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STEM Conference 2016: session eight abstracts

Session 8.1: Developmental changes in the ability to use digital compared to paper-based learning resources in academic contexts
Biological Sciences
Dr Nicholas Freestone, Kingston University

The session will seek to investigate the utility of various formats in the provision of learning materials to students. Much of university level study involves students accessing electronic learning resources which represents a move away from the use of more traditional paper-based learning material. The retention of information via these means has not been extensively studied and compared. In tenth-grade school children in Norway it has been shown that information recall is better when printed rather than electronic text material has been used to learn from (Mangen et al 2013). Freestone et al (2015) have investigated the same phenomena in Level 4 and Level 6 UK university students and have found a developmental shift in these students’ ability to appropriately use electronic sources in an academic context. These studies will be extended to include data from school-age children and older non-academic adults.

Session 8.2: The transition to grade-based marking for assessing student work at university: The opportunities offered and the issues encountered in relation to assessment practices in the STEM subjects
MSOR
Dr Kamilah Jooganah, Nottingham Trent University

A number of scholars have raised questions regarding the use of percentages to mark student assessment at university and have argued that a reduced-point scale different from the 100-point percentage scale is a more valid approach (Dalzeil 1998; Rust 2011; Yorke 2011). However the majority of higher education institutions in the UK continue to assess student work in percentages. This presentation will describe the initial findings from a research project in progress that aims to investigate the process of implementing grade-based marking at one university. It will specifically focus on some STEM subject disciplines that use grades to assess student work. The presentation will offer valuable insights regarding institutional change in relation to marking practices the opportunities offered and the issues encountered when using a reduced-point scale to assess student work.

Session 8.3: Students learning software programming: Innovative strategies for learning and assessment
Computing
Mr Richard Self, University of Derby

Students demand engaging approaches from academics. Employers demand soft skills from graduates. Traditional approaches to teaching programming are seen as boring and fail to develop the necessary soft skills. In addition the software packages that are used in the STEM courses are changing very rapidly leading to significant stresses on academics who feel that they need to keep up with all the changes as the “Academic as Domain Expert”.

A different approach has been developed that both enthuses students by providing an employability based context for learning and also delivers high achievement and excellent soft skills.

This presentation will present the consequences of the “Academic as Learning to Learn Expert” model in the design of the Learning Teaching and Assessment strategies and the reduction in the stresses on academics. It will also demonstrate new assessment approaches which strongly develop soft skills for employability whilst ensuring that technical skills are demonstrated.

Session 8.4: The Postgraduate Experience Project: learning and teaching experiences and expectations of STEM postgraduate students
General
Ms Michelle Morgan and Miss Inês Direito, Kingston University

There is extensive knowledge of learning and teaching behaviour and practice at undergraduate level but limited albeit increasing of postgraduate taught study. The Postgraduate Experience Project (PEP) was one of the HEFCE funded projects of the Postgraduate Support Scheme launched in 2013. It was the largest consortium comprising of 11 universities across the UK. PEP assessed STEM postgraduate students’ learning and teaching experiences and expectations through an online survey during Induction (Entry to Study survey) and through focus groups sessions during the second term of studies. The survey explored students’ experiences of previous learning and teaching methods their understanding of academic feedback and their preferences as well as their expectation of learning at PGT level. The focus groups explored students’ current experience of learning and teaching. This session highlights the different experiences and expectations at PG level of students by gender mode of study generational status age and domicile status.

Session 8.5: FERMAT-vle : a space to appraise and reflect on math-based problems powered by Mathematica
Interdisciplinary
Dr Andrew S. Wills, University College London

Despite much effort, maths still sits uncomfortably within E-learning. Common institutional VLEs such as Moodle and Blackboard are unable to work at the level required by higher education in the STEM subjects. This session introduces FERMAT-vle which is designed to help students appraise how they are progressing and to reflect upon it. FERMAT-vle is able to calculate complex mathematical questions answers and to assess the correctness of student responses through extended Mathematica calculations. Short component questions can be used as a feed-forward tool while students work through the main question. In terms of software FERMAT-vle is a light-weight web system that is integrated with Mathematica. The questions answers and correctness can be calculated using extended Mathematica code and the maths typeset using the traditional form. Topics from foundation maths to research-grade modules in the STEM disciplines can be supported.

