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Restructuring the Computing Foundation Year Lessons Learned.

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Presentation on theme: "Restructuring the Computing Foundation Year Lessons Learned."— Presentation transcript:

1 Restructuring the Computing Foundation Year Lessons Learned

2 FYE@RGU, 2008 2 Plan of Talk Lessons Learned What we used to do What we wanted to do What we did do/are doing Plans for the Future What still needs to be done Evaluation

3 FYE@RGU, 2008 3 The Old First Year

4 FYE@RGU, 2008 4 What was wrong with the Old Structure? Disenchantment with performance at the end of the first semester meant higher probability of disengagement in semester two. Some students did not even attempt to revise seriously for the summer resit opportunity which was their best (and often their only realistic) chance for progression. Little day-to-day contact between personal tutors and tutees, even though such contact is cited as a positive factor in studies of the first year experience. Such day-to-day contact very difficult to achieve unless Personal Tutors also teach on the first year programme.

5 FYE@RGU, 2008 5 What was wrong with the Old Structure? Little provision for soft, professional, collaborative or transferable skills such as study skills, group or team working. 12 week first semester teaching session was far too long for new undergraduates coming from schools with a teaching break at the half-term. The relentless teaching schedule was considered to be an important factor in early (first semester) student disengagement. Concentrated semester-long teaching sessions made activities such as diagnostic assessment and remediation difficult to schedule due to time constraints.

6 FYE@RGU, 2008 6 An Integrated Curriculum The structure of the new Foundation Year should place strong emphasis on the idea that, as a discipline, Computing is seen as a unified and self-supporting whole. Introductory teaching should, wherever possible, reflect and convey this notion of integration to the student. Integrated Curriculum As a consequence, prominence should be placed on the concept of an Integrated Curriculum.

7 FYE@RGU, 2008 7 An Integrated Curriculum This integration should manifest itself at structural and pedagogical levels, as well as that of student-support: Integration of teaching across more fluid thematic boundaries to highlight fundamental aspects of interconnectivity and interdisciplinarity within areas of the syllabus, Integrative assessment Integration of modes of assessment which attempt to balance the types (individual and group) and purposes (e.g. formative and summative) of such activity,

8 FYE@RGU, 2008 8 An Integrated Curriculum Partner Module assessment Creation of assessment opportunities in which it is possible to carefully combine measurement of achievement of learning outcomes from two partnered modules, Synoptic assessment Development of assessment processes that encourage students to combine elements of their learning from different parts of the programme and to show their accumulated knowledge and understanding of a topic or subject area.

9 FYE@RGU, 2008 9 An Integrated Curriculum Integration of Student-Support Embedding academic and pastoral support for students, especially at-risk students, within mainstream contact time. Personalising the learning experience.

10 FYE@RGU, 2008 10 The New Foundation Year

11 FYE@RGU, 2008 11 Use 30 credit themes which run over two semesters to give greater flexibility to manage a balanced and engaging teaching style which can deal specifically with issues of transition. Three major themes: Software Design and Development, Problem-Solving and Modelling, and Information Systems. Use content drawn from the current set of modules but emphasise coherence and connections. Main Points

12 FYE@RGU, 2008 12 Introduce a two-semester 15 credit module which addresses soft-skills, collaborative and group-working, PDP, promotes employability skills and fosters study skills to encourage independent learning. Use (but monitor!) portfolio-based assessment approach to allow students to build up work over two semesters Use Social Software – Blogs, Wikis, Virtual Social Spaces – to provide a vehicle for collaboration. Main Points

13 FYE@RGU, 2008 13 Maintain a one-semester 15 credit module which allows some specialisation in the students chosen route. Promote the introduction of joint assessment opportunities between the major themes and the collaborative working module. Build time for remediation into the timetable at the start. Main Points

14 FYE@RGU, 2008 14 Main Points Maintain strict attendance monitoring and use participation in formative assessment as a Learning Objective. Set up a dedicated Foundation Year Teaching Team, composed of enthusiastic and approachable staff with proven teaching ability to oversee the academic delivery. Use the same staff to provide pastoral, academic and remediation support for students.

