University of Strathclyde

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    Engaging Web 2.0 to Enhance Class Participation

    In my 4th year Hons class Family Business: Theory & Practice I engage students in a variety of different ways, both traditional (lecture) and non-traditional (web 2.0). In the latter I have used online polling software that shows live voting by students who can register their vote for a particular answer by text message or by visiting a website with their computer/tablet/smartphone. I will set up a question on the online polling software website, pose it to the students at the start of the class and make a note of the composition of responses (it is typically a yes/no question for ease). I will then deliver the class session, and then ask the students to participate in the online poll again and tell them how the class responses have changed to show them the overall change in the class view in light of the teaching they have received.

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    Integrating the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) Paradigm into a Lecture-Based Class in Architecture — This optional class AB 966 Cultural and Behavioural Factors in Architecture and Urbanism is offered to year 5 PgDipl in Advanced Architectural Design and Year 2 MSc in Advanced Architectural Studies. The class is premised on the view that the built environment is not simply a background against which human actions take place, but it regards it as it reflects and shapes human assumptions, beliefs, feelings, and behaviours.

    Coupled with typical format of delivery of a series of lectures, I provided a series of in-class and out of class exercises and assignments that employ active, experiential, and inquiry-based learning as forms of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and learning from reality. The exercises involved group and individual work and varied in time from 10 minutes in-class exercises in teams of two students, to two-hours collaborative design game of teams of four students, to a structured learning experience out of classroom (contemplating settings exercise), and to finally a group research project.

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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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    What about me? Supporting staff, supporting students —  

    In this student-led project, the Academic Development team in OSDU employed two student interns to design and develop a staff training course “What about me?: Supporting staff, Supporting students”. The course is aimed at supporting staff teaching students in their first year at university through examining issues faced by students using a storytelling case study approach.

    We obtained £1K in funding from University of Strathclyde Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) funding for projects to support the current ‘transitions’ enhancement theme. This was used to provide match funding for a further successful bid to the Higher Education Academy (Scotland) for £10K.

    Two student interns were employed with assistance from the careers service, one final year student from HASS and one 2nd year student from SBS. The student interns researched and developed the CPD programme with support and guidance from the Academic Development Team.

    Initial work focussed on the interns researching student transition issues and interviewing a number of students from diverse backgrounds in order to collect authentic stories of student transitions. These stories were recorded and transcribed so that they could be used in future research deliverables for the project.

    The interns then designed the staff development course materials, based on activities suitable for both face-to-face and online delivery formats. This included the development of a video-based case study which was designed to thread throughout the course, using a story-telling approach to enhance staff engagement.

    Resources were developed that contributed to a toolkit in fulfilment of the HEA grant requirements.

    The course has been delivered through the Strathclyde Teaching Excellence Programme (STEP) at Strathclyde University both as a face-to-face and as a fully online class. A further offering is scheduled for June 2016.

    There are research outcomes associated with the evaluation of impact of this project and these will be disseminated at appropriate conferences and in peer-reviewed publications. 

    This work was supported by Enhancement Theme funding from the QAA, and grant funding from the HEA (Scotland).

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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 ( 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 pen-tablets to support interactive learning and teaching — We introduced the use of a WACOM pen–tablet in the class and conducted an experiment to investigate its usefulness in terms of increasing level of engagement, interest and concentration during the delivery of the content.

    We developed video lectures for the teaching content using the pen-tablet so interactive learning can be facilitated.

    We integrated the delivery of such videos with the wireless mode of the pen-tablet so these videos (if taught in class) can be played, paused and rewound while teacher is moving around freely in the class.

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    Using Flipped Classes to Enhance Face to Face Discussion in Engineering Labs This case study describes the introduction of an online lesson in experimental engineering laboratory classes to facilitate the face-to-face discussion prior to the experimental activity.
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    Using Online Forums: A Tool to Enhance Experimental Engineering Laboratories This case study describes the introduction of online asynchronous forums in experimental engineering laboratory classes, to facilitate discussion and comparison of results from different experiments.
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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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    Use of MyPlace Rubrics for Assignment Marking in Large Engineering Classes — MyPlace Rubrics were used to mark written technical report assignments in three separate large classes (4 separate assignments, over 120 students for each).
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    Introducing a Programme of Report Writing in Undergraduate Engineering Classes. — It was identified that there was no formal approach used to instruct students in report writing within the undergraduate classes of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Classes were identified where guidance could be included. Online lessons were developed to be presented on MyPlace alongside assignments requiring technical reports.

    The basis for the structure of any technical report was standardised to reflect the dissertation guidelines for the Departments 4th Year Individual Project.

    Guidance was given in the following areas:

    • Formatting
    • Writing Style
    • Word Count
    • Headings & Content.
    • Referencing (Sage Vancouver)
    • Figures
    • Plagiarism (links to the Student Guide on Good Academic Practice and the Avoidance of Plagiarism and guidance on Turnitin)
    • Online Submission

    Classes in first, second and third year were identified and online activities concerning specific assignments were developed. An online lesson was also developed to take 4th Year individual project students through the guidance for dissertation and technical paper submission.

    The Faculty librarian, Sally Bell, was involved in discussions.

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    Use of Online Submissions and Feedback Tools

    The coursework submission method was changed from hard copy to electronic submission via online learning portal (MyPlace). Provision of both assessment and feedback was delivered via online tools (TURNITIN). This allowed students to see assessment against the rubric, relevant comments and content, issues of originality and to keep a long term record of feedback to refer to later. It also allows the academic to also keep a copy to refer to as required and use as examples of future work. This intervention was taken first in 2014-15 and each year I have built on the successes.

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    The Use of Social Media in Mathematics and Statistics We obtained a small grant to employ a couple of students to set up and monitor a Facebook page for new students starting maths based degrees within our department. 
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    Using Myplace templates for Student Assessment and Feedback in Engineering Management for UG and PG Subject Areas I have utilised the various Myplace tools and advanced features to create marking rubrics, quizzes and grading schemas, in order to provide online assessment and feedback. A structured format provides consistency and timeliness that supports lecturers and students as they progress through the courses and assessments. 
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    Use of Computer Simulations to Enhance Learning in Pharmacology We have developed a suite of Pharmacological simulations. 

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