Author: Ralph Lowerson

Action Research using problem-based learning to increase participation in discussion forums on Blackboard

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Here is the latest PIP presentation held on Tuesday 13th March 2018.

The session generated discussion on how staff could make discussions boards more appealing to use in the future. Title :Action Research using problem-based learning to increase participation in discussion forums on Blackboard. Led by Tania Hopley HPSS.

The PowerPoint presentation can be viewed by clicking on the image above, or here.

CASE STUDIES SERIES: Edina Kulenovic, Senior Lecturer, Education

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The Education faculty had been using large Blackboard programme sites which presented a number of issues for students, and staff.

On a large programme site with multiple cohorts enrolled, any announcement sent out would be received by all students and therefore irrelevant to many and when marking students work, the numerous Turnitin submissions would make it hard for staff and externals to find and review.

By using a module site for teaching, communication is much more targeted, reading lists can be deployed and the management by staff is much more efficient. The module can also be tailored by the individual tutors in terms of themes, banners layout etc.

Edina Kulenovic from our London campus recently highlighted some of the positives the staff have found with their move to module sites.


We have found that using Blackboard Module sites is easier and more time efficient than the old, large Programme site. One of the big advantages is that both the lecturers and students are automatically enrolled into all new sites.

In addition, accessing the individual sites is quicker.

The option of changing the module specific sites by changing the colour schemes or banners and personalising the site is welcome too.

The announcements were often sent to all users, but now they are sent to specific groups of students or a specific site. Module leaders and lecturers now know where to post resources and announcements.

Marking has become easier, as both the lecturers and External Examiners found it difficult to find work to mark in the old site.

The new Blackboard app is most welcome too, for quick access and information.


Lecturers had to get used to having a long list of sites on their Blackboard My Institution page.

A previous Case Study regarding the move from Programme to Module sites, was also published by Emma Moore, BSc (Hons) Nursing Delivery here.

iLead iLearn Webinar Series – Your Role as a Module Leader.2nd Febuary 2018

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This webinar looks at your role as a module leader and aims to be a helpful resource for existing module leaders and those who may be taking on this role in the future. Key areas within this webinar include:

How does the University of Cumbria see this role?

How does this role integrate with other academic roles and responsibilities?

What on-going help and support is there?

Click the image below to view the recording (university login required)



iLead iLearn Webinar Series: Managing Assessment Effectively 31st January 2018

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This session looks at ways to streamline and standardise aspects of the assessment/feedback cycle. It takes a programme/level approach to ensure consistency across and between module teams. This is followed by ways to create assessment criteria and introduces rubrics. These will be discussed in more detail in a future webinar.

The session moves on and discusses managing the assessment process for students and then for academic staff. A few suggestions concerning Academic integrity follow, introducing essay mills and bespoke ‘ghost writers’.

The concluding slide provides links to the University regulations and the level and grade descriptors.

Click the image below to view the recording (university login required)


Using Mentimeter to promote student engagement and inclusion – Davina Hill & Kelly Fielden

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mentimeter logo

Providing an inclusive, safe and varied learning environment is central to promoting engagement across a diverse student population. Browser-based interactive presentation programmes such as Mentimeter can be used to achieve this in a way that reaches multiple learners simultaneously through their own portable devices and grants them anonymity.

We used this session to present our research on student perceptions of two features of Mentimeter: interactive multiple choice quizzes and the option for students to ask open anonymous questions during class.  We found that students across two different levels, subject areas and contexts (anonymous questions and quizzes) recognised the value of Mentimeter in promoting engagement and inclusion.  All students were in favour of Mentimeter being used again.  Students perceived the quizzes to be fun, to consolidate learning, break up the lecture, and increase focus, while users of the anonymous open questions saw value in the potential for less vocal students to have their voices heard.

Participants in the Pedagogy in Practice session had the opportunity to take part in a quiz and an anonymous question and answer session, both of which were held remotely across campuses in Carlisle, Ambleside and Lancaster.  This allowed the participants to interact with the software from a student’s perspective.  Full functionality was accessible to all via Skype. Anonymous questions from the floor were used as the starting point for discussion around participation in quizzes by students with learning disabilities, by students of different ages and at different levels of study. We offered practical guidance on using interactive presentation software across various contexts. We concluded that technology-enhanced learning tools such as Mentimeter are effective in promoting student engagement and participation, and suggest that an optimal approach is to use these in combination with verbal question and answer sessions to suit a diverse population of learners.