Session 8.6: An introduction to the HEA embedding assessment retention and employability in higher education frameworks
General
Dr Joan O' Mahony, Hugh Mannerings, Sam Elkington, Higher Education Academy

Session 8.7: Implementing innovative pedagogies
General
Professor Derek Raine, Dr Sarah Gretton, University of Leicester

This workshop will address the issues of academic roles and identity in the changing landscape of HE. There is an increasing focus on the role of teaching in the HE sector from perspectives of accountability. This has prompted a revisiting of the approaches to the balance between teaching and research with institutions making a variety of changes in academic structures including the appointment of “teaching-focused” or “teaching-dominant” staff. In a national survey of teaching-dominant staff in STEM we found a wide divergence in the status and roles of these staff and their relationship to their academics colleagues. In this workshop we want to explore the structures that best support the development and implementation of pedagogical innovation particularly but not exclusively in the context of declining resources. We will seek to gather examples of practice from workshop participants.

Session 8.8: Tablet teaching combining advantages of whiteboards and Powerpoint and its potential for widening participation
General
Dr Daniel Burgarth, Aberystwyth University

I will present a new method to teach using a high resolution pen-enabled tablet wirelessly connected to a projector and potentially student devices simultaneously. This allows me to teach as if I was using a whiteboard but to face the audience being able to walk around have students write on the tablet and combine whiteboard content with images and slides. Lectures can be recorded easily and PDFs are handed out to the students. Students with visual impairments connect using their own devices and can set zoom level brightness etc. individually. Students with note takers can see their writings in real time. Students in groups can interact using the devices. Overall I get fantastic feedback from my cohorts about this method and over ten colleagues in Mathematics Physics and Computer Science have switched. The devices are available as consumer products and much cheaper than smartboards document cameras and other writing surfaces.

STEM Conference 2016: session eight abstracts 8.1 Dr Nicholas Freestone
04/02/2016
STEM Conference 2016: session eight abstracts 8.1 Dr Nicholas Freestone View Document
STEM Conference 2016: session eight abstracts 8.2 Dr Kamilah Jooganah
04/02/2016
STEM Conference 2016: session eight abstracts 8.2 Dr Kamilah Jooganah View Document
STEM Conference 2016: session eight abstracts 8.3 Richard Self
04/02/2016
STEM Conference 2016: session eight abstracts 8.3 Richard Self View Document
STEM Conference 2016: session eight abstracts 8.4 Michelle Morgan and Inês Direito
04/02/2016
STEM Conference 2016: session eight abstracts 8.4 Michelle Morgan and Inês Direito View Document
STEM Conference 2016: session eight abstracts 8.5 Dr Andrew Wills
04/02/2016
STEM Conference 2016: session eight abstracts 8.5 Dr Andrew Wills View Document
STEM Conference 2016: session eight abstracts 8.6 Sam Elkington, Hugh Mannerings and Dr Joan O' Mahony
04/02/2016
STEM Conference 2016: session eight abstracts 8.6 Sam Elkington, Hugh Mannerings and Dr Joan O' Mahony View Document
STEM Conference 2016: session eight abstracts 8.7 Prof Derek Raine and Dr Sarah Gretton
04/02/2016
STEM Conference 2016: session eight abstracts 8.7 Prof Derek Raine and Dr Sarah Gretton View Document
STEM Conference 2016: session eight abstracts 8.8 Dr Daniel Burgarth
04/02/2016
STEM Conference 2016: session eight abstracts 8.8 Dr Daniel Burgarth View Document