Good Practice for Staff
Below are some examples of good practice, which staff can consider implementing in their courses.
- Inclusive Language and Terminology
Staff and students should engage with each other using inclusive language and terminology. This should include use of gender-neutral terms (e.g. police officer) and an awareness that use of particular terms (e.g. “mecca”, “massacre”) have particular significance for groups and should not be used informally.
- Allocation and Changes of Teaching Times
Schools and course coordinators should take as flexible an approach as possible to the allocation and changes of teaching times which have been made available to the course and to changing of these slots for religious or philosophical reasons and parenting or caring reasons, bearing in mind that this may not always be possible. If a student has chosen to share with the University that they are a carer, details of this will have been shared with their personal tutor and with the School Education Lead.
When creating communications to staff and students (regarding courses, support and advertisement, recruitment and delivery of placement and co-curriculum opportunities), consideration should be given to using a variety of forms of communication (e.g. VLE announcement, University email with short sentences and paragraphs, recordings or diagrams); messages being in places where there can be readily retrieved (which may not be through email); and to opportunities for students to speak to staff and to each other.
- Sharing What Will Happen at a Practical Level
Considering sharing as fully as possible and in a timely manner what will happen at a practical level. Possible examples are that there will be a loud noise in the lab, experiments will be conducted, the detail of what will happen on a fieldtrip to enable potential barriers to be identified ahead of time. This could involve students preparing themselves or investigating with staff members other ways of gaining the relevant learning outcome - perhaps choosing not to attend that class, reading about an issue, or watching a recording. For lab work, an option may be for a student to watch or listen to a class via video and instruct an amanuensis to take the necessary steps so that the experiment can be done, or a noise made, while the student is still further removed. This could also be effective for a visually impaired student doing a course which involves lab work.
- Forms of Assessment
In choosing forms of assessment for a course, consider how the core competencies and learning outcomes can be evaluated in a variety of manners (such as essay, oral presentation, lab book). This can enable all students to develop new skills and have the opportunity to excel in different manners. It must be borne in mind that the more forms of assessments there are for a course, the more this can increase staff workload and student pressure. Accordingly, regard should be had to the variety of assessment across a programme, or options within it - although it is recognised that students frequently take courses from more than one programme. Staff should have regard to inclusion when framing marking guidance.
- Assessment Wording and Feedback
When you are framing the assessment, do continue to bear in mind that it will be read by students with a variety of educational backgrounds, needs and language skills. Avoid nuance or points which might be misinterpreted, such as use of “may” if you are actually providing a firm steer. Be aware that the information you provide might be taken in its entirety by students – for example if you say do A, B, C, but you also expect something else to be explored (such as an introduction), or for the question to be considered alongside other guidance which has been provided (such as Academic Writing) and the meaning of critical analysis”, do think about making this clear. It may be that exploring the question in a creative manner is part of the exercise – if so, make this clear. Similar points can apply to feedback. Comments such as “think about x” can be unclear to students – is this something which is for improvement and further development or is this a point which has had a big impact on the mark and how could it be addressed?