ESCalate Bulletin No. 16 (1 September 2003)

Contents

  1. Welcome from the Director, Professor Rosemary Deem
  2. FDTL 5
  3. Forthcoming Events
  4. Book reviews
  5. New Small Grants Projects
  6. Induction: What the TTA are doing for new ITE staff

Welcome from the Director, Professor Rosemary Deem

Welcome to the 2003/4 academic year. ESCalate has already got the year off to a flying start with a record number of paper presentations at the British Educational Research Association conference in Edinburgh from 11th to 13th September, mostly by holders of our small project grants, and a very successful conference at Oxford Brookes University on Continuing Professional Development on September 5th organised by David Wood and Julie Anderson.

The coming year also sees many developments and transitions. Arlene Gilpin, ESCalate Manager since the start of the Learning and Teaching Support Network Subject Centres in 2000, retires at the end of October. We will all miss Arlene's hard work, energy, commitment and extensive knowledge of teaching, learning and assessment in higher education and we wish her well in her retirement. We are currently in the process of recruiting her successor and hope someone will be in post by January 2004.

Professor Stella Parker from Nottingham who has been leading Continuing Education work for ESCalate retired at the end of August. We are also very grateful to Stella for her tireless work on ESCalate's behalf. Her Nottingham colleagues Janet Goodall and Derek Cox will also no longer be working with us.

However we now have a new Continuing Education/Lifelong Learning team from Stirling University, headed up by Professor John Field and we think this will be a very valuable addition to the core staff of the Centre.

For those of you working in England and Northern Ireland, HEFCE has finally announced the fifth phase of the Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning, for which Education and Continuing Education Departments are eligible. There is big money to be won in collaborative projects and ESCalate together with the Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics (C-SAP) is holding events in Birmingham on 25th October and 6th November to explain how FDTL5 will work and to allow potential bidders to get together to discuss possible ideas. Brian Marshall from Oxford Brookes will be heading up FDTL for ESCalate.

Another HEFCE initiative, Centres for Excellence, is also being unveiled this autumn and we will be supporting those bidding for these in relation to their dissemination plans.

The Tackling Educational Policy across the UK project which has been looking at the relationship between educational policy post-devolution and the work of Education Departments will be reporting this autumn with an event in each country. A second project focussed on resources for widening participation will also report on our website, and hold an event in the spring.

Proposals for an Academy for Higher Education are going ahead, incorporating ILTHE and LTSN. On 9th September all the Subject Centre Directors met Professor Leslie Wagner, former VC of Leeds Metropolitan University and acting Chief Executive of the Academy. The Academy will be a legal entity from this autumn and next summer there will be a review of the Subject Centres to discuss how they make the transition from LTSN to the Academy. Current funding and Subject Centre structures are expected to continue until the end of 2005. The Academy offers great potential and an exciting opportunity to develop support of all kinds for higher educational practitioners and we look forward to hearing more about it as it takes shape this academic year.

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FDTL 5

As Rosemary mentioned in her welcome paragraphs, HEFCE have announced FDTL 5, the last tranche of the Fund for the development of Teaching and Learning. See http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefce/2003/03%5F46/default.asp for full details about how to bid.
Education, as one of the subjects recently undergoing QAA Subject review, is one of the eligible subject areas. Only departments funded by HEFCE and DEL can be lead bidders.
Projects will be funded over three years from August 2004, with funds available for large scale consortium bids (up to £250,000), medium scale projects (up to £150,000), and small scale two-year projects (up to £75,000).
Proposed projects will be expected to address the subject area and generic needs identified by the recent QAA subject overview reports.
Further details and a call for bids will be issued in September.
ESCalate will be actively assisting in the processes around the bidding, and will also be able to facilitate dissemination activities later in the life of successful projects.
· We shall be holding a national meeting on 23rd October to discuss potential bids. Those who have not yet gained a place on this event should note that if the demand is there we shall repeat the event on 6th November.
· We shall facilitate a partner search where departments need this help
· We can advise on the bids themselves, and read and comment on drafts
· We can action Steering committees of award holders
· We can certainly work with successful award holders in the important dissemination processes.
· Below is a list of the key areas identified as needs in Education from the QAA reports, OfSTED and inspectorate reports, and feedback from colleagues in departments.
Enquiries about the process can be sent to Brian Marshall at bmarshall@brookes.ac.uk on 01865 488 599.

