOLAS, 2014, ESRI, 2018) has caused changes to Further Education and Training (FET) in Ireland, especially in Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) Colleges. However, little is known about the nature of teaching and learning of FET. The study develops the limited existing knowledge about teaching and learning in the Irish Further Education and Training Sector and investigates how teaching and learning is conceptualised by PLC teachers. Two Research Questions were asked:

What are the unique features of teaching and learning in PLC Colleges? What are the challenges for teaching and learning in PLC Colleges?

A case study approach was adopted. Seventy quantitative surveys and twelve semi-structured interviews were conducted with teachers in a large PLC college. Data analysis is ongoing.

Please note this Research project is in receipt of the John Coolhan Research Support Framework and will be presented at the Teaching Council Conference Féilte in early October 2018.

11:30-12:00Coffee Break
12:40-13:25 Session 8A: Parallel Session: Stream A
Location: Room 5
“I Knew, Because They Told Us”: Further Education and Training as a Facilitator

ABSTRACT. Abstract Title: “I knew, because they told us”: Further Education and Training as a Facilitator of Preparedness When Transitioning to Higher Education The transition into higher education is recognised as being significant and often challenging for students. Historically, literature explores the transition of traditional route second level education into higher education, focusing on factors which inhibit a student’s retention and success. However, little is known regarding the route from further education and training (FET) into higher education. The aim of this research was to explore the experiences of further education students when transitioning into higher education and help narrow the gap in the literature. The intention was to explore the factors which facilitated a successful transition, rather than focusing on inhibitors. A qualitative semi structured interview approach was employed to capture the student experience. Seven students, five of which were first year at an Irish Institute of Technology volunteered to participate; all had accessed higher education via further education and training. The key finding is that participants attributed their successful transitions and retention to the further education experiences. FET facilitated preparedness by providing them with realistic expectations to standards required in HE, an ambiguity of opening their minds through informed choice and a confidence in self, which perhaps was most significant as it provided them with a testimony to self and to others of their academic abilities. FET for these participants has played a very positive role in preparing students for HE, particularly in terms of how they see and feel about themselves academically.

Key Words: Transition, Further Education and Training, Higher Education, and Preparedness.

The Research-Teaching Nexus as a Curriculum Development Tool in a Graduate Taught Programme

ABSTRACT. The graduate taught programme in Clinical and Translational Research aims to expose students to research content as well as research process and problems. This practice has strongly influenced our teaching approach by the integration of research in the curriculum by means of a wide-ranging programme of hands on practical experience complementing classroom-based learning. Here, we investigate the potency of the Research-Teaching Nexus in our programme by using the Healey & Jenkins pedagogical model as a curriculum development tool and thereby enhancing learning. We map our module learning outcomes to this model enabling us to examine research-teaching linkages in our curriculum. Other outcomes are the development of a curriculum evaluation tool for staff and the broadening of students’ awareness of what constituents research by providing a framework for research driven continuous professional development.

Adult Basic Education Literacy Practices Outside of Class – a Phenomenographical Study

ABSTRACT. Over one in six Irish adults experience significant difficulties with basic reading and writing. Gaining proficiency in literacy is not simple, and requires a significant commitment of time and effort. In Adult Basic Education (ABE), formal tuition represents only a relatively small amount of the total volume of hours required to increase competence, and thus, it may be suggested, should be complemented by out of class study. To date much of the research has focused on in-classroom learning, including recruiting and retaining learners. There has been little attention on ABE learning outside of the classroom.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the reported real-life literacy practices of ABE learners, how they experience literacy, how learning occurs in real world environments, and the issues and challenges around this. A key aspect of this is to understand what motivates learners to ensure they persist with their studies in and out of class. This is a qualitative study, concerned with depth rather than breadth of material. In-depth interviews looked for key themes and insights. The study used phenomenography as an analytic framework, as the goal was to understand the participants’ experiences and learn from these. Data were analysed using the phenomenographic approach in which utterances of interest were analysed and organised into categories of description. Five conceptions of real-life literacy were identified. These conceptions saw real-life literacy as: needed for social participation, a socially mediated process, multiple literacies, linked to identity and personal development, and as something that happens mainly in class.

12:40-13:25 Session 8B: Parallel Session: Stream B
Location: Room 7
Using Technology to Enhance Assessment in Science and Health Practicals: Findings from a Multi-Institution Collaboration

ABSTRACT. The contemporary emphasis on assessment for learning has been significantly more influential in the classroom than in the practical. Despite the central role of the practical in developing skills in science and health disciplines, concerns around over-assessment, surface approaches and authenticity are widely acknowledged. In this paper, we report the findings from a nationally funded project, Technology Enhanced Assessment Methods (TEAM) in science and health practical settings, aimed to lever digital technologies to enhance assessment and student learning.

The project was a collaboration between 4 Institutes of Technology, informed by a student advisory group in each institute. The first phase included a literature review and extensive consultation with key stakeholders: students, academic staff, Heads of School and employers. This identified 4 priority themes to pilot (i) Pre-practical preparation (videos, quizzes), (ii) Electronic laboratory notebooks and ePortfolios, (iii) Digital Feedback and (iv) Rubrics. A total of 42 pilots were run across the partners, involving 41 staff and almost 1600 students.

The evaluation gathered data on student and staff experiences of, and engagement with, the interventions. Data was gathered using a combination of surveys (n = 499) and focus groups (6 with staff; 6 with students). The student experience was overwhelmingly positive. Some advantages and disadvantages were specific to the approaches and technologies. For example, students highlighted accessibility as a significant advantage of digital feedback and felt that the use of electronic notebooks enhanced their employability. However, it was clear that, across all themes, the most important determinant of the learning experience was the pedagogical implementation at the module level. Academic staff identified many learning benefits for students and valued the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues. While largely positive, their experiences were influenced by the resources available to them, particularly time and digital skills. The implications and next steps will be discussed.

An Investigation into the Use of Rubric-Based Self-Assessment and Written Feedback as an Effective Teaching Tool for the Enhancement of Student Learning in the Practical Element of a Food Science Degree Module

ABSTRACT. This action research took place over ten weeks of laboratory practical work within a Food Microbiology module at Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT). The customary method of assessing laboratory practical work is to mark the student’s laboratory report after each laboratory practical without a transparent marking scheme. The purpose of this research is to investigate if the implementation of a criteria based marking scheme, in the form of a rubric, together with student self-assessment and lecturer feedback, is an effective teaching tool for the enhancement of student learning in the practical element of a Level 7, Food Science degree module.

