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PFA Reective Portfolio

Candidate: Jason S. Reich


Supervisors: Dr Christine Skinner and Dr Karen Clegg
June 30, 2011
Submitted in fulllment of the Preparing Future Academics programme.
Acknowledgements
I would like to take the opportunity to thank; Dr Christine Skinner, Dr Karen Clegg and Dr
Jennifer Winter for their support, experience and advice throughout the programme, Christo-
pher Poskitt and Dr Chris Fewster for their time and feedback and my PFA tutor group for
their discussions and opinions.
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Contents
1. Introduction 7
1.1. Experience gathered . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
1.2. Workshop attendance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
1.3. Portfolio structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
2. Learning outcomes 10
2.1. Learning outcome 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
2.2. Learning outcome 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
2.3. Learning outcome 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
2.4. Learning outcome 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
2.5. Learning outcome 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
2.6. Learning outcome 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
3. Conclusions 23
A. Session plans 25
A.1. Session plan for Functional Programming practical, AUT/Wk8 . . . . . . . . . 27
A.2. Session plan for Mathematics for Computer Scientists practical, AUT/Wk8 . . 29
A.3. Session plan for Code Generation and Optimisation guest lecture, SPR/Wk5 . 32
B. Reective logs 35
B.1. Reective log for an MFCS practical . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
B.2. Reective log for an MFCS formative assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
B.3. Reective log for a CGO practical . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
B.4. Reective log for a CGO guest lecture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
B.5. Reective log for an LSA practical . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
C. Peer and sta observations 47
C.1. Peer observation of my teaching, performed by Christopher Poskitt . . . . . . . 49
C.2. Peer observation of Christopher Poskitt teaching, performed by me . . . . . . . 51
C.3. Sta observation of Dr Chris Fewster, performed by me . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
D. PFA symposium submission 55
D.1. Executive summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
D.2. Symposium slides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
E. Skillsforge points summary 62
F. Student feedback 65
F.1. General feedback from Mathematics for Computer Science . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
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Contents
F.2. General feedback for Code Generation and Optimisation . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
F.3. Specic feedback for Code Generation and Optimisation guest lecture . . . . . 69
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1. Introduction
Teaching is an essential component of academic life. If our aim is to push back the frontiers of
human knowledge and understanding, it is a wasted eort to merely develop new ideas. The
competency must be passed on to others.
I developed an interest in learning styles and strategies to compensate for my own specic
learning diculties. Throughout my education, I have had to adapt given learning activities
to maximise, or even just gain any, benet. The Preparing Future Academics programme has
allowed me to consolidate this latent knowledge and leverage it towards teaching others.
This portfolio represents a xed point in my evolving interpretations of the learning expe-
rience. I attempt to draw on experience as a student and as a facilitator to evaluate my own
teaching and seek to improve it.
1.1. Experience gathered
During the PFA registration period, I have facilitated learning in the modules listed in Ta-
ble 1.1. The experience and feedback gained from these will form the evidence supporting my
claims of meeting the learning outcomes.
The peer observation requirements have been met through Christopher Poskitt observing
my guest lecture in Code Generation and Optimisation (Observation C.1) and my observation
of his guest lecture in Mathematics for Computer Scientists. (Observation C.2)
The sta observation requirement was fullled through the reviewing of a lecture by Dr Chris
Fewster of the Department of Mathematics. This lecture was part of the Further Quantum
Mechanics module. (Observation C.3) The reports from these observations can be found in
Appendix C.
1.2. Workshop attendance
In fullment of the PFA requirements, I have participated in the two introductory sessions,
symposium, the ve core workshops and two of the optional workshops, summarised in Ta-
ble 1.2. Appendix E contains the output from SkillsForge, demonstrating my registration and
attendance.
1.3. Portfolio structure
This portfolio is structured as follows;
Chapter 2 This chapter enumerates each of the Preparing Future Academics programme
learning outcomes. For each outcome; evidence of fullment is provided, the evidence and
experience is reected upon and engagement with professional standards is highlighted.
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1. Introduction
Table 1.1.: Experience gathered during PFA registration period.
Code Generation and Optimisation
8x Two hour computer lab sessions
6x Two hour pen and paper sessions
1x One hour guest lecture (Peer observed)
Evidence: Session plan A.3. Reective logs B.3 and B.4. Peer observation C.2.
