Action learning sets

I came across the use of action learning sets when working in the Institute of Leadership in the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland. We designed action learning sets to involve students in small group work so they could solve real problems, take actions and learn from putting their solutions into action.

Questioning is important in action learning and helps the student with the issue or problem to find solutions for themselves.

In this video ( )  David Coghlan from Trinity, College Dublin talks about action learning and how through a questioning approach students can solve problems and put learning into action.

If you would like to read more on action learning as a strategy, Pauline Joyce of the RCSI has written the use of action learning to support organisational change initiatives. See


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Collegiality on the Twitter backchannel

Last week, I read the Thesis Whisperer’s latest post authored by Dr Alexandra Hogan about how to make the most from conferences. Her advice was useful for those attending academic conferences

Conferences are great opportunities to hear scholars in your area of interest, they provide opportunities for valuable face-to-face meetings, and the opportunity to ask others about their research. Conference presenters love questions about their work and research, they get a kick out of knowing that their work is making a difference to others. Moreover, conferences can trigger valuable conversations and participation in research networks.

Just this morning the annual ILTA Edtech Conference got underway  I can’t attend this year but I’m following the conference Twitterstream with envy. Twitter and other forms of social media amplify and extend the energy and critical conversations of a conference.

Lorna Campbell has presented about the amplification of academic events using social media and certainly, at  there is evidence of the messages of presenters reaching a far greater online audience than just those in the physical venue. Thanks to those tweeting Edtechers today, it was great to be in touch with proceedings from afar.

But returning to Alexandra’s points in the Thesiswhisperer post,  attendance at conferences provide opportunities to talk in more depth with other researchers and to extend networks.  Furthermore,  the online conference space is powerful for amplification of conference ideas also.   Participating or peripherally participating on social media platforms such as the Twitter conference backchannel can be beneficial in disseminating conference proceedings, establishing connections with other scholars and starting conversations.

Tips for Tweeting on the backchannel

Some advice from Alexandra’s post can also be related to the conference backchannel on Twitter:

If someone gives a great talk – let them know.However, if you just say to someone ‘I really enjoyed your talk’, they will say ‘oh, thank you’, and the conversation can stall. Instead, link your compliment to your own research.

Similarly, this advice can also be taken on board for the Twitter backchannel: Give compliments but provide reasons why the presentation or research resonated with you, ask questions of others via the backchannel. Remember, the backchannel is an opportunity to extend conference participation, Ask open questions, start conversations.

Be mindful of others on the backchannel

However, we need to bear in mind that presenting a paper is scary enough for most academics and negative tweets may be perceived as trolling.  Therefore, it is necessary to be carefully collegial in comments and questions on the backchannel. That way we build capacity, confidence, and critical thinking in the online space of the conference,  which might contribute to the initiation of trusting relationships and future collaborations.

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Whole class feedback via screencast

I have been teaching an assessment and feedback module for lecturers and those who support teaching in DCU this semester. When planning for the module I spoke to DCU students about their experiences of assessment and feedback. The students highlighted that they wanted clarity and consistency in assessment criteria and they wanted timely feedback. Some of the students described how their lecturers showed them what an example assignment looked like. This reminded of what John Hattie talks about in showing the students what success looks like.

I also met with the lecturers, the upcoming participants of the module, before it commenced to explore the challenges they faced with assessment and feedback in their teaching, to see what I could do to help solve their problems in practice. Interestingly, comments from the lecturers resonated with Bloxham and Boyd (2007), they criticised students as being grade oriented, failing to take account of the feedback. Undeniably, students not interested or valuing feedback is a hot topic among educational researchers right now. Indeed Carless (2015) claims that unless feedback is acted upon it has no real value. Moreover Naomi Winstone and Chris Nash and have highlighted how learners need to be supported in valuing feedback and acting upon it. This has resulted in The Developing Engagement with Feedback Toolkit (DEFT) .

