Discerning futures
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Course Leaders’ Conference 2013. Discerning Futures. Plenary Introduction and Context. Professor Sally Glen Deputy Vice Chancellor, Student Experience. Improving student learning experience through improving courses. Professor Graham Gibbs. ‘Dimensions of Quality’.

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Discerning Futures

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Discerning futures

Course Leaders’ Conference 2013

Discerning Futures


Professor sally glen deputy vice chancellor student experience

PlenaryIntroduction and Context

Professor Sally GlenDeputy Vice Chancellor, Student Experience


Professor graham gibbs

Improving student learning experience through improving courses

Professor Graham Gibbs


Discerning futures

‘Dimensions of Quality’

Literature review to inform debates about:

whether UK HE is comparatively good

whether university league tables are valid

whether the NSS and KIS provide info students can trust


Discerning futures

‘Implications of ‘Dimensions of Quality’ in a Market Environment’

Review of institutional behaviour

is how universities are responding to their PIs likely to “drive up quality”?

which enhancement strategies are working?


Discerning futures

‘Presage’ variables

Resources per student predict much less than one might expect (but learning resources predict effort)

Selectivity predicts performance, but not learning gains, or engagement, or use of pedagogies known to enhance engagement

Research predicts performance, but not engagement, and negatively predicts satisfaction & measures of learning gains.

Who does the teaching predicts performance and gains

Reputation predicts only selectivity, funding & research

Peer ratings only reflect reputation (US and TQA)


Discerning futures

‘Process’ variables

Cohort size, class size, ‘close contact’ with teachers (SSRs) (cohort effect avoidable...)

Not class contact hours but total study hours

Quality of teaching: training, student ratings, but not teachers’ research

Quality of research environment: not at u/g level

Consequences for learning:

Deep and surface approaches

Engagement: close contact, high and clear expectations, good quick feedback, active and collaborative learning, time on task


Discerning futures

‘Product’ variables

Degree classifications

Retention

Employability

... too many confounding variables to be able to make much sense of any of this data, and degree classifications and employability data are highly unreliable


Discerning futures

What to pay attention to in terms of pedagogy?

Changing students: effort, internalisation of goals and standards, meta cognitive awareness, self-efficacy

Changing teachers: who, and how sophisticated

Moving from solitary to social learning

Changing curricula:

Focussing course design, review and evaluation around learning hours

Shift from summative to formative assessment

Making programmes coherent, with comprehensive changes implemented by course teams, not only by individuals (no matter how wonderful)


Discerning futures

Departments and social mediation of quality

Programmes vary widely in quality within institutions (except where ‘institutional pedagogy’)

It can be very difficult for individual teachers to adopt effective pedagogies if no-one else does

Institutions with no QE focus on programmes have problems

Communities of practice (Havnes)

Talking about teaching at programme level (TESTA)

Employment practices (adjunct faculty, pseudo departments, Fordism)

Modular structures, no assessment (or even shared understanding) of programme outcomes

...implies increased developmental focus on depts or or course teams (Lund, Oslo, Finland, Utrecht)


Discerning futures

The ‘how’ of change...

1Using teaching PIs to improve quality

2Unanticipated impacts on curricula

3Managerial vs devolved change

4Student engagement

5QA


Discerning futures

1 Using teaching PIs to improve quality

Unprecedented attention to quantitative PIs

Average NSS scores up every year

Some institutions climbing rankings every year

...by paying attention and using clever change processes

Exeter

Coventry

Winchester: TESTA assessment and feedback


Discerning futures

1st degree programme at Winchester to use TESTA, now top ranked nationally


Discerning futures

University of Winchester


Discerning futures

1 Using teaching PIs to improve quality

Unprecedented attention to quantitative PIs

Average NSS scores up every year

Some institutions climbing rankings every year

...by paying attention and using clever change processes

Exeter

Coventry

Winchester: 24 Universities now using TESTA


Discerning futures

2 Unanticipated impacts on curricula

Whole is less than the sum of the parts (OU, Plymouth, module level NSS scores)

Course rationalisation, abandoning joint degrees

Abandoning modularity altogether

Bigger, longer, fewer modules, fewer in parallel

Planned programme assessment regimes, including programme level learning outcomes


Discerning futures

2 Unanticipated impacts on curricula

Whole is less than the sum of the parts (OU)

Course rationalisation, abandoning joint degrees

Abandoning modularity altogether

Bigger, longer, fewer modules, less in parallel

Planned programme assessment regimes

... but this may cause

Less choice, less engagement

Larger classes


Discerning futures

3 Managerial/centrist vs devolved change

Institutional vsDept level targets for PIs

Volume of feedback

Criteria and standards (and hence learning outcomes)

Institutional learning outcomes/graduate attributes

Volume of assessment

Class size

Use of VLE


Discerning futures

4 Student engagement

Students as change agents across departments (Exeter)

Students as educational researchers across programmes (Winchester)

Student teams as developers across Faculties (Sheffield)

Changed practices, changed student attitudes

Better engagement in studies (USA, NSSE)

Improved NSS scores (2008-12 7%, Av 2%)


Discerning futures

5 Quality Assurance

Annual reviews of NSS scores trumping all other QA and QE processes

Valid dimensions of quality entirely missing from formal quality reviews (e.g. formative-only assessment, Jessop 2012; student effort)


Discerning futures

Conclusions

Teaching quality PIs in the public domain are changing the market and will become more valid, more useful and more influential – and they operate at programme level

It is possible to improve your PIs faster than the others

The best way to do this is to

take local responsibility at programme level and change the institutional infrastructure to enable this to happen

involve students in the change process

Local leadership of teaching is the new key role in universities


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