Skip to content

Toggle service links
  1. eSTEeM
  2. Category
  3. Theme
  4. Supporting students
Subscribe to RSS - Supporting students

Supporting students

Investigating how to enhance the idea generation process for academic project by students

Project leader(s): 
Martin Braun
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Current
Body: 

Having taught on project modules at HNC, HND and final UG level (T452), I have observed that the most intense tutor engagement is when discussing possible topics. Therefore, this project seeks to identity problems students encounter during the generation of their project ideas, and tries to suggests ways to address them.

This project will survey resources available to students at the OU and other HEIs, and academic literature exploring the obstacles to the generation of student project topics together with possible solutions. Based on this, a hypothesis (or a set of hypothesises) will be developed regarding problems in the idea generation process for academic project by students. This will lead to the proposition of possible support strategies to mitigate these issues. In order to test this understanding a toolkit will be developed, most likely in the form of guiding questions together with an evaluation matrix to be either used by students independently or in a workshop setting. In parallel to this, a team of tutors will be recruited to participate in a design critique workshop refining the underlying assumption and the toolkit before deploying it in their modules. The effectiveness of this toolkit (as a proxy of understanding student needs) will be evaluated through two focus groups (one with the tutor team and one with students who used the toolkit). This resource could be made available in the STEM faculty and/or on the OU library website.

This project aims at improving the student experience and enhancing project skills, as it gives guidance in what would otherwise be a very stressful phase toward the end of their degree. At the same time, it should increase the focus the tutor-student contact time on discipline specific matters, thus reducing the tutor workload pressures.

Martin Braun poster

Investigating students perception of some of the key learning activities in T272

Project leader(s): 
Foroogh Hosseinzadeh, Anne-Marie Gallen, Helen Lockett and Rafael Hidalgo
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Current
Body: 

T272 is the first module in the undergraduate qualification that introduced the Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Software, ANSYS, to provide a foundation for students to further develop their skills using this industry standard software in later modules.  Following T272, ANSYS has been introduced in the first Level 2 Mechanical Engineering A module (first presentation in 21J) and will be integrated in Level 3 modules (Mechanical Engineering B and Solid Mechanics and Materials Failure)

Also, T272 is the first module for students in Stage 2 that introduced an OpenEngineering Laboratory (OEL) Pressure Vessel Experiment in which students run the experiment on their own rather than simply observing or collecting data. In addition, the mathematical content in Part 2 of the module is a pedagogical major step up for students compared to the maths content in earlier modules.

T272 module team would therefore like to investigate students’ perception around learning on some of the key activities introduced in T272 related to ANSYS, the OEL experiment and the simulation tools provided in Part 2 of the module. We are interested in whether students make the connection with the taught theory when doing the activities and why students respond differently to the designed activities. 

This project will use Real Time Student Feedback (RTSF) questionnaires to collect data of their perception on these key activities. This will be followed by interviewing students whom responded to the RTSF. The outcome of the in-depth analysis of the collected data will be used to define recommendations for potential changes to the module material and inform future module design. It is hoped that the potential impacts of this project are for students to improve their learning experience, for the project team to improve their professional practice and for the university and the wider community of HE educators to improve delivering teaching materials.

Foroogh Hosseinzadeh, Anne-Marie Gallen, Helen Lockett and Rafael Hidalgo poster (PPT)

 

Developing student use of feedback on their marked TMAs

Project leader(s): 
Carol Calvert and Clare Morris
Faculty: 
STEM
Status: 
Current
Body: 

This project builds on and develops recent work investigating students’ non-collection of marked TMA scripts (Intranet only).

The previous work was undertaken by an AL and a staff tutor in their own time and has yielded potentially useful results; we now wish to design/test/build and evaluate an advice source for students and tutors. The goal being to improve student confidence, achievement and ultimately retention and progression.

A key element of this project would be to use the information we have acquired, particularly from the level 3 students, to help more students move more rapidly and effectively to actually using the feedback that they receive. This strand will involve development work potentially by both ALs and students. Materials developed will be evaluated using mechanisms appropriate for the materials and the implementation method. They are likely to mirror those in the document on the above scholarship exchange site.

There is also a need for a broad dissemination strand  to ALs using scheduled development sessions, the more informal PALS sessions and via proactively posting on tutor forums etc. This awareness raising will be assessed in terms of any hard evidence of non-collection being reduced. 

Outcomes would be - 

  • a series of presentations and discussions with ALs;
  • a recommendation to module teams  about what and where to post on module websites to encourage and monitor student take-up of marked TMAs;
  • development of materials to encourage both ALs and students to view the tutor primarily as a support to learning rather than as an “assessor”. 
  • Contributions to conferences and journal paper(s) – for example in Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education or MSOR Connections

Carol Calvert and Clare Morris poster (PPT)

1 of 23