Poster Abstract Submissions for 2018 Annual Symposium

Teaching Performance

A. Bryzgel

In all of my courses in the Film and Visual Culture Department, I include practical elements to help students understand the art-making process from the inside, from the perspective of the artist. Rather than simply analyse the work from a distance, students become artists, and participate in the creation of artwork, either individually or collectively.

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Engineering Transitional Summer School

S. Middleton

In order to assist engineering students making the transition from college to university, the University of Aberdeen offered a free summer school programme to help prepare college students for their university studies.

Who attended? The programme was open to college students transitioning to University. Nineteen students started and completed the summer school.

Why was the summer school set up? It was designed to act upon the recommendations of the Commission on Widening Access to encourage college students to continue their studies at university.

What was studied? The two-week summer school focused on four key areas: mathematics, computer programming, materials science and integrating into university life. As part of the computer programming students studied Matlab which is necessary for the honours engineering degree but makes up a very small portion of the HNC and HND.

How much does it cost students? The Summer School is a free programme and offered free accommodation.

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The role of student support mechanisms in student engagement and learning

A. Poobalan, J. Barrow , I. Doig, K. Foster, J. Cleland 

Transitioning to and through higher education is a challenging phase for many students. Formal and informal support is crucial in motivating student engagement throughout their learning.  The aim of this project is to understand the factors that support student success and satisfaction. Themes emerging from focus group discussions (FGDs) on how students use various formal support structures and mechanisms available to them for support, and their views of how these formal mechanisms help them engage academically and socially with their peers and the wider learning community, will be presented.

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A New Modern Model for Teaching Intravenous Fluid Prescribing in an Undergraduate Curriculum

D. Wandless 

Background - Foundation year doctors have been shown to struggle with the composition of the fluids(1), often there are discrepancies between textbooks (2) 

Objectives –Using what is known of the challenges in intravenous fluids, we have designed a new approach to teaching based on both evidence and pedagogical principles therein.

Methods –Using active frontline NHS staff we aligned this, to blueprint a multi-academic level syllabus to tie traditional systems teaching to practical principles.  

Discussion -  Standardisation to both local, national and international guidance could improve the discrepancy in knowledge within both the University, and the wider healthcare system.

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Evaluating two interactive 3D tools for the teaching of heart anatomy

F. Gröning, L. Pérez-Pachón, R. Sloan, P. Robertson, A. Denison, 

Interactive digital learning tools can enhance Anatomy teaching in multiple ways. In this project we created a photo-based 3D model of a human cadaveric heart and made it available to students and Anatomy teaching staff in two different ways: 1) as an interactive 3D PDF and 2) as a game-based app in which users were asked to orientate the heart model correctly and receive feedback on their performance. 61 undergraduate Anatomy students and 5 staff members evaluated these tools. Students and staff would recommend both tools to enhance Anatomy teaching and learning, but the game-based app was considered more useful.

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Work based placements: fostering the development of graduate attributes at Masters level

H. Morgan 

It is increasingly an expectation – of students, academics and potential employers – that University education will encourage and support the development of ‘graduate attributes’. Graduate attributes are designed to enhance preparedness for further study, future employment and citizenship post-graduation. While they are becoming recognised internationally, graduate attributes vary between institutions. However, one common approach to fostering their development, and an improved student experience, is through work based placements. We introduced work based placements with health and development sector organisations for MSc Global Health and Management students at the University of Aberdeen in 2013. This poster explores the role of placements in the development of graduate attributes at Masters level.

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Students 4 Students – Enhancing the 1st Year Undergraduate Experience

J. Barrow

Starting out at university can be a daunting prospect for students, which will only become more of an issue with more diverse and larger first year intakes expected. Students 4 Students (S4S) has been developed over an eight year period to become a university-wide initiative aimed at helping first year undergraduates settle into university life and aid the transition to a higher education setting.  All first year undergraduates from across the institution get an S4S Mentor, and current developments include Enhanced S4S Mentoring; this will provide more specialised support to enhance the provision for incoming students.

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Impact of a final year project skills workshop series

J. Barrow, D. Scott

Recent years have seen large increases in the number of students entering our Honours year and with that a more diverse set of inherent skills.  For this reason, coupled with staff and student feedback on previous projects, we created a series of four project preparation workshops that aimed to educate our students in some of the areas supervisory staff highlighted as key for a positive project experience.  Here we will summarise the preliminary findings on how effective these sessions have been, as well as highlighting the workshops that have shown the most impact.

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Vacations and Vocations: Learning from Our Students’ Summer Experience Survey

J. Perkins, R. Gibson, Z. Hickman, R. Lindsay 

Careers Service-led research was carried out to discover the types of activities returning undergraduates engaged in during the summer 2016 vacation period. Research was carried out via an online survey, focus groups and student-authored case studies. The main aims of the Higher Education Careers Service Unit (HECSU)-funded research were to:

• Understand how these experiences impacted on students’ employability.

• Explore potential new ways to recognise, reward and support students’ wider summer learning.

The poster will present key research findings and recommendations derived from the study to further develop students’ employability across the University.