A mixed methods approach was used in this research. Literature themes researched included, rubric-assessment, self-assessment, feedback and assessing laboratory practicals. Data collection methods used included student rubric-based self-assessment sheets, assessment feedback sheets from the lecturer, fourteen questionnaires and three semi structured interviews. Student self-assessment marks were compared with those from the lecturer to plot changes over time. The findings suggest that by repeated use of the rubric, students’ judgements of their marks do converge with the lecturer’s marks. However, the overestimating of marks by students with respect to their achieved laboratory practical marks is remarkable. A significant correlation was found between continuous use of the self-assessment rubric and the marks achieved for their laboratory practical write-up. In future, these findings may be enhanced by supporting the student more rigorously during the self-assessment process with examplars and training in the use of rubrics, self-assessment and feedback. In addition, self-assessment rubrics supported with written lecturer feedback should be considered as an assessment strategy for laboratory based subjects by LYIT.

An Investigation into the Use of an Undergraduate Journal Club as an Engagement Tool to Encourage Students’ Interaction with Scientific Literature

ABSTRACT. An action research study was undertaken to investigate the use of an undergraduate journal club as an engagement tool to encourage/facilitate students’ interaction with primary scientific literature. Engagement with science literature is a required graduate attribute that is necessitated by the Quality and Qualifications Ireland(QQI) science award standards.

The research cohort in this study, were nineteen undergraduate final year students of a level 8 honours degree in Bioanalytical Science. They participated in a voluntary journal club that ran over a five week period as part of a ten credit module in Molecular Biology. Pre- and post- journal club survey questionnaires, along with interviews were used as instruments for qualitative data collection and analysed using thematic and descriptive data analysis. Fourteen participants completed pre-journal club survey questionnaires, while nine completed these post-journal club. Three participants made themselves available for post-journal club interviews.

Students’ reported increased engagement in accessing, and time spent with, recommended essential reading text book, peer reviewed journal articles and science specific websites post-journal club. A supplementary finding was that students’ perceived increased confidence in sourcing and appropriately using peer reviewed articles in their work but also with respect to speaking about these articles to their peers and the general public.

These findings corroborates other published research in the use of journal club as a tool to engage student with relevant subject-specific literature and as a tool for critical analysis and lifelong learning. Recommendations for future work would include a second research action model cycle with consideration of a weighted assignment brief that allows for summative marking.

12:40-13:25 Session 8C: Parallel Session: Stream C
Location: Room 12
Using in-Class and Online Group Work to Enhance Learning: Views from University Students of Second Languages

ABSTRACT. Group work is a common feature of classroom activities when learning foreign/second languages. Such activities range from very informal tasks to longer projects that may integrate several language skills (listening, reading, speaking and writing). However, as the teaching hours in many higher education institutions are few, group work has been extended beyond the classroom, facilitated by the opportunities provided by digital technologies. While there is extensive research done on group work in face-to-face contexts, blended learning approaches that entail group work in-class and online have received limited attention in the literature. This paper addresses that gap by examining the attitudes of a group of undergraduate students at a higher education institution in the Republic of Ireland towards group tasks in-class and while using the university’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It is part of a wider research project involving students and tutors/teachers. An online survey was used for this paper to ascertain the views of students from the four main languages (French, German, Italian and Spanish) that are taught as part of degree programmes in Arts, Humanities and Business. The findings indicate that most students prefer doing group work in class and fail to recognise the potential that online group work provides. Furthermore, the results also show that the amount and type of group work designed differ significantly from language to language and seems to be linked to the pedagogical approaches underpinning the language modules.

Reciprocal Risk: Designing Group Assessments to Facilitate Social Learning for Online Apprenticeship Students

ABSTRACT. The BA (Hons) in Insurance Practice is an apprenticeship programme delivered mainly online to students located remotely in their workplace. Apprenticeships provide occupational training and learning shared between a workplace and an education setting. The individual students in this cohort were engaging remotely with their peers in a virtual learning environment, supported by face-to – face engagement on two scheduled “away days”. Learning is a cognitive process that often occurs in a social context where individuals are interdependent on each other. Students benefit from sharing experiences with their peers and from actively engaging in reciprocal learning. This papers explores how the design and delivery of group assessments on this innovative programme facilitated social learning for these students. A comparative analysis mapping the anatomy of two group assessments from distinct modules on the second year of the programme illustrates how the lecturers embedded social learning principles in the design of the assessments. Subsequently, a review of the process and product of the assessments examines the degree of reciprocity achieved by the participating students. This review includes consideration of both individual student identity and group identity through a narrative analysis. Data was gathered from the reflective elements of each assessment and the feedback mechanisms that facilitated students’ review of their experience.

Putting the 'E' in Portfolio Design: an Intervention Research Project Investigating How Design Students and Faculty Might Jointly Reimagine the Design Portfolio Activity

ABSTRACT. The use of portfolios is deeply embedded in practice within Design education. However, as trends change and technology improves, tensions often arise in the interpretation and presentation of the portfolio activity. Additionally, as more and more digital artefacts are produced by design students, the question arises as to whether the traditional portfolio could be accompanied or replaced by an eportfolio, which could present students’ digital artefacts in a structured fashion. Eportfolios have received considerable interest in the scholarly literature and it is broadly agreed that they can offer students opportunities to demonstrate their learning and showcase their achievements. This research investigates how students and faculty in the Design Department of one higher education institution might come together to examine and re-model practices in the context of the design portfolio activity. The study uses Cultural Historical Activity Theory with a Change Laboratory methodology and expansive learning to build transformative agency amongst those involved in the design portfolio activity, with a view to reaching consensus of what a future model of the design eportfolio might look like. Findings indicate that the methodology was successful in collaboratively examining work practices and exposing tensions relating to the current portfolio activity. A tentative future model of a design eportfolio was presented to the group, using institute graduate attributes to provide structure for the eportfolio. While some reservations were expressed in terms of the lack of a designer’s ‘personality’ when using a generic eportfolio tool, it was agreed that having student work available and accessible in a structured digital format was a requirement for today’s design graduate. Finally, this research approach is considered useful for educational research projects that require collaborative input from various stakeholders into changes in work practices.

12:40-13:25 Session 8D: Parallel Session: Stream D
Location: Edmund Hall
‘The Vital Triangle’: the Inter-Related Roles of Author, Reviewer and Editor in Strengthening Academic Scholarship and Evidence

ABSTRACT. Academic scholarship is an essential pillar of higher education worldwide and serves to disseminate best practice, innovation in approach and diversity of result. For those authors who publish in academic journals, there may be great rewards in professional confidence and reputational standing. Peer reviewing can provide essential pointers which may enable authors to improve aspects of their work, whether in structure, language or layout. Many reviewers give generously of their time and expertise in order to aid other fellow authors in their specialist fields, sometimes reviewing several times for each piece they themselves publish. In addition to the vital roles of author and reviewer, the role of journal editor is the crucial third apex in the triangle, in the geometrical sense where an apex (latin for 'summit, peak, extreme end') is the vertex which is in some sense the "highest" of the figure to which it belongs. In other words, the editor’s role, while it may convey great honour to be associated with widely read work in a specialist field, the role of editorship may also convey great responsibility for the quality of such dissemination as well as the evolution of the discipline, perhaps through editorials and special issues. This paper examines this ‘vital triangle’ of academic publishing through a consideration of our recent experience of editing a Joint Special Issue of the All Ireland Journal of the Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (AISHE-J) which combined the expertise of the All Ireland Society for Higher Education (AISHE – an: ‘independent, membership-based professional society dedicated to the promotion of good practice in learning and teaching throughout the island of Ireland’) with that of the European Sociological Association (ESA) Sociology of Education Research Network which: ‘aims at enhancing cooperation between sociologists of education in Europe…. [while providing] a forum for a variety of educational research, ranging from broad comparative research to everyday practices and processes in school, at all levels of formal education.’

