During session 2018-19, we ran a series of webinars with a range of sector leaders and experts. These webinars considered the use of different types of data (both quantitative and qualitative) in a variety of contexts.
The webinars attracted over 300 attendees. Around half were from Scottish institutions and students' associations. We also welcomed attendees from all over the UK as well as Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Ireland, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, and the USA.
For each webinar there is a video of the session (capturing participant chat alongside the slides and audio). The slides are also downloadable in PowerPoint format. Other resources include:
- A guide to producing digital stories
- An example participant information sheet and consent form for digital storytelling
- An ethical checklist for digital storytelling
- A template for constructing new orders of evidence
- A case study showing how appreciative inquiry can be used to interrogate NSS data
- A case study based on fictionalised NSS data
- A summary of four key findings on using learning analytics
- A guide to using statistical significance to interpret NSS results
- A guide to engaging students with KPIs, surveys, and focus groups
- Annotated bibliographies.
These are all in Word format. The PowerPoint and Word files can be downloaded and customised / repurposed under a Creative Commons license.
webinar series videos and resources
Beyond the Metrics: Charting the Intangible Aspects of Enhancement
Not everything that matters or is highly valued in higher education is quantifiable or easily measured. This Collaborative Cluster project recently explored this complex area through a series of participatory workshops with a range of staff, students and senior managers) across the UK. The authors have developed a novel conceptual model and associated mapping process to help institutions identify, evaluate and enhance these so-called “intangible assets”. This webinar provides an overview of the project, the findings, outputs and some guidance on how they might be used as part of a holistic approach to evaluating the student learning experience.
Students using students' data
Sorcha Kirker, Highlands and Islands Students Association and William Hasty, QAA Scotland presented our final webinar of the series. Data is an important tool, and provides us with the evidence we need in order to enhance the student learning experience, but how much do we involve our students in data processes? What are the barriers, and more importantly, what are the potential solutions? Sorcha Kirker (Vice-President for Higher Education, Highlands and Islands Students Association) talked us through student interaction, engagement with, and use of data, alongside the problems faced in engaging students. It also looked at the positive elements of student involvement, and explored a case study of good practice. The webinar also drew on the work of the Enhancement Theme Student-led project to explore the ways that students in different academic representative systems generate, use and share (or could generate, use, and share) data and evidence to improve the student experience.
Making sense of surveys
Dr Alex Buckley, University of Strathclyde presented our eighth webinar. Student surveys are powerful sources of evidence about learning and teaching, but they also have important statistical limitations. Discussions about tools such as the National Student Survey often become polarised; honesty about the limitations of the data can help to foster more balanced views. This webinar discussed a range of accessible ways in which the National Student Survey (NSS) data can be presented that take the statistical limitations into account, and explored what realistic expectations about the NSS’s enhancement role might look like.
The power of learning analytics to unpack learning and teaching: a critical perspective
This webinar was presented by Professor Bart Rienties (Open University). Across the globe, many educational institutions are collecting vast amounts of small and big data about students and their learning behaviour. As a result, the emerging field of learning analytics (LA) is exploring how data can be used to empower teachers and institutions to effectively support learners. In this webinar, based upon 6 years of experience with LA data and large-scale implementations amongst 450000+ students at a range of context, Professor Bart Rienties (Open University) used an interactive format to discuss and critically debate the benefits and potential drawbacks of learning analytics.
Building an evidence-based approach to widening access
Our sixth webinar presented by Dr Stephanie Mckendry (University of Strathclyde / Office of the Commissioner for Fair Access) explored the development of Scotland's Framework for Fair Access. It discussed the challenges in finding the balance between different forms of evidence, and how learning from its development and use can both inform, and be shaped by, the use of evidence and evaluation in other parts of the sector.
Hunting for evidence in the data landscape
Data Delving: Engaging Staff in Student Experience Data
Nathaniel Pickering from Sheffield Hallam University presented our fourth webinar. This webinar explored the challenges in finding actionable insights upon which to improve the student experience. The session explored how to present and use data for different audiences, along with the use of appreciative inquiry and fictionalised/caricatured data sets.
Gathering together: working alongside students in an evidence-critical environment
Dr Jill LeBihan, Head of Student Engagement, Sheffield Hallam University presented our third webinar. This webinar drew on experience of recruiting and working with students as leaders, peer educators and researchers, using evidence to inform their applied projects. We also looked at the evidence for the impact these sorts of activities have on students' experience and academic success.
JUST ENOUGH? WHY WE NEED TO QUESTION OUR ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT EVIDENCE
Stella Jones-Devitt and Alan Donnelly from Sheffield Hallam University presented our second webinar. It explored the use of evidence to drive improvement in educational practice. This topic has progressed in recent years, yet the idea of evidence-informed practice remains unclear and controversial. This webinar debated the nature of evidence and the role of methodology in educational decision-making, with particular focus on credibility. The presenter also discussed the promises and pitfalls of hierarchies of evidence, and the effectiveness of using unreliable data to capture unintended consequences.
Engaging student and staff voices
Dr Liz Austen from Sheffield Hallam University presented our first webinar. It explored the scope, principles and practices of engaging student and staff voices within higher education. It began with a discussion about the scale and type of current methods and a plea to consider more innovative, inclusive and empowering approaches. There was a specific focus on the use of digital storytelling for engaging staff and students along with suggestions for integrating student and staff voices within methodologies. The webinar also highlighted the ethical considerations within this type of work.