‘Mental health isn’t addressed properly’: students on the pressures of university


Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

Reposted from the Guardian Higher Education Network.

With the number of students seeking counselling on the rise, we asked you to tell us about your experience of dealing with mental health issues at university Elle, 20, was studying politics but dropped out in her first term mainly due to mental health issues.

“I sought counselling at university but didn’t find the advice to be of good quality – I explained my body image issues to a counsellor, and was told ‘there’s always going to be someone prettier. Part of me thinks that I would’ve been able to see through at least the first year of politics if I had better help with my mental health.”

Read the full article: ‘Mental health isn’t addressed properly’: students on the pressures of university

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How to create a culture for valuable learning

Educational visionary Sir Ken Robinson continues his quest to put creativity back at the heart of systems of education. At the recent Big Picture Learning conference called Big Bang, Sir Ken criticised the use of conformity and compliance in education and they way in which they “undermine children’s confidence to enter the world on their own terms.”

Read the full story on Mindshift.

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How listening and sharing shape collaborative learning experiences


Great article from Mindshift on the importance of helping students learn how to listen and share. The author notes that ‘simply putting students into small groups, however, does not guarantee desirable outcomes. Success depends on listening and sharing.’

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Conference Report: Association of Visual Pedagogies


The newly found Association of Visual Pedagogies held its inaugural 2016 conference in Zagreb on June 18-19. The association was setup to support the Video Journal of Education and Pedagogy, a unique and first of its kind journal that specializes in peer reviewed video articles in educational research. Many of the papers in the conference testified to the fact that this was uncharted territory: the use of video in education saw an unprecedented increase within the last decade or so, but the contextaulization of such developments in terms of pedagogical theories were inadequate in comparison to the variety of practical applications. There were, however, promising thoughts emanating from the conclusion of the conference: keynotes that conceptualized video as a dynamic educational tool that permits a potential for authentic, performative assessment tasks, and calls for evaluating the ways in which students, as well as the public, could engage with such technological innovations. Continue reading

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Some strategies for improving assessment and feedback


I attended a conference on assessment and feedback in Edinburgh in May 2016.  Here are a few learning points on assessment and feedback practice that you might find useful:

10 things I learnt at the SEDA Conference on Assessment and Feedback, Carlton Hotel, Edinburgh, 11-13 May 2016

  1. Assessment needs to be integrated into the learning process rather than just seen as a measure of learning at the end of a unit. This means making the tacit, explicit and shifting from a hidden curriculum (where students don’t know how their work is assessed) to a creative curriculum (where students develop assessment literacy and become partners in their own learning). With strong formative feedback cultures in art and design, we do this well.  If you want to find out more about assessment literacy, see work at ASKE in Oxford Brookes

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What are the pedagogical benefits of video blogging?



Video is everywhere

The use of video as an instructional tool in Higher Education is on the increase. The widespread availability of affordable technology has dramatically increased consumer access to digital cameras, smartphones and tablets. Alongside this, the opportunities for easy editing and dissemination of videos across a variety of media outlets have also expanded at an unprecedented scale. We no longer require professional equipment to make videos and typical broadband speeds are sufficient for streaming or uploading home made videos ready for a range of audiences.

It would not be an exaggeration to suggest that of digital video has the potential to profoundly change the ways in which we teach, learn and research in the context of higher education. For instance, many top universities now use video to record lectures and make them openly accessible to the public. Using video for illustrative or pedagogical purposes (as in the ‘flipped classroom’ model) are similarly common. Continue reading

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Improve ISS/NSS metrics on your course

Use these NUS learning and teaching resources to improve student satisfaction on your course.  The resources include a Comprehensive Guide to Learning and Teaching, a resource for Students Unions, but also a useful tool for teaching teams to enhance current practice.  The resources also contains  five benchmarking tools (academic support, assessment and feedback, learning resources, organisation and management, personal development), which can be used to evaluate current practice and improve ISS/NSS metrics.

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