Resources: assessing unessays

The IEF seminar on unessays allowed me to present my conception of unessays to a group of interested and enthusiastic staff, all of whom had some excellent input into the assessment of the unessays.

The introduction and presentation of unessays – and my plea for help – are found in the PowerPoint slides: Unessay presentation – assessment

The key take-home messages I had from this exercise was firstly that I was overcomplicating things, it’s important to recognise commitment and engagement, a strong narrative is important, and that it was perfectly fine to have generic, subjective criteria. After a further discussion, a framework for supporting the further development of the assessment into a portfolio approach was set up.

As a result, I have decided on the following approach – one for this year (within my existing assessment framework) and one for next year, where I can change the framework to suit a more integrated unessay approach.

The key messages I want to integrate into this assessment criteria is a set of objective set criteria and a set of more subjective generic criteria. This will allow for students to have a grounding to their approach.

2017/18 Requirements

  • Unessay, one page artist statement and bibliography of supporting literature
  • Mid point informal review, present your idea to the class & get feedback (mid-Feb)
  • Due in class (and filmed if a one-off presentation); photographed for magazine
  • Submit supporting material (e.g. any written components, links to websites, etc.) electronically
  • Unessay show

2018/19 Requirements

In 2018/19 I will remove several other assessments and replace them with a more integrated assessment (remove pilot study write up; remove reflective journal; remove unessay as of 2017/18).

  • Agreement between tutor and student on the approach and topic by end December
  • Unessay, including: portfolio, showing engagement & planning; unessay with 1 page artist statement
  • Midpoint review, initial feedback: 3 min presentation on your unessay idea & plan (mid-Feb); peer reviewed
  • Submission in class (filmed if one-off); photographed for magazine
  • Submission electronically for written components (e.g. lyrics, articles, etc., links to websites)
  • Unessay show (physical items; photographs/videos, etc.)

Requirements for portfolio:

  • Weekly write up of surgery sessions (at least 5) and midpoint review.
  • Production journal for unessay.
  • Any associated material (e.g. drafts, sketches, design documents, photographs)
  • Bibliography of supporting literature
  • Unessay
  • 1 page artist statement

General Marking Scheme (items in brackets for 2018/19)

Objective criteria:

  • Agreed by tutor
  • Accuracy of information used
  • Production quality commensurate with approach
  • Aimed at non-specialists in the subject

Subjective criteria:

  • Artist statement (and portfolio) shows underlying thought and link with the final year project
  • Depth of commitment and engagement (shown through portfolio)
  • Compelling:
  • Critical and active engagement with the source material
  • Clear and insightful connection with research
  • Effective
  • Chosen medium works persuasively with the design and polish of the unessay
  • Strong narrative present

Overall it was a very successful workshop and I would like to thank the participants for their constructive discussion and assistance in applying this approach in my teaching!

Researching with marginalised communities ethically: Contradictions in ‘doing’ feminist research

This month’s seminar was delivered by Sana Rizvi, who explored the contradictions of ‘doing’ feminist research, and how the materiality of engaging in fieldwork magnifies the gap between ‘ideal’ versus ‘actual’ feminist ways of conducting research. Drawing on her doctoral research with British-Pakistani mothers of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities, she explored the ethical, and methodological challenges of engaging with feminist methodology and how this contributes value to the research process when working with marginalised groups. In the talk, she examined feminist principles for engaging in research and showed that traditional feminist methods may not always be more ethical, and that as feminist researchers we must be willing to adopt a holistic view of feminist values, where vulnerability of researcher and participants are both respected and where methodology is adjusted accordingly.

A recording of Sana’s talk is available via Panopto, here.

