Wednesday, 25 July 2012

New NILE sites and General SaGE guidance

Taken from: by Adel Gordon

Following on from a school session on SaGE and the new NILE site format there were a few items which required more detail / clarification. I thought that a lot of the issues were relevant to all users so have copied the response here.

The blog posting which is aimed at academic staff to prepare their courses and modules for the 12/13 academic year may be found at:
 From the session on the 10th July the following further detail is provided:
1) I seem to now have many variations of sites when I only had one last year – do I need all of these?
NILE has now created one module site for each session which is stored on the Student Record system (QLS). Sessions have been used in many different ways on QLS – sometimes they signify different start dates and at other times they signify a module which runs in different locations or a different mode of delivery. Students are added to their sites based on the session data held on QL.
If you have sessions where the content AND assessment timescales are identical (perhaps where it is just the location which varies) then the Module Leader may opt to combine these on NILE. Send an email to to make this request. You should remember that when combined, communication (announcements, notifications) will go to all of the students on the module unless otherwise specified (e.g. setting up groups and targeting the groups specifically).
If the session content is the same but the start dates / assessment timescales are different (e.g. some students start in September and others start in February) then the sessions should be kept separate. This is due to the requirement to assign a separate assignment submission area for each assessment deadline, and deliver information and learning materials at different times of the academic year.  You can copy material between modules if it is important to share updated material – email if you need assistance on this.
2) The new template which is provided on the Course and Module areas is restrictive – Can I add to these or change the wording?
The wording which now appears on the left side of the module templates was agreed by the Learning and Teaching Committee prior to the PSR and then re validated by the University Student Experience Committee (SEC) more recently. It is based on a clear module layout and wording which students have been requesting on feedback to NSS and ISS. The material which is proposed on the template forms the minimum standards for a NILE module and this will be quality checked later in 2012. Some staff may already be exceeding the content and layout which has been proposed and we would wish this continue… Ideally these sites would then form the basis of exemplary sites to showcase to other staff. Any reduction in module content or significant change of wording from the basic template should be agreed by the SEC prior to student delivery. Many of the menu items such as “Submit your work” or “Reading List” must remain to maintain to consistency throughout NILE and aide central support (and students) to easily locate submission areas etc.
The second part of the session on the 10th July focused on SaGE and referred to three main locations for material on SaGE which I have listed below in order of their importance:
1)    The SaGE blog
This is regularly updated with all of the latest news and guidance on SaGE. Of particular note in here are the SaGE workflows which guide staff through SaGE in a number of simple steps: The workflows are a way of simply explaining the SaGE process with links to relevant resources as needed. They are also a useful resource to go back to at any point in the process to refresh knowledge/memory.

2)    The SaGE userguides
The guides provide further detail on using any of the available tools to submit online and provide feedback. All of the major guides that help with the SaGE process are linked to from the workflows.

3)    The SaGE website
A general information page which contains an overview of SaGE and a link to some of the key resources.

All of the above materials are interlinked and always refer staff back to the Learning Technology team for guidance and support as required.

Staff are particularly advised to review the paper which was taken to UET and SEC on SaGE which identifies the list of assessments which are exempted at this stage (

This paper did identify a number of exceptions such as portfolios, artwork and dissertations. With regards to some of the items mentioned in the meeting, log books, notebooks, presentations and practical outputs would either be considered examples of portfolios or fall into a similar category to artwork. Presentations (powerpoint files), however, can be be converted to enable them to be submitted through Turnitin so may not be authorised as an exemption. Jill Holden is considering this currently and an update will be put onto the SaGE blog with details (including guidance on how to convert the files).
If one of your assessments is a series of entries into a log book, using a blog/journal could be considered as an electronic alternative to the paper based model. These tools work well with the Mobile app and could be good way to introduce recording information electronically in the field/lab. The tools also integrate into the Grade Centre in NILE, so feedback can be provided electronically and Grades can be provided online. Note: these are options, not requirements at present.

