A series of support sessions have taken place across the summer in which colleagues have been sharing successful experiences in different areas of blended learning, particularly in relation to assessment.

Please see the timetable below which details all of the sessions that have taken place so far and those upcoming.

If you were unable to attend any of the sessions that have already occurred, please find the recordings linked below.

If you would like to attend any of the remaining sessions, please register by following the relevant links below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Session 1 – Assessment: New Coursework Format (Led by Amanda Bamford)
Tuesday 17 August, 11am

In my case study, I will talk about a new coursework assessment that I have introduced into my final year unit “Living with Climate Change” that really allows students to demonstrate understanding and critical analysis.

• In the coursework assessment, students are asked to critically appraise a recent peer-reviewed research paper and to discuss it in terms of the present state of knowledge.
• Most importantly, they are also given a media article that was based on the research paper, and they compare it to the original study and discuss whether it was a ‘fair’ reflection of the published research paper.
This assessment is preceded by a workshop where they are given a published research paper and a media article that comments on the research paper to discuss and compare. In this way, they are prepared for the coursework.
This format could be used in many other discipline areas to encourage “real world” based discussions.

Session 1 Recording
Session 2 – Blending the synchronous with the asynchronous: Using watch parties for teaching (Led by Jen McBride)
Wednesday 25 August, 11am

This session will cover the following points:

• What are “watch parties” and how can they be used in teaching online?
• Why might they be a good format?
• Feedback from students on watch parties trialled in 2020–21
• Tips and tricks to avoid technical pitfalls
Session 2 Recording
Session 3 – Final Year GBL Presentation (Led by Sue Taylor)
Wednesday 1 September, 2pm

This session will demonstrate how the application of various online technologies has been driven by the requirements of the GBL task and assessment and will help staff gain insight into how they could be used in their own teaching.

All of the approaches discussed are readily available via UoM and are well supported.
The session will cover:

• Brief overview of unit aims and alignment of assessments with ILOs.
• GBL guidelines/expectation, organisation and timeline of events, assessment criteria
• Support from GTAs with preparation and delivery
• Recording, uploading to UoM video portal and link sharing with other groups
• Online asynchronous Q&A
• Marking and feedback via GradeCentre
Session 3 Recording
Session 4 – Strategies to Promote Social Learning (Led by Alison Fisher and Lizzi Lewis)
Tuesday 7 September, 11am

This session will bring staff (and hopefully students) together to identify obstacles to student engagement during discussion- or activity-based teaching sessions.

We’ll consider the challenges for online and in-person delivery, and share our experiences of what has worked to promote student engagement.

Successful strategies will be collated and published as a shared resource that we can draw on for our future practice.
Please note: This session was not recorded but please find the output below captured by Alison Fisher and Lizzi Lewis.

In the session, we shared our positive experiences of social learning online and reflected on the underlying mechanisms that encouraged student engagement. We then considered how we could transfer those insights to improve social learning when we return to the classroom and developed several practical suggestions. The group’s reflections were captured in this Padlet
We hope this serves as a useful resource of practical strategies to encourage social learning (in the classroom or online) but we’re sure that there are many more. We would love to integrate your ideas into the resource. If you have any suggestions, you can add them to the Padlet under Step 4.
We (Elizabeth and Alison) conducted a similar reflection, drawing on the experiences of staff and students on the BSc Psychology degree – you can read the output here.

Please contact lydia.smee@manchester.ac.uk if you have any further questions.

If you have any other suggestions for additional sessions, please email caroline.bowsher@manchester.ac.uk directly.

Blended Learning Summer Support Sessions 2021