Below are the abstracts to Session 4 of the STEM Conference 2017
Session 4.1: The BME attainment gap in MPharm (Pharmacy) students
Dr Nicholas Freestone, Kingston University
The black and minority ethnic (BME) attainment gap is a shared problem amongst UK universities. However, reasons for ethnic differences in attainment are unclear. Furthermore, in the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) pre-registration exam for pharmacists (2015) the Black-African pass rate was 55% compared to 89 % for White students. The poor outcomes for BME students in the GPhC exam have not been studied in terms of their university pharmacy programme, the MPharm degree. This study sought to map an MPharm’s modular outcomes against BME status. Significant differences in attainment were evident between different ethnic groups on the MPharm degree.
Session 4.2: ‘Patience’ and ‘Snap’: engaging students with assessment and feedback
Ms Rachel Brown, Ms Lynne Mesher, University of Portsmouth
This workshop aims to initiate discussion about the troublesome area of
‘Assessment and Feedback’ which receives consistently poor levels of satisfaction in the National Student Survey (NSS); there is evidence to suggest that this is particularly problematic for schools of architecture.
Delegates will participate in ‘card games’ that the presenters have used to engage students in assessment and feedback; this ‘playing’ experience will be used to prompt debate and to identify opportunities to enhance student engagement and assessment methods, particularly the semantics of assessment, which can be confusing for students. By participating, delegates will also be informing research.
Session 4.3: How high is the coding barrier? A quantitative analysis of student transitions from stage 1 to stage 2 programming.
Ms Frances Chetwynd, Dr Fiona Aiken, Mrs Helen Jefferis, The Open University
In this presentation we will report an on-going project designed to investigate how well Sense (a development of Scratch) prepares students for Stage 2 programming studies at the Open University, UK. The discussion here will focus on the quantitative analysis of assessment grades achieved at Stage 2 on a Java-based module, compared to those achieved at Stage 1 on the Sense-based module. In addition, we discuss whether lack of progress at Stage 2 can be linked to a student’s performance in programming at Stage 1.
Session 4.4: How Authentic does Authentic Learning Need to Be?
Engineering and Materials
Dr Kate Roach, Dr Emanuela Tilley, University College London
‘How authentic does authentic learning have to be to inspire and to support students to develop and maximise their capabilities”?
We answer this question in the context of UCL’s Integrated Engineering Programme (IEP), an innovative programme that connects curriculums across seven departments through the provision of experiential learning opportunities aimed at supporting students to develop professional skills as well as technical knowledge. We compare two forms of a single problem-based learning module that vary in levels of authenticity and we will analyse focus group and evaluation data from alumni of each form in order to explore our question.
Session 4.5: Practical ways to Teach Urban Ecology
Dr Julie Peacock, Dr Karen Bacon, University of Leeds
Fieldwork has been shown to be an effective way to teach students. In physical geography most fieldwork takes place in rural locations, but understanding ecosystem processes in urban settings is becoming increasingly important.
The aims of this session is to share a successful way to incorporate urban ecology teaching into physical geography sessions without the need to compromise other field teaching.
• Introduce urban ecology and its importance for sustainability and student employability
• Lead delegates through a hands-on outdoor teaching session studying urban ecology around the Manchester Conference Centre
• Use twitter to gather findings from the session
• Present data from a student survey on their perceptions of similar Leeds-based sessions
Session 4.6: More than a building: The Education Broker Model at Liverpool’s Central Teaching Laboratory
Dr Elisabeth Rushworth, Dr Helen Vaughen, Dr Cate Cropper, Dr Kathy Johnson, University of Liverpool
The University of Liverpool’s Central Teaching Laboratory has attracted international attention due to its innovative approach to sharing teaching space and educational practices in the physical and environmental sciences. This paper showcases the academic perspective of the initiative, in particular, the impact of embedding the collaborative Educational Broker Model at Faculty level. The brokers advise on collaborative teaching methods and facilitate using space and equipment to generate cross-disciplinary learning environments. The case studies presented will demonstrate how this model provides students with the opportunity for cross-disciplinary projects, internships, cross curricular modules and science communication initiatives which enhance their employability portfolio.
Session 4.7: Using UFOs to engage undergraduates in forensic science
Ms Leisa Nichols-Drew, Dr Mark Fowler, Miss Emma Johnston, Mr Richard Brawn, De Montfort University
Student engagement is typically measured by attendance levels, academic performance and survey responses. This presentation will highlight novel pedagogic approaches to maximising the potential for forensic science students from De Montfort University. UFOs (Unique Forensic Opportunities) offer bespoke events incorporating intra and extra curricular activities; within industry standard facilities through delivery by forensic science professionals from the UK Criminal Justice System. Resulting in 80% increased student engagement for a standalone Enhancement Week within the academic calendar. UFOs are integral at promoting employability and student autonomy for continual professional development. Therefore, an evident exemplar to other subject disciplines and academic institutions.
Session 4.8: Playing mind games?: Applying gamification to undergraduate teaching
Dr Rebecca Sharp, Bangor University
‘Gamification’ is when non-game activities are designed to be like a game. There is an increasing body of research that shows gamification can help people in areas of their lives such as exercise, however little on the application to gamification in tertiary education. We ‘gamified’ an undergraduate module using a dystopian future viral infection as a narrative theme. The use of actors, gaming levels, earning points, competition, and reward systems resulted in a unique, immersive experience for students. We measured attendance, engagement, and achievement as outcome measures. We discuss our findings and future applications.