University of Strathclyde

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    Skills workshops for Mental Health Social Work students — Skills workshops are provided to the PG Certificate in Mental Health Social Work Students by academic staff alongside mental health practitioners. The modules for the programme are structured to provide theoretical and law input including an exploration of the role of the MHO and their duties and responsibilities within the law. The skills workshops enable the students to practice the skills they are aiming to use in practice in their role as an MHO. This includes practical completion of applications for detention under the Act, Mentally Disordered Offender reports, compilation of Social Circumstances Reports using the good practice guidelines developed by the Mental Welfare Commission and a number of role play activities including a mental health tribunal hearing.
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    Setting up of the University of Strathclyde Mediation Clinic

    The Law School’s LLM/MSc in Mediation and Conflict Resolution was launched in 2010.  From the start it was clear that our enthusiastic students wanted to practice their skills in real-world disputes.  Mediation is something of a vocation: practitioners want their work to benefit society.  I therefore decided to start a Mediation Clinic.  This would enhance students’ education while also benefiting the wider society by offering a free mediation service.

    The Clinic’s first case, an employment dispute, was referred by Strathclyde Law Clinic and conducted in October 2012 by two students, one an experienced mediator.  The successful resolution included payment of compensation and termination of an Employment Tribunal claim.  Over the next year the Law Clinic referred a number of employment disputes, most resulting in agreement.  The two clinics worked closely together to develop ways of working for the benefit of clients. 

    May 2013 saw the Mediation Clinic’s formal launch, attended by the University’s Principal, Sir Jim MacDonald and a number of representatives of the justice system.  Following this the Clinic was invited to provide small claims mediation in Glasgow Sheriff Court, starting in February 2014.  Mediators from the Clinic are now a regular fixture at the “party litigants’ court” on a Friday afternoon, offering mediation on the spot or at a later date in cases with a maximum value of £3,000.

    By the end of 2015 the Clinic had mediated in 79 small claims.  63% reached full agreement and settlement terms were fulfilled in 81% of these. The subject matter includes motor vehicles, landlord/tenant, building work, personal property, succession and unpaid bills.  Participants express a very high level of satisfaction with the service provided.  Other sources of referral continue, with some approaching the Clinic directly, and by the autumn of 2015 we had mediated our 100th case.  In March 2016 we started providing mediation in Lanark Sheriff Court.

    Students are very positive about the Mediation Clinic, volunteering for administrative as well as mediation duties.  Feedback indicates that, for many, it is an essential supplement to the learning from the course and a key attraction in choosing Strathclyde.

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    Fab Academy — Each year we take part in the Fab Academy which is a massive online Knowledge Exchange run by Prof Neil Gersenfeld from MIT. The Fab Academy is an online course in which the university participates by offering access to this course to two PhD students each year, 
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    Widening Access History Interns Project This pilot project was a collaboration between the History Department, Widening Access Team and the Careers Service. It sought to examine the transition experiences of widening access undergraduate History students. In particular, it aimed to assess the university experience of this cohort, and the extent to which the skills gained during their time at Strathclyde are relevant or fully utilised to improve their employability or better their career prospects.

    Two student interns were appointed in August 2015 on a part-time basis. They undertook a literature review and designed a survey which current undergraduate University of Strathclyde History students were invited to complete. In addition to the survey, the interns interviewed four current History students to identify their perceptions of their degree and any associated barriers.

    In order to examine the experiences of Widening Access students in particular, the survey included questions which allowed for the identification of certain Widening Access indicators. Students were regarded as Widening Access if they met one or more of the following criteria:

    • First generation of their immediate family to go to university
    • Attended a low progression to Higher Education school
    • Attended a SHEP school
    • Had a home postcode at point of application which was classed as Quintile 1 or Quintile 2 according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD)
    • Had spent any time in local authority care
    • Were a mature student (aged 21 or over on the first day of their course at the University of Strathclyde)

    The survey data therefore allowed for a comparison between the reported experiences of Widening Access students and non-Widening Access students. In some areas they reported very similar experiences, but in others there were notable differences.

    The full research report is available below.

    This work was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from the QAA.

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    Peer evaluation of essays Students read, discuss and write constructive feedback on essays drawn from a sample submitted by the previous year’s cohort. This provides students with the opportunity to engage with the assessment criteria and discuss the characteristics of strong, good and weaker answers, before they prepare and submit their own work. The session is also beneficial in helping them understand how to frame, and learn from, constructive feedback.
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    Facilitating Children’s Philosophical Dialogue — The Postgraduate Certificate in Philosophy with Children comprises three modules. The final module, Philosophy with Children: Facilitation, requires students to facilitate two separate philosophical dialogues with their class peers as part of their assessment. The students are observed facilitating the sessions by the tutor.

