• 'Academic engagement' within a widening participation context—a 3D analysis

      Hockings, Christine; Cooke, Sandra; Bowl, Marion (Routledge, 2007)
      The growth in the student population within higher education against a background of government policy promoting the concept of 'widening participation' has led to much debate about the nature of university teaching. Academic engagement of all students within increasingly large and diverse classrooms has proved difficult to achieve. The research that we report here is part of a two-year ESRC/TLRP-funded project, whose key aim is to develop strategies for encouraging academic engagement and participation of all students by creating inclusive learning environments. In this paper, we report on the first stage of this project by exploring some of the sociological, epistemological and pedagogical reasons why learning environments may impact differently on first year students. We do this by asking over 200 'pre-entry students' what conceptions they have about higher education, university teachers, their subject and themselves as learners prior to enrolment at university. We consider how these conceptions might influence how they engage in, and benefit from, learning at university.
    • Assessment criteria: reflections on current practices

      Woolf, Harvey (Routledge (Taylor & Francis), 2004)
      This article reviews the findings of a small-scale investigation into the criteria used by a number of SACWG departments for assessing final-year project modules in business and history and other written history assignments. The findings provide the basis for a broader discussion of the issues relating to the formulation and use of assessment criteria. Assessment entails academics making professional judgements about the standards and quality of students' work. However, for the educational value of the work entailed in developing assessment criteria to be fully realized, there needs to be a higher level of shared understanding than currently exists (among students, tutors and other stakeholders) of the language in which criteria are couched and the ways in which criteria are applied.
    • An automatic method for assessing the teaching impact of books from online academic syllabi

      Kousha, Kayvan; Thelwall, Mike; Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group; School of Mathematics and Computer Science; University of Wolverhampton; Wulfruna Street Wolverhampton WV1 1LY UK; Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group; School of Mathematics and Computer Science; University of Wolverhampton; Wulfruna Street Wolverhampton WV1 1LY UK (2016-12)
    • Building confidence, interest, understanding and independent learning through experience: a student-centred approach

      Hockings, Christine; Mills, P. (Birmingham : Staff and Educational Development Association, 2001)
      This chapter describes and evaluates the range of learning, teaching and assessment strategies developed for an operations management module in order to inspire students to engage with statistical and mathematical ideas and applications. Adopting an action research approach, the authors explore the issues prior to the intervention and evaluate the effectiveness of them in the first cycle of action. It is of particular interest to practitioners.
    • ‘Career and Money Aside, What's the Point of University?’ A Comparison of Students’ Non-economic Entry Motives in Three European Countries

      Bartram, Brendan; University of Wolverhampton (Wiley, 2016-05-16)
      his paper explores students’ non-economic motives for attending university. Drawing on the results of a tri-national survey involving online questionnaires and email interviews with education students at English, German and Portuguese universities, it compares and discusses the extent to which the participants are motivated by a number of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. In contrast to certain other studies, the findings reveal a strong consensus across all three settings in relation to certain motivational elements—strong intrinsic desires for self-improvement and low motivations driven by social pressures or seeing university as a default option. More pronounced national differences emerge, however, regarding motives to contribute to society and the appeal of the social dimension of university life. The paper interprets the similarities and differences revealed and considers a number of conclusions.
    • Case studies of Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise Networks (KEEN). Report 8

      Boucher, David; Jones, Andrew; Lyons, Gillian; Royle, Karl; Saleem, Shazad; Simeon, Paula; Stokes, Michael (University of Wolverhampton Business Solutions, 2015-10-20)
    • Challenges and strategies for improving the quality of information in a university setting: a case study

      Dhillon, Jaswinder (Routledge (Taylor & Francis), 2001)
      Knowledge, information and communication are crucial for organizational effectiveness and key to the ability of the organization to respond to change. This article reports on the findings of a research and developmental project in a modular multi-campus university focusing on improving the quality of information to students and other users. The research uncovered challenges for developing an information strategy in a large multi-site organization. These challenges included aspects of the organizational culture and blocks to effective exchange of knowledge and information for strategic organizational advantage. The findings offer insights which may help other organizations in evaluating their own processes and procedures for effective communication of knowledge and information. The methodology used for the research offers organizations a process for learning about the organizational culture and an approach for facilitating cultural change in moving towards a knowledge-based organization.
    • The characteristics of a Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise Network (KEEN) project. Report 3

      Boucher, David; Jones, Andrew; Lyons, Gillian; Royle, Karl; Saleem, Shazad; Simeon, Paula; Stokes, Michael (University of Wolverhampton Business Solutions, 2015-10-20)
    • Coursework Marks High, Examination Marks Low: discuss

