11 May: Reviewing the student partnership landscape (half day online)
Co-creation workshop: 12:00-13:00
How can we centre wellbeing at the heart of assessment re-design for students and staff?
This workshop aims to get all delegates of CAN together early on for discussion around the role of assessment for the wellbeing of both students and staff. By exploring different perspectives and ideas we hope to start to explore new approaches to how we talk about and design assessment that places the wellbeing of both at the core of those discussions.
Parallel Sessions 13:15-14:00
Parallel Session A
1a. Reimagining Students as Peers
Jenny Marie – University of Greenwich
At the University of Greenwich, we are reimagining the work of the academic community, to consider where it can be done better by students and with students. In particular we want to move to a situation where we are employing students to co-design the curriculum and work with staff as peers. This lightning talk will highlight the potential benefits, challenges and the inspirations for our work. We will outline our progress and aim to inspire the audience to question the boundaries between students and academics and what is the work of an academic.
2a. Engaging students as partners in teaching and learning: A Case Study of the EDTL Student Internship
Fernanados Ongolly, Sharon Flynn and Mide Nic Fhionnlaoich – Irish Universities Association
The Enhancing Digital Teaching and Learning in Irish Universities Project (EDTL) is a three-year project funded through the Irish Higher Education Authority’s Innovation and Transformation Programme. It is aimed at enhancing the digital attributes and educational experiences of Irish university students through enabling the mainstreamed and integrated use of digital technologies across the teaching and learning process. Between 2019 and 2021, 20 student associate interns were recruited to the EDTL project with the aim of engaging students as co-creators in developing digital teaching and learning resources. All the interns in our project were/are actively enrolled in an ongoing course in one of our seven participating universities working collaboratively with a members of staff stationed at their respective universities.
Using our internship model as a case-study, we conducted 18 qualitative interviews with 10 interns and 8 staff towards the end of 2021 with the aim of understanding (i) staff and students’ perspectives on student-staff partnership in teaching and learning and (ii) students’ perceived benefits when actively involved as co-creators in teaching and learning. This data was coded on Dedoose and analyzed thematically. We propose a session to share with the audience our student interns’ experiences based on both the outcome of our 18 qualitative interviews and live discussions from a panel of our former and current student interns.
From the interviews, staff reported that having student interns brought about productivity and effectiveness in their work at their respective universities as they brought in authentic students’ voices through sharing their learning experiences and thoughts that would not have been otherwise captured by only staff in developing teaching and learning resources. The students were also helpful in assisting with the design and development of digital teaching and learning resources, organizing events, contributing to the project newsletter, managing the project social media pages, among other project duties. On the other hand, student interns reported that the partnership made them feel as active stakeholders in the teaching and learning process and provided an avenue through which they shared their learning needs in creating resources. In addition, through their active involvement in the creation of resources, they acquired skills that would later be useful to them once they graduated from college.
Lessons drawn from our internship model highlight the value of actively involving students in the process of developing teaching and learning resources as they bring in authentic student voices and own the process as well as the benefit that this comes with among students and staff.
In this format we will start with a brief presentation of our internship model describing how it is run and how students are actively involved in co-creation. We shall then invite two of our current and one former student interns in a panel discussion to share their experiences in the internship.
The following topics will be covered.
- Students’ perspectives on co-creation (What is co-creation to you? /How would you describe student-staff partnership?)
- Discussion on student-staff partnership (How did the intern’s partner with staff)
- Discussion on barriers and facilitators to student-staff collaboration
- Recommendation for student-staff partnership
Parallel Sessions 13:15-14:00
Parallel Session B
1b. UCL student supporting staff to develop quality programmes – conversations about teaching and Learning.
Sandra Lusk, Thu Thu – UCL
This paper presents the rationale, vision, and impact of UCL’s Programme Design Student Partners initiative developed during 2020 and 2021. This builds on the existing quality assurance role of Student Reviewers of Programme & Module Approval Panel (PMAP) while also extending the role from one whose purpose was to provide a ‘student voice’ at the panel meeting to one of student-staff partnership and collaboration to inform the programme design process.
The one-hour Student Quality Reviewers workshops form part of a suite of support available to programme leaders developing new programmes, where a team of Student Partners meet with the programme leader to review and share their views on the draft programme proposal and supporting documents prior to their PMAP submission. The Student Partners have prior experience of PMAP and can, therefore, share their experiences and advice with staff.
This workshop is distinct to other forms of feedback: it is a facilitated conversation led by students; it is informal but thorough and covers all aspects of the programme proposal including, assessment, structure, module menu and inclusivity; and, most importantly, it is a meaningful space for dialogue about teaching and learning between staff and students. This poster highlights the benefits of this particular student-staff partnership approach and includes reflections from the Programme Design Student Partners on their experiences as well as personal and skills development.
