PIP Workshop Feedback: Student exemplars, Sandie Donnelly

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Pedagogy in Practice (PIP) workshop, 28.3.17
Sandie Donnelly, LiSS
Student Examplars

Sandie Donnelly reports on the latest PIP Seminar held at Brampton Road

The staff who attended were great.  Engaged, positive, thoughtful and challenging contributions;  myself and my colleague, Claire Stewart, certainly got a lot out of it and I hope it was useful for the academic staff too.

Key discussion points included:

Consensus that using exemplars is good practice and surprise that malpractice concerns might make some staff reluctant to share exemplars.  The lack of exemplars doesn’t prevent plagiarism.  In fact, another advantage of using exemplars is the opportunity presented to talk about and promote academic integrity.  Also, interesting that the area with the most malpractice cases has not been put off using exemplars and continues to do so.

Should exemplars only be used in workshops as hard copies and as part of a discussion with an adviser and/or tutor, rather than made available electronically; might that help to mitigate against potential plagiarism?   But again, isn’t it more a case of exploring academic integrity with students and trusting the majority.  Is there more to be lost in not being able to use exemplars to help majority of students, because of a minority of cases who misuse exemplars?

Interesting discussion around “originality” in the arts.  How to help students explore their specific discipline to understand it, be inspired by it, be informed by it, understand how their art has developed, evolved and continues to be shaped and influenced, without students misappropriating materials as their own.  Reality that there is so much quick and easy access to materials now, via the web etc, that just denying students access to materials like exemplars in the classroom for fear of lack of originality, won’t stop them finding sources of information elsewhere.  Isn’t it better to have the exemplars in the workshops, seminars, studios, etc and then for those to be explored in constructive debates and discussions with academics and advisers to help students understand the balance between appreciation, knowledge and understanding that “educates” and inspires students, and malpractice.

There was discussion around hard copies of dissertations being available for students to access in the library.  Digital-only policies for assessment in some areas have meant that whereas students could previously access a number of examples of dissertations across all campus libraries, the bank of dissertations is dwindling in some areas.

Consensus that exemplars are good practice, agreement to work with adviser at Brampton Rd to build up bank of exemplars.  Seminar provided evidence of positive collaboration between academic staff and adviser at Brampton Road and desire of all to best support students to succeed.


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PIP Student Exemplars


PIP workshop: Feedback, Alan Marsh

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Pedagogy in Practice (PIP) workshop, 14.2.17

This session was led by Alan Marsh, the Programme Lead and Senior Lecturer for Radiation Protection in the Department of Science, Natural Resources and Outdoor Studies.

This session looked at the NSS questions on feedback and it was clear students on the Radiation Protection programme felt the feedback they received was insufficient, and lacking detailed comments. The programme team couldn’t understand this as they devote a lot of time to providing feedback so it appeared students were not recognising it as feedback. These students tend to be mature students, returning to learning after some time so the idea of feedback and how to use it to feed-forward can require a change in approach.

The participants discussed this and their own experiences of students mis-understanding the purpose of feedback, along with what feedback is.

PIP feedback session
What is feedback?

The Oxford English Dictionary  defines feedback as (one of three, others to do with process and electrical signals):

Information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc. which is used as a basis for improvement.

It was agreed the main point for feedback is to provide a basis for improvement. Other suggestions for what feedback is included: to indicate to students if they are on target to pass; formative;  timely; formal and informal.

Participants shared the various ways they provide feedback, including written and recorded. Alan discussed his experiences of using these different approaches and the importance of preparing students to be able to use the feedback provided.

Strategies for how to ensure students understand feedback should be used to feed-forward were explored, with a suggestion of including an area for improvement each time to focus the student to this area of development.

Alan also discussed some recent literature on this topic, which is summarised along with notes from the session.

