Philosophy students’ uptake, performance and experiences of vivas

As students often ask for a viva assessment in philosophy, we set out to answer three questions:

I. Would there be a sizable uptake of viva assessment if it were offered?
II. Would students perform roughly as well as they did in other modes of assessment?
III. Would students find the experience educationally satisfying?

It turns out there was not a sizable uptake and there was no significant statistical difference in performance between modes of assessment. Finally, students did find the experience educationally satisfying. In this paper we reflect on these results, reflect on the limitations of our study, and conclude with some suggestions for future work. This paper would be particularly useful for anyone within the Arts and Humanities who are considering introducing assessed oral presentations into their course.

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Quality enhancement of Undergraduate Research – further strategies to increase student engagement in research dissemination

This article updates and extends the range of strategies available to increase student engagement with undergraduate research dissemination. It evaluates the ten strategies suggested in 2008 and then extends the range of approaches in an attempt to share the benefits of research communication with a wider range of student researchers. The paper acknowledges the rapid progress that has been made over the last eight years in disseminating undergraduate research and the possibilities for staff to frame these as a structured progression for students.

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Reflections on ‘The student experience of e-learning in higher education: a review of the literature’

Summary of the original paper ‘The student experience of e-learning in higher education: a review of the literature’ was published in the Brookes eJournal of Learning and Teaching, Vol 1, Issue 3 in 2005. The paper arose at a time

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Where is the new blended learning? Whispering corners of the forum

with thanks to Mary Deane for reading and suggesting many improvements. Introduction: the future is now Where is the new blended learning? Looking back to 2005, when BeJLT published “Blended Learning Landscapes” by Richard Francis and John Raftery, we see

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Online formative MCQs to supplement traditional teaching: improving retention, progression and performance – the longer view

Following on from the publication of One Lecturer’s Experience of Blending E-learning with Traditional Teaching, further analysis of the long-term impact of the online quizzes on student performance was undertaken. Engagement with formative online MCQs was explored generally and the

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Revisiting the management of student plagiarism in the light of ideas outlined in 2005

In 2005, I published an account of the work done at Oxford Brookes University to manage cases involving student plagiarism. The article describes efforts by many people at Oxford Brookes, including my colleague Jon Appleton, with whom I had written

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ASKe Manifesto seven years on: so what did change?

Assessment continues to be a major challenge to institutions around the world. A challenge in terms of student satisfaction, a challenge in terms of resourcing (there are few economies of scale in assessment (Gibbs 2006) and a challenge in terms of transparency, reliability and validity to name but a few. One of the major problems is that there are very varied levels of understanding of assessment and its processes among stakeholders. This is unsurprising given the complex nature of assessment but it causes difficulties and unintended consequences especially when lack of understanding is found among all stakeholder groups: students, staff, management, quality assurance experts, government. If we are going to meet the challenges we face, the assessment literacy (see Price et al, 2012) of all these groups needs to improve.

As detailed in the original BeJLT paper (Price et al 2008) ASKe brought together a group of international assessment experts to envisage a new future for assessment; the result was the ASKe Assessment Manifesto. Through the Manifesto we hoped to stimulate debate across the sector and, by implication, influence ways of thinking about and practising assessment. So what happened? This paper will reflect on the impact of the Manifesto both locally and in terms of its reach beyond the institution, as well as considering its continued relevance.

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An international perspective: Not just a top cited article

It was no surprise to hear that Assessment Standards: A Manifesto for Change, by Margaret Price, Berry O’Donovan, Chris Rust and Jude Carroll et al (2008), was one of the most-cited papers in BeJL&T’s first decade. This commentary seeks to

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Widening the Graduate Attribute Debate: a Higher Education for Global Citizenship

There is more to life than simply doing a job. The graduates of our higher education system will be more than employees/employers, they will also be future leaders in our world and our neighbours and so affect our lives at all levels. What do we want these people to be like? This paper considers the idea of educating global citizens and offers suggestions for possible graduate attributes, such as being responsible, capable, compassionate, self-aware, ecoliterate, cosmopolitan and employed. It also asks if graduate attributes referring to ‘good citizens’ and ‘ethics’ are all culturally bound and thereby impositional.

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Managing Distance Learning in a Face-to-Face Culture

Distance learning (DL) is now an established mode of delivery within higher education. Nonetheless, given the significantly different use of time and space required for a satisfactory programme infrastructure as compared to its full-time, face-to-face counterpart, institutions have tended to specialise either in one mode or the other. This paper explores some of the organisational challenges presented when a large university such as Oxford Brookes, primarily concerned with face-to-face delivery, also has within it much smaller programmes offered by DL. Using the BA in Theology and Religion by DL offered through the Wesley Centre Oxford (WCO) within Westminster Institute of Education (WIE) as a case study, a range of issues was identified that initially appeared to threaten fundamental dimensions of the programme (such as recruitment and retention) when Brookes’s established systems were applied. These focused on admissions and enrolments, aspects of student-centred learning, student support, finance and fees, and interface with academic staff. Creative thinking, and a willingness to be flexible on both sides, have resulted in the emergence of a variety of procedures offered in the paper as principles of good practice.

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