Phronetic Learning: Letting Aristotle Loose in the Classroom

ABSTRACT. The paper will describe an empirical case study of embedding Aristotle’s phronesis in the curriculum of engineering and business students, working in cross-functional teams on an innovation challenge. The project involved the submission of a business idea to the Enterprise Ireland Student Awards competition, which is open to all full time third-level students on the island of Ireland. Furthermore, on a theoretical level, the paper will examine Aristotle’s synthesis of the ideas of knowledge and wisdom through the concept of phronesis (phronēsis) and explore its application to educational practice. Recently Bent Flyvbjerg has promoted “Phronetic Social Science” as an approach to the study of social phenomena based on a contemporary interpretation of the classical Greek concept phronesis, variously translated as practical judgment, practical wisdom, common sense, or prudence. While much has been written on phronesis, there is a dearth of empirical work on the how the concept can be developed and implemented in practice (which is ironical given the nature of the idea). The progress of the student projects were iterative in nature with multifaceted feedback loops and included many practical challenges that the team members had to deal with. Such challenges required the application of phronetic learning rather than the students being able to follow a rigid formula or a set of rules. In the course of the study, a schema was developed, which I argue, can be used to phronetically examine the outputs from educational projects in the area of innovation. Consequently, the paper will contribute to the debate on project-based and active learning by providing empirical evidence of embedding Aristotle’s phronesis in the curriculum.

Progressing Culturally Responsive Assessment in Higher Education Institutions: a Strategic Response at DCU Institute of Education

ABSTRACT. This paper presents the outline of an online course on culturally responsive assessment. The course was developed for the Faculty of the Institute of Education in Dublin City University with modest funding from the Institute. The literature underpinning the course is drawn from several continents and varied countries so the issue of culturally responsive assessment is clearly an issue in many places. This course is suitable for any Faculty that is concerned with the issue.

The course suggests a definition for culturally responsive assessment and provides a rationale for the course. Bledsoe and Donaldson (2015) state that the call for cultural responsiveness “has reached a deafening crescendo” (p. 7). While there are legal requirements, the literature emphasises the moral demand for fairness and the desirability of diversity. As assessment drives learning, it is important that assessment is culturally responsive for all students. The literature suggests that, for culturally-responsive assessment, studies do not “offer formulas but they do offer insights” (Hollins, 1993 p. 98).

In response to this call to action, researchers in the Centre for Evaluation, Quality and Inspection (EQI) in DCU developed an online course that offers Faculty the opportunity to engage in a scaffolded exercise to design culturally responsive assessment based on insights gleaned from the literature in a collegial, supportive environment with positive and critical-friend feedback. This environment facilitated participants in reflecting on their level of learning and level of skill in designing culturally responsive assessment in their own disciplines.

The course was piloted with 12 members of the Faculty. Responses greeted the course very positively with several participants describing it as an “eye opener.” However, participants also expressed the view that more training was required before higher education institutions could become proficient in culturally responsive assessment.

13:30-14:15Lunch Break
14:15-15:15 Session 9A: Parallel Papers: Stream A
Location: Room 5
ATLAS - A Model for Mapping to the Professional Development Framework

ABSTRACT. The professionalisation of academic staff is critically important for the transformation of Higher Education (HE) and the development of new modes of learning, teaching and assessment (DES, 2011; EUA, 2015). In the Republic of Ireland, the provision of Accredited Professional Development (APD) has been widespread in HE for some considerable time. However, it was only in 2016 that a National Professional Development Framework (PDF) was launched. This framework provides guidance for those involved in the provision of professional development across the HE sector and aims to encourage staff ‘to engage in peer dialogue and support in their professional development activities’ (National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, 2016, p.1).

The purpose of this presentation is to explore the relationship between APD and a professional development framework using the ATLAS (Aligning Teaching and Learning across the Technological Sector) project as a case study. ATLAS is a multi-institutional project funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning. Using a reflective and evidence-based approach, ATLAS sought to interpret the PDF within the context of existing accredited provision across the Institute of Technology sector. This was undertaken with a view to examining and addressing specific professional development needs.

All APD modules and programmes in teaching and learning within the partner institutes were mapped. This involved 7 institutions, 6 major awards and 49 modules/special purpose awards. The process included consultations with programme staff and graduates. Using an iterative approach, the partners mapped and interpreted existing provision using the PDF. A bespoke mapping tool and consultation pack was developed to support educational developers in using the framework to review and develop programmes.

The presentation will outline and examine this process in the context of the nexus between APD and continuing professional development.

MAPpd – Benchmarking Accredited Teaching and Learning Programmes against the National Professional Development Framework

ABSTRACT. The National Forum’s Professional Development Framework (PD Framework) for all staff who teach in Irish Higher Education “provides guidance for the professional development of individuals and gives direction to other stakeholders (e.g. institutions, higher education networks, educational/academic developers, policy makers and student body representatives) for planning, developing and engaging in professional development activities” (NFTL 2016, p. 1). Maynooth University’s Centre for Teaching and Learning (MU CTL) has recently completed a comprehensive review of its accredited professional development programmes in learning and teaching, the Professional Certificate in Teaching and Learning for Tutors and Demonstrators (PCTL) and the Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education (PGDHE), in order to fully align these offerings with the PD Framework. As an outcome of this process, we have also developed a comprehensive toolkit including a suite of mapping tools (MAPpd) aimed at supporting institutions or programme teams who wish to align accredited teaching and learning programmes with the PD Framework. In this paper, we will first outline the benchmarking and alignment process undertaken by MU CTL. We will then illustrate how the MAPpd tools may be used to benchmark accredited programmes in teaching and learning with against the PD framework. Finally, we will share lessons learned from this evaluative process.

References National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (NFTL) (2016). National Professional Development Framework for All Staff Who Teach in Higher Education. Available from

Can Library Staff Use the Professional Development Framework Developed by the National Forum?

ABSTRACT. This paper describes and records the experience of the L2L project in used the Professional Development Framework for all Staff who teach. L2L is a National Forum funded project involving DkIT, IT Carlow and DIT. It aims to use the PDF and explore it through the lens of Library staff.