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2b. Reflecting on student-staff partnership research exploring support for student mental health in Higher Education.
James Cantwell, Richard Bristow – University of Hertfordshire
This presentation by two of the engaged students in a student-staff partnership will provide an insight into an analysis of reflections by students and staff, following a partnership which conducted a qualitative exploratory case study on teaching staff support for student mental health in higher education (Payne, 2022).
The staff-student partnership took place between May 2017-July 2018, whilst partners engaged in an extra-curricular research inquiry at a university in the south-east of England, exploring students’ experience of support from staff for their mental health and staff’s experience of supporting students with their mental health concerns. The partnership involved students in different stages of their journey in higher education, which has allowed for varied reflections.
Following the inquiry, entitled ‘Let’s talk about mental health’ two engaged students and the principal investigator reflected on their experience of the partnership; with considerations of the benefits of the partnership, scope for learning support, motivations of partners who took part (such as career development), the impact that the partnership had, as well as outputs and limitations.
The presentation will share how students report having improved research skills, enhanced career experience and a sense of empowerment that has come from the partnership practice. We will also share how staff experienced an eased ability to conduct research and the rewards of seeing students develop new skills.
At the time of presenting, the analysis of the reflections on the student staff partnership is being peer reviewed by a journal in the field of staff-student partnership. Recommendations have been made to stakeholders in higher education to invest in student-staff partnerships in the context of research studies and mental health inquiry, as a vehicle which can foster opportunities for positive learning outcomes for students, staff, and institutions.
Payne, H. (2022). Teaching Staff and Student Perceptions of Staff Support for Student Mental Health: A University Case Study. Education Sciences, 12(4), 237.
Parallel Sessions 13:15-14:00
Parallel Session C
1c. ‘Class, Culture & Conflict, a view from within’: Reflections on curriculum co-design and collaboration with working-class undergraduate students
This presentation, from the outset is concerned with disrupting the teaching-research dichotomy that pervades sociology (Kain 2006). It borrows from pedagogies of ‘discomfort’ (Boler, 1999; Boler and Zembylas, 2003) and ‘hope’ (Freire, 1994; hooks 2003) in order to embed student voice into the sociological teaching and learning of social class and class inequalities. The presentation values and recognises the pedagogical value of the subjective experience of students in teaching issues of social class and class inequality and of staff-student co-creation for curriculum design. Moreover, recognising that class, as core conceptual tool and subject of sociological enquiry is taught through the gaze of the privileged academic, within the ivory tower looking out (Burton 2015) it foregrounds the voice of working-class persons. In doing so it: a) embeds the voices and ideas of working-class students into the modules content, design, delivery and assessment whilst also; b) engaging with non-academic sources (lyrics, documentaries, biographies, working-class activists, entertainers) extending beyond the ivory tower in order to avoid the voyeurism and fetishization that is commonplace in scholarship on social class.
Please note, there is a subsequent interactive workshop on the 12th May 2022.
1c. UCL ChangeMakers - how to refresh and reignite a student-staff partnership scheme.
Abbie King, Fiona Wilkie, Trista Wu & Stephanie Cunningham
UCL ChangeMakers supports students and staff to work in partnership with each other to enhance learning and the student experience at UCL. Starting with just 10 student-led projects, ChangeMakers has grown to support around 90 projects each year and birthed a sister scheme, Student Quality Reviewers, which involves students in named and paid roles on our Quality Assurance processes. We also have students working in our UCL Education and Student Experience team as Student Fellows, ensuring students partners with us on work that has an impact across the institution.
This interactive session will provide an honest account of how UCL ChangeMakers has evolved through the years to sustain partnership work through times of immense change in the sector and in a large, complex institution. Through sharing the challenges we have had to grapple with over the years – and helping participants surface their own – we will work through solutions and strategies to help ensure the survival (and sometime reinvention) of participant’s own partnership practice. This session will encourage participants to share their own practice, journeys and solutions so that this is session is about the community coming together and working through the challenges of sustaining thriving partnership schemes. We will also speak candidly about the things we haven’t got right such as the areas where we have struggled to involve students as full partners.
This session will very much involve the students who work with us so that we can all co-create new solutions to our shared or particular challenges.
Finally, the session will work with participants on the next steps for their partnership practice, sharing our journey towards a ‘Learning Lab’.
12 May: Reconnecting the staff-student partnership community (full day in-person)
Parallel Session - 10:30-11:30
Nurturing the tiniest building block of learning communities: hybrid teaching as friend or foe
Cindy Becker & Gemma Peacock – University of Reading
We would like to run a workshop that helps delegates reflect on the ways in which hybrid learning can hinder and/or foster the smallest, most important, learning partnership – that between learner and teacher. We will consider the impact of hybrid teaching on key partnerships: student-to-student in the classroom/online, student-to-seminar leader in the classroom, and student-to-seminar leader on screen, whilst an on-campus seminar takes place.