    Each student, in advance of their facilitation, must meet with the tutor to discuss the session they will lead. During this meeting the students will discuss the stimulus they will use in the session and will be able to provide a rationale for this stimulus while also being able to identify the philosophical themes embedded in the stimulus. Students are also able to raise any concerns or questions about facilitation at this meeting.

    Throughout the observed session the tutor makes notes relating to the content of the dialogue and to the facilitation of the dialogue. Immediately following the observed session the student and tutor engage in a de-brief/evaluation session. The tutor writes up the extensive formative feedback more fully and sends this to the student within a couple of days. The feedback highlights key areas for development in the second observed session.

    Prior to the second session, the student and tutor meet to discuss the areas for development and the stimulus to be used. The focus for the second observed session is the points identified from the first session. A further de-brief/evaluation is held after the second session and more written feedback is provided to the student, this relates to the identified development areas.

    The final piece of summative assessment accompanying the observed sessions, is a written critical evaluation on the two sessions that must take into account the feedback given. Students then receive a final piece of written feedback in light of this.

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    Embedding personal development into undergraduate curriculum — Central to the BSc Hons Speech and Language Pathology course is a 4-year programme of Personal and Professional Development (PDPP). As a vocational course training students primarily for NHS based careers as Speech and Language Therapists, the course includes 4 modules, one per year, promoting progression from novice (1st year) to advanced (4th year) in terms of the skills and attributes essential for optimum functioning at graduate level and beyond. Uniquely, the PDPP programme dovetails with a 4th year module (Continuing Professional Development - CPD) embedding the programme within a framework of lifelong learning and development.
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    The Townhead Homework Club

    The Townhead Homework Club was established in November 2014 by final year BEd students from the School of Education. The homework club runs in the Townhead Village Hall on St Mungo Avenue behind the University Library. The club runs after school every Tuesday and Thursday during term time from October to May. Students from different year groups of the undergraduate Primary Education programme, the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education and Psychology work together to run this club. The overall running of the club is overseen by a final year Primary Education student.

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    Flipped classroom for grammar teaching

    This year (2015/2016) we are implementing a new approach to teaching grammar in some of the second year Spanish courses. The traditional grammar lecture consists of the following: (1) an explanation of a grammar point provided by the language teacher (i.e. Focus on formS), (2) students must listen and take notes, and ask any questions they might have, and (3) students do some fill-in-the-blank exercises in order to practise the morphology and use of the grammar point studied that day. The new approach is based on the concept of the flipped classroom. The grammar presentations have been recorded using the program screencastomatic (https://screencast-o-matic.com/home). These weekly presentations are powerpoint documents with an audio track, and they are available three weeks in advance on Myplace so students can see/listen the presentations as many times as they need to, noting down any questions they may want to ask in class. There is also an online quiz available with exercises (e.g. fill-in-the-blanks), which students need to attempt (several times, until they achieve a minimum mark) before the contact hour takes place. This allows us to dedicate the contact hour to a 10 minute Q&A session to proceed with communicative/interactional activities in groups and within 'real-life' situations. 

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    Using Technology in the Classroom to Enhance Participation

    I have used Kahoot, a game-based digital learning platform https://getkahoot.com/  (freely available online)  

    Kahoot has allowed me to create questions which all students see on the board. Then, they all get a set amount of time to reply through their mobile or other electronic device and then get instant feedback on their answer. This means that all students engage in the exercise actively making decisions and answering questions and at the same time, the lecturer gets a very accurate picture of the level of understanding of a particular topic and also gets to see (and address the most common) mistakes on the spot.

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    Studying Parliaments: Research, Teaching & Knowledge Exchange

    The School, after winning the UK Parliament’s Outreach Competition, designed a class that is taught by both academics and practitioners (parliamentarians, clerks and parliamentary outreach employees).

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    Early Years Pedagogue Masters

    The Early Years Pedagogue (EYP) Masters is an On-line Course that provides a learning platform for Early Years professionals across Scotland. On-Campus provision includes two initial induction days and a mid course review. This course used ‘My Place’ to house a range of pedagogical experiences that linked specifically to desired learning and outcomes for our students. Tools such as Synchronous and Asynchronous Chats provide opportunities for tutor-led sessions that explore and discuss key themes from learning and student-led discussions and create a space for students to research and build theories as part of a learning community. Module pages include introduction sections and weekly session content and materials such as: on-line lectures; individual and group forum tasks ;on-line  module reading;sub group & tutor group chat facilities;group and individual blogs,assessment forums & podcasts.