More recently, until 2016, I was a student studying an Educational Doctorate. At the beginning of the programme we had some essay assignments to enhance our writing practices. Looking back these were formative learning activities with in-depth feedback given by reviewers.BUT, I also got a mark for my performance, and every time I got the feedback I looked the numerical result first and breathed a sigh of relief. I admit now that I was also a grade-oriented student. In thinking about this I consider myself as conditioned by the system to primarily seek a grade as a way of benchmarking my own capability in comparison to others. While I didn’t ignore the formative feedback, I think reflection is necessary about our own attitudes and behaviours as educators towards marks and feedback.

But, coming back to the purpose of this post: feedback approaches supported with technology, namely audio and screencast feedback. In earlier teaching practices I used podcasts to provide feedback on student draft work. At the time I didn’t evaluate the audio feedback approach, but I received positive comments from students saying it was good to hear my voice and that it helped them interpret the feedback more easily.

Recent literature found that a range of feedback techniques (written, audio and video) enabled students to get a stronger insight into academic performance (McCarthy, 2015) and that the use of audio feedback can facilitate a more personal and authentic connection between teaching staff and learners (Dixon, 2015).

While I have created audio feedback for a number of years I thought it was time to diversify and bring in a novel approach. The Y1feedback project offers rich insights into the feedback practice of lecturers in Irish higher education institutions. Indeed Corcoran (2017) and Rodgers (2017) both advocate screencasting as a means to provide generic whole class feedback as a timely follow-up to an assignment. Cranny (2017) citing Mayer and Moreno (2003) indicates that screencasting combines the two major senses visual and auditory input and this can be beneficial for meaning. Cranny (2016) also asserts that using audio visual feedback can help mitigate against potential ambiguity that may occur with traditional written feedback.

The approach I used

Keeping in mind the approaches of Cranny (2017), Rodgers (2017) and Corcoran (2017) I designed an audio-visual screencast to highlight 3 mains issues arising within student assignments. While there were more than 3 potential issues to give feedback on, my colleague Clare Gormley reminded me that 3 key takeaways could help student engagement with the feedback.

So the process of generic whole-class feedback via screencast involved

  • Gathering 3 key feedback points
  • Creating a PowerPoint presentation
  • Using QuickTime player to record the screencast
  • Uploading to YouTube as an unlisted video and sharing the link with all students.

And there we have it – a screen cast of feedback highlighted 3 key points for the students to focus on in their further work on the module.

Watch it here and please pose comments on how this might be improved, or what you do in your practices


Bloxham, S. and Boyd, P. 2007. Developing effective assessment in higher education. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Corcoran, M. 2017. General Feedback on Exam Performance. IN: Technology-Enabled Feedback Approaches for First-Year: Y1Feedback Case Studies in Practice: Y1Feedback. Available from: https://www.

Cranny, D. 2016. Screencasting, a tool to facilitate engagement with formative feedback? AISHE-J. The All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 8 (3), pp. 2911-2927.

Dixon, S. (2015) The pastoral potential of audio feedback: a review of the literature, Pastoral Care in Education, 33:2, 96-104

Mayer, R. E., and Moreno, R. 2003. Nine ways to reduce cognitive load in multimedia learning. Educational psychologist. 38 (1), pp. 43-52.

McCarthy, J. (2015) Evaluating written, audio and video feedback in higher education summative assessment tasks Issues in Educational Research, 25(2).

Rodgers, J. 2017. Screencasting for Enhanced and Manageable Large Group Feedback in Language Learning. IN: Technology-Enabled Feedback Approaches for First-Year: Y1Feedback Case Studies in Practice: Y1Feedback. Available from:

Y1Feedback 2016. Technology-Enabled Feedback in the First Year: A Synthesis of the Literature. Available from:


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#OER17 Here I come

Just under 2 weeks to #OER17 in London and I’m revisiting my abstract,  preparing my presentation and reviewing the conference programme. I’ve also been invited to participate in a Plenary Panel with @catherinecronin and @Czernie,  this is a really exciting opportunity as I feel more than ever before I will need to keep my critical eyes peeled at the conference. With Laura and Catherine, I hope to sum up, explain, and ask more questions relating to this burgeoning research field.
Overall I am really looking forward to hearing the findings of other researchers in the area of Openness and Learning. I will be interested to hear if their findings resonate,  challenge or extend upon my findings from my EdD study on Twitter for professional learning

