Teaching & Learning Update August 2017
Please find below the latest Teaching and Learning Update. This is a very useful overview of the initiatives undertaken over the last year and continuing into the new academic year, and that impact across much of the University. Please do take the time to read through and familiarise yourself with all the work going on that draws on cooperation from departments, faculties, professional services, and students.
The education agenda and the HE external environment are, of course, unfolding rapidly and providing many challenges. In order to maintain our excellence in Teaching and Learning we need to keep improving the quality of our teaching and related policies and support structures. Thank you for your work over the last year and I am sure we can continue to count on your support in the year to come.
Chris Hughes & Education Executive
This update contains information on the following topics:
Teaching Excellence Framework
Colleagues will have seen news published by the HEFCE on 22 July of the outcome of the TEF under which Warwick achieved a silver award. Full results are now available on the HEFCE's website at http://www.hefce.ac.uk/lt/tef/. Significant commentary followed in the national press in terms of institutional outcomes and the likely impacts upon student choice. Meanwhile the HEFCE presses ahead with a pilot for subject-level TEF. Warwick's TEF strategy is being developed by a Steering Group which will be published shortly as a component of the wider University Education Strategy. Colleagues will be aware that the TEF draws on a number of indicators amongst which is the NSS; the results of the 2017 NSS were published on 9 August and engagement with departments will follow shortly. Departments will be asked to factor these results and progress towards the achievement of ITLR recommendations into their own TEF planning at departmental level. Useful analysis of Warwick's data has been undertaken by colleagues in Strategic Planning & Analytics indicating the nature of the gap which must now be closed in order for Warwick to achieve a gold outcome in a future TEF exercise, which indicates that significant work remains to be done. Conversations with departments pursued through the new Education Experience Monitoring process (successor to annual course review) will also focus on these areas.
If you have any queries on TEF, please contact Katharine Gray, ext. 22707, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
At the summer term meeting of Heads of Departments, consideration was given to the emerging themes for the new Education Strategy and work underway to link these, work in support of TEF and outcomes from the recent Institutional Teaching and Learning Review held in Spring 2017. Consideration also took place at the University Council, WIHEA, AQSC, and Teaching Fellows Forum where the strategy received strong support. The strategy is being further developed over the summer vacation with inputs from a number of stakeholders and will be presented to the Senate and launched across the University community in the Autumn.
If you have any queries on the Education Strategy, please contact Katharine Gray, ext. 22707, email: email@example.com
An evaluation report on the ITLR exercise was submitted to the Senate and to the ITLR Steering Group at the end of the summer term, identifying recommendations for the conduct of the next exercise and reporting on outcomes from Departmental Reviews and Faculty Engagements earlier this year. Further information on next steps and the Universitys priorities for enhancement can be found at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/aro/dar/quality/itlr2017/news/institutional_teaching_and_learning_review_2017_next_steps1/ From this point onwards, the University's new Education Committee will oversee progress towards achievement of institutional and departmental-level recommendations and information will shortly be sent to all academic and professional service departments outlining the process for reporting on progress with recommendations.
If you have any queries on ITLR, please contact Katharine Gray, ext. 22707, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Following approval by the Senate in July of changes to the academic governance framework, work has been proceeding to enable changes to be enacted in preparation for the coming academic year. The full document setting out all recommendations in the light of the consultation period may be viewed at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/aro/acgovreview
The changes seek to improve communication and implementation of education strategy across the University and across different levels of study.
Faculty Secretaries have been working with Chairs of Faculty Boards to identify Chairs for the new Faculty Education Committees and to ensure that Faculty representation on new committees is fully achieved. Consideration has been given to the requirements and implications of the new structures within the development of the Committee Timetable by colleagues in Institutional Governance Services. Work to codify the changes throughout ordinances and regulations is underway and will be considered by the Senate in October.