During the pandemic we both used technology to teach students in class and on screen simultaneously (which we are calling ‘hybrid’ or ‘hyflex’ learning). Although we used different technology from each other, we shared similar experiences in terms of trying to build learning communities in the classroom (on campus and on screen). Now that we can teach live and face-to-face on campus, we are in the early stages of a project considering whether hybrid teaching is something we want to retain.
We would begin our session with a very brief outline of our hybrid teaching situations. We would then like to demonstrate hybrid learning with one of us outside the room. We would take delegates through a series of typical learning activities with different hybrid requirements to give them the chance to see how it feels to be a student within a hybrid context and also to consider how they, as seminar leaders, might respond to the challenge.
Our aim would be to come to a shared understanding of the effect of hybrid teaching on learning partnerships by the end of the session with, ideally, a set of suggestions as to how any of us might use hybrid teaching in future. We would like to capture the views of delegates online as we go, to feed into our project; we would also ask if anyone would like to join us as the project develops.
Parallel Session - 10:30-11:30
‘Class, Culture & Conflict, a view from within’: Reflections on curriculum co-design and collaboration with working-class undergraduate students
There is a presentation foregrounding some of the theory on the 11th May 2022.
The interactive workshops, then, has two aims. Firstly, it reflects on the experience of curriculum co-creation through Sussex Student Connector Project Program. Outlining the authors experience of designing a class inequalities module in co-creation with working-class, first-generation sociology students as a working-class academic and in doing so explores the key learnings, sharing best practice and ideas for innovation in relation to staff-student co-creation for curriculum design. Secondly, through the interactive element, the workshop will guide and encourage delegates to think how co-creation might work in their context of their own teaching / roles through the following (as examples):
• What constitutes staff-student co-creation?
• How do the possibilities of staff-student co-creation translate to delegates own academic disciplines / professional roles? What possibilities are afforded? How can we think through some of the challenges?
• How might we draw upon co-creation in formative and summative assessments?
• How might delegates draw upon co-creation their teaching (be it a whole module, one lecture, one seminar).
• What ethical issues may arise when seeking to engage in staff-student co-creation?
Parallel Session - 11:45-12:45
World Cafe 1
What is inclusive partnership?
Widening access to higher education has been a key priority in the UK (House of Commons, 2018). More recently the Office for Students have also prioritised participation alongside access. However more attention must be paid to how students across different identities experience student partnership. This world café would like participants to critically consider what is inclusive partnership? This session will begin with a reflection on LSE’s ‘Student Education Panel’ (SEP), piloted in 2020-2021, with presenters explaining the rationale and outcomes from the initiative. Additionally, current, and former participants from the SEP will share their experiences and perspective and act as table facilitators for the world café. During the session will ask participants to answer questions such as:
What are the differences between (student) engagement, (student) voice and (student) partnership?
What does ‘inclusion’ look like? Could inclusive partnerships often identified in literature be made more inclusive?
Are there any differences in inclusive partnerships online or in-person?
Can inclusive partnerships be achieved or are they an ideal?
Are there any differences in terms of inclusivity between partnerships that are staff-originated, versus those that are student-originated; and what staff-originated partnerships could learn from student-originated partnerships?
Student facilitators will have prompts that can help to encourage discussion for example, considering paying students and making partnership part of the curriculum. This world café will encourage participants to examine different contexts that student partnerships exist, for example, are there different meanings of inclusive partnerships when working with student societies compared to academic departments? The session will enable participants to listen, share best practice, discuss any challenges and to offer solutions and propositions for future work relating to inclusive partnerships.
Parallel Session - 11:45-12:45
Student engagement in co-creation of university curricula
Matthew Watts, Anthea Hong Ming and Daniel MacDonald – University of Nottingham
Traditionally, academics and the institution are in control of the curriculum design. However, co-creation with students has existed in various contexts and there is growing interest surrounding co-creation of the curriculum. Indeed, Bovill and Bulley (2011) propose a ‘ladder of student participation in curriculum design’, with the second highest rung being ‘partnership – a negotiated curriculum’. Here students have a substantial influence over, and engagement in, areas of curriculum design and development. The University of Nottingham has recently launched a Curriculum Transformation project to redesign and redevelop the way we design and deliver our programmes of study. A key element of this approach is co-design with students, and we are striving to design programmes of study in partnership with students to deliver a curriculum by all, for all.
In this session, we will present the institutional model we have developed for engaging students in the co-design process. Students from the School of Pharmacy and a Professional Services staff member from the university will reflect on their personal experiences of being involved in a co-design project. Students will explain how it felt to be empowered to engage in designing their curriculum. They will highlight key ideas around Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), Digital Technologies, Mental Health, Placements, Assessments, Restructuring and Redefining Modules, and Degree-specific changes which have been implemented through this pilot project. The staff member will reflect on the challenges and benefits of engaging in this partnership work.