In engaging with a Professional Development Framework that is not-specific to their profession Library staff have been challenged and concurrently found new approaches to inquire into and explore practice.

Challenges include language. The word teach for example has provoked deep but rich inquiry. Library staff see themselves as actively engaged in facilitating learning. Sometimes that is focused on specific teaching of Information Literacies. It is also arguable that Libraries in all aspects of their work are engaged in a form of teaching. This might include the way we engage with queries, the way we catalogue and make resources accessible, the approach to curating digital resources and our curation of physical space and services. Our engagement with the PDF therefore has challenged our sense of identity.

Traditional library PD approaches also tend to focus on skills and competencies. The PDF however invites exploration of self – how we learn, our needs, our aspirations and our values. Exploring self has raised a number of inquiries for us including the validity of exploring ‘self’’ in work and professional contexts.

The PDF has also facilitated and given us a number of supportive tools and practices. Embedding reflection, and reflection on action into our work is particularly helpful in enabling us to explore experience. It has given us an opportunity to consider our work in the wider context of Higher Education. It has given us an opportunity to consider our work in the wider context of Higher Education

Furthermore looking at our experience of work as ‘research in action’ fundamentally changes notions of practice and enables us to see our practice as valid inquiry and research.

To conclude the PDF as experienced by L2L has afforded us rich opportunities and deep learnings. As third space professionals we are have grown in confidence and ambition and feel better empowered to support learners learning

Using Professional Recognition as a Focus for Practice Enhancement

ABSTRACT. Ulster University has operated its Advance HE-accredited ENHANCE Professional Development and Recognition Scheme (PDRS) since 2012, providing professional recognition at all descriptors of the UKPSF. This has provided Ulster staff with a formal opportunity to review their professional practice as educators and generate their own evidence base in support of their fellowship claim.

Within the PDRS, the assessment takes place through triangulation of an evidence rich e-portfolio, supporting statements from peers and an Assessed Professional Conversation (APC). Participants are guided through exploration of their practice to consider the underpinning rationales for their approaches to learning and teaching, and crucially to generate evidence of their effective practice. Professional conversations, or dialogic approaches to reflection, are increasingly perceived as a powerful means of promoting deeper reflection on practice, where personal and social constructs may be expressed as part of a focused, evidence-based, narrative. This use of dialogue within the PDRS assessment approach has proven highly successful in enabling participants to confidently articulate their practice, and use this as a trigger for ongoing engagement with learning and teaching and further practice enhancement. This paper reflects on our experiences and draws from extensive evaluation to confirm its impact for learning and teaching for individual practice and the wider institutional culture.

14:15-15:15 Session 9B: Parallel Papers: Stream B
Location: Room 7
Irish Medical Science Education: An Exploration of Students' Attitudes to and Experiences of Assessment

ABSTRACT. Assessment is a driver of learning and shapes the approach and the depth of learning that takes place. When a programmatic approach is adopted that includes a formative assessment strategy what can result is enhanced skill and competence in the learning by students. Presented in this paper is part of a larger research study into the assessment practices in the education of Medical Scientists. Ireland boasts three Institutes that each offer a level 8 degree programme in medical science validated by the Irish professional body. To fully understand the assessment practices of these programmes an insight into the reflections of the students involved is required. The aim of this study is to report the student experiences and opinions of assessment on these 3 programmes. All students enrolled in the programmes during 2017 2018 academic year were invited to complete an online anonymous survey. The survey containing both open and closed questions, sought information on the types of assessment students had experienced, their preference and reasons why, their familiarity with terms associated with assessment and their opinions on feedback both from lecturer and from peers. One hundred and seventy two students responded to the survey, all three institutes were represented with an equal distribution for each year of study. Result analysis showed a diverse range of assessments have been experienced by the students in each institute. Students prefer short answer questions with a variation in opinions on feedback. In line with the research literature this research demonstrates that students see assessment as a way of studying and as a way of informing both them and the lecturer of what has been learnt. A key finding shows that students are not familiar with some terms associated with assessment e.g. formative. Some practical suggestions on improving assessment in their programmes are also provided.

Developing a Traditional Music Learning Community (TMLC) within Higher Education.

ABSTRACT. The concept of the Learning Community was introduced into higher education in the 1920s, and re-imagined at various times in the interim, with a view to supporting the practice of “student engagement in educationally purposeful activities inside and outside of the classroom.” (in Zhao, 2004: 3) Learning communities are student-centred and focused on a common goal; they are constructed around the practice of collaborative learning, constructivism, complementary academic and social activities that extend beyond the classroom (Henard and Leprince-Ringuet, 2008), and operate on the basis of partnership between students and staff. I introduced the concept of the traditional music learning community originally at UCC in 1994; the outcome of this - the formation of the folk fiddle orchestra, Fiddlesticks - was described by Prof. Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin at the time as “a curriculum, literally on the move.” At Ulster University, where I have lectured since 2007, I have again established a TMLC, creating a safe-space where students from across all year groups (both undergraduate and postgraduate) can opt-in to participate. The focus is on fostering a sense of collegiality among the traditional music cohort, building their confidence, addressing any gaps in their learning (e.g. music literacy), and developing their skill set in relation to employability within the music industry. As part of the TMLC I engage with the students in a partnership capacity rather than within the traditional teacher-learner paradigm. Informed by my experience as a professional musician I have been able to craft new ways of teaching and learning, using a ‘doing-knowing-being-becoming’ framework (Higgs and Titchen, 2001) that has created significant experiential learning opportunities for my students.

Designing Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) Modules: an Evidence Based Approach

ABSTRACT. Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is an approach to curriculum design that aims to increase both language competence and content knowledge in the learner by delivering content through a foreign language and, in some cases, providing language supports. Examples include teaching mathematics through French to native speakers of English or Ethics through Spanish to students whose first language is Italian.

The purpose of this piece of research is twofold: Firstly, to derive principles for best practice from the CLIL literature and secondly to apply these to the design of a new module. The module is in the area of language pedagogy and is entitled ‘Teaching German as a Foreign Language’. It is to be taught through German as a component of an initial teacher education degree to future secondary school teachers in an English-medium Higher Education Institution in Ireland.

Implications for the design of CLIL modules generally are considered. In addition, implications for the design of curricula for more mainstream Irish classrooms where the medium of instruction is English but the student cohort populated by significant numbers of international students are also discussed.

An Investigation into the Pre-Enrolment Characteristics of Students to Identify Factors Influencing Academic Performance Within First Year Computing and Engineering Programmes of Study in a Higher Educational Institution

ABSTRACT. First year progression rates are a key performance indicator within the higher education sector. Business intelligence can inform initiatives, interventions and supports aimed at specific student cohorts in attempts to improve progression rates. This study investigates prior educational performance, particularly in the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subject categories, English and foreign languages in the Leaving Certificate, to identify significant factors influencing the academic performance of computing and engineering first year students within the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB).