The accompanying paper is at:

Rizvi, S. (2017) Exploring British Pakistani mothers’ perception of their child with disability: insights from a UK context. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 17: 87–97. doi:10.1111/1471-3802.12111

February seminar: Researching with marginalised communities ethically: Contradictions in ‘doing’ feminist research

Date and time: Tuesday 6 February 2018, 1.00pm – 2.00pm

Location: De Montfort University, Portland 1.04

Presenters: Dr Sana Rizvi

Registration: All welcome, no booking required

Key contact details: Sarah Younie (syounie@dmu.ac.uk)

In this seminar Dr Rizvi explores the contradictions of ‘doing’ feminist research, and how the materiality of engaging in fieldwork magnifies the gap between ‘ideal’ versus ‘actual’ feminist ways of conducting research. Drawing on her doctoral research with British-Pakistani mothers of children with special educational needs and/or disabilities, I explore the ethical, and methodological challenges of engaging with feminist methodology and how this contributes value to the research process when working with marginalised groups. In this talk, I examine feminist principles for engaging in research and show that traditional feminist methods may not always be more ethical, and that as feminist researchers we must be willing to adopt a holistic view of feminist values, where vulnerability of researcher and participants are both respected and where methodology is adjusted accordingly.

Evidence-informed practice – much talk and little action

Professor Sarah Younie, Professor of Educational Innovation at De Montfort University, writes about evidence-informed practice in education contexts.

This blog was first published as a BERA Blog in October 2017.

Note: MESH is an international education sector owned and managed initiative, developed by volunteers, with MESHGuide research summaries quality assured as are academic journal articles. For updates register to receive the newsletter and follow the Tweets (@meshguides). To ensure sustainability, MESH is a voluntary education sector led initiative funded by contributions of time from a wide range of members and supporters.


Evidence-informed practice in classrooms (EPiC practice) is a growing issue for teachers in schools and interestingly a Google search on the topic gives a million and a half returns.

Over recent years as those of us in the MESH (Mapping Education Specialist knowHow)network have canvassed colleagues about practice in other countries, we find there is little action beyond expressions of concern by policy makers and the recurrent commissioning of reports which yield nothing new (DFE, 2017).

As a co-author of the major textbooks used for secondary teacher training in the UK, I am only too aware of the extensive professional knowledge base that authors need to draw on in writing the textbooks.

High quality teaching requires a high degree of pedagogic knowledge as well as up-to-date subject content knowledge. However, we find that in many areas, the research underpinning practice is either not available or not easily accessible to teachers. Academic papers, are, after all, written as conversations between academics. Arguably, they are not and never will be designed to meet the needs of practitioners.

As reported at the BERA conference, in the ‘Educational Research and Policy Making’ SIG discussion on the UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals about improving the quality of teaching, the MESHGuide research summaries provide one answer to the need for translational research ie translating theory to practice in education.

MESH supports the use of scalable and low cost technologies to enable educators to engage in research collaborations and publications around topics they consider will make a difference to student’s learning. We are at the beginning of a long journey pooling, sharing and testing our collective research-based knowledge including knowledge about how to diagnose problems learners face and interventions that help them overcome barriers to learning. We estimate thousands of concepts need to be included in the MESHGuide list. This is a challenging task.

We define evidence-informed practice as requiring both research/evidence and teacher professional judgement about the context and learners ie explicit knowledge + tacit knowledge. In our view, all teachers can be EPiC practitioners if they are given the tools – as a minimum, this means access to research based knowledge translated to relate to practice.

You are invited to Get Involved in what ever way suits your knowledge, expertise, experience and interests. Join the MESHConnect Open Door group on www.khub.net/MESHConnect to read more and set the email alerts to be kept up to date or email enquiries@meshguides.org to volunteer.

 

January workshop: ‘Assessing Unessays’

Dr Catherine Flick (Faculty of Technology) will facilitate this workshop through active learning in Vijay Patel 1.11 from 1-2pm on Tuesday 16 January 2018.

Abstract
An unessay, that is, anything that isn’t an essay, is a creative assessment technique that students can use to focus their thinking, explore alternative explanations, and take advantage of their varied skillsets. Unessays have been used successfully in mostly Arts and Humanities subjects, but this year I am trialling the approach with final year business computing students in an effort to get them to explore their final year research project topics in a different way. This talk will explain the philosophy behind and methodology of unessays, their application in a DMU context, and then focus on a discussion around fair assessment criteria.

December seminar: ‘Peace Education: Pedagogy and Interventionist Research’

Dr Rob Perry (Education Studies, HLS) will facilitate this workshop through active learning in HU 2.32 from 1-2.30pm on Wednesday 13 December 2017.

All are welcome. No booking required.