Participants will be invited to reflect on their practice, challenges and how they can engage students in curriculum co-creation in their institutions. We will do this by encouraging participants to think through and discuss the key topics identified above in their own contexts. Participants will leave the session with an understanding of the benefits of staff-student partnership facilitated through a paid internship model.
Parallel Session - 15:00-16:15
Round table 1
Connecting our Change Agendas
Lucy Panesar, Adrienne Tulley, Matt Lingard and others – UAL London College of Communication
Since April 2020, UAL London College of Communication has been employing current students and recent graduates to work in partnership with staff on making change towards urgent agendas. Since July 2020 as Changemakers for racial justice, then from July 2021 as Climate Advocates for climate justice, and since January 2022 as Digital Learning Champions for inclusive online learning.
All three initiatives started online during the Covid-19 pandemic and have evolved through various lockdowns, with an increasing focus on quality assurance processes as a key opportunity to embed our agendas, for substantial and lasting change. There is the danger, however, of competing agendas and too many voices, so we look now to forming new partnerships between us, collaborating to ensure that our agendas are embedded in a connected way.
Now that campuses are opening up and we have the opportunity to work in-person with each other, we propose to host this roundtable discussion to reflect together on the new opportunities and challenges we see in collaborating as agents for different but connected change agendas post-pandemic.
Parallel Session - 15:00-16:15
Parallel Session D
Paper 1d. Reconciling the Colonial Past and Present by Co-Creating Curricula.
Zoya Zia – London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Presenting findings from a year of research as an LSE Change Maker, a role in which students are funded to undertake their own projects to examine the status quo of the university and lead initiatives to remedy it, this session is timely and relevant in its focus on ‘decolonising the curriculum.’ The Department of International Relations (IR) sought out a Change Maker to guide its approach to diversifying reading lists, a process which the session views as an element of ‘decolonising’ but critically interrogates its limits. Particularly in an elite institution, shaped by the evolving histories of colonisation and inequity, initiatives to rework the curriculum must be guided by students and balance temporalities. The session begins by attempting to define ‘decolonising’ and engages the audience and their own understanding of this loaded term before shifting to the narratives of past, present and future in the IR curriculum. Capturing the history of the Department and wider institution through student-led archival work, this session connects colonial framings of world orders with current events, exposing the centrality of Western perspectives not simply in terms of the authors on reading lists but also the very structure of the curriculum, which does not accommodate diverse learning types. The session pushes the audience to reimagine what higher education can look like, beyond the pages of a book, and references a variety of ongoing projects at Oxford Brookes and University of London to call for the increased presence of film, art, sport and music in the curriculum. Through co-creating the curricula, professors and students can collaborate to subvert long-standing hierarchies of exclusion within the classroom and begin to construct a de-colonial future.
Paper 2d. A pivoting partnership, Student Mentors trying to engage: a tale of trial & error
Amanda Millmore, Isha Patil, Meg Williams, Anam Khan & Ellie Delbridge, University of Reading
Our student-staff partnership had 9 second year student mentors ready and raring to go to help and support new first year Law students with an optional Law and Society module. The mentors were funded to advise staff upon module design but the primary aim of the partnership was to attach them to first year seminar groups where they would build relationships with their group to help and support the new students as they transitioned to university in a pandemic.
Whilst advising on module design went well and effected meaningful change, after that things did not go to plan! Mentors struggled to get the first year students to engage with them; the community support and mentorship that our mentors felt had been missing from their first year experience (marred by the pandemic), did not land well with the new cohort who were on campus with more in-person classes.
The mentors will share their experiences of trying to engage first year students to build a learning community. The audience will be encouraged to share their experiences and ideas.
So we pivoted – mentors were redeployed as researchers to find out about barriers to learning for first year students emerging from the pandemic. They will share their experiences of challenges in getting volunteers, but also their insights into what is and is not working for our first year students.
Student mentors will share the challenges, but also the benefits of working in a student-staff partnership. The audience will follow their journey but also share their own experiences of partnership working in this tricky year. What partnership lessons can we learn for the future?
Making a change from tales of success, this interactive presentation will learn from our mistakes and whilst the partnership has pivoted, see how we found the positives amongst the difficulties.
Paper 3d. Values and principles underpinning a Foundation Mentoring Scheme to enhance community belonging
Kiu Sum and Christina Delistathi – University of Westminster
Connectedness with the university is a known element in student academic success (Yomtov et al., 2015, p. 26). Mentoring schemes are an established mechanism of creating such emotions (Sanchez et al., 2006), fostering a sense of community between students and a university, and forming partnerships to support the transition to higher education (HE). Although discussions about such schemes often involve evaluation of their efficacy in relation to student outcomes (Carragher and McGaughey, 2016; Hamilton et al., 2019), our paper aims at reviewing the values and principles we applied during the planning stage and the day-to-day scheme management. Values and principles articulate what is important to a scheme, set expectations and guide behaviours; thus, their exploration helps us understand how they mould its vision, organisation, and the actions of its participants.
