Commit to Get Far 2017

This post is a little different to many others on the blog so far, reflecting on the team’s activity as part of SussexSport’s Commit to Get Far challenge 2017.

The challenge was set for teams to track their activity to “virtually” travel the distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats – a total of 900 miles!

The challenge started on the 18th January 2017 but teams were welcome to continue tracking their distances for as long as they wanted….. and team ADQE wanted to continue!


Part 1 – Land’s End to John O’Groats

The first part of the challenge was actively supported by SussexSport, with a wall map and postcards sent when we reached waypoints along the route.

While the wall chart was a wonderful visual motivator, we fancied doing something a little more techy…

The ADQE Commit to Get Far webpage was born – showing a map of our progress, and funky charts to show the team’s activity!

The map showing team progress and a chart of waypoints reached

The team have a Google Form where they can track either:

  • number of miles travelled
  • number of hours of activity (where 15 minutes = 1 mile added to the sheet)
  • number of steps counted (where 2,000 steps = 1 mile added to the sheet)

The form then feeds into the charts displayed on the Google Site, which are updated a couple of minutes after the form is submitted.

The team relished the activity challenge – logging hundreds of miles within the first couple of weeks!

The site helped to keep people updated with the team’s progress and gave a strong push to log more activity.

The team managed to complete Part 1 of the challenge – 900 miles – on 15th February 2017.

Charts showing the number of miles completed, and miles remaining in the challenge.


Part 2 – The next steps

After reaching John O’Groats, the team had a decision to make – should we continue on our journey?

The response was an overwhelming “yes” and we quickly decided to venture across the North Sea to Oslo!

We selected a few funny waypoints along the way – some in the North Sea were labelled Sea Serpents’ Lair and Neptune’s Hangout to keep us entertained!

This gave the team a further 750 miles to travel across both sea and land.

We raced through the second part in 4 weeks, finishing up in Oslo on 13th March 2017.

Charts showing the individual progress within the team


Part 3 – Keep on keepin’ on

The team obviously enjoyed the Scandinavian air, as we opted to travel through Norway, Sweden and Finland before ending up in St. Petersburg.

This was the third part of our journey, and the team had clocked up over 1,600 miles by this point, so I thought things may calm down.

Obviously not, as the team whizzed through our waypoints along the way – including Gothenburg, Stockholm, Tornio and Helsinki.

We managed to reach Russia on 25th April 2017  – 97 days into the challenge.


Part 4 – Southwards through Europe

By this point, the team had notched up over 3,000 miles, and the Commit to Get Fit challenge was about to start.

Surely the appetite to keep trekking across the continent had faded by this point!?!

Of course not!

The team wanted more, more, more – though maybe venturing to warmer climates.

We decided to head South through Europe, passing all the capital cities on the way down.

We completed a further 1,500 miles of travelling through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and finally Turkey.

This took another couple of months, but we made it all the way to Istanbul on 26 June 2017!

Our full route for the challenge is shown in the image below:

 


Next Steps

The next steps are still being discussed, we may carry on westwards through Europe to make our way back home.

Alternatively, we might head south to Tabletop Mountain – only 8,000 km away – and virtually “visit” most of Africa on the way!

Watch this space!

 


Summary Stats for our challenge so far

Challenge started: 18th January 2017

Miles complete so far: 5,336 miles

Total days so far: 163 days.

Approx. miles per day: 32.74 miles

Number of activity updates from the team: 702 updates

Number of steps logged: 3,584,311 steps

Hours of activity logged: 262.07 hours

Miles of activity logged: 2,495,75 miles

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Posted in Curriculum, Enhancement, Partnerships, Standards, Teams

Partnership Tutor Network Day – Guest Post

This month we are handing over to another guest blogger – Prabha Parthasarathy – who was a winner of the Partnership Tutor Fund in 2016/17. 

You can find out more about the Partnership Tutor Fund on the ADQE webpages.

Without further ado, let me hand over to Prabha:

Read more ›

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Posted in Guest, Partnerships

Winners of the 2016-17 Student-Led Teaching Awards

One of the most fulfilling parts of the work of the Enhancement team is working on the Teaching Awards for each year, especially the Student Led Teaching Awards.

We have recently completed the process for 2016-17, having presented the awards to staff at the Annual Teaching and Learning Conference 2017.

Read more ›

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Posted in Enhancement

What is a learning outcome? And why do we use them?

As an ADQE Officer I support course validations, both internally and externally, and attend Curriculum Development Approval Sub-committee (CDASC). At these events a significant amount of time is spent ensuring the course and module learning outcomes are aligned to FHEQ qualification descriptors (2014). Typically, requests for amendments to the learning outcomes are made and course teams update learning outcomes accordingly.

For some, learning outcomes are challenging, perplexing and difficult to understand…some even see learning outcomes as an administrative device. However, this is certainly not the case. Learning outcomes support and guide good learning and teaching. They clarify the course or module team’s thinking about what they are aiming to achieve, outlining what is taught and how.

So what is a learning outcome? 

The QAA UK Quality Code for HE Part A: Setting and Maintaining Academic Standards (2014) defines learning outcomes as a:

‘Statement of what a learner is expected to know, understand and/or be able to demonstrate after completion of a designated programme of study (which leads to a qualification).’

In non-quality assurance terms, learning outcomes describe what a student should be able to do to successfully complete a course of study. For example:

‘By the end of the course you should be able to… analyse risks to computers and computer systems, and recommend, develop, implement and review effectiveness of appropriate safeguards in a variety of contexts.’

Module learning outcomes are more specific, offering a short guide for students on where the module will take them. For example:

‘By the end of the module you should be able to… advise parties to a case involving the sale of land of their rights and obligations, and justify your advice by reference to relevant statutes and cases.’