Student feedback F.2 and F.3.
Lexical and Syntactic Analysis of Programming Languages
8x Two hour computer lab sessions
Evidence: Reective log B.5.
Functional Programming
14x One hour computer lab sessions
Evidence: Session plan A.1.
Mathematics for Computer Science
6x Two hour pen and paper sessions
2x Closed formative assessment invigilation and marking
Evidence: Session plan A.2. Reective logs B.1 and B.2. Student feedback F.1.
Table 1.2.: Workshop attendance.
Date Module
20/10/2010 PFA Introduction
27/10/2010 Meet your PFA supervisor
13/12/2010 Eective Lecturing (Core)
20/01/2011 Structuring and Designing Courses (Core)
26/01/2011 Planning Assessment Methods for Student Work (Core)
14/02/2011 Introduction to Pedagogic Research (Core)
28/02/2011 Learning Styles & Student Motivation (Optional)
15/03/2011 PFA Symposium 2011
27/04/2011 Evaluation and Quality Enhancement (Core)
10/06/2011 Maintaining Innovation and Enthusiasm in University Teaching (Optional)
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1.3. Portfolio structure
Chapter 3 The conclusion of this portfolio consolidates my reections on the learning out-
comes and discusses how these will inform my future practice.
Appendices The appendices contain evidence collected for the Preparing Future Academics
programme. Evidence is grouped by its form (e.g. session plans, reective learning logs,
feedback forms) and indexed to aid lookups.
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2. Learning outcomes
2.1. Learning outcome 1
Choose appropriate teaching strategies to meet particular student needs and con-
texts.
2.1.1. Claim
Students have a variety of learning needs and preferences. Strategies exist for targeting these
learning styles but, unless teaching one-on-one, a balance must be struck to enable learning for
all. Furthermore, some of these strategies are not suited to all learning contexts. Throughout
my teaching, I aim to balance strategies to maximise opportunities for learning.
2.1.2. Evidence
Courses Attended the following courses to improve my knowledge of strategies and their
applications: (See Appendix E, Skillsforge points summary , on page 63.)
Eective Lecturing,
Structuring and Designing Courses,
Planning Assessment Methods for Student Work,
Introduction to Pedagogic Research, and
Learning Styles & Student Motivation.
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA5 and CK2-5.
MFCS In Mathematics for Computer Science practicals, we encouraged group working and
a relaxed chatty atmosphere between students and teachers. That said, we ensured this was
not forced on those who work better individually. See session plan A.2, p29.
Feedback for MFCS (feedback mechanism F.1, p67 and reective log B.1, p37) indicates that
the relaxed atmosphere did break down barriers and make the teaching team approachable.
Unfortunately, the increased load on the team may have caused some (response 3) to become
disgruntled with waiting times.
It would appear that more could be done to keep track of struggling students (reective
log B.1, p37) and helping them to catch up on content that do not understand. With these
large classes, better record keeping appears to be the key.
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA2, AOA4, AOA6, CK2-3,
CK5, PV1 and PV3-4.
CGO lecture For my Code Generation and Optimisation guest lecture (session plan A.3,
p32), I weaved discussion breaks throughout to help engage students with a theoretical topic.
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2.1. Learning outcome 1
The energy during the discussion breaks and generally positive feedback (feedback F.3,
p69 and observation C.1, p49) appears to indicate that gain a deeper understanding of the
content as a result. Furthermore, I found the breaks useful for controlling the pace of the
lecture. (reective log B.4, p42) It would be interesting to see if it applies as well to other, less
theoretical topics.
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA1-2, AOA4, AOA6, CK2-
5, PV1 and PV3-4.
Peer observations In my peer observation of a lecture by Christopher Poskitt (C.2, p51),
I discussed my opinion that he was mainly targeting read/write learners (under the VARK
model) at the expense of visual and kinaesthetic.
Similarly, I commented that Chris Fewster could use visual cues to help signpost the class.
For more information, see observation C.3, p53.
The observations did highlight that teachers will often naturally target their own learning
style. It is very useful to use a learning style model (such as VARK) and interim student
feedback to break free from this restriction.
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA6, CK2-5, PV1 and
PV3-4.
Symposium and CGO practicals My symposium presentation (Appendix D) discusses ex-
isting teaching strategies for programming, highlights their deciencies and suggests some
alternatives. A subset of the suggestions were implemented in CGO. (See reective log B.3,
p41.)
The new strategies were derivable from the original learning outcomes. The overall mes-
sage, that teaching problems can often be solved by innovating around the existing learning
outcomes, appears to apply in many contexts.
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA1, AOA4, AOA6, CK2-5,
PV1 and PV3-4.
2.1.3. Reection
As a dyspraxic/dyslexic, my preferred learning styles would often dier from those targeted by
my teachers. My personal interest in learning styles has, not only been to improve my teaching
capabilities but, to develop strategies for my own study needs.
Through the observations C.2, p51, and C.3, p53, I discovered that lecturers will often target
their own preferred learning style. I had previously assumed that choices were made based on