Subject priorities for Education
(Taken from the HEFCE document, but developed by ESCalate as noted above).
1. Curriculum design
a. Improving critical thinking skills.
b. Incorporating student needs into course design and practice.
c. Improving the content of research methods and research skills training.
d. Developing the curriculum to reflect student diversity.
e. Mapping of key transferable skills into learning outcomes.
2. Employability
a. Raising awareness of transferable skills and abilities gained through Education Studies courses at undergraduate and pre-degree levels.
3. Teaching and learning
a. Developing teaching approaches to meet the needs of diverse student groups.
b. Developing the use of IT as a learning tool.
c. Mainstreaming of student peer tutoring.
d. Developing critical and analytical skills.
4. Assessment
a. Achieving alignment (and transparency) of assessment methods with aims and stated learning outcomes.
b. Aligning assessment criteria to assessment process.
c. Developing assessment criteria that are clear to staff and students.
d. Developing robust and reliable assessment processes that are fit for purpose.
e. Diversifying assessment processes.
f. Developing learning outcomes which are appropriate to diverse student needs.
5. Student progression and achievement
a. Developing appropriate systems and support to improve student progression and retention in relation to the needs of diverse student groups.
b. Managing retention through approaches to learning and teaching.
c. Developing progression strategies between levels.
d. Improving student admissions - identifying student needs, course matching and the accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL).
6. Student support and guidance
a. Supporting the needs of diverse student groups.
b. Supporting a dispersed student population.
c. Improving tutor guidance and feedback.
d. Ensuring effective counselling.
e. Development of the use of IT in communications.
7. Learning resources
a. Developing learning resources to support diversity and promote race equality.
b. Integrating use of IT including virtual learning environments to support learning.
c. Developing of resources to support citizenship across the curriculum.
d. Evaluating the use and effectiveness of online resources.
8. Quality assurance
a. Improving the evaluation of learning and teaching by using action research approaches.
9. Professional development
a. Assisting staff to respond to impact of widening participation and student diversity.
b. Developing and implementing peer review and mentoring of teaching.

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Forthcoming Events

8th October we are holding a one-day workshop for all small grant holders. Enquiries to Frances.Hammond@bristol.ac.uk. The event will be held at the Women's library in London. We are hoping to engage some of the small grant teams in further research (funded) to help us to evaluate the value of this scheme. The day will have two guest speakers. The first is Peter John from Bristol who will give a short talk on the nature of professional knowledge, and present a template which could be very useful at all stages of developing teaching and learning , whether curriculum design, task design or evaluation. David Gosling is the second, former Director of the National Coordination Team at the OU, where he managed the coordination of FDTL Phase 4. Anita Pincas and Arlene Gilpin will outline how the proposed evaluation of the small grants scheme and hope to obtain feedback on this from participants.
23rd October or 6th November we shall be holding parallel workshops in conjunction with C-SAP to launch our support for FDTL5. The second workshop has been planned because the first was very popular indeed and we are responding to demand. Application forms and details are available on our website at
28th October is the first of the tackling complexity events, this one to be held in Cardiff. You can download the application form at http://www.escalate.ac.uk/diary/28Oct03.rtf. Three other events focussed on complexity will be held on 13th November (London), 4th December (Northern Ireland), and 17th December (Scotland). Details for these will be added to the events page in due course.

Other events to be held during the year include: Widening Participation; The use of VLEs; Trends in postgraduate courses in Lifelong Learning; Best practices in widening participation in ITE; Quality enhancement in HE in FE in Education subjects; Early Childhood Studies; Foundation Degrees in Education; ESRC 1+3; and an initial teacher education event for those who work with new lecturers in HE. These, and other emerging events will be signalled via the Newsletter, and detailed on our events page nearer the dates of the events.

14th November, University of Ulster, Jordanstown Campus, there will be an interesting non-ESCalate event on Student Retention.
The aim of this one-day conference is to raise awareness of issues associated with student retention at an institutional and practitioner level and to promote the use of effective practices.
This conference is being funded by DEL and HEFCE through the Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund
The conference will be of particular interest to those interested in:
· Institutional policies promoting student retention
· Developing curricula which promote student retention
· Assessment methods which facilitate student transition into higher education
· Using progress files to support student retention
· Identifying classroom practices which support student retention
Further details and booking forms are available on the Conference Website http://www.ulster.ac.uk/staffdev/studentretention/index.phtml

Another series of events which may be of interest to you are those organized by the Centre for Higher Education Research & Information at the OU. For further information go to http://www.open.ac.uk/cheri/index.htm

· 26 November 2003, London. Internal review: learning from 'disciplinary engagements'

· 21 January 2004, London. Where next for audit?

