ESCalate Bulletin No. 7 (1 April 2002)


  1. Conferences
  2. Small Grants Scheme Awards April 2002
  3. Learning Exchange
  5. RAE Overview Report
  6. Book reviews
  7. Invitation to Contribute to the Bulletin
  8. Expertise Database


We have five forthcoming conferences. We have also just held our first ever contacts conference on 18th April at Scarman House, University of Warwick. It was extremely well attended and a very rewarding, enjoyable day. A report on this will be included in Bulletin 8.

The five events are

PGCE (Schools)

ESCalate will be holding a PGCE conference on 9th July 2002 at Jubilee Campus, The University of Nottingham. See our website for details of the programme and an application form at

All costs of the conference will be carried by ESCalate, except for travel. Please reply to and if you are interested in attending. Please ensure you do not reply to the whole list!


ESCalate will be holding a conference on 17th July 2002 at Jubilee Campus, The University of Nottingham and on 9th September 2002 at the Westminster Institute of Education, Oxford Brookes University. The programme will include inputs concerned with FENTO, Ofsted and Adult Basic Skills. Speakers At the Nottingham event will include Hilary Stone, Director of Standards and Qualifications at FENTO and Christine Langton, Ofsted. The topics covered will be the same at the Oxford Brookes event, but different speakers will be invited. See our website for details of the programme and an application form for the Nottingham event at

All costs of the conference will be carried by ESCalate, except for travel.

Please reply to and indicate which date you would be able to attend. Please ensure you do not reply to the whole list! An application form can be found at

Teaching Research Methods

This conference will be held on Friday 7th June at Nunn Hall, London University, Institute of Education, Bedford Way, London

There will be two plenary sessions in the morning. Professor Martyn Hammersley, Open University, will talk on 'Where is Research Methodology in Education going? The challenges of working and teaching methods in the context of evidence-based policy and practice'. Dr Maria Birbili (author of commissioned review of teaching research methods for ESCalate) 'Key debates in the teaching of research methods' will review key issues in teaching research methods in Education. In the afternoon there will be a choice of workshops:

a) 'The challenges of ESRC 1+3 in Education departments' Rosemary Deem, University of Bristol, Chair 2001 ESRC Education Subject Area Panel for Research Training Recognition

b) 'On-line learning and research methods' Gordon Joyes, Lecturer in E-learning and ESCalate small grant holder, University of Nottingham

c) 'Teaching statistical methods' Sally Barnes, University of Bristol

  1. 'Teaching methods to part time students' (Leader of this workshop to be announced.)

To register for this conference please contact An application form can be found at

Two further events are orgainized by contacts of ESCalate.

RAE outcomes seminar, 6th June 2002

A seminar on the outcomes of the RAE 2001 and lessons for the future is to be held on June 6th in London, at Friends meeting House (see the Events Diary for further details and booking). The event is organised by the Chair of UACE Research Sub-Committee, Professor Mary Thorpe (Open University). The RAE has always provided a challenging context for continuing education research, although in 2001 we had the benefit of a sub-panel specifically for CE. We are all digesting the outcomes of the exercise in 2001 – in the knowledge that there will not be a simple repeat of that approach in any future quality assessment. However, whatever form that takes, we clearly need to review the frameworks within which we are all working, in research terms, and to ensure our strategies are explicit and well-grounded. One of the aims of the seminar on June 6th is to ensure that colleagues have the opportunity to question those who were involved in the RAE process and reflect on the implications of its outcomes for their research. Speakers in the first hour are all members of the sub-panel for Continuing Education – professors John Field (Stirling), Maria Slowey (Glasgow) and Ian McNay (Greenwich). They will provide pointers on the implications for both the content and strategic management of research, together with an overview of the outcomes in the context of Education overall.

Subgroups will take up these issues and in the afternoon, have the opportunity to question Professor Rosemary Deem, a member of the main RAE panel, who will speak on the issue of what counts as research in RAE terms. She will also comment on the dual system of research funding. Alan Tuckett as one of the users of research will provide his perspective and join a panel to field questions from the floor.

The conference programme is available at from a link on the home page, and registration can be done online or by email/phone to Anna Page,, tel 01908 655581

Developing data-based tasks for teacher education (date to be arranged)

Many lecturers who conduct programmes of professional development provide experiential tasks within taught sessions, based on videos, transcripts of lessons, tapes, etc. Indeed, on many programmes such experiential tasks are a key means for relating theory to practice. A group of colleagues from Luton, East Anglia, Bristol and Birmingham are working on a small scale project funded by ESCalate to devise frameworks and techniques to enable us to utilise for teaching and learning purposes the many data sets we have to hand.