the preferences of the majority or some standard pedagogy.
While the learning models introduced in Learning Styles & Student Motivation should not
be used to pigeon hole students, they serve as useful guides to escape assumptions and ensure
that activities are targeting a broad range.
Group discussion, as used in MFCS and my CGO lecture, creates an interactive environ-
ment that enables students to apply their own natural learning styles. Of course, discussion
environments will not suit particular students, such as mutes and autistics. I always try to
encourage, but not force, all to participate and will immediately back o from anyone showing
discomfort.
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2. Learning outcomes
The structure of the discussion breaks in my CGO lecture also allowed everyone to participate
with the whole class by rst contributing ideas with their adjacent peers and the more condent,
activist students sharing their ndings.
Continuing with this theme, my symposium presentation (D, p55) suggested quantitative
techniques for monitoring the success of teaching strategies so that they can be adjusted
accordingly.
My experiences will hopefully allow me to teach to a wide range of learning styles without
diluting the content. I believe the key to this balance is enabling the students themselves to
utilise their natural preferences, not just in personal study, but during contact sessions.
2.1.4. Professional standards
In fullling this learning outcome, I have interacted with the Professional Standards Framework
through:
AOA1 Design and planning of learning activities and/or programmes of study.
AOA2 Teaching and/or supporting student learning.
AOA4 Developing eective environments and student support and guidance.
AOA6 Evaluation of practice and continuing professional development.
AOA5 Integration of scholarship, research and professional activities with teaching and sup-
porting learning.
CK2 Appropriate methods for teaching and learning in the subject area and at the level of
the academic programme.
CK3 How students learn, both generally and in the subject.
CK4 The use of appropriate learning technologies.
CK5 Methods for evaluating the eectiveness of teaching.
PV1 Respect for individual learners.
PV3 Commitment to development of learning communities.
PV4 Commitment to encouraging participation in higher education, acknowledging diversity
and promoting equality of opportunity.
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2.2. Learning outcome 2
2.2. Learning outcome 2
Construct session plans including learning outcomes, content and feedback mech-
anisms for a range of undergraduate teaching sessions at the University of York.
In cases where you are involved in demonstrating (i.e. sciences) the session plans
should involve a retrospective commentary on the session.
2.2.1. Claim
Session plans are useful for allocating time to content, ensuring coverage of learning styles and
communicating teaching methodology to colleagues. I produce session plans with these aims
in mind.
2.2.2. Evidence
Courses Attended the following courses to learn about designing and structuring teaching
sessions and courses: (See Appendix E, Skillsforge points summary , on page 63.)
Eective Lecturing,
Structuring and Designing Courses,
Planning Assessment Methods for Student Work, and
Evaluation and Quality Enhancement.
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA6, CK2-3 and CK5.
Session plans Session plans for three styles of teaching are provided:
Session plan A.1, p27, covers a computer laboratory practical for a third year program-
ming module.
Session plan A.2, p29, refers to a pen-and-paper exercise class for rst year mathematics.
In these sessions, group working is highly encouraged. Feedback F.1, p67 was collected
for the entire module.
Session plan A.3, p32, outlines a guest lecture I performed for a third year a compulsory
module, relating the topic to my specic research. Student feedback F.3, p69 for the
lecture was collected.
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA1, AOA3-6, CK1-3, CK5
and PV1-3.
2.2.3. Reection
Sessions plans, to varying degrees of formality, form the basis of most of my academic in-
teractions. I plan research meetings to ensure that objectives are known and met. Research
seminars are planned to allocate time to specic points and ensure a narrative. Creating ses-
sion plans for teaching are a natural extension. However, I am interested in planning for class
dynamics such as student engagement, pace of progression and tangential topics.
In my guest lecture, (CGO lecture session plan A.3, p32) I compensated for an unpredictable
pace of delivery by planning in student discussion breaks. The length and scope of these breaks
could be adjusted to bring me back to the planned timetable.
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2. Learning outcomes
Fluid session plans are more time consuming to construct. It would be interesting to de-
termine whether the additional resources required outweigh the benets, such as encouraging
deep learning but following topics that the class is interested in.
In practicals and problem sessions, this can be enabled far more easily by increasing the
volume of exercises and the range of diculties. If exercises are explicitly graded with their
diculties and a recommended threshold is determined, strong students need not get bored
while weaker students need not feel left behind. In my symposium presentation (D) I describe
an automated system through which this could be administered more easily.
My sta observation of Dr Chris Fewster (see C.3, p53) introduced me to providing the
