Academic Enhancement Unit Projects
ProjectsPlease click on a relevant section below to view quality and standards strategy, policy and process documents.
In January 2012, LJMU made available Blackboard Mobile Learn to staff and students. The Academic Enhancement Unit has been proactive in rolling out and promoting the service, and undertook an evaluation of it at the end of the first semester of implementation. The methodology employed a technical evaluation (system usage analytics and product roadmap review), a student awareness survey and staff and student user surveys. The headline findings are:
- Adoption has been relatively successful but there remains scope for expansion
- Users find it generally quicker and easier to access content in Blackboard compared with the web version, particularly when accessing from different locations
- Users would like a wider range of Blackboard functionality, accessible via the App
- User experience is variable, depending on mobile device used, although student users do need additional support in how to optimise general usage of their mobile devices
- Academic staff are seeking additional support and guidance on how to optimise use of the App for teaching and learning
- Blackboard Inc. is committed to the development of the service, with new notification and testing features being examples of recent developments
- The greater majority of staff and student users are satisfied or very satisfied with Blackboard Mobile Learn.
You can find out more by accessing the full Phase 1 Evaluation Report or Executive Summary.
Blackboard Programme Community Sites+
Here is a brief outline of an initiative which involves the support of new students arriving in September 2013.
All undergraduate and postgraduate (taught) courses being taught at LJMU and recruiting for this September will be provided with a programme level community site in Blackboard. Each site will be populated with all students currently registered on that programme. In addition to this, all new students who have been accepted to that programme will be automatically populated. This will enable them to access this new programme community site 4 weeks prior to their start date when they have received their acceptance letter. Programme leaders are required to upload 4 documents into these sites.
For more information, please read the programme sites flyer.
Community Site Checklist - This document helps you prepare your programme site for new students.
Adding Induction Information - This document will help you prepare your Induction Activites.
Adding your Programme Guide - This document will show you how to add your programme guide.
Adding a Reading List - This document will show you where to upload relevant articles.
Adding Board of Study Minutes to Blackboard Community Sites - Information on how to add board of study minutes to your community site.
Managing personal tutoring via the Blackboard community sites - This document is intended to help staff use community sites for personal tutorial support.
Induction and Retention in the first year - A summary of current research in induction and retention activities in the first year.
Locus of Control - Understanding the theory beind students’ understanding of their own attitudes to learning.
Example Programme Community Site - An example model site to convey key pedagogic principles, areas of the programme design and connectivity that may otherwise be lost within formal documentation.
Supporting Induction using Blackboard Community sites - Here are some practical ideas for using Programme Community Sites on Blackboard to support
LJMU Examples - A number of good practice examples to help you to see how other programme teams are developing and innovating in their approach to using them.
Help and Support
Learning Technology Officers - The following document lists local learning technology officers who are available to assist you with your Blackboard community site.
Reviewing Graduate Skills and Personal Development Planning+
A review of Graduate Skills and Personal Development Planning has begun in line with priorities set out in LJMU’s Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy (2012-2017). At LJMU, Graduate Skills (GS) and Personal Development Planning (PDP), are part of a whole curriculum approach to supporting students’ academic, personal and vocational development that includes: the development of subject knowledge and skills; work-related learning and a breadth of other teaching, learning and assessment approaches. Alongside the World of Work Skills Certificate they are intended to support students in preparing for the world of work. GS and PDP have been part of LJMU policy and practice for a number of years. The World of Work Skills Certificate has been developed more recently and the Bronze award has been introduced into the Level 4 curriculum this year.
This review allows us to determine if GS and PDP are, in their current form, still fit for purpose and how they relate to World of Work Skills certificate processes, and, using the review, to develop improved models of practice based on evidence and evaluation.
A consultation process has begun and the information provided here on Graduate Skills, Personal Development Planning, as well as the Higher Education Achievement Report is intended as a reference point for that.
Further information about the review and consultation process is available from Liz Clifford, Academic Enhancement Unit, email@example.com
Personal Development Planning
Higher Education Achievement Report
Sophomore Slump Project+
LJMU is leading a major £200k-funded national research project to investigate the performance and support of undergraduates in their second year of study. The project, funded by the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme and administered by the Higher Education Academy, is running from 2010 to 2013.