      Bridges, Paul; Cooper, Angela; Evanson, Peter; Haines, Chris; Jenkins, Don; Scurry, David; Woolf, Harvey; Yorke, Mantz (Routledge, 2002)
      It is commonly believed that the standard of student performance in coursework tends to be higher than that achieved in formal examinations. This view was tested by analysing undergraduate performances in six subjects at four UK universities. Two measures of relative coursework performance were employed. The first is the difference between the mean coursework and examination marks for each module. The second considers the proportion of students in each module who achieve a higher mark in the coursework than in the examination. The measures showed that in English and History coursework performances are slightly higher, equivalent to one-third of one honours class (or division) while, in Biology, Business Studies, Computer Studies and Law, coursework performances are higher by as much as two-thirds of one honours class (or division). The differences observed in the latter subjects are very significant and have serious implications for parity of treatment in degree programmes where students may choose modules with contrasting modes of assessment.
    • Differentiating work for statistics modules in sports degrees

      Lane, Andrew M.; Dale, Crispin; Horrell, Andrew (Routledge (Taylor & Francis), 2006)
      The aims of the study were to use differentiated online learning material for use with a Level 1 statistics module for undergraduate sport students and examine relationships between student performance on differentiated tests and module performance. We developed the differentiated material by writing easy and hard multiple choice tests, with the harder tests having a shorter completion time and more choices. Each multiple choice test related to information available online and immediate feedback was provided on completion of the test. Results indicated that 85% of students accessed the module online, with 26% accessing difficult tests and 22% accessing easy tests. Correlation results indicated that module performance was significantly related to performance on the easy test (r = 0.27, P0.01) and also on the harder test (r = 0.26, P0.01). Findings suggest that lecturers should encourage students to engage with interactive material and that future research should explore methods to enhance students' independent learning skills.
    • '......do that and I'll raise your grade'. Innovative module design and recursive feedback

      Prowse, Steve; Duncan, Neil; Hughes, Julie; Burke, Deirdre (Routledge, 2007)
      In an attempt to ensure students had a positive experience in their first semester, and to encourage future effective use of tutors' feedback comments, a post-1992 university used a module in the school of education to develop an innovative feedback process. The process involved four stages: a first submission of written work, written feedback on that work, viva on student understanding of feedback, and final submission of written work. Between the viva and final submission, students could choose to improve their work for a specified number of grade points. The innovation was met favourably by students, and overall grades were improved against the previous iteration of the module. The project showed promise for adaptation in other forms for use across the University, though some ideological issues around assessment remain unresolved. The matter of the innovation and institutional quality standards is discussed in detail.
    • Does grading method influence honours degree classification?

      Yorke, Mantz; Barnett, Greg; Bridges, Paul; Evanson, Peter; Haines, Chris; Jenkins, Don; Knight, Peter; Scurry, David; Stowell, Marie; Woolf, Harvey (Routledge (Taylor & Francis), 2002)
      Variation in mark-spread is very evident in degree classification data provided by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). Previous empirical investigations suggested that, at the level of the module, the spread of results might, in some subjects, be influenced by the method of grading (percentage marking or shorter grade-point scale). The availability of degree classification data from HESA made it possible to test whether the effect perceived at module level carried through to the honours degree classification. The empirically-generated hypothesis was that subjects characterised by a relatively narrow spread under percentage marking would show a wider spread when a grade-point scale of around 20 divisions was used, with the effect being detectable in honours degree classification data. The hypothesis was tested, using HESA data for academic years 1994-95 to 1998-99, on those new universities in England and Wales for which the existence of an institution-wide grading approach could be established. Tests were undertaken at the level of the HESA subject area, and at the more fine-grained level of the individual subject where numbers permitted. Results from the analyses are mixed. The analyses have probably been influenced by weaknesses in the way that HESA has collected award data, but nevertheless suggest lines for further inquiry into a matter that is of importance for equity within institutions (especially where modular schemes are being operated) and more broadly across the higher education sector.
    • Economic motives to attend university: a cross-country study

      Bartram, Brendan (Taylor & Francis, 2016-10-26)
      This paper considers students’ economic motives to attend university. Drawing on selected results from a tri-national survey involving online questionnaires and interviews with students at English, German and Portuguese universities, it examines and compares this particular extrinsic motivational dimension, alongside the influence of the national economic contexts within which the students are located. The findings suggest a strong consensus across all three settings in relation to high levels of motivation driven by the students’ economic goals – careers, qualifications and future income – irrespective of background variables and fee structures. An exploration of the impact of the broader economic climate, however, reveals a more fragmented picture. The differences revealed between national settings offer tentative evidence that the students’ perceptions of their country’s economic situation does have a differential impact on their decision to take up university studies.
    • Electronic delivery in law: what difference does it make to results?