Also and importantly I am really eager to meet many of the people involved in OER research in person. In researching and writing my thesis I drew on their work, I wrote their research into my thesis. #OER17 is a chance to meet many of the researchers and thinkers in this area. Perhaps some of you are reading this: I want to thank you for extending my thinking and bringing me to new understanding of learning, education, open learning, and professional learning. While the virtual space has introduced me to many researchers and informed my thinking I  value the opportunity to meet face-to-face.

I took a hiatus from my research findings for a while (went on holiday, got the flu, teaching demands, and general life!), but it’s good to revisit them now. Recovery from the EdD marathon has taken longer than expected…and it’s still ongoing. Here is my abstract:

Twitter: an open opportunity or a perilous public?

Twitter has become embedded in various conversations relating to research, learning, and innovation in higher education. Emerging research alludes to the benefits of Twitter for developing networks and dissemination of research and other scholarly activities, but few studies report on the real experiences and complexities of participating in open online spaces.

This study draws on the responses of seven higher education professionals working in various teaching and teaching support roles in higher education. Individual case studies illustrated participants’ use of Twitter for professional learning. Cross-case analysis was used to highlight similarities and differences among cases. Application of the Visitor and Resident typology (White & Le Cornu, 2011) to the cases highlighted a spectrum of participation on Twitter (O’Keeffe, 2016).

Findings demonstrated that activities of participants on Twitter were beneficial for professional knowledge and practices. However despite advocating social learning, some participants did not use Twitter for social networking. A number of inhibiting factors regarding their use of Twitter were revealed. Participants, considered Visitors (White & Le Cornu, 2011) chose not to engage or pursue conversations on Twitter, thus preventing networking with other professional tweeters. On the other hand, Resident participants, engaged in social conversations, voiced opinions on academic matters and used Twitter to provoke and prompt responses about various academic topics.

This study uncovered diverse modes of participation on Twitter while uncovering reasons for these modes of participation, thus presenting new contributions to the emerging literature base in this area. Although all participants of this study advocated the use of Twitter for professional learning, the data showed that participants did not use Twitter the same way. Different approaches were taken, with some participants choosing a passive approach, following other tweeters and reading information, while other participants engaged more readily in social networking activities on Twitter. Consequently this study calls into question the widely accepted notion that Twitter inherently enables social learning and thus enables professional learning (Hart, 2015).

Wenger (1998) proposes that learning occurs in relationships between people and that mutually negotiated activities contribute to identity construction. However, in this study, Visitor participants peripherally participated on Twitter choosing not to establish presence and network with other professionals, thus participants excluded themselves from Twitter activities and discussions “creating an identity of non-participation that progressively marginalised them” (Wenger, 1998, p. 203). This presentation will highlight the political, affective and social barriers that prevented social presence and participation in open online spaces such as Twitter thus raising questions about the inclusive and truly social nature of public online spaces.

Hart, J. (2015). Twitter for Learning: The Past, Present and Future. Retrieved from Learning in the Social Workplace: past- present-and-future/

O’ Keeffe, M. (2016) Exploring higher education professionals’ use of Twitter for learning. Irish Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning. 2(1).

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

White, D., & Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).


Posted in conference, digital, EdD, identity, learning, life, participation, professional learning, social media, twitter | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giving feedback on writing: some questions to ask

Today I’ve been giving feedback on various forms of writing: extracts from a teaching portfolio, a journal article, and the first 2 chapters of a Masters thesis. While there are criteria that I check each of these pieces of writing against, I thought these questions that I came by from my colleague Dr Pip Ferguson, (I’m not sure of the original author… if anyone recognises the original source please let me know). Nonetheless, I found these questions really helpful in giving feedback on writing so I’m publishing them here online for others and for my own future reference. Writers, supervisors, and reviewers might find them useful.