students with part of the session plan as a handout. This helps students to know what the
specic learning outcomes are and track their progression through them.
My guest lecture incorporated a lightweight representation of this, where topics and progres-
sion where displayed on a timeline at the top of each slide. This was well regarded in response
5 of feedback F.3, p69. I intend to augment this with a paper handout to supply further, but
still summary, information.
2.2.4. Professional standards
In fullling this learning outcome, I have interacted with the Professional Standards Framework
through:
AOA1 Design and planning of learning activities and/or programmes of study.
AOA5 Integration of scholarship, research and professional activities with teaching and sup-
porting learning.
AOA6 Evaluation of practice and continuing professional development.
CK1 The subject material.
CK2 Appropriate methods for teaching and learning in the subject area and at the level of
the academic programme.
CK3 How students learn, both generally and in the subject.
CK5 Methods for evaluating the eectiveness of teaching.
PV1 Respect for individual learners.
PV2 Commitment to incorporating the process and outcomes of relevant research, scholarship
and/or professional practice.
PV3 Commitment to development of learning communities.
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2.3. Learning outcome 3
2.3. Learning outcome 3
Use pedagogic theory and research to inform your own teaching practice.
2.3.1. Claim
While ones own experiences should guide teaching styles and strategies, there is a wealth of
professional experience and evidence to draw upon. I use pedagogic literature to support my
own observations and to discover techniques for improving the learning experience.
2.3.2. Evidence
Courses Attended Introduction to Pedagogic Research to gain a basic understand of ped-
agogic theory and a range of other RDT courses which have referred to research. (See Ap-
pendix E, Skil lsforge points summary , on page 63.)
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA5, CK3-4, PV2 and PV5.
Citations I have cited the pedagogic literature directly in the appropriate evidence.
In reective log B.1 (page 37), I refer to Blooms taxonomy (1956) to support my thoughts
on why students struggled more with a particular learning outcome.
Reective log B.2 (page 39) uses Cowie and Bells (1999) denition of formative assess-
ment to ensure that the aims are matched by the results.
Peer observation C.2 (page 51) cites Fleming and Baumes VARK model of learning
styles to help discover why the teaching strategy used conicts with my own preferences.
I also refer to literature to discover evidence supporting my claim that broad signposting
inspires deep learning.
My sta observation C.3 (page 53) makes brief reference to research discussing the di-
culty with student engagement in teaching mathematics.
My symposium presentation (Appendix D) draws on a wide variety of literature to dene
concepts and support some of the strategies suggested.
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA4-6, CK2-4, PV1-2 and
PV4-5.
2.3.3. Reection
While I often use pedagogic research to provide supporting evidence for my own strategies, I
gain most benet from the basic models of learning, teaching and behaviour.
Blooms taxonomy (Bloom et al, 1956) of cognitive domains appears to have a strong relation
to the variety of learning outcomes that appear in my subject. It provides a common language
to describe objectives and gives an indication of which ones are likely to cause diculty for
certain students.
The Visual, Aural, Read/write and Kinaesthetic, or VARK, (Flemming and Baume, 2006)
model attempts to characterise student learning preferences. It must be applied carefully as
15
2. Learning outcomes
reality is rarely this simple and students would not react well to being pigeonholed. How-
ever, it does seem to adequately represent the broad spectrum of available teaching strategies.
I, personally, nd it useful for overcoming my natural bias towards visual and kinaesthetic
learning.
While I cite several related papers in my evidence, I have yet to discover as strong models of
student engagement. A characterisation of the path between surface and deep learning would
be of great benet. This is a topic I shall research further as I am given increased responsibility
for session design.
Bibliography
Bloom, B. S. and Engelhart, M. D and Furst, E. J. and Hill, W. H. and Krathwohl, D. R.
Taxonomy of educational objectives: the classication of educational goals. Handbook I:
Cognitive Domain, Longmans, Green, 1956.
Fleming, N. and Baume, D. Learning Styles Again: VARKing up the right tree! Educa-
tional Developments, SEDA Ltd, November 2006.
2.3.4. Professional standards
In fullling this learning outcome, I have interacted with the Professional Standards Framework
through:
AOA4 Developing eective environments and student support and guidance.
AOA5 Integration of scholarship, research and professional activities with teaching and sup-
porting learning.
AOA6 Evaluation of practice and continuing professional development.
CK2 Appropriate methods for teaching and learning in the subject area and at the level of
the academic programme.
CK3 How students learn, both generally and in the subject.
CK4 The use of appropriate learning technologies.
PV1 Respect for individual learners.
PV2 Commitment to incorporating the process and outcomes of relevant research, scholarship
and/or professional practice.
PV4 Commitment to encouraging participation in higher education, acknowledging diversity
and promoting equality of opportunity.
PV5 Commitment to continuing professional development and evaluation of practice.