15 FYE@RGU, 2008 15 Lessons Learned Structural Features that worked well 30 credit two-semester module seem to give flexibility of delivery Formative assessment (mainly) in semester 1 Break up semester 1 with a week for group-work Use of semester 1 exam period as teaching time, and the post-Easter-break period for final course work

16 FYE@RGU, 2008 16 Lessons Learned Be sensible about what can be achieved in the first year of implementation - Its not all going to work! Plan for a spiral development process: First Year of implementation Implement the major structural features Try to get content sorted out Try to map out an evaluation process Second Year of implementation Revise, refine and enhance assessment and feedback procedures Ensure rigorous evaluation

17 FYE@RGU, 2008 17 Lessons Learned Dont assume that the process will free up staff time: We have more contact time with the students now. (This may change next year) In this first year we probably spent more time on assessment feedback than in the previous years. (This will change next year) But the time spent is also higher quality Getting a dedicated FY team is extremely difficult (and probably impossible) but very important.

18 FYE@RGU, 2008 18 Lessons Learned What still needs major work? Linkages between themes Almost all assessment practices The PDP/e-portfolio side of the Collaborative and Professional Skills module Need to scaffold the reflective learning aspects Structured peer support Personal tutorial support Supplemental teaching/remediation Evaluation

19 FYE@RGU, 2008 19 Lessons Learned What do we take forward? Be innovative with assessment: Make use of formative and summative peer assessment self assessment divergent assessment Use Group-work Get student participation in module/programme design

20 FYE@RGU, 2008 20 Lessons Learned And finally… Dont worry (too much) if it doesnt all go to plan. If possible, dont have a major round of staff redundancies at the start of the academic year…

21 FYE@RGU, 2008 21 Foundation Year Team Garry BrindleyFoundation Year Coordinator Nic CapanniLecturer Gordon EcclestonComputing for Internet & Multimedia Route Leader Audrey FryerMultimedia Development Route Leader Sue HodgsonLecturer Roger McDermottLearning Enhancement Coordinator

22 FYE@RGU, 2008 22 The Ideal FY Curriculum In their 2008 report on Curriculum Design for the First Year, Bovill, Morss and Bulley identified key features of an ideal first year from the perspective of staff and students, as well as those described in previously published literature and case studies.

23 FYE@RGU, 2008 23 Ideal Curriculum (Literature) Orientation of students to increase social and academic engagement, connectedness to university, sense of direction and future career (Beder, 1997) Development of learning skills (Lines, 2005; Harvey et al, 2006) Student-centred, active learning, through problem-based, project- based and group learning (Beder, 1997; Harvey et al, 2006) Collaborative learning or learning communities to enhance transferable skills and lend a sense of belonging (Barefoot, 2002; Lines, 2005) Formative assessment and feedback (Yorke, 2001;Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick, 2006) Progressive skills development (Jantzi and Austin, 2002) Time and structures for reflecting on learning (Jantzi and Austin, 2002)

24 FYE@RGU, 2008 24 Ideal Curriculum (Staff) Co-ordinated programme level approach Small group work Problem based learning Student choice Early formative feedback Use most experienced staff to teach first year students Involving students in curriculum design Opportunities for students to have personal contact with staff Clear communication between staff and students about all elements of the curriculum Enjoyment

25 FYE@RGU, 2008 25 Ideal Curriculum (Student) More attention on assessment and timely feedback More challenging work Students being involved in curriculum design in a role that is more than just feedback Student participation in designing timetabling and curriculum structure

26 FYE@RGU, 2008 26 How Do You Know What Your Students Think About Their Course? About Their Course?

27 FYE@RGU, 2008 27 Use of Social Software Social software – software supporting group interaction Web 2.0-based software – blogs, wikis, social bookmarking tools, and collaborative authoring environments, shown to promote initial take-up of reflective activities and their continued use. Focus on blogs, wikis (and collaborative authoring tools). Educational potential assessed and compared with more conventional e-learning technologies, Criteria for success determined by factors such as the enhancement of deep learning, promotion of engagement, transferability of lessons learned.

28 FYE@RGU, 2008 28 Blogs: Students required to keep a personal blog detailing learning journey throughout the year. will form part of an e-portfolio of work which will accompany the student throughout their course of study, will form the basis of further metacognitive activities in later years, encourages conversational approach to reflection on different types of narrative. The project will seek to develop framework (e.g. templates) for critical analysis and reflection Activities also form basis of the Schools PDP strategy, include activities aimed at enhancing employability. Use of Social Software

29 FYE@RGU, 2008 29 The Student Blogging Environment

30 FYE@RGU, 2008 30 The Student Blogging Environment

31 FYE@RGU, 2008 31 The Student Blogging Environment

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