Having started in the 2021/22 academic year as a pilot, our year-long Foundation Mentoring Scheme provides non-directive learning and support to new foundation students. Mentors (former foundation students) share their experience of study with their mentees (current foundation students). The scheme’s purpose is to encourage community creation and connectedness with the university amongst both groups and to support mentees adjusting to HE. We are committed to social justice, collaborative learning from a students-as-partners perspective, and to valuing student knowledge and experience. These values have shaped our decisions, responses, and processes, and have helped us navigate our relationships with student and staff participants and our reactions to the challenges and joys we experienced while running the scheme. We believe that examining our values and principles can make us more reflective and, hopefully, more effective practitioners.
Parallel Session - 15:00-16:15
Parallel Session E
Paper 1e. Graduates of the future: student defined, meaningful attributes
Sarah Flynn – University of Hertford
The University has embarked on a research-informed approach to refresh our Graduate Attributes to be more meaningful for students and better connect them to our institutional strategy. We wanted to ensure our Graduate Attributes placed a emphasis on digital learning and working, and focused on social, societal, environmental impact and responsibility. An evidence base was consulted on skills, future of work, professional body expectations, alumni, and feedback from the employers of our graduates. This has been done alongside a major consultation piece developing our approach to learning, teaching and assessment generating our Herts Learning principles whcih underpin our curriculum design, and through which we had opportunity to ask the University staff and student community what characteristics would typify a Hertfordshire graduate. By experiencing a curriculum built on Herts Learning, the way in which we will engage students in teaching and assessment activities will foster their Graduate Attributes. Students can also use the experiences they have outside the programme to develop their Graduate Attributes and have these recognised through our co-curricular Go Herts award.
Once the literature review was completed, and the Herts Learning principles determined, it was over to our students to describe in their own words what the attributes mean to them and how they feel they would develop them, both inside and outside the curriculum. This was to ensure that they are meaningful to students and useful to them as graduates in describing their abilities to those outside the University. We will share the outcomes from our consultation and reflect on how combining the literature-informed development of the attributes with the student generated definitions, gives us confidence that our new Attributes are a genuine research-based, partnership endeavour that can be used confidently within programmes, co-curricular activities, and importantly by our graduates as they enter work or further study.
Paper 2e. An ongoing adventure with Student Digital Champions
Emma Purnell, Viv Hocking, Kayla Moclair – University of Plymouth
The Digital Education team at University of Plymouth began the Student Digital Champions (SDC) collaboration in March 2020. This has enabled a staff facing team to work directly with students to gain insight to support digital transformation and continuous improvement for the Digital Learning Environment at Plymouth.
The first few weeks of the SDC programme coincided with the first lock down in 2020. Where they were key in being able to review, update and create new student help materials to support the University move to online teaching and learning. Since returning to campus, the champions use a blended approach, where they continue to work on online projects and they work closely with well-established existing student support teams on campus to provide peer support across our digital platforms.
The responsibilities and activities are varied, but peer support and communication to the wider student community underpin the role. The video will look at the impact and future of the Student Digital Champions, with a focus on two key areas. Firstly, how they have collected the opinions of students on their digital experience. The second is how they are supporting and promoting the tools and services at the University to help students develop their digital capabilities. A big part of which has been encouraging students to complete the Jisc Discovery Tool self-assessment, through a sustained advertising and advocacy approach.
The SDCs will share their reflections on undertaking this role, outline ideas for future development and consider the ways that the partnership can evolve and support change within our university. Delegates will be asked to consider how they might be able to work in partnership with students in their own institutions and share ideas for successful transformation.
Paper 3e. Arts Mental Health (ARTSMH) student-led group rebuilds learning communities
Aiko Leung, Trista Wu, Henry Wang, Samantha Lam and Keri Wong – Arts for Mental Health
Young people disproportionately experienced more stress and poorer mental health due to the uncertainties and disruptions brought on by the pandemic. Students reported being vulnerable during this pandemic, which could result in persistent long-term negative socioemotional consequences if this is not addressed. As such, this study explores the potential of online art and mental health activities on 18 students’ social connectedness and mental wellbeing, with 13 participants completed both pre and post programme questionnaires. The programme consisted of a series of online art and mental health activities: monthly zoom art workshops (3 groups: dance, music, drawing), provision of mental health blogs (5 blogs), monthly research summaries (around 10 summaries per month), four talks and a mental health competition over three months. Social connectedness was measured via combined questionnaires of social connectedness scale (Lee & Robbins,1995; Lee et al., 2001), (Cronbach’s alpha = .836) and mental health was measured via the online NHS (2020) Mental Health 8-item questionnaire (Cronbach’s alpha = .852). Online art and mental health activities were found to have improved mental health (p < .05) but not for social connectedness. Group leaders and project assistants of art workshops also reported having gained new leadership, management skills and commented positively on this partnership to rebuild student learning communities during the pandemic. The programme has the potential to enhancing mental wellbeing within communities and educational settings where individuals are exposed to higher risks of developing mental disorders, particularly where in-person attendance is disrupted.