The methodology was quantitative with correlation and multiple regression employed for data analysis. First year computing (n=197) and engineering (n=247) populations were analysed for the academic terms 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16. The attribute accounting for the most variance in the end of first year Grade Point Average (GPA) for the computing population was found to be the total Leaving Certificate points attained per student. For the engineering population, the most significant factors predictive of end of first year GPA were STEM Mathematics points achieved in the Leaving Certificate, age and to a lesser degree total Leaving Certificate points.

The results of this analysis support the hypotheses that prior educational attainment in the Leaving Certificate is an important predictor of tertiary academic performance (R2 = .22) and that mathematical ability is an important factor influencing academic performance in engineering programmes. Outside of STEM Mathematics, support for the hypothesis that prior educational attainment in STEM Leaving Certificate subjects is a significant influencing factor in the academic performance of computing and engineering students, proved less conclusive. Also of note and in contrast to previous studies Leaving Certificate performance in English was not found to be a predictor of tertiary academic performance within either of the computing and engineering cohorts analysed. The uniqueness of this study is not the subject matter nor the algorithm employed for analysis but the focus on prior educational performance in the Irish Leaving Certificate and the influence it can have on the end of first year GPA in relation to computer science and engineering programmes within an Institute of Technology where historically students would be admitted with lower Leaving Certificate points than their University counterparts.

14:15-15:15 Session 9C: Parallel Papers: Stream C
Location: Room 12
Supporting the Transition from New Graduate Nurse to Professional Practitioner

ABSTRACT. The professional responsibility and accountability associated with transitioning from student nurse to staff nurse can be overwhelming. This is none more so than in specialist areas such as the operating department, where newly registered nurses must not only adapt to their emerging role as professional practitioners, but also to the challenges and demands of this unique setting. Neophyte nurses must swiftly socialise to the specifics of this unfamiliar environment whilst simultaneously attending to the acquisition of new technical and non-technical skills. While traditional apprenticeship ('on-the-job') approaches to training are useful, they are by definition heterogeneous and can result in the inconsistent attainment of knowledge and skills. To standardise these formative learning experiences, and to provide a professional pathway for newly registered nurses, a bespoke, blended Foundation Programme in Perioperative Nursing was developed. Careful consideration was given to the structure of the programme to ensure it met the needs of the new graduate nurse, the department, and most importantly, the patient. The programme was constructively aligned using a blend of structured clinical placement, face-to-face study days involving both theoretical and practical components, gamified learning activities both online and in-class, regular formative assessments and knowledge checks, and a summative assessment that mapped to the aims, outcomes and philosophy of the programme. Online activities also allow us to gauge existing knowledge and ongoing learning and to tailor the course accordingly. Multi-modal methods of teaching and learning ensured that the material was presented in a way that facilitated self-pacing, self-direction and aided comprehension. The diverse teaching, learning and assessment strategies combined to provide a constructively aligned, cohesive programme that aided in the development of the technical and non-technical skills of new graduates. This programme has been piloted and is being evaluated at present with promising results. Although devised for perioperative nurses, the blended format used could be replicated across any clinical setting.

Peer Support in Midwifery Education: a Mixed Methods Evaluation of the Midwifery Peer Assisted Learning and Support (My PALS) Project.

ABSTRACT. Peer support/mentoring has many definitions and can encompass many different functions including guiding, tutoring, assisted learning, coaching and sponsorship. In higher education peer mentoring has three main functions: emotional and psychological support, direct assistance with career and professional development and role modelling.These three functions are of particular relevance for My PALS in order to prepare student midwives, both mentors and mentees, for the demands of the midwifery profession and higher education. My PALS was introduced in the BSc. (Hons) in Midwifery Programme in Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) in September 2017. The aim of My PALS is to provide peer support for the incoming first year students from a more senior group (second year students) on their transition to college and the profession of midwifery. My PALS ran for the duration of the first semester during college time with weekly timetabled meetings between the groups of mentors and mentees. This project is currently undergoing evaluation at present as part of the lead researcher’s doctoral studies. The overall aim of this evaluation is to critically explore the impact of My PALS on the mentors and mentees involved and make recommendations for future PALS projects within the Nursing, Midwifery and Health Studies Department of DkIT as well as further afield. A Sequential Explanatory Design (SED) has been utilised as a framework for this evaluation. The emerging evidence and reflections from this research into peer mentoring will be presented in this paper/presentation for consideration/discussion.

Reading Habits and Preferences of Millennial Undergraduate Business Students

ABSTRACT. We are told that the attention span of humans has fallen from twelve seconds in 2000 to eight seconds in 2013. Reasons advanced for this phenomenon is our evolving, through brain plasticity, to cope with the extra stimuli presented from digital devices. This paper explores the preferences and habits of millennial undergraduate business students when reading instructions and manuals. It investigates the delivery medium and layout in relation to comprehension and retention of the content read. Moreover the current provision of instructions and manuals, in relation to their perception as being appropriate for their purposes, pertaining to preparing them for their course of study or employment progression is discussed. Following an in-depth review of the literature in regard to millennials, digital versus paper use in multiple settings primary research, collected using a mixed methods approach, is out presented. The findings show a clear preference for material in a print medium for the purpose of reading, comprehension and retention when associated with study and learning. A point of interest, a digital platform is preferred to find the material because of better availability, both of content and access to same. The preferred format or layout of material is when material is offered in bullet point or other concise form. The majority of participants believe that the current provision of instructions and manuals offered by their institute of study is appropriate for their purpose. However an overwhelming majority said they printed online course content to read. An overwhelming majority (83%) print online course content for the purpose of reading, citing it was superior for comprehension and retention, owing to it being more suitable for highlighting and annotating manually. A similar majority expressed satisfaction with the content being delivered in a digital online medium, because of availability and accessibility. They further added that they could print all or some as required for reading purposes. 88% would prefer instructions or manuals delivered in a bullet point or similar concise format. This was especially true in the first year of their course of study. It was further noted that preferences can change as the student progressed through their course as they learned what worked best for them in a given situation. On reflection, this study found that despite the abundance of technology in the student’s life, paper is the preferred reading medium for comprehension and retention, with a concise format that is to the point.