Whilst some of the examples mentioned do not immediately fit the SaGE model (practical submissions, presentations/performances) there is the opportunity to add a column to the Grade Centre in NILE which could hold marks and feedback for the student’s work. Hence even though there is no electronic submission, the system could be used to provide electronic feedback.

Some staff requested information regarding the use of e-submission and marking across the country. According to Turnitin, 98% of UK universities use Turnitin for originality checking. 50% of these use the GradeMark tool to markup papers. There really is some great work taking place using these tools. There are a few examples of great practice at UoN in the Case Studies category on the LearnTech blog. Of particular note are Anne Eason’s experiences with SaGE. Externally, there is some great work the University of Huddersfield, alongside JISC and the HEA who run the EBEAM project (Evaluating the Benefits of Electronic Assessment Management) and have some really useful and interesting posts on their blog.
For those who need more detail on the summer 2012 changes then please follow the links below:

General Information on all of the Learning Technology Changes Summer 2012

Specific Information on the QNIG project and the development of baseline module / course templates

The key changes being made for the NILE upgrade on 21/22nd July 2012

For more information or to comment contact: or comment on the original blog posting at:

Friday, 13 July 2012

Annual Research Awards: Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE)

Taken from:

Applications Invited For New Research Funds 2012

The Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) is an independent and self-supporting UK based international learned society concerned to advance understanding of higher education, especially through the insights, perspectives and knowledge offered by systematic research and scholarship.

As part of the Society's programme of strategic initiatives aimed at sustaining research into higher education, the Society is offering a series of annual research awards. This scheme is in its second year of operation, following the first annual awards under this scheme which were made in 2011.These awards are funded entirely by the Society, and intended to support new research into higher education. 
The Society is offering:
  • Up to four awards annually of £10,000 each for research focused on any aspect of higher education submitted under three overarching themes: Higher Education Policy, Higher Education and Society, and Higher Education Practice.
    These Awards are only open to individual members of the Society at the date of application and thus are part of the benefits of membership. Where a proposal is submitted by a research group or team, the lead proposer must be an individual member of the Society.
  • Two to four scoping awards annually of £5,000 each for the exploration of any new or emerging area of higher education research leading to the development of a plan for further research.

    These awards are open to all and applications are welcome from members and non members of the Society.
Applications open on 1st July 2012 and close on 1st September 2012

More details can be found at:

research and public engagement

An extract that might be of interest for those involved in research and or public engagement  from National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement newsletter

Creating Impact Case Studies for the REF: 4th October, 2012, Bristol
Are you helping researchers to makes sense of the Impact dimension to the REF? If so the NCCPE is keen to help. This training the trainer event provides a unique opportunity to find out about resources we’ve developed to help researchers create impact case studies, and to develop skills in evaluation. Find out more here:

Beginner’s Guide to Evaluation: Training the trainer: 30th August 2012, Birmingham
Thanks to those of you who expressed interest in this course. We are delighted to announce the date and time for this event. Please note – delegates have told us they would like a longer course to run through some of the exercises together – so the course is now 4 hours and includes lunch! In addition trainers attending the course will be able to apply for support for the first course that they run! Book your free place, and find our

Online public engagement training pilot
With the support of the National HE STEM Programme, we have recently launched an online public engagement training course. This pilot course is now live on our website and currently has 2 modules; Getting started with Public Engagement and Communication Skills. We would like to invite you to road test this course and let us know what you think using our online survey:  

Embedding impact analysis in research
For regular updates from this JISC funded project aiming to help institutions embed capability and processes for identifying and articulating benefits and impact in their research groups log onto the project space:  On the 31st July, there will be an online forum discussion with representatives from the projects to explore key lessons and learning to date: for more details.