Parallel Session: 15:00-16:15
Parallel Session F
Paper 1f. Reconceptualising a Mathematics degree as a journey rather than a piece of paper
Tom Wicks and Gio Usai – University of Nottingham
Mathematics at the University of Nottingham is currently taught ineffectively. Since the main purpose of University is to provide quality education, the focus should be on the learning process, which is currently overshadowed by high-stakes summative exams. The current programme is primarily assessed by exams, reducing students to numbers, and generating immense pressure to study not for pleasure and interest, but to score well in an examination. The credit awarded for coursework rarely corresponds to the amount of time required to complete it, creating a disproportionate marking burden on staff, with students unable to see the value of tasks putting their mathematics into practice and consolidating their understanding. In this way, University can become a chore rather than an opportunity of immense privilege.
In this session, we will present our redesign of the mathematics curriculum which de-emphasises rote learning of mathematical techniques, giving space for deep and meaningful understanding. Graduates will be competent problem-solvers and well-rounded individuals who can apply their knowledge in several contexts. Portfolio tasks include individual and group projects for students to explore topics of interest that satisfy their curiosity, whilst developing professional skills, including working collaboratively in a team and communicating technical concepts to a range of audiences. Portfolios have a strong focus on evaluative judgement and reflection, allowing students to assess their own capabilities regularly and devise improvement strategies. Beyond degree assessment, the portfolio is beneficial to students after graduation as a record of their growth and learning experiences.
Participants will be invited to reflect on their own experience of learning and assessment and how they can work with students to develop new approaches in their programmes. Participants will leave the session with a better understanding of the benefits of co-designing learning and assessment activities with students to make them fit for purpose.
Paper 2f. Virtual Writing Groups: staff-student collaboration for enhancing research quality, re-building cohort identify and fostering student confidence.
Milena Bobeva and Deborah Taylor – Bournemouth University
Writing groups for creative and academic writing have proven to be an impactful way to enhance quality and build a community of people with similar goals (Murray 2012; Murray & Moore 2006; Rocco & Hatcher 2011). They have been typically done in an in-person and in physical environment that is conducive for allowing participants to focus on the task without being distracted by other responsibilities. This presentation shares the experiences of taking writing groups into the virtual domain to support MBA students in their project work and how these have developed into a platform for social interaction and re-building a community impacted by isolation imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The MBA cohort is known historically for its a strong identity and sense of belonging (‘my MBA family’), despite and because more than 80% of the students are coming from abroad. Developing quality criteria and helping each other in study groups has been easy to achieve when their work was on campus. The MBA Director and the Project unit leader, having previous experience with writing groups, started this co-curriculum initiative with the aim to create other opportunities to develop confidence in understanding the quality criteria for their academic work and enable peer support, as well as to offer opportunities for participants to get to know their academic leads and each other better. The pilot of a series of 4 writing groups of 3 hours once a week delivered via MS Teams, run informal evaluation of each session and of the series overall. The feedback confirmed the value of the experience and is now a key provision offered as part of the MBA student support system. The initiative has been reported internally and now more staff-student writing groups have been introduced across the faculty and the university.
13 May: New horizons for student partnerships (half day online)
Parallel Session - 12:00-12:45
Parallel Session G
Paper 1g. Harnessing the empowering potential of staff-student partnerships
Jan Ball-Smith, Jess Penn and others – University of York
The University of York’s Inclusive-Learning@York team is committed to developing inclusive learning and teaching practices and inclusive learning communities which give all students a sense of belonging and the opportunity to flourish in their academic studies. Co-construction and building authentic, collaborative and empowering staff-student partnerships is central to our inclusive approach, and the University has developed a number of innovative initiatives in this area.
As the University of York works towards the creation of a student partnerships framework to support staff-student partnerships, this interactive session will ask and explore the following questions: what principles underpin this approach, what are the benefits of staff-student partnerships, and what are the barriers to authentic engagement and co-construction with students?
Case studies will be used to illustrate and explore how the University of York is harnessing student partnerships to build inclusive communities and to facilitate change in line with the University strategy. This includes how Inclusive-Learning@York interns and placement year students are leading discussions with students and staff on key areas including anti-racism initiatives, decolonising and diversifying the curriculum, and access and participation initiatives; as well as an innovative new project where student interns are employed to help build inclusive learning communities. Student partners and interns will co-present, drawing on their own experiences of working in partnership with staff, and participants will be invited to share their experiences and explore the questions posed.