Students as Partners in Assessment: Employing Self and Peer Assessment in Enquiry Based Learning with Student Midwives

ABSTRACT. Introduction: Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) describes an educational approach where the learner acquires knowledge and skills through authentic group enquiry rather than direct instruction. A fundamental feature of EBL is enabling students to develop team/group working skills. It is widely acknowledged that when students work together in groups they themselves become the best judges of self/peer engagement and participation. However, for self and peer evaluation to be effective, evidence suggests that students need to become empowered to enhance their self and peer monitoring and assessment skills. Pedagogical Innovation: This paper will report on one educational initiative in undergraduate midwifery education that aimed to improve students’ assessment literacy and foster a sense of partnership in assessment praxis through the use of self and peer-marking of team/group-work activities. The initiative required first year midwifery students to self and peer assess theirs and others’ engagement, participation, quality of work and conflict resolution in EBL. Forty percent of the module mark was awarded to this endeavour. Explicit guidance was provided to students on the requirements of this activity and each assessment was followed by individual feedback from facilitators. Study: A Mixed Methods Research Design that utilised focus groups, interviews and survey was employed to assess student opinion of EBL, however this paper will report specifically on the concept of students as partners in assessment. Fourteen student midwives consented to participate. Findings: This study suggests the use of self/peer assessment has contributed to fostering student engagement, encouraging equity of participation in group work, developing assessment literacy and enhancing the authenticity and veracity of team/group-work grading through self/peer monitoring and assessment. Although hesitant at first, students welcomed the opportunity to engage in this innovative approach to assessment.

15:15-16:00 Session 10A: Lightening Talks Stream A
Location: Room 5
Exploring the Experiences of International Foundation Programme Students

ABSTRACT. As the number of international students in Ireland continues to increase, a growing number of higher education institutions have introduced Foundation (or Pathway) programmes. These bridging programmes are designed to meet the needs of international students whose English language proficiency does not satisfy academic course entry requirements. Typically, in addition to English language tuition, the programmes provide students with academic and cultural preparation for their undergraduate or postgraduate studies. To date, few studies have examined the experiences of students on such programmes.

This paper reports on the findings from a small-scale study, which used surveys and a focus group to explore the expectations and experiences of a cohort of Chinese students in the first semester of a Foundation programme in an Irish higher education institution. Unsurprisingly, the findings indicate that the primary motivation for these Foundation students is to improve their English and learn about Western culture. Students were very positive about the active learning approaches used in their programme and appreciated the fact that they were expected and encouraged to participate and express their opinions in classroom interactions.

In particular, though, students were unanimous in expressing a strong desire to interact not just in the confines of academic settings with fellow Foundation and international students but also with English speaking students and members of the local community as a means of improving their English language skills. While organised social activities offer opportunities to meet English speaking peers, students wished to learn alongside them rather than being confined to their own Foundation group. In addition, impressed by the welcoming nature of the local community, students had actively sought out opportunities to volunteer with local groups as a means of integrating into the community.

Although based on a small sample of Foundation students, the findings of this study may be of interest to programme design teams in considering the wider experiences of international students on such programmes.

Implementing Universal Design for Learning for Final Year Assessment

ABSTRACT. In this presentation the assessment undertaken by final year undergraduate business students is discussed. The assessment was worth 50% of a 5 ECTS credit module. The principles of Universal Design for Learning are applied to the design of the assessment, providing students with 14 subject specific topics from which students were encouraged to find their assessment themes. Additionally, students could choose three submission formats; essay, podcast or video.

Of the 57 students who submitted 36 chose the essay format; 20 chose the podcast format; and one student chose the video format. The average grade achieved on the essays was 63%. The average grade achieved on the podcasts was 69%. Both of these averages are in the B grade band. The sole video submission achieved an 80%, A grade and is considered as an outlier.

Overall the students reported positively on the breadth of options available; the freedom to select their own area of exploration; and the novelty of podcasts/videos for those who selected these. Students commented that podcasts were not necessarily easier, but provided an alternative to “essay fatigue”.

Information Literacy to Support Transition: The Development of a Digital Badge for Schools

ABSTRACT. A poster about Information literacy to support transition: the development of a Digital Badge for schools

Developing Effective Badging Practices to Motivate and Recognise Undergraduate Student Achievement

ABSTRACT. Digital methods of learning are increasingly common in university education, and digital badges offer a new and evolving way of motivating and rewarding students’ learning achievement. The major learning outcome for undergraduate students on the Stage 2 module, Social Media and Computing, was to develop a range of digital literacy competencies that will support their full social participation as digital citizens. To that end, assessment encompassed learning not only about new social technologies, but also about critical evaluation and social application of these technologies and concepts, such as digital ethics and privacy, to solve information problems in students’ academic work and future careers.

Each digital badge was aligned with assessment learning outcomes. In particular, two methods of badging were trialed over a two-year period: an external open badge, recognising completion of particular skills acquisition that students could display via their LinkedIn accounts in support of their CVs; and an internal digital badge, matched to prescribed university achievement levels through the university’s learning management system (LMS), Blackboard. This project was conducted, in part, alongside a university level pilot scheme around digital badging, which provided support for digital badge creation and technical integration.

This paper examines how undergraduate students responded to badging provided alongside assessment, including a comparison of different badging approaches and outcomes. Based on student reaction to badging and staff administrative and teaching roll out of badging for this module, suggestions around improving badging practices and strategies to enhance learning through assessment are offered.

Assistive Technology in IT Sligo

ABSTRACT. Assistive technology is a valuable resource for all students, not just those with disabilities. A new service is now available at IT Sligo for students registered with the access office. The assistive technology staff meet with the student and support them through a matching person with technology assessment. This helps to inform each student's predisposition to technology and the areas in which they would benefit from additional support. An individualised training package is then developed for each student. The student’s utilisation of each technology is monitored and interventions updated/faded out as necessary. Staff are also included in this training process and provided with any additional support necessary. Students are asked to provide feedback through bespoke questionnaires pre and post-intervention which, in turn, informs best practice within the IT. It is hoped that in the coming months, specific software will be made available to all students within the IT Sligo community, further supporting inclusion and a universal design for learning.

There is also exciting collaborations taking place between the assistive technology office and the Department of Computing & Creative Practices, Engineering and Design. These departments are being presented with social problems by the assistive technology staff. In turn, the 4th year students are taking these on projects and providing viable solutions in the form of apps and software. This is technology that benefits the whole student and staff body.

15:15-16:00 Session 10B: Lightening Talks Stream B
Location: Room 7
Innovative Learning: Theoretical Analysis of the Effect of Assessment on Students’ Understanding of Microeconomics in a Large Class Context

ABSTRACT. This research provides a case-study of how theory can be applied to enhance a module and it proposes an assessment strategy that aligns with the principles of good feedback practice whilst remaining applicable to large class sizes. Assessment is the curriculum: through constructive alignment theory, this research analyses the concepts of assessment of learning and assessment for learning and the effect on third-level students’ understanding of fundamental microeconomics. Educators need to support learners to build their own understanding (constructivist approach) and learners will benefit most when using real-world, relevant examples. To be correctly described as aligned, the assessment tasks need to mirror the learning outcomes. Assessment of learning, involves the educator making an evaluative judgement on the output of the student and the student is passive in receiving that judgement. Assessment FOR learning, on the other hand, aims to support the student as a learner, with an emphasis on feedback before, during and after assessment. The main contributions of this research can be summarised as follows: firstly, we apply constructive alignment theory to teaching the fundamentals of microeconomics in a large class context, secondly, we compare the existing assessment practice and a proposed new assessment strategy against the principles of good feedback practice. We find that there is compelling evidence to introduce a new assessment strategy in microeconomics and that the educators’ burden involved in providing feedback should not become too onerous as efficient use of technology and peer feedback is used.