Step 1: Before reading the draft, ask the author

  • Where are you at now with this work, and what do you need the most help with?
  • Why did you pick this topic or question in the first place?
  • What do you most want people to remember after reading your work?
  • What is the most interesting thing you’ve found out so far?
  • What is the most challenging aspect of writing this paper right now?

Step 2: While reading the draft, ask yourself

  • Who is the apparent target audience?
  • What is the knowledge gap? (Relevance)
  • What is the research question?
  • What is the main claim (thesis statement)? (try defining each part)
  • What evidence have they produced (findings)?
  • What is the method or analytical framework?
  • What role does theory play in this work? (Is author primarily contributing to theoretical development, or using existing theory to interpret data?)
  • Which terms need to be defined or operationalized?
  • What do you, the reader, find most interesting about the draft?
  • What do you, the reader, expect to be most problematic for the author?
  • Titles and headings: Do they fairly represent the content?
  • Tables and figures: Read them out loud

Step 3: Meet with the author

Go through questions above with the author, and listen to how they explain the work. Look for differences between what the author says and what you thought when you read the work. (For examples, was your understanding of the underlying research question the same as the author’s?). Discuss these differences, or any other questions you had as a reader.

Step 4: plan next step

Ask author what they intend to do to follow up. Have the author write it down.

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#SRHE Critical Perspectives on ‘Openness’ in Higher Education

Last week I was in London for the event Critical Perspectives on ‘Openness’ in Higher Education as part of the SRHE’s digital university series. Catherine Cronin, Rob Farrow and I were the main speakers, sharing our research findings on various topics and contexts of openness

Catherine Cronin discussed the complexity of open education practices as personal, contextual and continuously negotiated and that higher education needs to provide more support for developing digital identities in increasing participatory cultures. Rob Farrow wrote a live blog with more details here. Rob presented on the OER Research Hub project and I found it interesting that OER textbooks could have cost-saving impact on the cost of education in the United States where textbooks are expensive and publication is big business.

Then I got the chance to talk about my research – there should be a podcast available soon from the SRHE, but for the moment the slides are here

My Doctoral research was very much exploratory and initially with a view to investigating what kind of learning was going on for professionals on Twitter. However through investigation of Twitter profiles and subsequent interviews I soon became very aware that participation differed greatly and that professionals had reasons for outward participation or peripheral participation in Twitter spaces. Some of my participants described cautiousness in using open online spaces, their stories highlighted their potential vulnerability online, thus they avoided establishing social presence via Twitter, which in turn affected the development of identity among others in online spaces.

Participants mentioned ‘more knowledgeable others’ claiming that they felt others were more professionally knowledgeable than them and this feeling restricted them from finding affinity with others online.

Overall a lot of rhetoric exists on the benefits of openness, of developing a digital identity for professional reasons. But my findings show the very real stories of people who feel less comfortable about participating in these spaces. These findings link with Catherine Cronin’s call for more research into the concerns and actual experiences of staff using online open spaces and how privilege supports or inhibits open education practices or participation in open online spaces. Indeed, Beetham declares on the topic of gender privilege “participating online feels different if you are a woman” (Neary & Beetham, 2015, p. 98) and Sava Singh asserts that open online platforms “were designed with specific people in mind, and those people were rarely people of color, minorities, women, or marginalized folks” (Singh, 2015).

(Neary & Beetham, 2015, p. 98) and Sava Singh asserts that open online platforms “were designed with specific people in mind, and those people were rarely people of color, minorities, women, or marginalized folks” (Singh, 2015).

So it seems there that participation and establishing belonging online is not a simple and easily manifested activity. However if we are working in an ever-increasing digital era – How can we as educators support students and those we work with across education contexts to develop capacity to use online spaces and develop digital identities that support and help development? More and on-going critical conversations are needed with all involved in learning and teaching contexts on this growing complex topic.