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    Video Tutorial: Working with Psychometric Data in SPSS

    To facilitate the teaching of handling psychometric data within a statistical software package (SPSS), a video tutorial was prepared using screen capture software and made available to level 3 Psychology students on MyPlace. The video tutorial features both visual and audio content and demonstrates how to complete a number of operations within SPSS, specifically: (i) entering research participant responses from a psychometric scale (ii) reversing scores (iii) computing total scores and descriptive statistics for a psychometric scale, and (iv) testing the internal consistency of a scale using a statistic called Cronbach’s alpha.

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    MUSE (Models of University and Schools Engagement)

    MUSE (Models of University and Schools Engagement) (2013 – present). This particular collaboration developed through open discussions with staff at Knightswood Secondary School and a member of staff at Strathclyde University, based on an ongoing research project first supported through Strathclyde’s ‘Bridging the Gap’ funding and led by Marion Sheridan (MS). The initial aims of the project were to form new partnerships with science, electrical engineering and the humanities using optical imaging and hyperspectral imaging to interpret and reinterpret the work of the visual artist, the late Steven Campbell. Engaging with interdisciplinary activities has been at the heart of this MUSE project involving staff (university and school) and young people (2nd year and 3rd year pupils) from the disciplines of science, drama, art & design, music, dance, photography and film. The Head Teacher and Depute Head Teacher at Knightswood were keen to develop projects that promoted the spirit of A Curriculum for Excellence and having the Dance School of Scotland on their premises wished to have these highly skilled and talented young people integrated more with the general pupil population. Since the project began pupils and staff have worked on two interdisciplinary projects from within the school environment and with staff from Strathclyde’s School of Humanities and Research Staff from Electronic and Electrical Engineering. A third and final project is underway, again an interdisciplinary project, involving specialist staff from music, art & design, dance, science, drama (university input) and creative writing.

    Strathclyde University MUSE leader and co-ordinator

    Marion C. Sheridan, Lecturer in English and Theatre

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    Transitioning the year abroad – Before / During / After Transitioning the year abroad – Before / During / After” is a student-led project which aims to look into the major transition phase the year abroad represents for language students. By gathering feedback from current students who are either about to go on their year abroad, currently abroad or have just come back from their intercalary year, the team will, firstly, aim to produce a clear picture of the current situation in terms of challenges, support available, and training requirement and, secondly, aim to develop an innovative approach to supporting students in transitioning the year abroad.

    This project was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from the QAA Scotland.

    The full report is available at the bottom of the page.

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    Impact of commuting to placement and university for student speech and language therapists: results of a student-led mixed-method investigation. — Although student feedback consistently suggests that travel to placement causes significant strain, the impact on learning and student well-being is under-explored. In this project, student interns with ‘lived experience’ of commuting to placement explored the experiences of student speech and language therapists using a questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. Findings indicate that commuting to placement, rather than to university, leads to significantly greater impact on academic work, health and well-being and student finances.

    This project was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from QAA Scotland.

    The full report is available at the bottom of the page.

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    HaSS Unite: A student-led support system for first years — In October 2016, a support system organised by first year students for first year students was established in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.  Named HaSS Unite, the group ran a drop in session every Wednesday afternoon throughout semester one and organised bespoke support sessions for personal development in semester two.  Students created their own e-mail account to manage communication with their peers and sent regular messages to first year students via Myplace to keep them updated on the group’s progress.
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    Autism and careers: Ensuring positive transitions out of university for autistic students Autism affects individuals in a number of different ways.  This includes the way autistic students might engage with careers services.  There are often small adaptions that services can make which will greatly improve the experiences of autistic people accessing those services.  Current research highlights a lack of meaningful employment opportunities for autistic individuals, including autistic university graduates.  The aim of this project was to develop an autism specific careers guide for the University of Strathclyde Careers service.  The guide is designed to give recommendations, hints, tips and good practice guidance to enable the careers service to better meet the needs of autistic graduates. 

    This work was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from the Quality Assurance Agency Scotland

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    Transitioning the year abroad – Before / During / After - Stage Two Transitioning the year abroad – Before / During / After is a student-led, cross-faculty project which aims to look into the major transition phase the year abroad represents for all language students, whether they be on a purely language degree (2 languages) or joint degree (Law + a language, Master’s in International Business and Modern Languages, etc.). By gathering feedback from current students who are either about to go on their year abroad, currently abroad or have just come back from their intercalary year, the team aimed, firstly, to produce a clear picture of the current situation in terms of challenges, support available, and training requirement and, secondly, aimed to develop an innovative approach to supporting students in transitioning the year abroad.