Practical Skills Assessments Made Easy Using Online Video Submission

ABSTRACT. Assessing psychomotor skills for large cohorts of students presents many challenges both from pedagogical and logistical perspectives. For many years a face-to-face approach was used in the School of Nursing and Human Sciences in DCU for such assessments, often for cohorts in excess of 200 students.

Over time the drawbacks and challenges of this form of assessment became apparent; they caused pressure, nerves, anxiety and stress for students, and fatigue and loss of concentration for examiners. Inconsistency and errors in marking led to disputed results that could not be revisited, and delayed feedback meant that their value for learning was questionable. Finally, they were inflexible, resource and time intensive, and environmentally unfriendly.

These issues prompted us to seek a suitable alternative assessment method; online video submission appeared to be a simple approach that could overcome many of these challenges. Video has been used successfully in education for many years however this approach of using online video submission to replace face-to-face practical exams appears to be a new innovation. The aim of the innovation was to replace the face-to-face practical exam with online submission of a video recording of the student performing the psychomotor skill. This strategy was first implemented in 2013/2014 for 217 first year nursing students in DCU and has been used every year since then. A preliminary evaluation with those students suggested that they preferred the online submission format and that it did enhance their learning.

In this presentation we will briefly describe the development and implementation of this innovation, how it overcame the issues identified, its expansion to other modules, the technological issues encountered, and student opinions and attitudes toward it. We will also outline how the innovation has transformed the process from an assessment of learning to assessment for, of, and as learning.

Evidencing Professional Development in Learning and Teaching Using an efolio Tool - A Beginner’s Guide (by a Beginner)

ABSTRACT. This paper seeks to chart the process of developing an efolio which evidences professional development in learning and teaching in higher education (HE).

The process was influenced by the practitioner’s growing familiarity with the 2016 National Professional Development Framework For All Staff Who Teach In Higher Education (PDF). This familiarity resulted from involvement in a collaborative project funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: ATLAS (Alignment of Teaching and Learning Across the Technological Sector). ATLAS mapped both accredited learning and teaching modules and programmes; it provided ideas for mapping to, and interpretation of, the PDF.

The PDF is viewed by the practitioner as useful for mapping strengths and weaknesses in a structured manner based on 5 domains, typologies of professional development and types of learning. Evidencing continuous professional development is familiar to the practitioner from her disciplinary background in professional accounting. However, despite 20 years of experience, practice and accreditation in learning and teaching in HE, she had not considered evidencing this learning beyond the occasional updating of a C.V.

The motivation for planning, developing and creating a digital tool was twofold: (1) to create an adaptable, personal, professional development tool that mapped and evidenced her learning; (2) to trial personal use of a learning efolio as a stepping stone to possible development of a model for use in either undergraduate or postgraduate assessment.

The mapping and gathering of evidence was found to be time consuming but it caused the practitioner to reflect deeply on strengths and gaps in her professional development. It was useful for planning and prioritising future professional development for practice and career progression. The process of creating an efolio had its own challenges, but it was also an enjoyable, adaptable and fun way of representing professional learning.

Creating Virtual Space for Language Learning

ABSTRACT. Some years ago, the Molan Report (2009) called upon Irish Higher Education Institutions to rethink the positioning of languages in their curricula, nonetheless, 10 years later, with a substantial skills shortage in language graduates, and the challenges created by Brexit, this sea change has not taken place. More recently, the government’s recently launch Foreign Languages in Education Strategy 2017-26 has set an ambitious target for increasing the numbers of students learning modern languages at higher level institutions in Ireland. The goal is to broaden language provision to 20% of the entire student population. In the IoT sector, however, it has become increasingly difficult to find curricular space for this to happen as traditionally, languages have been confined to Humanities and Business Studies. Creating virtual space for language learning, by using digital media could provide a catalyst for change. This space could also be used for Erasmus and non-EU students seeking out partnerships for intercultural exchange and build a repository of online learning tools. A possible model for such a space has been created in Letterkenny Institute of Technology, where students have designed a website and blog to showcase intercultural and linguistic activities. Speakers of different languages have shared experiences, cookery demos and other aspects of cultural interest. This digital space continues to operate within and beyond the Institute in the local community, where second level schools have used and contributed resources in Irish, French, German and Spanish on this online platform. This virtual space operates outside the classroom, providing online evidence of a grass roots interest in language learning and intercultural dialogue, lending authenticity to the second language acquisition process, thereby enhancing the overall learning experience.

Innovative Intervention: Use of Technology to Improve First Year Student Understanding of Microeconomics

ABSTRACT. H5P is an open source HTML5 package which aims to promote collaboration and re-use of HTML5 content. It has a valuable application to educational environments as it allows for creation of rich online content which is interactive and allows for instant feedback. Outputs created using H5P can be hosted on any web based platform including Learning Management Systems such as Blackboard and Moodle.

As students of microeconomics find it difficult to understand how demand and supply factors change price and quantity, H5P was used to create a demand and supply simulation tool to replace a static diagram. The simulation tool will be introduced to students from September 2018 and will allow the student to actively engage with the demand and supply diagram to see the impact on equilibrium price and equilibrium quantity of a shift in either the demand curve or the supply curve or both curves. The advantage of this constructivist approach is the student learns by doing and can interact to move the curves and receive instant feedback in terms of seeing the impact on price and quantity. While this topic is covered in tutorials, only 25% of students attend tutorials compared with 63% who interact with existing online materials, which are primarily multiple choice questions (MCQs) with feedback.

It is envisioned that this tool will be particularly beneficial in the context of large class sizes where students are reluctant to ask questions and lecturer ability to provide individual feedback is limited. This tool also gives the student the chance to work at his/her own pace and in his/her own time. It includes some quizzes to check student progress and understanding and to help grow confidence with this challenging topic.