Research on the student experience in higher education has been overwhelmingly focused on the first year, emphasising the importance of front-loaded support. In the USA, research identifies a phenomenon referred to as the ‘sophomore slump’. This is characterised by a dip in performance in the second year. Preliminary analysis of institutional data at Liverpool John Moores University mirrors this effect.
This study aims to investigate Level 2 performance as an aspect of the student experience that has been neglected in the UK research. The project will examine large scale institutional data sets to characterise performance profiles across the levels. Crucial to this research will be to hear the student experience of the second year in their own words to inform development of support strategies at the mid stage of the student life cycle. Staff perceptions of Level 2 are also being examined.
Key outputs include:
- Evidence-based strategies, drawn directly from student involvement, that can be used by course leaders to enhance the student learning experience and prevent the onset of a performance dip at the mid stage of the student life cycles.
- A tried and tested methodology for analysing institutional data and examining the student experience that has transfer value across the sector.
For more information, visit http://secondyearexperience.ljmu.ac.uk/
The University has recently been successful in partnering with University of Leicester’s Beyond Distance Alliance, an Internationally recognised Centre for Learning Technology Research. This current project is called SPEED which stands for Sharing Practice for Embedding E-design and Delivery. This project aims to benefit LJMU from the University of Leicester’s DUCKLING project and associated initiatives by embedding these resources and approaches within our own institutional processes through a series of pilots. The project will involve capacity-building workshops delivered face-to-face, supplemented with online activities divided into three learning units: Course Design, Activity Design and Moderating Online Groups. (Sep-Nov 2012). Take-up pilots will be based on these three learning units modified to our context and specific needs.
Evidence from DUCKLING shows that the quality of student engagement was substantially enhanced by the project (Nie et al., 2011). The course teams that were involved in DUCKLING are continuing to innovate based on the successes from that project, and new findings are currently being documented (Rogerson-Revell et al., forthcoming).
Nie, Ming , Armellini, Alejandro , Witthaus, Gabi and Barklamb, Kelly (2011) 'How do e-book readers enhance learning opportunities for distance work-based learners?', Research in Learning Technology, 19: 1, 19 — 38.
Student Placement Learning Technology Officers+
LJMU have employed student Learning Technology Officers over the past 2 years. They have worked alongside the TEL teams to provide staff support and undertaken research projects. This presentation will explore this process from both the students and institution perspective, from being both the medium and the message.
11 level 5 students have been employed for a year by LJMU as learning technologists. They are all staff employed at the Academic Enhancement Unit (AEU), and their posts last for a year in total. The students are given training and continuous support in the faculties where they are based and by the AEU.
As part of their role they jointly decide on a collaborative research project in the area of learning technology development. The results are disseminated at faculty level and have been presented at external and internal academic conferences. They also complete an audit of the use of learning technology within their faculty. This is again reported at an institutional and faculty level.
The role focuses on the support for key technologies, such as the online submission of course work. However, these new learning technologist do have the scope to widen this remit, and frequently become involved in supporting other innovative uses of learning technology.
The impact has been hard to measure, and both benefits and challenges have emerged. The insider/outsider nature of the position of being employee and student has brought forth a variety of effects. Many staff have welcomed this duality, nurturing and mentoring their new colleagues. The new learning technologist have been invited to join formal committees, and respected for their privileged position and viewpoint.
Publications Turner, J., Bird, A., Connor, C., Spiers, A & Reid, B. (2012) ‘Agents of inter-change’: the use of student placements learning technologists. Educational Developments, SEDA.
TEL Stories Project+
What is the TEL Stories Project?
A key objective within the LJMU Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy is for staff to make confident and active use of technology to enhance the student learning experience. This project aims to collect and share examples of effective uses of technology enhanced learning within the University.
About the TEL Stories Project
Add your TEL story
View the TEL Story Database
Transforming the Experience of Students Through Assessment (‘TESTA’)+
What is ‘TESTA’?
TESTA is a model for analysing students’ experience of assessment on a programme, developed out of a national project led by the University of Winchester. It also explores the wider influence of a programme’s assessment design on students’ approaches to studying. Whilst student surveys like the NSS will often identify that students experience problems with assessment, they provide little practical information to help programme teams identify and address these issues. The TESTA model, however, provides a finer-grained analysis that can get to the root of issues to inform programme teams of what is working and areas for development.
For more information, read the TESTA Flyer