16
2.4. Learning outcome 4
2.4. Learning outcome 4
Evaluate the alignment between the design, teaching and assessment used in the
programme on which you teach.
2.4.1. Claim
Constructive alignment appears to be natural concept: select intended learning outcomes,
teach to achieve those learning outcomes and assess whether those learning outcomes have
been achieved. I discuss how this process can be leveraged further to improve the learning
experience.
2.4.2. Evidence
Courses I attended the following courses to improve my knowledge of programme design and
evaluation: (See Appendix E, Skillsforge points summary , on page 63.)
Structuring and Designing Courses,
Planning Assessment Methods for Student Work, and
Evaluation and Quality Enhancement.
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA5, CK2, CK5-6, PV2
and PV5.
Symposium I use my symposium presentation (Appendix D) to evaluate computer program-
ming courses and suggest improvements. These improvements are derived from the original
intended learning outcomes, reinforcing the constructive alignment.
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA1-5, CK2, CK5-6, PV2
and PV5.
MFCS Reective log B.2 (page 39) discusses alignment within the rst year Mathematics for
Computer Science module. It specically focuses on how a formative assessment reects both
the intended learning outcomes and the nal summative assessment.
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA3-4, CK5-6 and PV2.
LSA Reective log B.5 (page 44) highlights the alignment of intended learning outcomes to
practical exercises.
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA2, CK2 and PV2.
2.4.3. Reection
As an undergraduate, I was often left perplexed by modules that contained content that was
never assessed. One, in particular, had a practical series that, while enjoyable and informa-
tive, had almost no bearing on any summative assessment in the programme. While I had
thought my prociency in the exercises reected my achievement of the learning outcomes,
apparently these were not the learning outcomes that were to be assessed. My nal mark
suered accordingly.
17
2. Learning outcomes
Biggs (2003) discusses constructive alignment where students construct meaning through
relevant learning activities and the teacher sets up a learning environment that supports the
learning activities appropriate to achieving the desired learning outcomes. These two concepts
are constructivism and alignment, respectively.
Relating these concepts to my previous example, it would appear the module leader had
attempted to introduce some constructive elements, through a practical series. However, they
failed to align the taught learning outcomes with the assessed learning outcomes.
I attempt to align practical classes and problem sessions by linking them to specic lecture
material and ensuring that the exercises are similar to those that might appear in the exam.
This is a lower abstraction than just ensuring that every learning outcome appears in lectures,
practicals and examinations. The two techniques are equivalent if every learning outcome
appears in the lecture series.
In the MFCS formative assessment (reective log B.2, p39) we take these concepts further
and ensure that it is clear which content is covered by each formative assessment and detail the
relationship between the formative problems and those that would appear in the summative
assessment.
My symposium presentation (Appendix D) details a new course design for teaching program-
ming, where constructive alignment has been used to solve issues with student engagement and
tracking progression. I would be interested to see how these proposals work in practice.
Bibliography
Biggs, J. B. Aligning teaching for constructing learning. The Higher Education Academy,
http://www.heacademy.ac.uk, 2003.
2.4.4. Professional standards
In fullling this learning outcome, I have interacted with the Professional Standards Framework
through:
AOA1 Design and planning of learning activities and/or programmes of study.
AOA2 Teaching and/or supporting student learning.
AOA3 Assessment and giving feedback to learners.
AOA4 Developing eective environments and student support and guidance.
AOA5 Integration of scholarship, research and professional activities with teaching and sup-
porting learning.
AOA6 Evaluation of practice and continuing professional development.
CK2 Appropriate methods for teaching and learning in the subject area and at the level of
the academic programme.
CK5 Methods for evaluating the eectiveness of teaching.
CK6 The implications of quality assurance and enhancement for professional practice.
PV2 Commitment to incorporating the process and outcomes of relevant research, scholarship
and/or professional practice.
PV5 Commitment to continuing professional development and evaluation of practice.
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2.5. Learning outcome 5
2.5. Learning outcome 5
Apply the principles of good marking and feedback to your teaching.
2.5.1. Claim
Assessment is a key component of the learning process. It tracks success in reaching learn-
ing outcomes and guides future activities for both students and facilitators. I discuss my
experiences and intentions for formative assessment.
2.5.2. Evidence
Courses I attended the Planning Assessment Methods for Student Work course to improve
my competency. (See Appendix E, Skil lsforge points summary , on page 63.)
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA5, CK4-6 and PV2-5.
MFCS Reective log B.2 (page 39) contains my reections on a formative assessment for the
rst year Mathematics for Computer Science module. We use this opportunity to introduce