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Embedding Engineering Work Experience into the Second Year Curriculum

P. Davidson (key author), Z. Ahmed, J. Perkins 

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An alternative model for re-conceptualising student experience

 L. Puhalak

There is widespread interest in student experiences (SE) in higher education both internationally and nationally, particularly in relation to the concepts of social justice and widening participation. The majority of studies investigating this topic have tended to focus on the learning experience itself, rather than making a more comprehensive account of student life, whereby experiences of specific groups (e.g. students from less affluent backgrounds) could be better understood. It is proposed that SE can be re-conceptualised to incorporate a wider range of influencing factors. The capability approach, as developed by Sen and Nussbaum, with a focus on individuals’ freedom to achieve wellbeing by exploring students’ lived experiences might provide an alternative model for evaluating SE.

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The power of anonymous feedback from students

M. Pinard, M. Barker

Students often want to provide staff with feedback on their courses but may be worried about repercussions from sharing critical comments, especially while courses are running. We present lessons learned in the School of Biological Sciences from 12-month trial of a live, formative feedback platform, BluePulse2.  While the proportion of students using BluePulse 2 was often low, some students used the platform effectively to highlight concerns and make constructive comments in a safe environment. With BluePulse 2 staff also have the opportunity to respond to anonymous students, so engagement is encouraged and the feedback loop can be closed.

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Reviewing assessments – efficiency and effectiveness

P. Henderson

A review of changes to Chemistry assessment to reduce assessment effort.

  • Final course exam was changed to MCQ. Short written answer questions were added to online continuous assessments. This had the added benefit of giving more specific feedback to students, which was not given for previous written final exams.
  • MyAberdeen marking rubrics. To speed up marking, improve feedback, ensure consistency.
  • Delegate and shared marking. Using this Blackboard feature for the first time.
  • Peer assessment. WebPA was used for student self- and peer-assessment or a group lab report.

A summary of each assessment, review of marks and staff and student comments will be presented.

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Lecture attendance monitoring and assessment performance in a 1st year chemistry course

P. Henderson

This poster presents a detailed breakdown of QR-code lecture attendance data for my first half-session level 1 course.

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Students perception and experience of a new knowledge-swap method of learning and teaching in medical education: An adaptation of a Swedish method

S. Shahida

A new knowledge-swap method of teaching and learning was partially adopted from a Swedish teaching method which was successfully developed and implemented into a human cadaver based third year MBChB dissection based course (ME33HA) over a 3 weeks’ period. At the end of the study data was collected by an anonymous student survey from each student and was coded and analysed to identify the key findings. The preliminary data demonstrates efficient learning experience and knowledge gain without increasing student workload. To cross validate the data from the ME33HA, this knowledge-swap system was also adopted into another short course (AN5501/An5502) designed for various health professionals where students demonstrated a very similar level of satisfaction rate.

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Connecting with the global - live!   

S. Thomson, C. Aldred, A. Ackland, S. Cornelius 

We report on the iterative development of international collaboration to support Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE) students to think more abstractly about vocational education and the societal, political and economic factors that affect the vocational education sector.

Working with international vocational teacher educators, we used a ‘Flipped Classroom’ model (see Crouch and Mazur, 2001) and asked students to watch videos prepared by contributors from Finland, England and South Africa about challenges for the vocational education sector in these national contexts.

For the first time, students and international contributors met online in Blackboard collaborate and together explored external influences on vocational education. Discussions continued asynchronously on discussion forums after the workshop.

For many years, the course has included an international theme to encourage students to extend and challenge their view of their community of practice (see Wenger, 1998). Interactions with vocational educators in different contexts have helped students to do this. Each year, the TQFE team has introduced a different method of international collaboration including live online workshops, asynchronous discussions using discussion forums and bespoke videos from vocational educators.

The combination of all 3 methods, used this year for the first time, has provided a more effective stimulus for students to understand their own vocational area and its place in larger societal trends. Student feedback for this approach was very positive. Our poster will explain the iterations of this learning activity in more detail and provide qualitative evidence from student chat box comments, discussion forums and other relevant sources.

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Does Mindfulness Practice Influence the Well-Being of Chemistry Students?

T. Eldridge-Hinmers, S. Wehmeier

Postsecondary education has become a major enterprise worldwide,transforming higher education institutions and systems and contributing to economic and social development. In higher education contemplation and critical thinking may be said to have a long and respected history. With the All-Party Parliamentary Group on mindfulness report ‘Mindful Nation UK’ in 2015 the concept of mindfulness has gained traction in many sectors of society. In higher education we are seeing it take the form of contemplative pedagogy.

A BSc Chemistry Honours research project presents evidence of how contemplative pedagogy, like mindfulness practice, enhances student experience and well-being. A mixed methodology approach (questionnaire, interview) was used to evaluate the responses of chemistry students who participated in a 6 week ‘Introduction to Mindfulness’ course alongside the chemistry curriculum.

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Improving the Student Experience through Online Professional Skills Courses

T. Innes

The online level 1 professional skills course was completed by 2374 (87% of those eligible) students during 2016-17. The course includes interactive activities to encourage student engagement in Aberdeen Graduate Attribute development throughout the University. Post-course evaluation data shows:

  •  98% agree or strongly agree with the course learning outcome statements.
  • A positive impact on student experience with  93% reporting they had taken at least one action as a result of completing the course, including:  48% researching opportunities to get involved | 44% working towards developing further skills and attributes | 40% starting to keep a record of their skills, activities and achievements. 

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