CPD: Learning & Teaching Strategies at Loughborough University

Today, it was another Continuing Professional Development (CPD) day, this time at Loughborough University with the School of the Arts, English and Drama (AED), looking into Learning and Teaching Strategies, specifically for the development of their Taught Programme Portfolio for 2014-17. I completed my undergraduate studies in Fine Art at Loughborough University School of the Arts from 2002-05 and have taught on and off with them since (yes it has nearly been ten years)…more recently facilitating workshops (read more about them here). I will only talk about the Learning and Teaching Strategy side of the day due to professional ethical issues around sharing information on the latter topic…certainly not information to go public!

e-Learning with Charles Shields, Head of e-Learning at LU

Textwall (www.textwall.co.uk) is a web-based tool for engaging and interacting with your audience. Use it to view sms messages sent to you and to send text messages. Used to gain a response from your audiences. LU currently use Turning Point handsets, used for 7-8 years…ReView and the virtual learning network LEARN…moving more towards using this type of software.


textwall 2

We were asked to respond to how e-learning can help with course, curriculum and learning development:

  • Way to moderate something like textwall as surely it can invite students to contribute anything?;
  • Greater accessibility to knowledge sharing, open forum/platform for criticism (can be anonymous);
  • Stops students from talking?;
  • Instant feedback;
  • I’m hoping that e-learning tools can help boring bits more fun;
  • Learning technologies are contextually limited to educationally appropriate circumstances;
  • It can help to elicit interaction from students and the development of projects but never replace person contact and proper attendance;
  • Does it replace talking to each other?;
  • Potential to help teams teaching taught modules becoming more transparent;
  • Encouraging student literary skills and enhancing interactive learning;
  • Student learning rather than teacher-led.

This data can then go directly to Wordle (wordle.net) to generate a word cloud…from this see the themes that emerge from that.

  • How does this work with smaller groups?;
  • E-learning tools for different teaching and learning activities…what kind of e-learning activities work well? How are people using e-learning technologies to align with curriculum/teaching;
  • Twitter feeds as opening up as conversations…they need to be carefully instructed as to how students use their mobile phones;
  • Digital divide – some students and staff not wanting to use mobile phones. Is there a resource for this? Needs to be taken into account…not easy to resolve;

General themes:

  • Lecture capture – done for 5 years…in the first year 110 lectures captured, in 2014 1000 lectures captured this semester…LU now looking at the policy of what lecture capture should be. No question here at LU of it becoming an opt out service, the University strongly encourages the use of lecture capture to support undergraduate and postgraduate teaching through there are circumstances that are outside this. Lecturers retain performance rights so can get content withdrawn from the system;
  • Issues of copyright? Needs to be clarified;
  • Lecture capture event 17 December 2014 at LU…full programme can be seen here. Run by the Centre for Academic Practice it is entitled ‘Lecture Capture: Building the Evidence Base’,  where the workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to engage in conversation around the evidence base for the value of lecture capture, stimulated by informal presentations by practitioners from across Higher Education;
  • Monitoring and evaluation project led by social sciences drilling into the pedagogy of lecture capture;
  • Lecture capture changing the dynamic of lectures…conscious of what is said and how you present yourself;
  • Lecture capture in the School of the Arts helps students with Learning Difficulties/dyslexia…helps them to revise on a complex explanation. Mention of Dr Karl Nightingale, University of Birmingham Medical School, who is speaking at the Lecture capture event 17 December 2014 at LU on ‘Supplemental lecture recording: a stepping stone to inclusion?’…’looking into the use of supplemental lecture recording is now widespread in HE, but the impact of the approach on student’s academic performance remains unclear. Here we describe ongoing studies to evaluate whether this is an appropriate means to support dyslexic students. We use a combination of questionnaires, focus groups, and download analytics using two study designs: (i) Supplementary recording of individual modules in Yrs. 1 /2 UG medicine; (ii) A controlled ‘laboratory’ study. (25 dyslexic + 50 ‘neurotypical control’ students), to examine whether, and how students engage with these materials, and their impact on the student’s academic performance.’;
  • Is there a strategy for how new e-learning programmes are shared and shown to staff? How do staff get used to these changes? Also how do staff on more minimal hour contracts get signposted to how to use these programmes?.

I found this on the Teaching and Learning Blog (www.lboro.ac.uk/teaching-learning). Here is a US perspective on the current state of online Higher Education. Many of the points raised in this infographic are also relevant to the UK context.

Online Educational Challenges

‘How the library can support you’ by Emma Walton

  1. Library skills;
  2. Resources;
  3. Plagiarism and referencing;
  4. Copyright.

Information or digital literacy:

  • Information literacy – knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, how to evaluate it, use and communicate it in an ethical manner. (CILIP, 2004);
  • Digital literacy – ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide range of sources when it is presented via computers. The concept of literacy goes beyond simply being able to read; it always means the ability to read with meaning and to understand (Gilster, 1997);
  • The ability to use digital technology, communication tools or networks to locate, evaluate, use and create information (Wikipedia).

The seven elements of digital literacy:


SCONUL Seven Pillars – a pdf on this model (quoted below) can be read here…How to use this model…

‘The model is conceived as a three-dimensional circular “building”, founded on an information landscape which comprises the information world as it is perceived by an individual at that point in time. The picture is also coloured by an individual’s personal information literacy landscape, in other words, their aptitude, background and experiences, which will affect how they respond to any information literacy development. The circular nature of the model demonstrates that becoming information literate is not a linear process; a person can be developing within several pillars simultaneously and independently, although in practice they are often closely linked.

Each pillar is further described by a series of statements relating to a set of skills/competencies and a set of attitudes/understandings. It is expected that as a person becomes more information literate they will demonstrate more of the attributes in each pillar and so move towards the top of the pillar. The names of the pillars can be used to map across to other frameworks (for example, the Researcher Development Framework (Vitae, 2010)) or to describe part of the learning process.

The core model describes a set of generic skills and understandings; for different user communities a “lens” can be developed which highlights different attributes, adds in more complex or simpler statements and uses language recognised by the specific community which it represents. In this way, it is hoped the model can be used flexibly by individuals and teachers who can adapt it as appropriate to personal circumstances.’

SCONUL 7 pillars

sconul 7 pillars 2

For example, Scope:

What types of informations are available.
The characteristics of digital information

Is able to:
Identify which types of information will best meet the needs.
Access different digital formats and select those that meet the needs.

The ideal implementation is to INTRODUCE (basic sessions for finding and evaluation to at least Part A) → BUILD UPON (iterative sessions and additional sessions Part B before the vacation) → SUPPORT (advanced support for dissertation production/dissertation skills for Part C). The sessions should be timely, meaningful and tailored.



  • Academic Librarian;
  • Established programme of Skills Development;
  • Learning objects and online materials from the wider library sector e.g. Assignment Survival Kit, My learning essentials…;
  • Tools within LEARN to build new objects;
  • Future plans within the library to create new generic material and to introduce subject pages thus surfacing information content;
  • Referencing and plagiarism – LEARNRefWorks and other bibliographic software, and Cite it Right online.

Emma cited two online aids, the first was Staffordshire University’s ASK website – www.staffs.ac.uk/ask…and the second Manchester University’s My Learning Essentials – www.library.manchester.ac.uk/academicsupport/mylearningessentials/

Staffordshire University ASK

My Learning Essentials Manchester

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