Strategic Alignment of Teaching and Learning Enhancement Funding in Higher Education
The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (National Forum) published a Call for Proposals on the ‘Strategic Alignment of Teaching and Learning Enhancement Funding in Higher Education 2019 – Developing Disciplinary Excellence in Learning, Teaching and Assessment’ in June 2019. The Call invited Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to apply for funding to address the four key strategic priorities of the National Forum:
- The Professional Development of All Those Who Teach
- Teaching and Learning in a Digital World
- Teaching and Learning Enhancement Within and Across Disciplines
- Student Success
HEIs were invited to submit proposals under four initiative types as follows:Teaching and Learning (T&L) Initiative Type 001/19
‘Focus on supporting and highlighting the value of teaching and learning enhancement within Higher Education Institutions’.
T&L Initiative Type 002/19
‘Focus on Teaching and Learning Enhancement within Disciplines’.
T&L Initiative Type 003/19
‘Focus on Teaching and Learning Enhancements across Disciplines’.
For further information please see National Forum Strategic Alignment of Teaching and Learning Enhancement Funding in Higher Education 2019
Trinity is delighted that its application for funding, consisting of two Learning Enhancement Projects (LEPs) under Initiative Type 001, one proposal for Initiative Type 002, three proposals for Initiative Type 003, and one proposal for Initiative Type 004, was successful.
Trinity is pleased to present a brief description of each proposal below.
Initiative Type 001/19
Focus on Supporting and Highlighting the Value of Teaching and Learning Enhancement within Higher Education Institutions
Development of a Consensus Framework for Professional Identity Formation in Healthcare Programmes: Encouraging Partnership, Reflection and Resilience
Prof. Aileen Patterson, School of Medicine.
This project aims to support student transitions in healthcare programmes by establishing a faculty and student engagement initiative to create a consensus framework for the professional formation of healthcare students. The initiative will also inform curricular developments in relevant degree programmes.
Transformation from a layperson into a healthcare professional is a complex process of learning how to practice and “becoming” a professional. Patterning behaviour on respected role models is no longer considered sufficient to support this reconstruction of oneself. Healthcare students can experience challenges such as problems of transfer, uncertainty, preparedness, role identification and stress.
As current research recommends considering transitions from social and developmental perspectives with a focus on building relationships, fostering transferable learning strategies and reflection to support personal and professional development, this project will involve a series of Think Tanks. The Think Tanks will involve educational and clinical leads, and students as partners in developing a consensus framework on professional identity formation. The initiative will be supported by international and national experts, through a series of masterclasses for faculty to facilitate production of the framework.
Embedding Group Work and Innovative Assessment in the Private Law Curriculum
Prof. Sarah Hamill, School of Law
This project is about embedding group work and innovative assessment into the Private Law Curriculum. The ability to work in a group is vitally important in terms of future career success and yet, when students arrive at Trinity, they are often less comfortable with group work. After all, much of their experience and success thus far has been very individual. The module Private Law Remedies aims to address this issue and convince students that group work is mutually beneficial and that their combined efforts are better than what they could achieve alone. To this end, and with the help of funding from the National Forum, we are revamping how we deliver our lectures and assess our students to put group-work at the heart of the module.
From the very first week of the module, students will be placed in groups of four to five students. As the module progresses, students will advance from an individual essay, to a mock appellate trial submission (known as a moot) prepared in pairs, to a group dissenting judgement written in their group of four. In this way our students will advance from workshopping their individual essays in their groups, to working in pairs, and then writing an essay as a group. Not only do these forms of assessment rely on group work, they also offer experiential learning opportunities for students. The moot allows students to experience what being a practicing barrister would be like; while the group dissenting judgement requires students to think (and write!) like judges.
Throughout the module one of the three hours of lectures a week will be devoted to working in their groups and dealing with assigned group tasks. This way students will have the chance to experience a gradual ratcheting up of the group-work aspects in a supported environment, and we, as lecturers with the help of additional teaching support, will be able to address any issues as they arise. As such, the students’ experiences of group work should be more positive and, after completing the module, students will have a deeper understanding of how they work in groups and how to manage group work.
Initiative Type 002/19
Focus on Teaching and Learning Enhancement within Disciplines
BioLabPrep: Maximising Learning in the Laboratory Environment
Prof. Áine Kelly, School of Science
BioLabPrep is a teaching and learning initiative that will allow students to maximise the learning opportunities afforded by time spent in Biology laboratory classes by helping them to be fully prepared for each class.
Laboratory-based practicals are a cornerstone of high-quality teaching and learning in science. Students cannot develop a full understanding of scientific concepts without insights developed over time spent performing supervised experimental work, which requires significant investment of time from educators and students. Maximising the effectiveness of laboratory time results in better outcomes for students through increasing student engagement and promoting deeper learning.
This project will employ digital technologies to develop a suite of web-based interactive resources to support laboratory teaching and learning including:
- videos demonstrating key concepts and techniques for pre-practical preparation;
- electronic glossaries of terms/definitions
- multiple choice assessment banks for pre-practical assessments that include feedback to students.
Students will work through directed exercises relating to that week’s practical in advance of each class and take an online pre-practical test that will contribute to in-course summative assessment and ensure that students engage with pre-practical preparation.