Abstract
Peace Education is ‘about Peace and for Peace’. Peace Education relates to a variety of topics: Human Rights, Disarmament, Development, Environment, Multi-culturalism and Conflict Resolution…and seeks to understand context, background, causes and effects….it also seeks to make an intervention, to changes mind sets, to Educate in order to change.  In Northern Ireland (as elsewhere) I argue that ‘Peace Education’ requires ‘Integrated Education’. My research contains the views of Primary School and Secondary School Principals and Head teachers to ‘Peace Education’ in Northern Ireland.  I also sought via my research to encourage politicians in Northern Ireland, to consider and reflect on how historical events are commemorated in a post conflict society, and what bearing they have on reconciliation.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) – with Technology

Rob Weale has written an extended blog post titled ‘Universal Design for Learning (UDL) – with Technology’ which explores the interface between digital technology and UDL. Rob outlines some of the challenges experienced by educators (in a Higher Education setting) in the implementation of UDL, and presents a mechanism which aims to broker an initial engagement between educators and the use of digital technologies specifically for UDL.

The article includes:

  • An overview of UDL, its initial emergence and the core principles which underpin it.
  • A focus on the interface and interplay between digital technology and UDL situated in localised curricular
  • How engaging with technology for UDL impacts on educational practice, and some particular challenges that this presents to educators
  • Presentation of an approach which looks to the three core principles of UDL as a mechanism to offer the educator a point of departure and framework for developing their learning environment in general, and for exploring where certain technologies and technology facilitated approaches can be used to implement UDL in the curriculum.

The blog post can be found at:

http://rweale.our.dmu.ac.uk/2017/10/02/universal-design-for-learning-with-technology/

Recording of our seminar: Teachers’ digital literacy and professional development: a grounded theory investigation

There is a Panopto recording of our recent seminar facilitated by Lucy Atkins available here.

The session abstract is appended below and you can read more about Lucy’s work on her website.

Abstract

In response to the increasing drive for the effective use of technology to support teaching and learning in compulsory education, my thesis presents a ground-up investigation of professional development for digital literacy that highlights the impact of four spheres of concern on individual teacher development. These four spheres are linked to the literature surrounding technology acceptance and engagement and are used to reframe a popular model of technology acceptance from a predictive model, to a supportive framework. This work is grounded in teacher professionalism within a neoliberal society, the state of professional development in the UK following the bonfire of the quangos and the role of digital literacy for the teaching professional.

IEF Seminar: Teacher’s Digital Literacy Development: a grounded theory investigation

We have a forthcoming seminar being led by Lucy Atkins, a PhD student, on 21st November from 1-2pm,

For more information about Lucy’s work see her website: www.lucyjca.co.uk Or follow the hashtag #digilitPhD

The seminar will be held in Edith Murphy House, 4.01.

Teacher’s Digital Literacy Development: a grounded theory investigation

Abstract

In response to the increasing drive for the effective use of technology to support teaching and learning in compulsory education, my thesis presents a ground-up investigation of professional development for digital literacy that highlights the impact of four spheres of concern on individual teacher development. These four spheres are linked to the literature surrounding technology acceptance and engagement and are used to reframe a popular model of technology acceptance from a predictive model, to a supportive framework. This work is grounded in teacher professionalism within a neoliberal society, the state of professional development in the UK following the bonfire of the quangos and the role of digital literacy for the teaching professional.

 

Slides for IEF Seminar: academic alienation and mass intellectuality

Our first seminar of the 2017/18 season takes place today from 13:00-14:00 in Hugh Aston, room 2.32, led by Richard Hall.

The slides are appended below.

Abstract

As one response to the secular crisis of capitalism, higher education is being proletarianised. Its academics and students, encumbered by precarious employment, overwhelming debt, and new levels of performance management, are shorn of any autonomy. Increasingly the labour of those academics and students is subsumed and re-engineered for value production, and is prey to the vicissitudes of the twin processes of financialisation and marketization. At the core of understanding the impact of these processes and their relationships to higher education is the alienated labour of the academic, as it defines the sociability of the University. This paper examines the role of alienated labour in academic work, and relates this to feelings of hopelessness (or world-weariness/Weltschmerz) and academic ill-being, in order to ask what might be done differently. The argument centres on the role of mass intellectuality, or socially-useful knowledge and knowing, as a potential moment for overcoming alienated labour.

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