Kolb, 1982; Brockbank, 1998; Ramsden, 2003; Irons, 2007; Norton, 2007 (to name but a few) recognize that feedback on assignments can contribute to improving the quality of the student learning experience. Ramsden, 2003, in particular for example (page 187) highlights that “It is impossible to overstate the role of effective comments on students’ progress in any discussion of effective teaching and assessment”.

Carless, 2015 talks about the three interrelated processes of :-

  • Learning oriented assessment tasks for students;
  •  Students development of self-evaluative capacities;
  • Student engagement with feedback.

Hattie, 2009 claims that learning becomes visible when teachers are also learners  and helping students to become their own teachers. Providing adequate feedback is an important aspect.

Boud & Molloy (2013b) developed and analysed two models of feedback:-

  •  The first positions teachers as the drivers of feedback (derived from the original concept of feedback from the applied sciences – unilateral approach);
  •  The second draws on the idea of sustainable assessment, in which learners have a key role in driving learning and so generating their own feedback – bilateral or multilateral approach which positions students as active learners.

Parker & Winstone (2016) presented students with 10 possible feedback interventions, which seemed to indicate that students believe (or they perceive) they lack the skills required to engage with interventions; they make some recommendations as to how to frame such interventions to promote stronger student engagement.

If you have some examples of how you are helping students understand feedback and how you are linking feedback to feed-forward, do get in touch to share your practice, AQD@cumbria.ac.uk.

References / further reading

Boud, D. & Molloy, E. (2013a) Feedback in Higher and Professional Education: Understanding it and doing it well. London: Routledge

Boud, D. & Molloy, E. (2013b) ‘Rethinking models of feedback for learning: the challenge of design’  J. of Assessment & Evaluation in HE, 38(6), pp. 689-71

Carless, D (2015) ‘Exploring learning-oriented assessment process’, Higher Education: The International Journal of Higher Education Research,  69(6), pp. 963-976

Parker, M. & Winstone, N.E. (2016) ‘Students perceptions of interventions for supporting their engagement with feedback’, Practictioner Research in Higher Education, 10(1) pp. 53-64

Ramsden, P. (2003) Learning to Teach in Higher Education. 2nd edn. London: Routledge Falmer

Pedagogy in Practice Seminars (PIPs) commencing January 2017

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Following the success of earlier PIPs, a new series of PIP seminars for staff to meet and share practice on teaching and learning themes face-to-face will commence in January 2017. 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. These will be drop in sessions with no pre-booking required.

The idea is that they will run on the same week of each month at the main northern campuses. It is hoped that the London India Docks campus will be facilitated in the future. Do you want to be a PIP leader? We are still looking for leaders from 21 February 2017 for the following dates 21 &  28 Feb, 7,21,28 Mar  & 2,23 May 2017 if you are interested please contact Heather Prince or AQD.

The seminars for 2017 will commence with:

Raye Ng (BLPSS) Internationalisation of Curriculum Lancaster Tuesday 10 Jan 2017
12:10pm – 1pm
TB11 (Temp Building) Capacity 35
Grace Hurford (BLPSS) Working with International Students Ambleside Tuesday 17 Jan 2017
12.10pm – 1pm
LD0.04 (Langdale) Capacity 15
Roddy Hunter (IoA) Assessment for Learning Brampton Road Tuesday 24 Jan 2017
12:10pm – 1pm
HO10 (Homeacres) Capacity 18
Grace Hurford (BLPSS) Working with International Students Fusehill St Tuesday 7 Feb 2017
12:10pm – 1pm
SKG37 (Skiddaw) Capacity 20
Alan Marsh (SNROS) NSS Q9 issue re Student’s perception of Feedback Lancaster Tuesday 14 Feb 2017
12:10pm – 1pm
HB011 (HB2) (Humanities) Capacity 20

To download a copy of the above Timetable, please click here.


Pedagogy in Practice Seminar​ – Reluctant readers​ – Tracy Hayes, Lecturer, HPSS​

Student led teaching – Charlotte Hardcastle