students to the style of the nal summative assessment in addition to monitoring their progress.
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA3, CK5 and PV3.
Symposium My symposium presentation (Appendix D) discusses the use of automated and
peer assessment techniques to increase opportunities for feedback to students. These systems
can be closely aligned with professional engineering practice, reinforcing existing learning out-
comes.
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA1, AOA3-5, CK4-6,
PV1-2, PV3 and PV5.
2.5.3. Reection
There is a common perception that feedback in our programme is not as good as it could
be. Either student expectations are not being adequately managed or teaching sta are unable
(possibly, unwilling) to alter their processes. I will use statistics from the 2010 National Student
Survey
1
to guide my reection.
Assessment criteria
65% of respondents feel the criteria used in marking have been clear in advance.
As discussed in Learning Outcome 4, misaligned modules can give the appearance that
assessment criteria is unclear. Even if past papers and revision guidance does not include the
non-assessed content, there is an expectation that prociency with taught material will be
reected in the summative assessment. To avoid this issue, all activities must be aligned to the
learning outcomes except for tangential topics which explicitly marked as beyond assessment.
1
http://unistats.direct.gov.uk/
19
2. Learning outcomes
Assessment feedback
45% of respondents agree that they have received detailed comments on [their]
work. and 44% say that feedback on [their] work has helped [them] clarify things
[they] did not understand.
Our programme involves a large amount of practical- and exercise-based learning. Facilita-
tors can directly observe and comment on student progression. However, in my experience,
students often do not include informal, ad-hoc, discussion in their denition of feedback. Un-
fortunately, frequent formal formative assessment is resource intensive and can unduly add
stress learners and facilitators alike.
A slight increase the amount of formal formative assessment could give students the feedback
they crave without overtaxing those involved. In MFCS, a number of closed formative assess-
ments are conducted, on subsets of the topics but in the style the nal summative assessment.
(Reective log B.2, p39)
An alternative proposal, outlined in my symposium presentation in Appendix D, is to use
automated and peer assessment to increase the opportunities for and validity for feedback.
However, the key will be demonstrating the mapping between this feedback and the nal
assessment criteria.
2.5.4. Professional standards
In fullling this learning outcome, I have interacted with the Professional Standards Framework
through:
AOA1 Design and planning of learning activities and/or programmes of study.
AOA3 Assessment and giving feedback to learners.
AOA4 Developing eective environments and student support and guidance.
AOA5 Integration of scholarship, research and professional activities with teaching and sup-
porting learning.
AOA6 Evaluation of practice and continuing professional development.
CK4 The use of appropriate learning technologies.
CK5 Methods for evaluating the eectiveness of teaching.
CK6 The implications of quality assurance and enhancement for professional practice.
PV1 Respect for individual learners.
PV2 Commitment to incorporating the process and outcomes of relevant research, scholarship
and/or professional practice.
PV3 Commitment to development of learning communities.
PV5 Commitment to continuing professional development and evaluation of practice.
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2.6. Learning outcome 6
2.6. Learning outcome 6
Evaluate an aspect of academic practice (teaching, demonstrating or assessment)
that you have found dicult and reect on how you have overcome this.
2.6.1. Claim
This year, I gave my rst lecture-style teaching session. I was concerned about pacing the
lecture (with respect to timing and diculty of content) and student engagement. I will use
this learning outcome to reect on this experience.
2.6.2. Evidence
Courses Attended Evaluation and Quality Enhancement to learn how to evaluate academic
practice. I also attended Eective Lecturing, Learning Styles & Student Motivation and
Maintaining Innovation and Enthusiasm in University Teaching to address perceived de-
ciencies. (See Appendix E, Skil lsforge points summary , on page 63.)
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA5, CK2-3, CK5, PV2
and PV5.
CGO Guest Lecture I was asked to give a guest lecture in the third year Code Generation
and Optimisation module on a topic related to my area of research. This lecture is described
in session plan A.3 (page 32) and reective log B.4 (page 42).
As lecturing is an area in which I have little experience, I requested specic feedback from
the students involved (see feedback mechanism B.4, p42) and asked for a peer observation.
The report from the observation can be found in C.1, p49.
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA1-2, CK2-3, CK5, PV1-3
and PV5.
Peer observations To gather more experience of lecturing practice, I observed those given by
Christopher Poskitt and Dr Chris Fewster. Reports of these can be found in observation C.2
(page 51) and observation C.3 (page 53) respectively. I gave special attention to their pacing
and targeting of learning styles.
This relates to the HEA Professional Standards Framework at AOA5-6, CK2-3, CK5, PV2
and PV5.
2.6.3. Reection
A common observation from students is that engagement is more to do with delivery than the