Paper 2g. Exploring support for Chinese student in UCL Faculty of Engineering
Johanna Novales and Izzie Harvey – UCL
Chinese students face a combination of issues including academic pressure, isolation stemming from not feeling like they belong at UCL, culture shock and misunderstanding, linguistic difficulties, unsuitable support mechanisms and, now more than ever, anti-Asian hate and discrimination. These issues are at times exacerbated by insufficient staff cultural competency.
We noticed that Chinese students in UCL Engineering were sometimes presenting with serious wellbeing issues but were not accessing support mechanisms. We set out to pick apart the puzzle of why.
While we had been warned by staff that our Chinese student cohort were unlikely to be responsive, we found much the opposite. The keys, we think, were allowing them to talk about complicated, sensitive subjects like mental health in Mandarin, and working directly with Chinese student officers and other Chinese students to build rapport.
Our findings, which are at times extremely troubling, have implications for support mechanisms both for this cohort and for students more widely. Chinese/English translation and other cohort specific initiatives, such as Chinese social media engagement, are also being used or explored further at UCL, so we feel the scope of our project is timely and appropriate.
Paper 3g. Co-designing a transferable skills course based on students’ own identified development needs
Patricia Perlman-Dee – University of Manchester
Over 70% of employers think university students must do more to make themselves more effective employees. Combine this with that 66% of students want support in developing their employability skills (CUB/NUS 2011), there is an explicit need of supporting the students. Having carefully reviewed the current career and employability provisions offered at a range of universities, it was evident that there was a gap in transferable skills.
A study was conducted over six months to understand and identify which transferable skills the students felt most confident in and more importantly, which skills they felt least confident in.
This was combined with gaining an understanding of in which skills the students felt the university was already providing them good support, but more importantly, in which skills the students would like more support from the university to develop further.
Analysing the good support, with high level of confidence, there were clear overlapping. The same could be said for skills needing more support and lack of confidence. What is interesting is that students look for support in skills which are often already listed a Intended Learning Outcomes in many course descriptions. Therefore students voice tell us that we must do more to assist in Transferable skills development.
This lightening talk will enhance the audience with an evidence-based understanding of student’s needs in developing transferable skills, which is lead to student input co-design and development of a new employability course. This new course is a co-designed course based on transferable skills most sought after by employers in combination with student-led development needs, based on confidence and desire for more support from the university.
Parallel Session - 12:00-12:45
Parallel Session H
Paper 1h. Partnership practices in assessment
Rob Lowney – Dublin City University
Student partnership is a broad area and can include student participation in university committees, programme development, feedback processes and more (NSTeP, 2021). Engaging students as partners in their learning and student experience is important as it gives them a sense of ownership and academic staff can benefit from their insight. In recent years, there has been this increasing emphasis on students as partners in education. Indeed, some educators would argue this is part of a larger paradigm shift in the latter part of last century towards student-centred learning (Ní Bheoláin et al, 2020). Conscious of this paradigm shift and the ever-present competing assessment discourses, a team at Dublin City University (DCU), Ireland, commenced a project in 2020 to investigate the growing interest in student partnership in assessment specifically, distinct from wider arenas of student partnership. The aim was to demystify the ways in which those who teach can partner students by exploring initiatives, distilling the principles underpinning student partnership in assessment, gathering practice examples, and supporting pilots in a variety of modules. Three thematic areas arose from the initial scoping exercise: self and peer assessment; co-creation of assessment tasks and criteria; collaborative grading. From these, a ‘continuum of possibilities’, echoing Bovill’s ladder of student participation (2017), was created, to provide guidance in implementing partnership approaches in assessment. These approaches have been piloted and evaluated since 2020, with emerging findings showing that students felt engaged in their assessment, they had input or a voice in the process and through this they felt they performed better in assessments. Staff findings echoed this, as well as showing a desire to continue with partnership approaches into the future. This presentation will share insights into DCU’s practices in this space as well as emerging findings, so as to encourage other practitioners to try staff-student partnerships in the arena of assessment.
Paper 2h. Transforming blended learning experience in partnership with students – a story of Ed Owl
Nurun Nahar, Thomas Storey and Kausar Jabbar – University of Bolton
An increased emphasis on student-centered learning environments and the emerging landscape of the use of games as innovative learning technologies, calls for a transformation of pedagogy in higher education. Games-based learning in higher education is not a new concept. However, involving students as partners in the co-creation of educational interventions involving games to enrich teaching and learning experience in a blended learning context, is an area that requires further research contribution. Games-based learning could play a significant role in the learning process by improving critical thinking and reasoning skills in students as it encourages active and collaborative participation (Young et al., 2012).