Autumn Term meetings of Faculty Education Committees will be used for existing members of Faculty Undergraduate and Graduate Studies Committees to come together and examine the Terms of Reference for the new committees, to determine optimum membership and to consider how and when to schedule business across the year in order to ensure consideration of all areas of their remit is achieved, noting that reporting on the progress of ITLR recommendations will be an early item for consideration and monitoring, for which the ITLR Steering Group has approved a mechanism which will be the subject of separate correspondence shortly.
Heads of Department are asked to give consideration to the adoption of recommendations relating to the creation of a Departmental Education Committee, drawing upon the generic terms of reference proposed in the report to the Senate. Similarly, consideration should be given to the identification of a Departmental Director of Education, possibly an existing Director of Undergraduate or Graduate Studies, to lead on teaching and learning matters within the department and to act as the liaison on education matters. It would be appreciated if the name of this individual could be communicated to colleagues from Teaching Quality who are now embarking upon the process of updating lists of key contacts in academic departments for the new academic year (DUGS, DGSs, Chief Exams Correspondents etc.)
If you have any queries on the Review of Academic Governance, please contact Katharine Gray, ext. 22707, email: email@example.com
The Student Personalised Information Programme is working to improve student systems and processes to provide a more consistent, integrated and personalised environment for students. SPI aims to provide personalised, tailored information to students through clear and accessible portals; bring consistency and simplification to the management and provision of student information; implement clearly defined and standardised systems with SITS, Moodle and Tabula at the core, reducing variability between departments and to develop a consistent online learning environment, combined with consistent academic policies to facilitate student mobility, flexibility and choice.
The programme recently received significant funding from the Financial Plan Sub-Committee which has extended the scope of SPI to include oversight of all student related systems. The programme will be phasing process improvements and system developments over a five year period. Some projects which are already in development include SkillsForge, to support postgraduate students with professional development, and Universal Admissions, which is seeking to create a single portal for all student applications. Some future projects include improving the processes around module approval, and implementing a system to support the event management of Warwick Welcome Week. You can find more about SPI on the SPI website, and if you would like to get in touch with the team with any feedback you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
On Wednesday 12th July 2017, the LEGACY Project coordinated a workshop, bringing together 4 different aspects of the HE sector. With almost 50 academic and staff members participating in the event, there was staff representation from a range of departments and professional services who are involved and/or support Teaching & Learning across the University. A summary of the event can be found at http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/aro/dar/quality/whatson/legacyprojectworkshop
Participants heard from Professor Lawrence Young, Academic Vice President, who introduced HEFCE's Learning Gain (LG) Pilot Programme, research undertaken in this area and its strategic fit to the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).
Professor Gwen van der Velden, Director of WIHEA and Professor Chris Hughes, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education), summarised the institutional intelligence gathering requirements of the Teaching Excellence Framework, specifically, the metrics against which Warwick and other HEIs were measured by the TEF assessment panel and documenting essential information for the narrative submission.
Other workshop presentations included and introduction to the LEGACY project, with Sunil Maher presenting key project aims and the work packages involved. Professor Helen Spencer-Oatey (CAL) presented the Global Education Profiler, a unique tool assists HEIs in developing appropriate support measures and services to diverse student population. Finally, Esther de Perlaky (Student Careers & Skills) presented the support measures being implemented for UK-educated Chinese students. Warwick was fortunate to be one of two UK HEIs to receive funding to develop and implement support measures that have been developed through the UK government's "Prosperity Fund". A number of dedicated careers resources for Chinese students have been developed in multiple languages, allowing the opportunity for students to consider employment prior to arrival as well as deliver advice and guidance on employment preparedness.
(a) Scrutiny Panel
Many thanks to all departments for providing nominations to the University Course Approval Scrutiny Panel. These have been reviewed and the composition of the Panel will be announced later in August, once approved on behalf of the University Senate. Members of the Panel (and their HoDs) will be notified directly by Teaching Quality and the Panel composition will be published on the University website. Training for the Panel members will be organised by the Teaching Quality Team.