Neary, M., & Beetham, H. (2015). The Nature of Academic Space. In J. Lea, Enhancing learning and teaching in higher education: engaging with the dimensions of practice (pp. 83-102). Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Singh, S. (2015). The Fallacy of “Open”. Retrieved May 20, 2016, from savasavasava:

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Twitter for professional learning: disseminating the findings

Last week I presented my EdD research at the Next Generation: Digital Learning Research Symposium 2016 at Dublin City University.

This was the first time I put voice to my research since the Viva. Those at the symposium were mainly other doctoral researchers and scholars in digital learning, which proved a worthwhile audience, many conversations followed about the challenges of participating in online open spaces. Very exciting. I feel my research expresses much of what people feel when it comes to using Twitter professionally. They perceive professional benefits of using Twitter but they also feel a little daunted in using it and revealing themselves online.

In short, my research tells stories (using case studies) of professionals using Twitter for professional learning. Participating on Twitter is not that straightforward. This research shows that while claims are made about the usefulness of Twitter for professional reasons including learning, my participants highlighted their concern about exposing themselves in the online space, choosing to lurk at the peripheries rather involve themselves explicitly in online participation.

Here are the symposium slides which provide a brief synopsis of the research and implications of findings:

Also last week The Irish Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning published a paper of my initial research findings. 

Then later last week my thesis went live online on UCL discovery, more in-depth findings and implications can be read in the thesis.

Next week I will visit London to present at the ‘Critical Perspectives on ‘Openness in Higher Education’ event at the SRHE in conjunction with Catherine Cronin and Rob Farrow. I’m looking forward to more discussions about participation and implications for openness, furthering my thinking and research in this area.

The last few weeks have been really busy post-Viva. The ‘Dr’ title doesn’t feel real at all, but I’m enjoying the conversations about the research findings. Until now they only inhabited the space between my mind and my laptop, now they are out in the world! A big thank you to other scholars who have read my work so far and long may these interesting conversations continue.

Posted in EdD, education, elearning, identity, learning, participation, professional learning, social media, twitter | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How I prepared for the Viva

This day 2 weeks ago I defended my EdD thesis and was successful in achieving my Doctorate without corrections. I was over the moon and the outpouring of good wishes and  congratulatory messages have been amazing. But like others who have shared finishing up experiences I was also dazed and confused and exhausted. 

Over the past two weeks,  5 years worth of stress have poured out of my body. When people ask how I am celebrating, I describe catching up on sleep,  slowly starting to engage with once-upon-a-time activities like yoga, cooking, and tending to neglected flower boxes outside my apartment. In the next while I will watch out for post doctoral burnout and maintain a balanced and restful pace of life…..

Anyway I want to blog about my Viva preparation, what I did and what worked for me. There are a great many blogs and helpful websites available to assist preparation for the Viva. Firstly, while I could not nominate examiners directly, I suggested examiners that I respected in the area of research and that  I thought would be interested in the research and provide valuable critique. Then I did the following:

  • Collated potential Viva questions *
  • Scripted  answers to each of these questions
  • Got friends to ask random questions from my list of questions
  • Read my thesis again
  • Annotated chapters of the thesis with memos and post-its
  • Made notes of potential corrections (typos, unclear sentences)
  • Arranged a mock viva
  • I presented the main points of my thesis to work colleagues who provided feedback

The main benefit of the preparation was hearing myself talking about the research. Until that point I had articulated my thoughts on paper, so ‘talking-out-loud’ about the research was really important to develop my confident speaking voice.

My supervisors also gave worthwhile guidance; one piece of advice was about being agreeable with critique rather than defensive and argumentative, but using provocative questions as starting points for discussion on why I made certain decisions in the research process.

Before the Viva, I practiced some mindfulness techniques and reminded myself to:

  • Smile
  • Believe in myself
  • Know that I was prepared
  • Not let fear take over
  • Be open to questions, not guarded

I hope that this post might be useful to anyone preparing for the Viva. Very best of luck with it and in hindsight it was an exciting opportunity to share years of dedicated hard work with other interested scholars.