    The first stage of this work was reported in an earlier SPELT case study: http://spelt.strath.ac.uk/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=11765326

    This work was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from the Quality Assurance Agency Scotland

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    From Being (a Student) to Becoming (a Graduate): Exploring Graduate Attributes in the 21st Century - Summary of Research Findings — The project aimed to contextualise Graduate Attributes by developing a model of innovative learning and teaching practices to support Initial Teacher Education (ITE) students transitioning beyond Strathclyde. To do this, we drew on real work-based learning experiences encountered by recent graduate teachers in their Probationary year. Some interesting data emerged from focus group discussions with graduates, and initial analysis of the data identified some of the challenges new teachers tended to face, and the ways in which they used knowledge and skills developed during their ITE studies to negotiate these.

    Employing the P21 Framework for 21st Century Learning[1], we developed a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) task which we then used with current students, This focused on the following skills and attributes: self-direction, critical thinking & problem-solving, and collaboration.

    Utilising a PBL approach, students were first presented with the problem. They then worked within their own group to brainstorm, research, and discuss this. Once they came to a shared solution to the problem, they presented it to other groups. They also had a chance to learn from the probationary teachers’ problem-solving process, while developing their own solutions. Emerging data allowed for an understanding of the ways in which current students engage with authentic work-base problems.

    A case study from this project is also available:http://spelt.strath.ac.uk/display/SPELT/From+Being+%28a+Student%29+to+Becoming+%28a+Graduate%29%3A+Exploring+Graduate+Attributes+in+the+21st+Century+-+Case+Study

    This work was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from the Quality Assurance Agency Scotland

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    From Being (a Student) to Becoming (a Graduate): Exploring Graduate Attributes in the 21st Century - Case Study — The project aimed to contextualise Graduate Attributes by developing a model of innovative learning and teaching practices to support Initial Teacher Education (ITE) students transitioning beyond Strathclyde. Drawing on work-based learning experiences encountered by recent graduates in their Probationary year, we developed an authentic Problem-Based learning (PBL) task that was used with current ITE students. Students followed the PBL procedure (see links/attachment) as they worked through a given scenario. They reflected on the attributes and skills developed during their studies and discussed solutions. More specifically:

    Firstly, recent graduates were invited to a focus group conducted by the intern, where they shared experiences and challenges they faced in their workplace during their probationary year. While the main purpose was to use the focus group data to develop the PBL activity for current students, it also became apparent that this was an opportunity for these early-career teachers to share common issues encountered in their probationary year and to discuss solutions to these issues. Different perspectives allowed them to offer each other support, making this reflective process more relevant and meaningful. Initial analysis of the focus group data identified a range of work-based learning experiences and attributes.

    We then mapped participants’ accounts onto the P21 Framework for 21st Century Learning[1]. We identified five different 21st century skills particularly relevant to our focus group:

     

    • Creativity & Innovation
    • Flexibility & Adaptability
    • Initiative & Self-direction
    • Critical thinking & Problem-solving

     

    • Communication & Collaboration

     

    Based on initial analysis and synthesis of the data, eight themes emerged exemplifying Graduate attributes in the context of teacher professional learning. These themes formed the basis for developing the PBL activity for current students. Utilising a PBL approach, students were first presented with the problem. They then worked within their own group to brainstorm, research, and discuss the problem. Once they came to a shared solution to the problem, they presented it to other groups. They also had a chance to learn from the probationary teachers’ problem-solving process, while they developed their own solutions.

    A summary of the research findings from this project is also available: From Being (a Student) to Becoming (a Graduate): Exploring Graduate Attributes in the 21st Century - Summary of Research Findings

    This work was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from the Quality Assurance Agency Scotland

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    Collaboration between the Law Clinic and the Centre for Forensic Science A collaborative student-led project has been formed between students from the Centre for Forensic Science and project members of the Law Clinic’s Criminal Convictions Unit (CCU).  
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    First Year HaSS BA Community Placement The first year community placement is part of an Education module available to all BA students in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Students undertake a seventy hour placement with an organisation of their choice working with children and young people 0 – 14 years.  The students’ learning on placement is supported by an on-campus module where lectures and tutorials are designed to explore topics related to placement as well as using the students’ own placement experiences to promote the learning of others. Students gain 20 credits for their participation in this module as well as their ability to maintain a placement file and to write a reflective evaluation of their time on placement.
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    Major Crime Scene Exercise in Forensic Science

    As part of the MSc/PGD in Forensic Science, the students have the opportunity to undertake a crime scene exercise which provides them with comprehensive direct practical experience of crime scene to court processes and procedures. The exercise involves attending a mock crime scene at the University Stepps Playing Fields, recovering evidence, examining the evidence in the laboratory on their return and then producing a court report.