To view the Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, please click here

PIP Practice in Pedagogy Seminars

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Due to the success of PIPs last academic year we are running a series of seminars again for staff to meet and share practice on teaching and learning themes face-to-face. They will take the form of a short presentation by the lead, followed by an opportunity for discussion.  All staff are welcome whether you teach or support student learning, and you are encouraged to share examples of successful practice as well as challenges to which you have found solutions, or that are yet to be solved!  Bring your lunch

Thursday 14th December 1 – 2pm

“Sharing TEL tips to develop our digital capabilities” Sandie Donnelly

Lancaster Room SB204 Sentamu Building
Whether you’ve got some TEL tips to share or you want to make more use of technology in learning and teaching, please join our TEL PIP to share expertise, Christmas treats and find out about software available to staff and students at UoC.
Monday 18th December 12 – 1pm

“Use of Mentimeter to promote student engagement and inclusion” – Davina Hill & Kelly Fielden

Via VC Carlisle (SKF05) Skiddaw Building & (AXB002) Alexandra Building Lancaster and skype option available

The provision of an effective learning environment is central to promoting engagement and is a key component of the Teaching Excellence Framework. Mentimeter, a technology-enhanced learning tool can be used to achieve this in a way that reaches multiple learners simultaneously and grants them anonymity. We will use this session to describe our research on student perceptions of Mentimeter, offer practical guidance on using interactive presentation software to promote engagement and inclusion, and provide a forum for discussion. We will focus on two features of Mentimeter: interactive multiple choice quizzes and the option for students to ask open anonymous questions during class

Link to book on to PIP seminars:

Assessment Briefs

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We have updated the Good Assessment Guides – now called Assessment Briefs. They can be found using the following link:

On here you will find information and tools to help you with group work, creative assessment, inclusive assessment, marking and moderation and feedback. Save the link and check back periodically as the resource will develop and expand.

Nicky Meer, PFHEA reflects on Barriers to Fellowship

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Nicky Meer, looks back on her recent PFHEA accreditation.

Although the HEA does not define who ‘ought’ to be a fellow, many have found that colleagues outside of a narrow norm can face barriers to accreditation. Some face barriers through their own self-belief: ‘I am just a technician/learning advisor/library staff… so I wouldn’t be able to get it’.  And others may face barriers due to subconscious or unintended assumptions made by those who create schemes or resources that help people compile their submissions. This could result in specific language patterns used or narrow examples given, potentially making people outside of this feel it’s not for them.

To read the full article on the HEA Blog, click here

12 Apps of Christmas

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What is the 12 Apps of Christmas?
The 12 Apps initiative was created and first run by Regent’s University London in December 2014. The aim was to provide participants with a short online continuing professional development giving participants a daily opportunity to explore a mobile app that has been recommended by one of the 12 Apps contributors.

How the 12 Apps of Christmas work?
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting the 20th of November, a post is published at 10am on the 12 Apps of Christmas course page.
The post will contain suggestions of how to use that days app and how it might work effectively for you in a professional/learning/teaching context. Each post contains short task to help you get started with the app. The tasks take no more than ten minutes a day, although there is an optional ‘Further Tasks’, which takes more time and helps you to explore other potential uses.

Who is it for?
This online course is also open to anyone that has an interest in new technologies and would like to explore mobile apps. This online course is geared towards all University of Limerick staff that have an interest in using new technologies in their working context.

The Twitter hashtag #UL12apps during the course. After the live course, the materials will be left up to refer back to later.

On successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Reflect on how apps can be used within their learning/teaching/professional context.
  • Discuss opportunities and challenges with their peers on the use of new mobile technologies.
  • Trial a specific app for learning/teaching/research in their own context based on an informed rationale.

How to take part

Go to the following link and fill in your account details. Once you have created your Sulis (Learning Management System) login you can join the 12 Apps of Christmas site by going to the following link

The AHE conference

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Assessment in Higher Education Conference

The AHE conference

The AHE conference has grown from a half-day University of Cumbria event at the Carlisle campus to an International sector-leading two-day programme held at various locations around the UK. 2017 saw the 6th conference which was held in Manchester. The aim of the conference is to showcase research-informed practice in the areas of assessment and feedback. Each conference has attracted increasing numbers of delegates from over 25 countries. The atmosphere is one of friendliness and sharing practice. It’s an inspiring mix of people, countries and institutions and there is always something new to learn. Please make a note of June 2019 for the next one. In the meantime we have….

The one-day conference

On the ‘off’ year a one-day conference is held. Next year, 28th June 2018, the theme is Transforming Feedback: Research and Development. The keynote for this one-day event is David Carless who will be discussing Feedback for the longer term: Developing student feedback literacy.

Feedback continues to be a challenge for institutions so this is an area ripe for research and evaluation of practice. For more details, please go the website:

The call for contributions is now out so if you feel you have any relevant research or case studies, please send in an abstract. The deadline for submissions is Monday 15th January 2018.

For the latest information and updates on how you can contribute please follow us on twitter.