*I collated questions from my supervisors and blogs about the Viva:  Preparing for your viva and The examiner-perspective lens for doctoral editing

  • Why did you choose this topic for your doctoral study?
  • Can you describe the different steps involved in your research?
  • What is your “USP”? What is new and different about your topic?
  • What led you to select these models of…?
  • What are the theoretical components of your framework?
  • Which overarching philosophical or theoretical assumptions have you been working within? Why? How did it work out?
  • How did concepts assist you to visualize and explain what you intended to investigate?
  • How did you use your conceptual framework to design your research and analyse your findings?
  • How did you arrive at your research design?
  • What other forms of research did you consider?
  • How would you explain your research approach?
  • Why did you select this particular design for your research?
  • What is the link between your conceptual framework and your choice of methodology and how would you defend that methodology?
  • Can you explain where the data can be found and why your design is the most appropriate way of accessing that data?
  • How would you justify your choice of methodology?
  • Please explain your methodology to us.
  • Why did you present this in the form of a case study?
  • What choices of research approach did you consider as you planned your research?
  • Can you tell us about the “quasi-experimental” research that you used?
  • How do your methods relate to your conceptual framework?
  • Why did you choose to use those methods of data collection?
  • What other methods did you consider and why were they rejected?
  • How did you arrive at your conceptual conclusions?
  • What are your conceptual conclusions?
  • Were you disappointed with your conclusions?
  • How do your conclusions relate to your conceptual framework?
  • How do you distinguish between your factual and conceptual conclusions?
  • What is your contribution to knowledge?
    How important are your findings and to whom?
    How do your main conclusions link to the work of [other famous scholars]?
    The absence of evidence is not support for what you are saying and neither is it confirmation of the opposite view. So how do you explain your research outcomes?
  • If you were given a block of new funding now, how would you like to follow up your work?
  • Thinking about your examiners: what links their work with your own research? Have you got hold of some of their published work to get a feel for how they work and how they discuss research?
  • What would you do differently if you were starting again?
  • What has been happening in your field since you did your research? Is a further literature review necessary? How does your research fit into this updated context?


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Listening to the student voice on assessment & feedback


Two weeks ago, Teaching and Learning Day at DCU came to fruition and it was am amazing success. The highlight of the day turned out to be commencing with the student panel discussion.Originally I had

Originally I had organised a keynote but due to illness this was cancelled and I reorganised the schedule to begin with the voice of students.

Assessment is claimed to be the senior partner in learning and teaching. (Biggs & Tang, 2011) and can be a motivating (or demotivating factor) in students engagement in learning. Assessment enables the measure of student achievement and success and students deeply acknowledge the importance of assessment in their learning processes. While literature (Carless, 2015; Hattie & Timperley, 2007; Y1feedback, 2016) can provide approaches for creating assessment for/as/of learning (Earl, 2003). Having an opportunity to hear the student voice on topics of assessment proved powerful on teaching and learning day. Students were asked about thoughts and feelings about assessment processes in higher education and how those processes were working for them (The list of questions are provided at the end of this post). I had met the students to brief them with the questions before the panel. I knew at that point that hearing their experiences would be useful to DCU staff.

Students shared that they wanted greater transparency in what was expected of them in assessments. They indicated that examples of previous assignments of other students would be useful. One student commented that his favoured assignment had been an authentic real-world assignment completed where an external professional in his discipline mentored him and gave feedback. Others noted that feedback was important to them and they liked to know how they were doing in their learning, but they said that feedback sometimes came too late at the end of the semester. One student highlighted that a lecturer delivered feedback via podcast to the entire class group and this was useful in knowing what to avoid and what to continue doing.

In all it seems that these students were very interested in enhancing their assessment outcomes and they appreciated having their experiences heard. Similarly teaching staff valued hearing student opinions about this – A win-win situation!