actual topic. A well-delivered lecture of fundamental principles will grasp the imagination far
better than a badly delivered seminar on cutting edge ideas. However, what are the qualities
that contribute to good delivery? This was a personal concern as I gave my rst lecture to
the undergraduates, on my area of interest. It was hoped that my own enthusiasm would be
communicated.
As shown in my session plan (A.3, p32), I briey introduce the theoretical and practical
motivations for the topic. This pattern, of theoretical and practical concepts, was repeated
throughout to attempt to target multiple learning preferences.
21
2. Learning outcomes
Interestingly, this was not widely mentioned in the feedback collected from the students (F.3,
p69) or the peer (C.1, p49) observer. I can either infer that this balance is not a concern for
many or that the balance was correct such that it did not irritate the students into commenting.
Next time, I will request specic feedback on this point.
I attempted to control the speed of delivery through planned group discussion breaks, dis-
tributed through the lecture. These helped me regain awareness of my timing and allowed the
students to form their own opinions of the material. Both the students and my observation
highlighted these as successful.
Many students used the feedback to describe the lecture as engaging. This would suggest I
succeeded in my goals. Furthermore, I received applications from several enthusiastic attendees
for a summer internship on a related topic and supervised by myself.
2.6.4. Professional standards
In fullling this learning outcome, I have interacted with the Professional Standards Framework
through:
AOA1 Design and planning of learning activities and/or programmes of study.
AOA2 Teaching and/or supporting student learning.
AOA4 Developing eective environments and student support and guidance.
AOA5 Integration of scholarship, research and professional activities with teaching and sup-
porting learning.
AOA6 Evaluation of practice and continuing professional development.
CK1 The subject material.
CK2 Appropriate methods for teaching and learning in the subject area and at the level of
the academic programme.
CK3 How students learn, both generally and in the subject.
CK5 Methods for evaluating the eectiveness of teaching.
PV1 Respect for individual learners.
PV2 Commitment to incorporating the process and outcomes of relevant research, scholarship
and/or professional practice.
PV3 Commitment to development of learning communities.
PV5 Commitment to continuing professional development and evaluation of practice.
22
3. Conclusions
I was once a pupil and student who struggled with specic learning diculties. Pedagogic
literature showed me that these were only diculties because my learning preferences were
not matched with the teachers strategies. I assumed that my preferences were an anomaly.
Using the knowledge gained from the related modules, my observations of other teaching
sta indicates that teachers were targeting their own learning preferences, blinded by their
assumptions.
Models of student learning styles and behaviours are an eective tool for escaping these
assumptions and ensuring adequate coverage of a classs preferences. Facilitators must be
careful to avoid the overzealous application of learning models. Many students are still discov-
ering their learning style and this can be hindered by labelling them at a xed point in their
development.
Increasing interactive elements in lectures and providing open-ended learning activities en-
ables students to leverage their learning preferences as they see t. These opportunities for
engagement can only inspire deep learning, especially if a student-led learning community is
formed. I am keen to investigate whether there are similar models for which activities stimulate
deep learning in dierent classes of students.
The interactive elements in my guest lecture helped me control my own pacing with a
relatively small amount of prior planning. I think these may be a useful technique for dynamic
teaching sessions without the resource intensive planning.
However, interactive techniques can cause unease with students that suer from impaired
social and communication capabilities. I take care to observe student reactions and maintain
a balance of welcoming, but not forcing, contributions.
The Preparing Future Academics programme has given me the knowledge and skills to
evaluate and analyse both my own teaching and the teaching I have received. Through my
own experiences of misaligned module design and the pedagogic theory to which I have been
introduced, I hope to ensure that this does not happen in any course that I design or inuence.
Furthermore, I have discovered that constructive alignment can be used to solve issues with
student engagement and feedback quality. I look forward to implementing the concepts of
automated assessment, peer assessment and reusable results in future teaching sessions.
Learning styles and student engagement have been a running theme throughout my reec-
tions on each learning outcome, resulting from a personal interest. The Preparing Future
Academics programme has helped me consolidate this knowledge and use it to inform my
teaching practice. I hope that this will help me enable learning for all and improve the student
experience.
23
A. Session plans
Contents
A.1. Session plan for Functional Programming practical, AUT/Wk8 . 27
A.2. Session plan for Mathematics for Computer Scientists practical,
AUT/Wk8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
A.3. Session plan for Code Generation and Optimisation guest lecture,
SPR/Wk5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
25
FUN Week 8