(b) Updated Course Approval Form
The draft new course approval form has been revised to enable full inclusion of financial approval of courses in the workflow. It also reflects comments made by the Academic Quality and Standards Committee in Term 3 and feedback from the first round of testing of the workflow. Once the final version of the form is approved on behalf of Senate, it will be published on the Teaching Quality website and will replace existing forms.
Developers from TRIBAL (the external provided of our student records system, SITS) are implementing changes to the course approval workflow. Further communications will be sent to academic and professional service departments later in September to provide an update on the timings of the introduction of the new workflow.
If you have any queries on the new process please contact Teaching Quality on email@example.com
(a) External Examiners' Reports
The new submission system for undergraduate and postgraduate taught external examiners' reports for the academic year 2016/17 is now live in eVision. External examiners for undergraduate courses have been submitting their reports using this new system with a deadline of 31 July 2017; departments have been asked to submit their responses by 30 September 2017. We expect external examiners' reports on standard postgraduate taught courses to be submitted by 31 December 2018 and departmental responses by 28 February 2018.
(b) Nominations of new External Examiners and approval
The new workflow system for approval of new external examiners within eVision will be released in autumn 2017 ready for new appointments for the academic year 2017/18 based on the following process: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/aro/dar/quality/categories/examinations/externalexaminers. In the meantime, the paper-based process outlined in the guidance will continue and is administered by the Examinations Office; queries arising should be directed to the Examinations team.
(c) Handbook for External Examiners
In June, the AQSC approved a new Handbook for External Examiners which contains comprehensive guidance on the roles and responsibilities of all external examiners appointed to taught programmes. This document will be published to external examiners and academic departments at the beginning of the academic year 2017/18 and will replace all previous guidance on external examiners currently located in a number of documents.
If you have any queries on the submission and processing of external examiners' reports please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any queries on future developments please contact Teaching Quality on email@example.com
At meetings held in the summer term 2016/17, the Senate approved a new proofreading policy and changes to guidance on dealing with cheating in assessed work. This has resulted in a suite of changes of which colleagues in academic departments should be aware, and which should be transmitted to staff and students. Full details of the changes and all relevant documents are available here: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/aro/dar/quality/az/cheating
The new Proofreading Policy provides a framework for acceptable use of proofreading. It sets out expectations, acceptable practices and exceptions.
The updated Guidance for Dealing with Cheating in Assessed Work covers record keeping; information for students on good academic writing and referencing; roles of staff in the investigation of cheating; use of source matching software; formative assignments; procedure for investigating cases of suspected cheating, including cases involving joint degree students; and reporting of cheating cases.
In tandem with the new policy and revised guidance Regulation 11 Procedure to be Adopted in the Event of Suspected Cheating in a University Test has been updated.
In order to support departments a flow chart describing the handling of work submitted for marking with respect to suspecting cheating has been prepared. Sample letters for communicating to students regarding a referral to an Academic Conduct Panel or a Head of Department are also available, which may be adapted stylistically by departments, if desired.
Before the start of the new academic year 2017/18, departments are asked to do the following:
- Ensure that colleagues are aware of changes to policy and regulation;
- Update web pages and course handbook content as necessary with respect to references to policy around cheating and proof reading, including any signposting to web based information, and flag these changes to continuing students. The Good Practice Guide on Providing Information to Students has a new entry on Cheating and Regulation 11 on p10;
Ensure the new version of the declaration form is advertised and accessible to students. Changes will be incorporated into the version available in Tabula and Moodle;
Use the new version of the timeliness reports that now collects information on potential plagiarism cases.
If you have any queries on the Guidance and Procedures for Handling Plagiarism please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Following extensive consideration of sector best practice and the OIA Good Practice Framework: Handling Complaints and Academic Appeals, a unified appeals regulation was approved by Senate to take effect as of Monday 2nd October 2017. This unified appeals regulation will replace the regulations pertaining to appeals against examination decisions for Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught and Postgraduate Research students. It will align the deadlines for appeals submission across all levels at 10 University Working Days and introduce a third review stage to the process. Additionally, in order to ensure consistency of approach, all appeals will be logged centrally within Teaching Quality.
