HEA STEM (Computing) event

On Friday 21st February, individuals from across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom gathered at the University of Derby for an HEA STEM and Computing seminar/workshop. The event provided attendees with a space in which to consider how large-scale approaches to teaching, assessment and feedback might be facilitated in innovative ways. In total there were 4 presentations which acted as prompts to generate discussion and debate around a range of themes.

The first presentation by Dr Rachel Long of Oxford Brookes University showcased examples of her work in providing feedback to the formatively assessed work of Computing students. Her work focused on a program generating mathematical problems for students to solve and seek feedback on. The discussion following her presentation addressed areas such as transferability to other disciplines and how to maintain student interest in formatively assessed work. The second presentation was given by James McDowell from the University of Huddersfield. He provided examples of how he uses video feedback with Computing students to support their assignment work. James demonstrated examples of how he encouraged students to use screen capture technology to reflect on their work, identifying not only what they had done but how and why. After the lunch break, proceedings were started by Dr Trish Murray from the University of Sheffield. Trish discussed the Global Engineering Challenge, a large-scale teaching approach bringing first-year students from across Engineering disciplines together to work on simulated problems from industry. The aim of the initiative is to provide students with collaborative spaces to develop professional skills, which alongside academic knowledge, prepares them for life before and after graduation. Working in teams, the students choose problems to work on and demonstrate solutions they believe will solve them. The final presentation of the day was given by Jane McNeil and Beverly Cook from Nottingham Trent University. They provided insights into their experiences to date as part of the SCALE-UP project, aimed at exploring the role of Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) with large classes. They discussed some of the spatial and technological issues involved in re-configuring learning spaces to meet the needs of more active approaches such as EBL. Beverly also discussed her own observations, as a Computing lecturer, concerning the benefits and challenges of EBL.

The event provided a lively discursive environment in which audience members were able to interact with presenters in order to gain a sense of why they did what did, not just how they did it. During proceedings, individuals used the presentation themes to share, discuss and build on practices in an effort to support each other. There were many questions raised throughout the day, notably ‘How do you generate scalable teaching, assessment and feedback models which still remain personal to individual students?’ What do you think?

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