RCUK School-University Partnerships Initiative
This new initiative is providing £1.5million over three years to create and build partnerships between universities and secondary schools. This partnership working will support researchers’ direct engagement with students and bring contemporary and inspirational research contexts into formal and informal learning to enhance and enrich the curriculum. Funding of £150,000 is available to successful HEIs over three years. The call closes 25 September 2012 and is open to HEIs in receipt of a minimum threshold of RCUK funding.  Further information can be found on RCUK website

Consultation on Ethical principles and Guidelines for Community Based Participatory Research
The Centre for Social Justice and Community Action are consulting on guidelines developed with community partners. Please get involved. You can find out

If you require further information about our work, please follow the instructions for that item or email

National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement
Watershed Media Centre, 1 Canon's Road, Harbourside, Bristol, BS1 5TX
Tel: 0117 915 0193
Twitter: @NCCPE608/5

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Doctoral funding Calls from the HEA

Calls for HEA Doctoral Programme open today information taken from the HEA website

  • The Higher Education Academy is inviting bids from UK higher education institutions to host one or more doctoral studentships for the academic year 2012-13.

The Doctoral Programme forms part of the HEA's strategy to undertake a significant and extensive study to develop pedagogical knowledge and evidence based practice in Higher Education. Five doctoral studentships are available in the coming academic year.
Calls open today and the closing date for submissions is 5pm on 31 August 2012.
Applications should relate to discipline-specific learning and teaching research or to interdisciplinary/generic pedagogical studies. They should show a clear benefit to either practice or to policy on practice.
Applications should be aligned with one or more of the HEA's themes: employability, assessment and feedback, flexible learning, internationalisation, retention and success (including widening access, gender, and transition issues), reward and recognition of teaching, education for sustainable development.
For more information about the HEA Doctoral Programme, or to apply, please click here.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

HEA funding opportunities

Two possible funding opportunities from the Higher Education Academy with emphasis being placed on:

  • assessment and feedback
  • flexible learning 

Teaching Development Grants - Departmental Scheme (

The Departmental grant scheme invites proposals from single departments in HEIs that encourage cooperation between colleagues to support the enhancement of learning and teaching.
Successful applications will demonstrate team impact across a department; there will be scope for long-term impact, and provision for evaluation and dissemination will be clearly defined. The hosting institution will be expected to contribute funds towards the project.
Applications are invited from any academic departments in HEA-subscribing institutions in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Proposals submitted under the Departmental scheme may request up to £30,000 from the Higher Education Academy. Projects will run for fifteen months.
The key themes for the 2012/13 round are assessment and feedback andflexible learning. 75 per cent of funding will be allocated to projects in these two thematic areas. 25 per cent of funding will be dedicated to an open call for innovative pedagogic projects. These projects could build on previous pedagogic work, or they could seek to develop a new area of work entirely.
Call opens – Tuesday 28 August 2012
Deadline for submissions – 5:00pm on Thursday 27 September 2012
Projects commence – TBC
Networking event for successful applicants – Thursday 10 January 2013

Collaborative Scheme (

The Collaborative grant scheme invites proposals from two or more departments or other groupings within or between HEIs that support the enhancement of learning and teaching.
Successful applications will demonstrate scope for long-term impact, and provision for evaluation and dissemination will be clearly defined. The hosting institution will be expected to contribute towards the project in the form of match funding.
The project lead must be a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the lead institution must be a subscriber to the Higher Education Academy. Proposals submitted under the Collaborative scheme may request up to £60,000 from the Higher Education Academy. Projects will run for eighteen months.
The key themes for the 2012/13 round are assessment and feedback andflexible learning. 75 per cent of funding will be allocated to projects in these two thematic areas. 25 per cent of funding will be dedicated to an open call for innovative pedagogic projects. These projects could build on previous pedagogic work, or they could seek to develop a new area of work entirely.
Call opens – Monday 7 January 2013
Deadline for submissions – 5:00pm on Thursday 28 February 2013

What do students thinks of exam?

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