Click on a title to download the article as a pdf.

photo of Andy Jones Spotlight on ... Andy Jones
A profile of Andy Jones, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Education
Research Matters
A roundup of current projects and research around MMU

Themed Issue 'Equality and Diversity in Learning and Teaching'
Vol 9 Issue 1 (Autumn 2012)

This issue, guest edited by Dawn Nicholson, develops some of the themes introduced at the Joint Faculty Conference "Equal? Diverse? Accessible? Learning and Teaching in the £9k Era" held in July 2011

Editorial
Dawn Nicholson

read abstract »

Dawn Nicholson, the guest editor of this issue of Learning and Teaching in Action, introduces the theme and contributors.

Equal? Diverse? Accessible?
John Brooks, Vice-Chancellor

read abstract »

The Vice-Chancellor's opening address to the conference, outlining the challenges facing the University and its students with the introduction of £8-9k fees.

The MMU Single Equality Scheme
Mona Patel and Dawn Nicholson

read abstract »

This paper focuses on how the Single Equality Scheme was developed at MMU, and how its implementation will enhance the student and staff experience.

The impact of social policy reforms on equality and diversity at MMU
Paul Norman

read abstract »

Paul's workshop addressed the impact that policy changes, other than those specifically attached to HE funding, would have on MMU as a Widening Participation (WP) university. Issues surrounding student financial support such as maintenance grants and loans, Parents’ Learning Allowance, Childcare Grant, Disabled Students’ Allowance, and Access to Learning Funds have received comparatively little airtime at a time when they have probably never been more important for ensuring that student success at university is maximised from the outset, especially at an institution such as MMU where approaching 50% of students who fall within the WP profile.

What should you know about your students?
Mark Langan, Emma Taylor

read abstract »

Student experience, retention and progression are key issues for us at MMU. The focus of this workshop was to consider the information that we think should be available about our students in order for staff to target resources and guide actions that will support students better. We explored what information is available already, what else was needed, and how it might be managed. The notion of ‘at risk’ groups was discussed and the possibility of predicting withdrawal using key metrics considered, drawing on examples from other institutions. Participants also shared experiences and considered hypothetical scenarios for best practice.

Internationalisation and the inclusive curriculum
Alicia Prowse

read abstract »

This short workshop session explored two areas: 1. Our attitudes to international students - ensure that we aren’t using a deficit model; 2. How we approach inclusive curriculum design in general.

Putting inclusion into practice: Designing out Personal Learning Plans for students with mild to moderate dyslexia
Dawn Nicholson, Rita Lewin, Nahida Shabbir and Kath Botham

read abstract »

This paper reports on a pilot study conducted in the Environmental and Geographical Sciences Undergraduate Network. The aim was to trial learning support for students with mild to moderate dyslexia without the need for a formal Personal Learning Plan (PLP) by ensuring that their needs were met through the provision of an inclusive curriculum. We report on the administrative processes and staff training necessary to ensure the smooth running of the trial. Data gathered through staff selfevaluation, a staff survey, and student feedback from informal interviews are presented, and indicate that the trial has been successful. While the administrative burden has not changed appreciably, there is good evidence to suggest that disability awareness has improved and that teaching practices have become more inclusive as a result of the project. We briefly outline plans to develop and implement a new Facultywide policy around Personal Learning Plans based on the outcomes of this study.

Supporting Art and Design students transition into Higher Education: an ongoing project
Julie Haslam

read abstract »

In the UK, a great deal of research has found retention to be related to student satisfaction,which is primarily found to be dependent upon student preparedness and their expectations of HE study. This ongoing project in Art & Design aims to address these key issues by continuous development of an online support facility provided to students prior to start of their study.

Making reasonable adjustments for reading and language disabilities with visual and audio communication
Peter McKenna

read abstract »

Peter demonstrated the use of simple screen recordings to provide feedback and summaries for students with a PLP for language and comprehension difficulties, as an alternative to making adjustments by giving them extra verbal information.

Unit X
Jane McFadyen, Alan Holmes

read abstract »

Unit X is a 30 credit unit of study offered at each undergraduate level across three schools in the Faculty of Art and Design (Art, Design and Media). The unit ran for the first time in 2012, with 450 students taking part from ten Art and Design programmes. The ambition for unit X was to share a learning experience for students from across a range of disciplines. Embedded in the unit objectives was a clear intention to explore collaborative practice in the context of art and design pedagogy, both in the way that students worked with each other, and also how they worked with external agencies. Successful completion of Unit X (at level 4) in 2012 was 98.9%, with the median mark at 63%. However, the impact of this experience on student behaviour, expectations, and future achievement at levels 5 and 6 are yet to be understood. Evaluation of the impact of this crossprogramme collaborative learning and teaching model provides us with a number of research opportunities for the coming years.

Online digital portfolio for student applications to Art and Design programmes
Alan Holmes

read abstract »

design degree programmes, potential challenges were identified to the admissions processes in a university faculty of art and design. In particular, an increase in the number of applications threatened to make it difficult to manage interview processes and maintain fairness and diversity. A method of filtering applications was deemed necessary. This paper outlines the trial of an online digital portfolio designed to streamline the new UCAS admissions process and address equality and diversity issues raised by an increase in applications.

Raising student awareness of disability and diversity through an assessed conference organisation activity in final year Healthcare Science programmes
Michael Hayes

read abstract »

This contribution presents an example of a groupbased assessment conducted within the context of learning about neurological disorders and disabilities. A final year unit, Neurological Disorders and Disabilities, includes a coursework activity worth 10% of the unit mark in which students organise two hour miniconferences/seminars. During the miniconferences each student gives a 5-6 minute presentation about a published research paper on a topic relevant to the unit aims.

Building Moodle courses that are accessible
Rod Cullen, Mark Roche

read abstract »

The issue of ‘accessibility’ in educational settings can be very complex and difficult to define, particularly so in relation to the provision of learning, teaching and assessment resources online via websites or VLEs. This paper has two main aims; first, to highlight some of the main issues associated with provision of accessible learning, teaching and assessment resources in the MMU Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Moodle, and second, to outline some basic and easy steps that we can all take to ensure that the learning, teaching and assessment resources and activities that we build in Moodle are as accessible to as many of our students as possible. The paper gives a flavour of the requirements of the two main pieces of legislation relevant in this context; the Special Educational Needs Disabilities Act (SENDA) 2001 and the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 2005. A good practice and accessibility checklist for Moodle course areas developed by CeLT for use at MMU is provided, together with a rationale and commentary. This checklist should not be regarded as a panacea for all accessibility solutions but provides a good starting point for colleagues aiming to ensuring maximum usability and clarity of purpose in their Moodle areas for all of our students.

Disabled Student Support: Learner Development Service
Nahida Shabbir

read abstract »

A paper outlining the support provided to students by the Learner Development Service at MMU and a discussion of future developments in the service.

Inclusive Curriculum Design and Delivery: A University-wide Task and Finish Group
Matthew Gawne, Dawn Nicholson

read abstract »

The Diversity and Equal Opportunities Committee (DEOC) have established the Inclusive Curriculum Task and Finish Group to review and strengthen current practice at MMU. The purpose of the Task and Finish Group (TFG) is to review current inclusive practice at MMU and to develop an institutional framework for inclusive practice.