Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Steering Group - More thoughts

Colleagues at our inaugural Steering Group meeting offered support, encouragement and (quite rightly) probing - I thought I would post some of the observations and thoughts here too.

A few 'things' that resonated with me from the discussions -

1 the NSEE vs. NSS
2 taking my (our) own agenda to the Schools
3 Making due consideration to all items of the plan
4 Ambition – making sure that we are not being overly ambitious.
5 Drawing on projects that have already engaged in similar-ish activity

1. I have flirted with the NSSE / or seen pointers to it (the NSSE) on my USA conference travels and it something that I would like to explore further. Clearly we will have to balance the institutional requirements of 'success' in the NSS and so this will need to stay on our radar too. I would like us to focus on learning and seeing how that aligns with the NSS.
i.e. not wanting to be NSS driven.

2. David Nicol asked what agenda we will be taking to the Schools - i.e. in addition to working with the agendas of the Schools. Great question! I have thought long-and-hard about this after the meeting - I am aware of David' self regulation agenda for instance. Most of my work has been about trying to develop a personalised experience for the students. That is not to trample over the benefits of collaboration, community centeredness or seeing that socialisation is important but I am keen to see students as individuals in the current mass HE system. In some sense this is in part response to one of the 14 grand challenges raised by the National Academy of Engineering. I think Personlised Learning / seing students as individuals will resonate with us here since we can quite rightly draw on David's work, promote the benefits of community centeredness but also remind ourselves that we are dealing with individuals. We are a large University and losing contact with our students (as individuals) will be of concern to many of us here.

3. Our project plan was details in some areas but less so in others - we need to balance our endeavors and show commitment to all aspects of the project and its stages. Lisa Gray raised similar observations when she asked for more specificity.

4. We write in our project plan about transformative and sustained change. I don't wish to retreat from these aims but the Steering encouraged a close look at the size of the 'ambition'.

5. I am aware of the FAST and SENLEF projects and also the Engaging Students with Assessment Feedback project. Actually now I come to write about those and other A&F related projects (SPRINTA etc) that Chris Rust and I were involved with at the University of Essex, its kind of bonkers that there are still so many issues with some of the basics of assessment and feedback practice.
I will make sure that we revisit those projects and use what the others have already found. I will also draw on the experiences and expertise of Malcolm Ryan and the Learner Experience projects. Learner Experience is also part of this project

Hmm. Lots to do - but it was just great to get the input from colleagues. I have every confidence that our project will benefit from the experience and expertise of our Steering Group - Great input - thank you!


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