In order to avoid confusion to students over the summer reassessment period, the publication of the new Regulation and relevant guidance documentation online has been held back. It is envisaged that this will be published in late September 2017. Teaching Quality will also be running training sessions on the new appeals regulation and procedures at appropriate points during the new academic year.
If you have any questions relating to this matter, please do not hesitate to contact email@example.com
Earlier in the year, information on the revised Undergraduate Mark Scale to be introduced from 2017/18 for all undergraduate modules was provided, noting that further details would be provided in due course. Details on the revised scale are now available for students and staff . The University level descriptors should be complemented by explicit criteria for scale points, approved and published at the departmental or course - specific level to explain the discipline-specific skills and knowledge required to be demonstrated by a student in order for them to achieve the respective points on the scale. The Undergraduate Mark Scale descriptors should be published alongside departmental criteria for use by students, markers and external examiners.
If you have any queries on the Revisions to the Undergraduate Mark Scale please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A Working Group of the Board of Undergraduate Studies has developed Guidance on Scaling, which was approved by the Senate in July. The Guidance is intended to complement the existing Moderation Guidance and to clarify the circumstances in which scaling may be used, together with associated principles and procedures. The Guidance also clarifies that normalisation is not permissible. It will apply from 2017/18 and is relevant to undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses.
If you have any queries on the Guidance on Scaling please contact email@example.com
From 2017/18 an additional category of "major" corrections will be introduced for research degree examinations. The Board of Graduate Studies was conscious that examiners may have been reluctant to recommend resubmission in the event of "minor"corrections involving a significant amount of time to complete. Many other peer institutions allow examiners to differentiate between "minor" and "major" corrections/amendments and the Board therefore developed proposals for this additional category. The recommendations were approved by the Senate at its meeting in July and the updated version of Regulation 38, which will apply from October 2017, is available here. It should be noted:
- That minor corrections should be re-defined to refer to typographical amendments minor errors of logic or referencing only, noting that a new category of major corrections be introduced where a candidate is required to make amendments that do not entail a significant amount of further research or analysis;
- That candidates be permitted a period of up to a maximum of six months to make major corrections, noting that there would be no changes to the period allowed for minor corrections (three months) and resubmission (12 months), and that these limits apply equally to full and part-time students;
- That the recommendation of major corrections not be available to examiners of resubmitted theses;
- That the satisfactory completion of major corrections be assessed by at least one examiner, usually the internal.
If you have any queries on the Introduction of Major Corrections please contact GraduateSchool@warwick.ac.uk
A Working Group of the Board of Graduate Studies has overseen the development of amendments to the guidance on the PhD by Published Work and new guidance to examiners, which has now been approved by the Senate. The updated Guidance documents have now been published online as follows:
Guidance on the Requirement for the Award of Postgraduate Research Degrees will be updated shortly to reflect the approved changes.
If you have any queries on the updated guidance on PhD by Published Work please contact GraduateSchool@warwick.ac.uk
In a recent audit of Erasmus+, the British Council highlighted as a non-compliance issue the fact that visiting students do not have equal access to resit arrangements when compared with home students, thus putting them at an academic disadvantage. Therefore, with effect from 2017/18, incoming visiting and exchange students will be offered the same opportunity to remedy failure as home students of the University of Warwick. In practice, at present examination regulations only permit first year undergraduate students to resit during the summer vacation. Therefore only visiting and exchange students taking modules at Level 4 (1st year) modules would have the right to resit.
If you have any queries on Remedying failure for incoming exchange students please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Departments are being encouraged to adopt the Moodle Virtual Learning Environment http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/its/servicessupport/academictechnology/teaching/moodle/ as the platform for module materials and activities. Over the summer, Moodle spaces are being created for all 17/18 modules, and each module space will link to Talis Aspire Reading List and echo360 Lecture Recordings where available. By the start of term Moodle will provide a personalised list of modules that each student is enrolled on. The aim is to make it easier for students to find their module materials, whichever department they are in. As part of this simplification of the landscape, Lecture Recordings will be available through Moodle. The upgraded Lecture Capture system http://www.warwick.ac.uk/lecturecapture will be in service by the start of term, making it even easier for you to schedule, access and retain recordings. The outcome of the current work will be a more consistent approach to module content in a way that is scalable and sustainable. Contact email@example.com with any queries on Moodle or Lecture Capture.