What is the purpose of learning outcomes?

Learning outcomes are incredibly important as they make it clear to both students and staff the expectations for the learner’s development and how the outcomes will be assessed.

Learning outcomes are also vital as they:

  • tell students what is important;
  • enable good assessment development;
  • encourage reflection and good course design and development; and
  • drive learning.

How can I devise effective learning outcomes?

Phil Race, Making Learning Outcomes Work, argues that effective learning outcomes should answer the following eight questions:

  • Who do these outcomes belong to? Not just ‘students’, please! It’s me we’re talking about. Please refer to me as ‘you’ when explaining the learning outcomes.
  • What am I supposed to become able to do? (i.e. what evidence am I working towards providing?).
  • How is my evidence of achievement going to be assessed?
  • Why is this important? Why is it worth me putting time, energy and intellect into working on this?
  • When am I going to need to produce the necessary evidence? Along the journey of my learning, or just at the end of the journey?
  • Where is my evidence going to be assessed? In the lab? In the classroom? In the field? In the seminar? In the exam room? In the work placement?
  • So what? What happens if I don’t provide evidence of my achievement of the outcomes? What happens if I don’t achieve them? Does it matter? If it’s important enough, it should matter. Is it?
  • Wow! What’s the ‘wow’ factor about this course? Why am I doing it instead of some other course? What’s the ‘wow’ factor about how this subject is taught here? Why am I here and not somewhere else? What’s the ‘wow’ factor that this course has that isn’t anywhere else?

Do your learning outcomes answer these questions?

It would be unrealistic for every learning outcome to address all eight questions, but, at a minimum, learning outcomes should answer the ‘what’s’ and ‘how?’ in each outcome and the rest of the questions should be clear to students.

Ultimately learning outcomes should be:

  • Active – it describes what students can do.
  • Attractive – students want to achieve it.
  • Comprehensible – students know what it means.
  • Appropriate – to the student’s current goals and career plans.
  • Attainable – most students will mostly meet it, with due effort.
  • Assessable – we can see if it has been achieved.
  • Visible – in the course booklet and on the VLE.

Resources on Learning Outcomes:

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Posted in Curriculum

The Mathematics Winter Intersession Week

For this post, we are handing over to our first guest blogger, Nicos Georgiou from the Department of Mathematics.

Nicos won three teaching awards and went on to receive a Teaching Innovation Prize in 2015 to fund a project in the Intersession Week for second-year students in Mathematics. 

After the second year of Nicos’ Intersession Week activities, we asked Nicos if he would blog about how it went.

Take it away, Nicos:


The organisation of the Mathematics Winter Intersession Week was successful for a second year in a row. Maths faculty and associate tutors joined forces to lead a variety of workshops which cater to the needs of the Maths students. Read more ›

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Posted in Enhancement, Guest

Winner of 2016/17 Partnership Tutor Fund

Prabha Parthasarthy, Study Group Partnership Tutor Life Sciences, was awarded part of the 2016/17 Partnership Tutor fund for a networking event between students at the International Study Centre, former students at the International Study Centre, and students studying a Life Science course at the University of Sussex. The event will provide International Study Centre students a taster into life as a student at the University. The networking event is due to take place on 31 March 2017.

The Partnership Tutor fund was launched in 2015. The fund is awarded for activities relating to student engagement. For example, bringing students at partner institutions to the University to attend lectures, seminars, and workshops.

The Partnership Tutor Fund was re-launched in 2016/17 and tutors can apply for the fund.

Image result for partnership

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Posted in Partnerships

Winner of the 2015/16 Partnership Tutor Fund

Flora Dennis, Partnership Tutor West Dean College, won the 2015/16 Partnership Tutor Fund. Flora was awarded the fund to organise an exchange day at West Dean College for MA Conservation Students at West Dean and MA Art History and MA Museum Curating Students at the University.

Flora said ‘as a result of the Partnership Tutor fund we were able to organise an exchange day at West Dean College for MA Conservation Students at West Dean and MA Art History and MA Museum Curating students at the University of Sussex. The day was based on West Dean’s collections and prepared students to move beyond postgraduate study into a range of professional workplaces such as museums, galleries, historic buildings and the cultural and heritage sector’.

The Partnership Tutor fund was launched in 2015. The fund is awarded for activities relating to student engagement. For example, bringing students at partner institutions to the University to attend lectures, seminars, and workshops.

The Partnership Tutor Fund was re-launched for 2016/17 and tutors can apply for the fund.

wd-exchange-3  wp_20160629_005west-dean-exhcnage-2

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Posted in Partnerships

The new Teaching and Learning Toolkit

February saw the launch of Sussex’s new Teaching and Learning Toolkit, a new Study Direct site designed to bring together resources, research and ideas for people teaching at Sussex. As ADQE’s very own Teaching Fellow, I’ve co-ordinated putting the Toolkit together in response to requests and feedback from across the University. Read more ›

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Posted in TaLES

External Examiner Induction 2016/17

What’s the External Examiner Induction then?

Each year, the University employs around 80 external academics from other institutions. It is the role of these external academics to check that the University’s standards of teaching and assessment are upheld, and the awards given to students are appropriate. You can read more about the role of External Examiners on the ADQE webpages.

In order to ensure that the External Examiners are fully aware of their role, and the rules and processes which guide our exams and assessments, the University provides Induction sessions for all of our External Examiners.

Read more ›

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Posted in Standards

Internal Student Surveys at Sussex

The University carries out internal surveys of students to measure their satisfaction with their courses, any common issues with key themes across the University, and to give all students the opportunity to make their opinion heard. This blog post outlines some of the changes to internal surveys at Sussex over the past few years, and details the new system of internal surveys launching this year.

Read more ›

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Posted in Enhancement, Uncategorised

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