At the conference the team will present on-going work and a set of task types for use with data related to language education It is hoped that the event will allow colleagues to participate in the development of these into other areas of professional education.

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Small Grants Scheme Awards April 2002

We received fifteen proposals for small grants in March. The deadline was 29th March, which happened to be Good Friday. I am afraid that was a blunder, as the panel members are all away at conferences etc until 17th April. We shall adjudicate the applications after the contacts conference and inform you of the result by early May. Many thanks to all who applied. There will be a further opportunity to submit a proposal in 2002-3.

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Learning Exchange

In the December issue we advertised a scheme whereby we would pay book tokens of £50 and £100 for the first 100 small and 25 long contributions to the Learning Exchange. There is still a real need to have more contributions of teaching and learning ideas.

Any teaching and learning initiative you have used, are using, or are currently working on, which would be of interest to fellow practitioners. This need not be a very fully developed initiative: you might be 'testing the water' for possible future topics. Any good practice you would like to share outside your own institution or use to start a discussion with colleagues elsewhere would be suitable. Try for a short item to start with: they do not take very long to prepare for sending off, and they may activate others to contribute items on a similar theme.

Colleagues often say that their ideas are not anything special and so nobody would be interested. Not true, you may have developed something which would be of great interest to many. Recently, when giving feedback to a colleague on our peer observation round I commented on the effectiveness of her way of introducing a group to quite abstract concepts through the use of current news articles. She was amazed that someone should single out for special comment what to her was an ordinary technique. I wonder whether you can persuade your colleagues in your department to post to the Learning Exchange any good practices commented on in your peer observation?

Another way that colleagues can test the water is by commenting on existing contributions to the LE. A few months ago I posted a small item (really as an illustration for this Bulletin). If you have a look at

you will see that someone has produced another way of exploiting post-it notes in teaching.

Now that we are approaching what is for many a quieter time of the year, can I ask you to remember the Learning Exchange and send off for your book tokens?

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Guidelines for programme Directors.

We plan to produce some guidelines to help new course directors cope with the demands of their roles. In Bulletin 6 we said that we would be commissioning a working party to work on this theme shortly. We would like to commission a small group of Course Directors to develop a set of guidelines to help new Programme Directors get to grips with their job. Most guidelines produced at institutional level seem to focus very much on procedural matters (quality management, perhaps), and not much emphasis is on academic leadership, quality enhancement etc. We shall pay travel expenses for the group (of about four to five people), and may be able to provide some contribution towards release on a daily basis. The commitment would be about five working days each, and the work of the group will be supported by our new researcher, and co-ordinated by the Manager. If you are interested in taking part, please e-mail an expression of interest to

Obtaining and Using Student Feedback

ESCalate has submitted a collaborative bid for funding with some other Subject Centres, led by the Centre for the Built Environment. If this bid is successful we shall be commissioning some case studies of obtaining and using student feedback. Get ahead of the pack by submitting your ideas now! Please send any ideas to who can put them on our website.

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RAE Overview Report

The RAE overview report on Educationreport is on the web at

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Book reviews

Three new books on offer this month

  • Joyce B., Calhoun E & Hopkins D., 1997, Models of learning – tools for teaching, Open University Press, Buckingham
  • Delanty G., 2001, Challenging Knowledge: The University in the Knowledge Society, SRHE & Open University Press, Buckingham
  • Knight P. & Trowler P.R., 2001, Departmental Leadership in Higher Education, SRHE & Open University Press, Buckingham

Once again, many thanks to all who have offered to do reviews, a number of which are now on the website.

Book reviews should be fairly brief. They should describe the content of the book, perhaps link it to others available in the field, assess its usefulness, and state what kind of course it might be useful for, as either a supplementary reader or a more central text.

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Invitation to Contribute to the Bulletin

Once again I would like to invite all colleagues to submit copy for the bulletin. This may take the form of a reference to a development that you feel we need to air; it may be to advertise a book you have written or contributed to; it may be to publicise your event; it may be to ask colleagues for their views on a problem you face. Whatever it is, send it along. If you prefer to have your contribution anonymous that is fine. It would be great to hear from you.

(Any colleagues who wish to advertise events both on our website and through the bulletin should contact the Centre Manager

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Expertise Database

Please keep on sending in suggestions for our expertise database. There will be opportunities for consultancy work through it.

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