    This is also a collaborative exercise as the report produced by the forensic science students then goes to students of the University’s Law School who act as the prosecution and defence when the forensic science students present their evidence at Glasgow Sheriff Court in front of a sitting Sheriff.
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    Postgraduate Programme in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies

    We have been running a postgraduate programme through distance learning for the last 9 years. We have 3 quite distinct levels (PG Cert, Diploma and MSc by dissertation) which build upon one another and interest different markets.

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    Collaborative Tasks

    In structuring new modules, I always build in collaborative tasks which have to be undertaken between sessions which either build upon or lead into class activities. This is a very simple way of providing a structure to support student learning which encourages greater engagement with ideas and re-inforcement of learning, based upon social constructivist principles of learning. It encourages students to think more deeply, and in a structured way, about their learning, acting as critical friends for each other. For many students, it gives them a sense of security and confidence in their learning.

    The programme of study is created utilising the ‘Teaching for understanding Framework’ based upon the work of Professor David Perkins and his colleagues at Harvard University. The module handbook sets out clearly for each session goals for student understanding, pre- and post-session reading and post-session tasks. These tasks can be cumulative, such as building a data-base of new vocabulary.

    The tasks are recorded in a Reflective Journal which is assessed as part of the course. Students allocate themselves either to small groups to undertake these tasks or work with a critical friend (depending upon the size of the class) and they are expected to report back to the class.  Students communicate with each other via. e-mail or Google docs. The Reflective Journal can take a variety of forms including blogs and video diaries (and some students have communicated internationally about their learning via these means). Many of the Reflective Journals produced by students have been inspiring and demonstrate a deep engagement with learning. They have been identified consistently by the External Examiner as being an exemplification of best practice.

    Students are also expected to construct a Log Book in which they record articles (academic, national press …) which encourages them to keep abreast in their professional field and they are expected to annotate these articles and reflect upon them within their journals. In some classes, I ask students to work with a critical friend to critique an article from a professional journal (eg. Times Educational Supplement Scotland) which they then share with another pair in the class before I select a sample for discussion within the class.

    Written guidance is offered to students on the creation of their Reflective Journals and Log Books and a presentation is made on the Induction day with illustrations of previous students’ work (after permission has been sought of the students).

    The fostering of critical reading and writing is infused throughout all of my teaching and I introduce students to the use of critical frames as a means of reading for meaning and for understanding (rather than gaining a surface understanding of what they are reading) and to foster criticality in their writing. I also demonstrate the use of critical frames in my teaching and utilise them to critique with the class the lecture, a text or another source. 

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    An Interdisciplinary and International Approach to the Teaching of Glasgow's History

    Glasgow: Health, Culture and Identity is a second year class that provides an introductory overview to the History, Culture and Identity of Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city, from the medieval period to the present day. An exciting and interdisciplinary approach will be used for the teaching of the class, involving history, literature, film, and material culture. Student-centred and independent learning will be encouraged by students undertaking visits to key historical locations in the city. Themes covered in the course include the medieval city, the Reformation, Act of Union, the Enlightenment, immigration and emigration, urban expansion and industrialisation, Empire, sport, technology, culture, architecture and health. The class aligns itself to the teaching and research cluster of Scotland and the world in the History section of the School of Humanities, and the Culture and Place theme in the English section, as well as vision and themes of Strathclyde’s Institute for Future Cities. The interdisciplinary nature of the class will appeal to students from HaSS and other Faculties. The class has attracted considerable attention from both home-based and international students and intellectual interaction between these two groups of students is strongly encouraged.

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    A student-led exchange in Education — In September 2016, a group of second and third year Education students were challenged with arranging their own exchange trip to Maynooth University in Ireland.  They were linked with a similar group in Maynooth, County Kildare and left to organise an exchange opportunity that was purposeful but manageable in terms of timetabling, finances and content for both cohorts of students.

    The week-long exchange took place in March 2017 with students spending equal amounts of time together in Glasgow and Maynooth.  Both groups organised a range of academic, professional, cultural and social experiences with very limited support from university staff.  There were no costs involved for either university for this exchange.

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    Transition to employment: Alumni stories about dyslexia from the Civil Engineering and Law disciplines. — This project investigated the transition into employment of university graduates with dyslexia. 

    This work was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from the Quality Assurance Agency Scotland

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