· 28 April 2004, London The role of students in quality assurance

· 20 May 2004, London.The Quality Framework: how does it fit together at your institution?

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Book reviews

We are very grateful to all of you who produce the book reviews for the website. They can be viewed at http://www.escalate.ac.uk/Reviews/index.php. If you are interested in receiving a book to review, then e-mail our very efficient and helpful reviews officer, Sue Battin, and she will let you have an up-to-date list. (Sue.battin@bristol.ac.uk). You are allowed to keep the book. Reviews need not be long: you should describe the book briefly; evaluate it critically; and state for which groups of students, tutors or courses the book might be useful. Most are around 1000 words long.

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New Small Grants Projects

In July we held a final round of small grants for 2003. We shall announce any further rounds for 2004 when the funding has been settled under the auspices of the new structure of the Academy.
We are pleased to announce the results of the latest round of ESCalate Small Grants (closing date 31 July 2003). We received 8 applications, all of a particularly high standard. We were not able to fund all of them, and after a refereed selection process 3 awards have been offered to applicants from Oxford, Canterbury and Sheffield. Congratulations to all three teams.

· Dr Kym Fraser (kym.fraser@learning.ox.ac.uk)
Institute for the Advancement of University Learning, Oxford University
Partners: Cambridge University
Education Development: the views of Academics

· Dr Dennis Hayes (d.hayes@cant.ac.uk)
Canterbury Christ Church University College
Partners: Oxford Brookes University and UWE
An evaluation of the pedagogical uses and cognitive applications to subject specialism teaching in post-compulsory education of the 'chronological' approach described in the best selling text book Teaching & Training in Post-Compulsory Education (OU Press 1999, Second Edition, 2002)

· Mr Vic Lally (v.lally@sheffield.ac.uk)
University of Sheffield
Partners: University of Bristol and University of Lancaster
E-Research: using multimedia for research methods teaching and learning

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Induction: What the TTA are doing for new ITE staff

In the last Newsletter I reported on the views about the Induction of new staff which you had shared with us. In this one, Matt Foulds from the TTA reports on the initiative to provide support materials for new ITE staff which the TTA is funding. [For a useful website where you can browse among a collation of websites on staff development for HE see also on ESCalate's website http://www.escalate.ac.uk/exchange/hecpd/ prepared by Terry Atkinson, formerly Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Bristol].
TTA Induction Pack and Programme

Recognising the need to support new ITE trainers, the TTA consulted with UCET, ITE providers and subject associations on how best to do so. As a result, subject induction packs and programmes are being developed collaboratively by subject specialists to introduce new ITE trainers to current thinking, research and professional networks in their particular subject within both the UK and internationally.

The subject induction packs are intended to develop and cement the current ITE knowledge base, making it freely available via the web. New ITE trainers are also introduced to current thinking and research in their subject area through sponsored attendance at subject conferences and programmes.

The subject induction packs and programmes will also provide specialist knowledge in a variety of areas including the use of ICT, behaviour management and teaching pupils from diverse backgrounds.

Currently fourteen subject areas are supported with subject induction packs and programmes. These are listed in the table overleaf.

· Art and Design · Citizenship
· Design and Technology · Economics and Business
· English 9including drama) · English as an additional language
· Geography · History
· ICT · Mathematics
· Modern Foreign Languages · Music
· Physical Education · Science

Successful bidders began to develop content for the induction pack and packs and programmes in the spring. Delivery and roll out of materials will take place from autumn 2003 to 2006. It is anticipated that some materials will be available via the web for all subject areas in spring 2004

Project Contact Details. For further information or to contact a network in your subject area:

Effective Practices and Research Dissemination Team
www.tta.gov.uk/eprd
eprd@teach-tta.gov.uk

Teacher Training Agency
Portland House
Stag Place
London
SW1E 5TT

That concludes this first Newsletter for the academic year 2003-4. One more issue will be my responsibility. If colleagues have comments on any of these topics, or would like an issue to contain information about a specific topic, do let me know by 15th October.

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