The Storify of the day has tweets and other comments of interest, see more on

 Questions for student panel 

  1. When you are working on an assignment do you know what your lecturer expects of you?
  2. How do you find out what your lecturer expects of you?
  3. Do you ever refer to the module learning outcomes when doing your assignments?
  4. Do Lecturers provide choices in the assessment type you get to do?
  5. Do your lecturers use rubrics? If so do you find rubrics helpful?
  6. How do you typically receive feedback on your work?
  7. And how would you LIKE to receive feedback?
  8. If you have received feedback, how long do you wait for feedback (days, weeks?)
  9. Do you receive feedback through Turnitin or podcast or other technology?
  10. What do you do with feedback? Do you take it on board for the next assignment?
  11. How would you feel about peers providing feedback?
  12. Have you experience of giving peers feedback?



Biggs, J. & Tang, C. (2011) Teaching for Quality Learning at University (4th ed). Maidenhead, Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press.

Carless, d. (2015) Excellence in University Assessment: Learning from award-winning practice. Routledge

Earl, L. M. (2003) Assessment as Learning: Using Classroom Assessment to Maximise Student Learning. Thousand Oaks, CA, Corwin Press.

Hattie, J. & Timperley, H. (2007) The Power of Feedback. Review of educational research 2007 77: 81

Year 1 Feedback Project Team (2016) Technology-Enabled Feedback in the First Year: A Synthesis of the Literature. Retrieved from content/uploads/2016/04/SynthesisoftheLiterature2016.pdf


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Teaching and Learning Day DCU

Only one more sleep to Teaching and Learning Day at DCU…. that’s if I get any sleep. It’s been a hectic week. I submitted my EdD thesis at the beginning of the week!!! I will say more about that another time as I am a bit mentally exhausted after the marathon of writing/editing in the last few months! Anyway I hardly drew a breath and Teaching and Learning Day is on tomorrow.

We kick off with a student panel discussing issues and experiences of assessment and then leading into how presentations on assessment design by lecturers here at DCU.

See the timetable for more 

Anyway I have written some notes for the welcome address which I hope will settle participants into the assessment and feedback theme for the day:

“Assessment is the senior partner in learning and teaching. Get it wrong and the rest collapses” (Biggs & Tang, 2011, p. 221). In proposing a “preferred future” for assessment, Earl (2003) has written about the need to think beyond the pervasive practice of marks-based summative assessment of learning to consider assessment for learning and ideally assessment of learning.

To this end the DCU TEU has organised today’s T&L event so that those who teach and support teaching at DCU can share practice and experience about existing assessment elements, and their design into curriculum

We hope this will stimulate cross-disciplinary exploration of new strategies for assessment

Indeed this event contributes to the “enhancement theme” 2016-18 of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, where Assessment strategies OF, FOR and AS Learning, where discussion and debate of these topics is a major focus

There have been strong arguments to rebalance the traditional assessment in the curriculum, reducing the level of weighting given to high stakes Assessment OF Learning (summative) and giving stronger emphasis to Assessment AS and Assessment

Students’ and Teachers’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, and emotions are central to enabling changes in many of these assessment tensions in higher education.

The schedule:
1.     Starting with the panel discussion of students, giving educators the opportunity to hear the student voice. What do students think and feel about assessment processes in higher education?  How are assessment processes working for them?
This panel is a very relevant discussion to highlight issues encountered by students, serving as a relevant and topical foundation for the day’s events

2.    Assessment change can be supported by professional development of staff across the disciplines who teach.  Presentations from various staff [school of Nursing and human sciences, the Institute of Education, Schools of Science, DCU business school, school of computing] each sharing practice and experience of assessment and feedback processes at DCU

3.     In the afternoon a workshop on feedback by the “Year 1 Feedback project team”  promises a lively discussion among staff on feedback

Overall this event will be a stimulus for questions:

  • How can students become more engaged with assessment enhancement?
  • How best might we promote assessment literacy among students and support students to become more engaged in the assessment process?
  • How can the curriculum and the learning environment be designed to enhance assessment?

Finally this event is important, as it brings staff from across the NEW DCU together, in situ to discuss, share, and reflect on the practices of teaching, a valuable event in the DCU calendar to plant possibilities of ideas for teaching into the next academic year


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