15:15-16:00 Session 10C: Lightening Talks Stream C
Location: Room 12
The Transposition Project – an Overview

ABSTRACT. Within the Department of Mathematics at Cork Institute of Technology and at a wider level across the institute, the topic of transposition or rearranging equations has repeatedly been flagged as one of the most problematic. Lack of understanding of this topic impacts students’ understanding of key concepts across many disciplines. Recognition of the issues surrounding this topic led to the Transposition Project, a project funded by the Teaching and Learning Unit at Cork Institute of Technology and run by ten members of staff from the Department of Mathematics. The projects consists of three stages: • Understand why the topic is not well understood • Create a teaching tool to improve a student’s understanding of the topic • Quantify the impact of the teaching tool

The aim of this lightening talk is to give an overview of the project and to present findings from a number of methods employed to explore the problems associated with this topic including:

• Staff workshop within the Department of Mathematics • Staff workshop for staff from the Faculties of Science and Engineering and Business and Humanities • Student interviews • Analysis of errors from sample questions • Exploration of current teaching practices • Exploration of potential teaching tools

Two Evaluations of Area Based Childhood (ABC) Programmes in Inner City Dublin and Wicklow 2015-2017

ABSTRACT. This presentation will focus on the impact and learning for staff from upskilling initiatives implemented as part of two ABC programmes. The presentation will summarise the findings relating to the education and professional outcomes for staff from upskilling at levels 6 and 7 from two evaluations that Sarah Murphy conducted of two ABC Programmes in Grangegorman in North West Inner City Dublin (attached) and Bray in Co. Wicklow, both implemented during the two year period 2015-2017. The Grangegorman programme also included collaboration between further education and higher education.

Both of these programmes aimed to improve outcomes for children aged 0-6 years and their families who were experiencing poverty. Both programmes took an early intervention and preventative approach and consisted of a range of programmes aimed at building the capacity of children, their parents and the professionals working with them. Some of the interventions included upskilling of childcare workers in Levels 6 and 7 and mentoring supports to assist in implementing learning in early years settings. These upskilling initiatives were delivered by local ETBs and community and higher education institutions, including Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT).

The presentation will summarise the impact of these programmes on early years staff, as well as feedback from the coordinators and deliverers of the initiatives.

The Use of Videos in Microbiology Labs

ABSTRACT. Microbiology is a practical science, and as such the teaching of microbiology involves laboratory-based methods. During the practical sessions students experience important microbiology concepts first hand. At our institution, agriculture students study microbiology in their first year; these students get an introduction to the theory of microbiology and a brief overview of laboratory methods relevant to agriculture. Practical sessions involve an instructor, usually the subject lecturer, giving a pre-practical talk and full class demonstrations of the tasks to be fulfilled. These whole class demonstrations tend to be difficult for all of the students to see, as there is limited space in the microbiology lab. In this preliminary study, which was part of the TEAM project, a five minute video was developed outlining a technique known as the Standard Plate Count technique- an integral concept in the study of microbiology. This video was made in the institute’s microbiology laboratory, using all of the equipment available there, and was shown to students as a pre-practical video during one of the laboratory sessions. Due to time and logistical constraints, the video did not have sound; but was narrated live by the instructor. Students were surveyed after the practical to gain information about their experience of this video. In general, students found the video to be very helpful; they could clearly see how the technique worked beforehand, therefore they were prepared for what they had to do and they felt more confident in the technique after viewing the video. However, they felt that the video quality could be improved. This pre-practical video worked well, and in the future, it is planned that it will be improved and added to Moodle so students can watch the video both before and after class to aid understanding.

Problem Based Learning (PBL) Pilot in Immunology

ABSTRACT. Problem Based Learning (PBL) is a well-known way of engaging students in their learning. In PBL, students work through problems via peer learning in a group situation through real life scenarios. Immunology is a challenging subject and students tend to struggle with many of the concepts that are taught as part of this 3rd year science module. In an attempt to improve student learning and engagement, a PBL pilot was developed, delivered and evaluated from a practitioner’s point of view. This PBL pilot was designed following discussions with colleagues who are PBL champions within the institute, and ran in the first semester of the academic year 2017-2018. This immunology module consisted of three one-hour lectures and one three-hour practical session each week. The pilot was based on one particular topic, the complement system, which students previously had trouble understanding; students were assessed on the process, which included peer assessment, and also on a product in the form of a presentation. There were many challenges to implementing this pilot, including resource and group dynamic issues which will be discussed. In general, it was found that the students were more engaged in the topic chosen for the PBL intervention, than in previous years when PBL was not used and grades improved in the module. Overall, PBL worked because students worked together to better understand the topic. Following on from this pilot study, it is envisaged that PBL will be introduced to more immunology topics.

Learning Analytics and the Possibilities to Enhance Learning

ABSTRACT. Learning analytics uses data about students and their activities to help institutions understand and improve educational processes, and provide better support to learners. (Bailey & Slater, 2015) What lessons can we learn from the emerging area of Learning Analytics that could help us to enhance learning through course design, student engagement and retention initiatives? This talk will examine research from international case studies to see how other third level institutions have combined data from their various systems to work towards enhancing initiatives in these three areas. The talk will then go on to explore the ways in which we could make a start with one system – our institutional virtual learning environments (VLEs). Significant financial investment and lack of awareness are some of the perceived barriers to adopting learning analytics within an institution. (National Forum, 2017) What knowledge can a lecturer gain from the statistics tool readily available within their VLE that could enable them to enhance learning at their course or module level? Can steps be taken throughout the semester to enhance student outcomes? And what knowledge can educational technologists gain from their VLE statistics to enable them to improve continuous professional development for lecturers?

Bailey, P. & Slater, N. (2015). Code of Practice for Learning Analytics. JISC, p. 1. Available at: O’Farrell, L. (2017). Using Learning Analytics to Support the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. National Forum for Teaching and Learning, p. 19. Available at:

Using Video to Blend Chemistry Practical Classes

ABSTRACT. This research investigates the effectiveness of the use of video resources through Moodle as a means to promote student engagement with undergraduate chemistry practical classes in a large student cohort. The research follows the roll out of a variety of video resources of varying styles in combination with ancillary online activities. The study evaluates the experiences of two cohorts of first year undergraduate students in a practical class over two years. Data was obtained using analytics as well as a student survey which used Likert scales and free response questions. A total of 498 respondents returned surveys, whilst 25,000 independent Moodle sessions were observed involving over 200,000 interactions with online materials. Analytics accessible through the video hosting platform were used to complete the picture of student interactions providing detail of viewer behaviour. In addition, two lecturer focus groups were conducted to evaluate the lecturers experience of teaching students who were using the online video resources. Three distinct results were obtained during the multicomponent study. Firstly, the effect of videos on student performance within the practical assessments was evaluated by means of randomised controlled trial and results are provided both quantitatively and qualitatively from a student and lecturer perspective. Secondly, student satisfaction with online materials when comparing use of video and non-video content was evaluated. Finally, creation and use of “lightboard” for video production was implemented allowing for an evaluation of student interaction with laboratory and lightboard videos as well as assessment of their affect on overall satisfaction with this means of content delivery. In all, this research provides an in depth look at the use of video resources as a means of enhancing the delivery of undergraduate practical classes.