At the end of this project a full portfolio of pre-practical videos and other online materials to complement each class will be available, along with a bank of MCQs that support formative and summative assessment, and which can be used to test engagement with the online resources. We expect this initiative to benefit all students, but especially students who require additional supports. For these students, having access to a step-by-step visual representation of what they will be doing during the class, that they can view as many times as they like in advance of the class, will reduce the stress and anxiety associated with the laboratory environment.
Initiative Type 003/19
Focus on Teaching and Learning Enhancements across Disciplines
Empowering student learning: Using comparison and feedback as drivers of self-directed learning
Prof. Mairead Brady and Prof. Martin Fellenz, Trinity Business School
This project applies a comparison-based approach to feedback generation and use, which is transformative in nature and of immense value to student learning and teaching practice. It recognises the student’s role as a partner in assessment practices, and invites them to take more control of their own learning. The project casts the student as a central player in their own self-regulated learning and facilitates them in generating and using feedback. This approach is based on comparison processes of students’ current work products such as written drafts, presentations, or other deliverables, and that of peers and/or lecturer generated comparison products.
Traditionally, input from lecturers has been privileged as the most important form of feedback for student learning. Considerable work has also investigated peer-generated input as a useful addition or as an alternative to lecturer feedback. In contrast this project focuses on designing comparison processes that increase and enhance the generation of inner feedback, especially from sources other than the lecturer. Applying cutting edge research from world-wide experts such as Prof. David Nicol the instructional design focuses on comparison processes used in a reflective manner to help students’ self-generate formative feedback in a way that places students at the heart of the central learning process.
See 'A Guide to Deploying Comparison Activities to Support Student Learning' by Martin Fellenz, Mairead Brady, and Michelle MacMahon
Structured PhD Module in Research Integrity and Impact in an Open Scholarship Era
Prof. Martine Smith and Niamh Brennan
Based upon feedback from Trinity schools and students, ‘Research Integrity and Impact in an Open Scholarship Era’ – an existing a module for incoming doctoral students – will be redesigned from a pedagogical perspective and rebuilt from the ground up, making it applicable across multiple disciplines and contexts. In partnership with students and faculty stakeholders, the new mandatory, wholly-online, 5 ECTS module will be contextually embedded while maximising the value of shared disciplinary good practice. Enhanced with relevant content and inclusive, interactive assessment practices, the module will be designed to radically transform the student user experience. It will be designed at a granular level to facilitate its disciplinary relevance and applicability across Trinity’s Structured PhD Programme – and beyond.
Led by the Dean of Graduate Studies, Professor Martine Smith, and supported by a project board consisting of the Associate Dean of Research, Professor Lorraine Leeson, the President of the Graduate Students Union, Gisèle Scanlon, and the current Course Coordinator and Programme Manager for Research Informatics, Niamh Brennan, this initiative reflects Trinity’s commitment to a fundamental renewal of its postgraduate education. It will strengthen the research-teaching/learning connection and lies at the heart of Trinity’s Research Excellence Strategy and Research Charter. ‘Education and skills’, one of the European Commission’s Eight Pillars of Open Science, is embedded in the League of European Research Universities’ (LERU) ‘Open Science and its Role for Universities Roadmap’ (2018), to which Trinity is committed. Beyond the practical benefits to doctoral candidates that this module will provide, it will, in both substantive and symbolic ways, reinforce Trinity's commitment to postgraduate programme renewal. This ground-breaking teaching and learning initiative will become an embodiment of our commitment to the very best practices in research and scholarship.
Students as Partners in Assessment: Gateway to Online Assessment in Trinity
Dr. Ciara O’Farrell, Academic Practice
Digital assessment is assessment made possible through digital technologies (JISC 2010). It requires students to apply different skills than they would in traditional assessments and can lead assessors to rethink how and why they assess. Gateway to Digital Assessment supports digital learning at Trinity by enabling the development of a shared understanding of digital assessment between staff and students.
Aligning with the Trinity Strategic Plan 2020-25: Community and Connection which commits to ‘next-generation teaching and learning practices’ (3.8) and a students as ‘partners in learning’ approach (3.3) , key project outputs include a suite of research-informed programmes, both for-credit and self-directed, and an online multimedia resource hub for staff and students, designed with students. The Gateway to Assessment hub also enables the growth and open dissemination of the project outputs beyond the project’s lifecycle and, we hope, beyond Trinity.
Initiative Type 004/19
Focus on Teaching and Learning Enhancement in Collaboration with Professional Bodies and/or Industry Partners
Development of a Blended Learning Careers and Employability (10 ECTS) Module for PhD Students Delivered in Partnership with Industry
Orla Bannon, Careers Service
Recent student surveys, such as the Irish Survey of Student Engagement of postgraduate research students and the International Student Barometer, show a clear demand from research students for careers and employability initiatives. The project, in responding to the findings of these surveys, will develop a blended learning 10 ECTS module on Careers and Employability for PhD students. The module may be delivered as part of a structured PhD programme or for continuing professional development purposes and is expected to help students become more workplace ready. It will harness the potential of digital technologies for online learning, will be designed and delivered in collaboration with industry partners from a range of relevant sectors, and will provide opportunities for work-based learning experiences (e.g. internships, work-based projects, industry-led skills workshops and networking). The module will support PhD students with career planning, critical reflection and decision making, including the development of an online skills audit tool for use by PhD students.
Trinity is committed to strengthening the employability and transferable skills of our PhD students giving them the opportunity to take responsibility for their own careers. This module will prepare PhD graduates to go on and build careers in academia and/or industry and to support Ireland’s economic growth having an impact at societal level.