Learning & Teaching Enhancement Programme 2020/21

Learning & Teaching Enhancement Programme 2020/21

About LTEP

The University of Aberdeen’s LTEP was established in 2007 to encourage the introduction of enhancement activities in learning and teaching and to disseminate effective practice throughout the Institution. It offers small amounts of  funding, provided by QAA Scotland, to support the work of their current Enhancement Theme, Resilient Learning Communities.  Colleagues were invited to apply for Learning & Teaching Enhancement Programme (LTEP) funding which this year aligns with the QAA Scotland’s sector-wide Enhancement Theme, Resilient Learning Communities which runs from 2020-23.  The Theme focuses on meeting the changing needs and values of an increasingly diverse student community and a rapidly changing external environment. 

Please see below for Year 1 funded projects.  Year 2 funded projects here.

Year 1 Funded Projects

Building Student Resilience Through Course Development – Moving From Surviving To Thriving.

Dr Amy Irwin, Dr Ceri Trevethan, Dr Heather Branigan, Dr Joy Perkins 

School of Psychology

The concept of student resilience is thought to encompass multiple behavioural and psychological components. Enhancing resilience thus requires a broad approach – encompassing a range of cognitive, emotional and behavioural factors – such as internal factors (e.g. self-esteem, psychological wellbeing), psychoeducation, practical coping strategies and behavioural responses.

The current project brings together academics with a range of research expertise, including mental health, applied psychology, graduate attributes and metacognition, to develop a brand new zero credit online course to enhance student resilience at the University of Aberdeen.

The course content will be a mixture of pre-recorded lectures and practical activities based on experiential learning. The content will be informed by two funded student internship projects, the first will conduct a scoping review to identify relevant tools and activities for inclusion in the course, the second will recruit students to take part in focus groups to evaluate potential course content and consider student resilience needs at Aberdeen.

Exploring The Experiences Of Articulation Students’ Transition To University

Dr Heather Branigan, Dr Jacqui Hutchison

School of Psychology   

This research project aims to develop insight regarding resilient learning communities by understanding the experiences of articulation students (i.e., students who have completed the equivalent to their first year of study at a further education institution, e.g. HNC/HND).

In this project, we will conduct focus groups with articulation students to investigate their perspectives of the transition to university. Undergraduate students from across the university are invited to take part and share their experiences.

By developing understanding of articulation students’ experiences, we aim to produce insights in relation to promoting academic resilience within this group of students, guiding academic practice and support as well as future work in this area.

Investigating Solutions To Make Mathematical Teaching Content Accessible

Prof Nir Oren, Dr Matthew Collinson, Prof Ben Martin, Dr Murilo Da Silva Baptista, Dr Morgiane Richard   

School Natural and Computing Sciences and Centre for Academic Development 

In STEM disciplines, and disciplines where mathematics are used extensively, the typesetting system LaTeX is widely used to write teaching material. LaTeX produces high-quality advanced mathematical content; however, it generates PDF documents that cannot be processed correctly by text-to-speech software. To be in line with accessibility regulations, recommendations are that course material be converted to HTML format.

There is currently no technology that can achieve a complete and error-free conversion; therefore, manual correction is almost always necessary. In this LTEP project, we are investigating which conversion method is most efficient for converting existing lecture material in the School of Natural and Computing Sciences. Our results will inform the creation of staff guides which we will share with all LaTeX users at the University. We also aim at documenting the performance of the text-to-speech Chrome add-on, ChromeVox, in reading MathJax mathematics.

Understanding, Developing And Demonstrating Resilience In The Context Of Employability

Tracey Innes

Careers and Employability Service, Directorate of People    

Resilience is cited as the most highly required skill over the next five years according to Institute of Student Employer (ISE) members surveyed in 2020.  This project explores employer insights and student perceptions of resilience in the context of employability.  Employer insights across a range of employment sectors and student perspectives from across a range of stages and disciplines of study will be captured.  Together, these insights seek to bring to life what resilience means and to understand questions and challenges around the topic of resilience in the context of employment. 

The project output will be development of a Resilience Employability Toolkit for students and graduates.

The Bridge Between: Arab Voices And Stories Of Coping

Dr Lyn Batchelor

The Qatar Campus of the University of Aberdeen

 The Bridge Between is project for students, by students that will hear the voices of our Arab students enrolled on both our Aberdeen and Doha campuses. The project will provide a framework to aid the development of resilient Arab learning communities at both campuses and roll out to support wider international students based in Aberdeen.

We are motivated by findings of a survey conducted by the Qatar Campus Student Representatives which revealed the wide-spread occurrence of anxiety, mental health concerns and depression among the undergraduate student body. Contextually, the middle east region traditionally stigmatises mental health issues, while British universities encourage conversations about mental health. This could raise difficulties for individuals.

Arab students welcome the connection between the two campus and are especially curious about the mental health stigma in their neighbouring homelands. Most heartening for them was that they were going to be heard and heard by someone “like them”.