This presentation will introduce the concept of using games-based learning in multi-disciplinary modules through a student-staff co-created application called Ed Owl. Using a reflective learning approach, we will narrate how this collaboration resulted in the creation of a unique web-based application to support the innovative delivery of curriculum in a blended learning context in a post Covid-19 era.
Research shows that students should be involved in the design of games-based experiential learning as co-designers, recommending innovative ideas and radical approaches to meet their own needs (Young et al., 2012). Our study aims to encourage practitioners and policy makers to consider ways in which students can be involved as partners to co-design or co-create pedagogical interventions thus giving them an opportunity see the outcomes of their actions, and take responsibility for decision-making via problem-solving competencies, thus leading to a more active, transformative, and experiential reception of knowledge.
Reference: Young, M. F. et al. (2012) ‘Our Princess Is in Another Castle: A Review of Trends in Serious Gaming for Education’, Review of Educational Research, 82(1), pp. 61–89. doi: 10.3102/0034654312436980.
Parallel Session - 12:00-12:45
Parallel Session I: Workshop 5
A Strategic Design in Education (SDxE) approach to challenges in Student Engagement and Partnership in HE
Amalia White & Alex McDermott – Maynooth University
(please note, this is a 50 minute session and may run over into the break slightly)
Today, design approaches are widely proven to be effective at addressing complex and ‘wicked’ organisational and societal challenges (Buchanan; 1992; Liedtka, 2018).
This fast-paced workshop will illustrate how the Maynooth University Innovation Lab’s (Mi:Lab) recently developed ‘Strategic Design in Education’ (SDxE) approach may offer an effective and human-centred means of addressing and tackling complex and even ‘wicked’ challenges in Higher Education.
During the workshop, we will introduce our Pandemic Research Project, Thrown in the Deep End, offering a short overview of Maynooth Student and Staff Experiences of Teaching and Learning during the Covid-19 Lockdown, in particular, the insights gathered around student engagement. We will then facilitate an online ideation session on Miro, enabling members of the CAN student and staff community to group brainstorm and co-create concepts that might address ‘wicked’ challenges in student engagement.
We suggest that a ’Strategic Design in Education’ Toolkit can enrich student and staff partnerships in today’s transformative times, by enabling diverse student and staff teams to better collaborate to identify opportunities for improvement, reimagine how challenges are approached, experiment and deliver creative, validated solutions and initiatives that enhance experiences and add value to the institution and its diverse community.
Workshop outline and approximate timings
(10 minutes) Introducing the need for Empathy in Higher Education (Screening of 5-
minute Mi:Lab Empathy Video starring Maynooth University Students).
(10 minutes) Introduction to Strategic Design in Education (SDxE) as a framework for
tackling ‘wicked’ challenges in education, including student engagement and
challenges of building empathy in student-staff partnerships.
(5 minutes) Introduce Design Challenge: How Might We encourage and enable staff
to, with minimum additional burden, reimagine how they engage, interact with and
(10 minutes) Students and staff are put into breakout room teams to brainstorm on
Miro solutions to the Design Challenge.
(15 minutes) Teams will discuss and vote on their top idea based on
desirability/feasibility and viability and create a rough concept board. The Concept
Board is a tool that displays the value proposition of the concept creatively and
visually to provide a memorable way of delivering ideas to stakeholders.
(10 minutes) To wrap up the workshop, each group will return to the main room to
briefly explain their concept board to the full group.
Parallel Sessions - 12:45-13:30
Parallel Session J: Workshop 6
Publishing your partnership work and ideas in the Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change (CAN community journal)
Simon Walker, Nephtali Marina-Gonzales, UCL (plus student co-presenter (TBC)
The Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change supports the writing up of research and practice activities post-conference. The journal is owned by the wider CAN community and serves as a vehicle for disseminating its work in a traditional academic format. The peer-reviewed journal does not charge authors to publish. This interactive workshop is intended to booster confidence in writing up work that you might be presenting at the conference or undertaking in your own institution. Participants will be invited to share their ideas, receive feedback and identify next steps for further development. If you’ve never published your work before and/or would like to find out more, please come along.
Parallel Sessions - 12:45-13:30
Parallel Session K
Paper 1k: The SEDA/Jisc Student Partnership Award
Jo Peat, Peter Hartley, Gemma Mansi, Elaine Carvalho, Nathalia Ah-Fong, Oluwadamilola Racheal Okeyoyin, Paula Garlick, Eleanor Rowell, Catarina Vigario Serra Ferreira Costa – SEDA
***Please note – the main presentation will be pre-recorded in order to include contributions from students involved but some of the team will be in the session to continue the discussion and answer any questions***
Paper 2k: Student-community partnerships: transformative for all
Anne will introduce the Community Research Initiative for Students to demonstrate student-community partnerships as a way for master’s students at UCL to effect social change through their dissertation while at the same time experiencing transformative change themselves.