ESCalate Bulletin No. 2 (1 October 2001)

Contents

  1. UACE Event
  2. Student Assessment and Classification Working Group (SACWG)
  3. Small Grants Scheme
  4. Forthcoming conferences
  5. Learning Exchange
  6. LTSN Conference on the ESRC Phase 3 research fund, 26th September
  7. Literature Reviews
  8. Readers' Section

UACE Event

The staff development network of the Universities Association for Continuing Education are hosting a seminar at De Montfort University, Leicester on 29th October. The event is from 10 to 4 pm at the Gilbert Murray Hall, and in the morning will have presentations on The UACE Code Of Practice For The Employment of Part-Time Staff (Derek Cox, University of Nottingham); The Identities of Part-Time Tutors (Jo Tait, Open University); and Best Fit Rather Than Best Practice (Richard Blackwell, LTSN Generic Centre). The afternoon will consist of parallel workshop sessions on a range of topics, including career development and the ILT; forming an association of part-time teachers; the policy dimension; researching the use of part-time teachers in HE; assessment as a learning tool; the dynamics of diversity in the classroom; and observing classroom practice: quality management and quality enhancement. The cost of the day is £25. If you are interested in attending this seminar, please contact Katie Scott, Centre for Learning and Teaching, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH (kscott@dmu.ac.uk).

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Student Assessment and Classification Working Group (SACWG)

SACWG is a group of administrators and academics from nine Higher Education Institutions who collaborate in order to further their interest in investigating aspects of assessment. This interest stemmed from a mutual concern about the way in which assessment outcomes from different subject cultures, and from different institutions, were being cumulated into degree classifications. Although there is a shared interest in the relevance of their investigations to modular schemes, many of the issues are relevant to non-modular schemes as well. The group is currently working on marking systems and award algorithms, and on the relationship between coursework and examination marks.

They are holding a national conference on assessment on 15 November 2001 at The Novotel Hotel, Wolverhampton, entitled : How do you know a 2.1 assignment when you see it and how does your institution know?

Speakers include Mantz Yorke, Rob Mears, Bath Spa University College and a member of the Sociology Benchmarking Group & David Bonner, University of Hertfordshire and a member of the Engineering Benchmarking, talking about Benchmark Statements and their role in the assessment of students' work; Professor Brenda Smith, Generic Centre Head Learning and Teaching Support Network, on Benchmarking and assessment: reflections and predictions. There will also be seminars on the uses and abuses of assessment criteria, and the assignment. For further details please contact Harvey Woolf, Head of Collaborative Academic Developments University of Wolverhampton, Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1SB Tel. No. 01902 322448; Fax No. 01902 322629; E-mail H.Woolf@wlv.ac.uk

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Small Grants Scheme

A reminder that we continue to offer small grants of up to approximately £5000 to teams of colleagues who wish to develop innovations or examples of traditional practices in teaching and learning. The next deadline for submissions is not until 23rd November 2001, so there is plenty of time to get a simple proposal in. Guidelines are available on our website http://www.escalate.ac.uk. Look under Thematic Initiative bids on the home page. This is a very good way of developing your networks in a particular area of interest.

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Forthcoming conferences

We promised further information this month about the spring conferences, one on research methods and one for our departmental contacts. We are currently planning these, and would like to consult you about a few matters to do with them. First, timing: when is the best time to hold a one day event that many colleagues would be able to attend? End of term? A weekend? Second, which location is easiest to get to broadly speaking? London or Birmingham? The event for contacts will provide an opportunity for departmental contacts to meet and network, and will have a number of invited speakers addressing themes to do with teaching and learning in Education in HE. That for Research Methods will focus on teaching research methods at different levels in Education, from BA/Bed/BSc Education studies to PhD.

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Learning Exchange

You are invited to submit teaching ideas and queries to the Learning Exchange. The Learning Exchange could develop to be a very useful site for those of us who teach.

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LTSN Conference on the ESRC Phase 3 research fund, 26th September

Rosemary Deem represented ESCalate at this conference, at which Charles Desforges, the outgoing Director of the ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Project, was a speaker. The themes that were suggested as of interest for the next round are E-learning, Transitions between levels ,e.g. school to HE; the impact of assessment on learning; marginalized learning; teacher learning in HE; and teaching effectiveness: why are some teachers better than others. You will all probably know that the next round of bids will focus on teaching and learning in HE. The timetable appears to be that initial bids will be submitted by Easter 2002, shortlisting announced in July, and final bids submitted in December. The total amount of funding available is about £12 million.

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Literature Reviews

We have had three offers to write literature reviews on research Methods (how to teach them) and am carrying this forward. We would also like to highlight assessment of learnming as a topic much in demand, and invite expressions of interest. The generic centre have commisioned some general reports on assessment, but we would like a focus on assessment approaches and methods in Education. (see http://www.ltsn.ac.uk/genericcentre/index.asp?id=21207 for an outline of what they have commisioned so far)

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Readers' Section

This section is an empty one at the moment. Any offers to fill it? Letters from contacts and colleagues around the country can be printed here. Please send your contributions to A.Gilpin@bristol.ac.uk by the 5th of November

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