Aspire is a key teaching and learning initiative, led by the Library and supported by the Student Personalised Information Programme Board and the Academic Quality and Standards Committee. It enables you to create dynamic reading lists, provides students with direct links to reading materials and allows academic colleagues to track student engagement with resources. To learn more about Aspire and how it can help you, see: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/library/staff/teaching/reading-lists or contact your Academic Support Librarian.
At its meeting in July 2017, Senate approved changes to the Requirements for Taught Postgraduate Awards. These include a clarification of requirements for attainment of volume of credit on PGT qualifications with more than 180 credits and an introduction of a category of modules students are required to take, but do not have to pass (within the rules set in the PGT Requirements). An updated version of the document is available online from: http://warwick.ac.uk/quality/categories/examinations/conventions/pgt. The Requirements for Postgraduate Taught courses offered by the Departments of Statistics and Warwick Mathematics Institute were also amended to include a specific reference to the Master of Advanced Study in Mathematical Sciences (http://warwick.ac.uk/quality/categories/examinations/conventions/pgt/alternatives/mathsstats).
If you have any queries on changes to PGT Requirements please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
As per previous years, departments are asked to maintain the module catalogue in advance of the 2017/18 year. Guidance on which aspects of the module catalogue can be edited, where auto-generated data is pulled from, and how departments can do this can be downloaded from the homepage right-hand menu, see http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/aro/dar/quality/modules/
If you have any queries on updating module information please contact email@example.com
The revised "Recognition of Prior Learning Policy" replaces the University's previous "Accreditation of Prior Learning Policy". This outlines the policy and procedure for applications for the recognition of prior experiential or certificated learning towards credit awarded by the University. The policy covers applications made by individuals at the point of admission to the University as well as standing exemptions approved by the University as eligible towards specified credit on specific programmes. The revised policy was approved by the Senate on 5 July 2017 and has been published online and can be found here: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/aro/dar/quality/categories/courseapproval/apel/
If you have any queries on Recognition of Prior Learning please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
New appointments had been made lately to the Education Executive, the group charged with oversight of work in the Education arena. Dr Will Curtis and Professor Andy Clark were recently appointed as Academic Directors for Partnerships and Undergraduate Studies respectively. News of the appointment of an Academic Director leading on Postgraduate Studies in succession to Professor Amanda Dowd and a further appointment to lead on Employability and Skills will follow soon.
A number of changes in personnel will also take place in the Teaching Quality area over the coming months. Roberta Wooldridge Smith will cover the role of Academic Registrar following the departure of Mike Glover to Oxford for the interregnum until a successor to Mike is appointed. Katharine Gray will take on Roberta's role as Deputy Academic Registrar. Louise Hasler has joined Teaching Quality in succession to Jen Bowskill as Assistant Registrar and Secretary to the Board of the Faculty of Science on an interim basis whilst Jen pursues a secondment in Life Sciences. Claudia Gray will move, date tbc, from her current role as Assistant Registrar in which she supports the Board of the Faculty of Medicine to a new role focussing on assessment. The Academic Registrar's Office will be joined by Nathan Morris and Alison Bell, currently working on complaints resolution and based in the Delivery Assurance and Resolution Service, to continue their work alongside Stephanie Waldron on student complaints. Geraldine Connelly will join Teaching Quality from WBS in late October to lead on course approval. We say a fond farewell to Jill Shaw and Mandy Harris from the ITLR team; on-going work in support of ITLR will be absorbed within TQ. A revised organisation chart for the Teaching Quality team and will be published online shortly to capture all these changes.