      Migdal, Stephen; Cartwright, Martin J. (Web Journal of Current Legal Issues, 2000)
      This article details research which attempts to assess what effect electronic delivery of law modules has on actual student assessment performance. The authors reviewed the assessment results of students who had taken both conventionally and electronically delivered modules and compared and contrasted individual student performances in all the modules studied by them in a particular semester. As far as the authors' researches were able to ascertain this was a relatively unique piece of research as far as legal study is concerned. We found that weaker students (those who might ordinarily fail or scrape a bare pass) were achieving a mark some 10% higher than that achieved in the conventionally delivered modules; pushing those students into the lower second category - the assessment criteria for such classification demanding evidence of deep as opposed to surface learning. However there was little or no difference in the marks achieved by upper second quality students. The authors acknowledge that many factors affect the quality of assessment performance and that, whilst the article addresses some of the variables, any specific conclusions based on results alone are open to question. Furthermore, we accept the limitations of a small and narrow statistical sample and that therefore this can only be a survey rather than a controlled experiment. Nevertheless we believe that as part of the debate on the role of C & IT it has a useful role to play. Inevitably an article such as this trespasses on many pedagogical issues deserving debate which goes beyond the objectives of this discussion.
    • Emotion as a Student Resource in Higher Education

      Bartram, Brendan (Taylor & Francis, 2014-11-20)
      This article offers a critical examination of students’ emotional bargaining in higher education. Based on an analysis of student emails and staff interviews, the article uses a case-study approach to explore the nature of this behaviour and the motivational drivers behind it. The paper reveals an amalgam of socio-cultural and educational factors, identifying the particular importance of a neo-liberally inflected climate.
    • Executive Summary of what happens in a Knowledge Exchange and Enterprise Network (KEEN) project. (Report 1)

      Boucher, David; Jones, Andrew; Lyons, Gillian; Royle, Karl; Saleem, Shazad; Simeon, Paula; Stokes, Michael (University of Wolverhampton Business Solutions, 2015-10-20)
    • Feed-forward: improving students' use of tutor's comments.

      Duncan, Neil; Prowse, Steve; Wakeman, Chris; Harrison, Ruth (University of Wolverhampton, 2004)
      Anecdotal evidence, considerable practitioner experience, and research within this University (Winter and Dye, 2004) indicate that many students do not collect their work once it has been assessed. Many others show little interest in the written or oral advice offered to them by the markers (Wojtas, 1998). This means that tutors become used to repeating important advice to some students, with no evidence that they have read, understood, or learned from the points raised by them. There are many reasons for students not using tutor feedback. For some students, only the numerical grade is of interest to them – simple, unambiguous and meaningful in terms of achievement and progression (Ecclestone, 1998). Some students will only read the qualitative comments if the quantitative mark is outside their expectations – perhaps to complain if it is surprisingly low, or to bask in the praise of an unexpected A grade. Some students may not read/heed the advice due to a combination of not fully understanding the comments (Chanock, 2000), and not realising their potential value; it is those students that this intervention hoped to target. This study developed from the frustration of tutors who were reduced to pleading that students should engage with their assignment feedback in order to avoid having the same negative remarks appearing on their work in future. One of the student responses to these pleas was that the summative assignments for modules were conclusive and self-contained, and it was difficult to see how comments about raising the grade for a completed module on, say Dyslexia, could help improve grades on the next essay on, say Autism. Indeed, this example uses cognate topic areas, whereas the modular system allows for much more disparate choices of topic, especially in a joint subject degree. Clearly, some students found it difficult to unpick the subject-specific, or topic-content advice from the generic advice to improve future achievement. Developing a solution to this problem required some means of using individual students’ academic histories and applying them to current assessment tasks.
    • Feed-forward: Improving students' use of tutors' comments.

      Duncan, Neil (London: Taylor & Francis, 2007)
      A small-scale action research project was carried out on students' feedback histories on one undergraduate module. Old grades and comment sheets were collected and analysed by staff for recurring advice to individual students on the target module. This advice was then synthesized to create simple individual learning plans for the students' forthcoming assignments, in other words old feedback was applied to a new task. A number of additional teaching and learning interventions were provided for participants and the statistical outcomes showed a small gain in the grades achieved against those who did not participate. Interviews were held with participants that indicated a number of reasons why feedback was not optimized to assist further learning.
    • The good, the bad and the ugly – secondary pupils’ views of good and bad practice in MFL teaching.

      Bartram, Brendan (nfer (National Foundation for Educational Research), 2007)
      What do our pupils really think of us as teachers? Brendan Bartram conducted some research with pupils in England, Germany and the Netherlands to find out what they thought of their modern foreign language teachers.