Thursday, 24 September 2009

Cluster Meeting

We have just returned from our latest CAMEL meeting with our three cluster partners - The Universities of Bristol, Exeter and Westminster. The meeting was hosted by the team from Westminster at their New Cavendish Street site, and as usual was held over two days. One of the most important aspects of these meetings is the chance to meet colleagues and to share our experiences of how our projects are going.
The first day consisted of a couple of really informative session on change management followed by a computer simulation exercise which involved guiding a change management through to completion. Needles to say it started to get quite competitive with teams eager to claim victory. The simulation was in many respects quite realistic and mirrored some of the issues that arise in the ESCAPE project.
The evening was spent catching up with the experiences of the other teams and mapping out the coming year. Plans for the joint JISC Curriculum D&D Programme Meeting in October were discussed over a very pleasant evening meal with the other teams.
On the second day we were asked to give a short presentation on the progress we have made - specifically looking at pedagogical tools that we had developed.The University of Bristol team demonstrated their eBiolabs project . They have developed an interactive online laboratory manual that is designed to prepare and support students through their practical work. The resource being developed is an excellent one and builds on previous work done by the chemists at Bristol, who had a similar project.The link to eBiolabs is and is well worth a look.
We were able to talk about our experiences at Hertfordshire and the kinds of approaches that we have taken. We outlined the progress made and mapped out how we saw the next six months as the new assessment landscape is bedded in.
Due to building work being carried out at Exeter we will be hosting the next CAMEL meeting which is scheduled for around April 2010.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Now the hard work really starts!

At present I am in the process of meeting with the module co-coordinators to flesh out their plans for re-engineering their assessment regime. This picks up from the work done in July in the assessment re-engineering workshops that we ran. This was a chance for the module teams to reflect on their current practice and to start to apply some of the Appreciative Inquiry techniques that we have been looking at. This includes using reflective interviews to tease out what works well on the module and use this as a basis for the review of the assessments.We are also using "Fish bone Analysis" as a tool to get the teams to see what needs to occur for the re-engineering to happen.
Rachel Harris from Inspire Research has worked with the project team over the last year on the AI approach - acting in a consultancy role. Rachel lead a couple of the sessions at our two day event and writes about her experience in her blog
I have just finished the draft interim report for the project. This is a good chance for us to reflect on the progress made over the last year with the project. It is quite sobering to think that we are halfway through the life of the project - now we are at the really exciting stage where we can really start to influence the assessment practice in the schools.