Aim for this session:

Continue to develop the student's functional programming skills and mindset, particularly with regard to list
comprehensions, infinite data structures, lazy interaction and reduction performance.

Learning outcomes for this session
By the end of the session, students will be able to:
Form appropriate type specifications for functions.
mplement and apply infinite data structures, particularly regarding lazy interaction.
Request and understand quantitive reduction information from HUGS.

MateriaIs Required for this session (AV, teaching aids, texts, etc.)
One computer per student with HUGS installed.
Functional Programming lecture slides (Runciman, 2001)
Functional Programming practical exercises (Runciman, 2010)

A
.
1
.
2
7

PIan of activities:
Time aIIotted Activity Reason for activity MateriaIs needed Comments/ Notes
11:20 11:25
Remind students that
they should have reached
partitions exercise last
week and that this week we
would like them to reach
wordcount.
Reminds students of the
expected progression
through the exercises.
Try to cluster students together
for peer support and easier class
mangement.
11:25 11:30
Provide support on demand. Gives students a
chance to settle into the
problems and set up their
environment.

11:30 11:45
Cycle through the each
student, querying progress and
discussing solutions.
Useful for keeping track
of student progress and
providing targeted support
to both weaker and
stronger students.
Discuss the relative merits of
solutions and encourage this
discussion between peers.
11:50 12:10
Provide support on demand. Allows students a chance
to work in peace while still
supporting those who need
assistance.

12:10 12:15
Remind students that am
available by e-mail to answer
any questions.
Encourage progression
outside of contact teaching
time.


2
8
MFCS PracticaI Week 8

Aim for this session:

Develop and re-enforce the concept of mathematical relations, introduced in MFCS lectures 7 and 8.

Learning outcomes for this session
By the end of the session, students will be able to:
Understand binary relations as set products and be able to express relations as sets of tuples, adjacency
matrices and directed graphs.
dentify different types of relation (e.g. partial function, total function, injective, surjective) and use
terminology (e.g. domain, range) appropriately.
Use previously learnt concepts to produce reasoned arguments and formal proofs about binary relations.

MateriaIs Required for this session (AV, teaching aids, texts, etc.)
'Caf-style' room configuration
Mathematics for Computer Science lecture slides (Runciman, 2010)
Mathematics for Computer Science practical exercises (Runciman, 2010)

A
.
2
.
2
9

PIan of activities:
Time aIIotted Activity Reason for activity MateriaIs needed Comments/ Notes
16:15 16:20
Get the students to sit in
tables of four, encouraging
them to work with people
who they haven't worked with
previously.
Working in groups of
four allows them to solve
exercises immediately as
a pair, and then rely on
the other pair for support if
they struggle.
Table with four chairs
for entire class.
Some students cannot work in
groups. Once identified, allow
those to work alone.
16:20 16:40
Visit each table, inquiring as
to they fared with the previous
week's exercise sheet. Check
whether there is anything the
immediately do not understand
from the lectures. Give
assistance whether required.
Ensures that previous
learning objectives have
been achieved.
Previous week's
exercise sheet. Lecture
slides.
First involve the group and see
if this is an individual or group
level issue. f individual, use
the group as support. f several
groups, identify to module leader
as an area for class discussion.
16:40 18:00
Visit each table, inquiring as
to how each group member is
progressing. Provide support
to those who are struggling
and identify areas for class
discussion for the module
leader.
Ensures that this week's
learning objectives are
being achieved.
This week's exercise
sheet. Lecture slides.
Process;
1. nvolve the table.
2. Ask them to identify the
topic and locate it in the
lecture slides.
3. Ask them to identify
similar examples.
4. Guide them through to
the next step through
careful query.
5. Follow up after giving the
table time to continue on
their own.
3
0
18:00 18:10
"Unstick students. Move them
beyond steps where they
have got stuck. Highlight my
availability via e-mail should
they need further assistance
before the next practical.
Although it hinders there
immediate learning,
unsticking allows them to
proceed with the exercise
sheet independently.
N/A


3
1
CGO Guest Lecture: Getting compiIers right

Aim for this session:

ntroduce and motivate the concept of compiler correctness. Demonstrate some of the tools available to ensure
compiler correctness.

Learning outcomes for this session
By the end of the session, students will be able to:
Recognise cases where compilers are incorrect.
Motivate the case for compiler verification.
Define what it means for a compiler to be correct.
Evaluate verification techniques in this context.
Apply some verification techniques to the problem.

MateriaIs Required for this session (AV, teaching aids, texts, etc.)
Lecture theatre or large seminar room.
Digital AV system, capable of display PDF slides.
"Getting compilers right slides (Reich, 2011)

A
.
3
.
3
2

PIan of activities:
Time aIIotted Activity Reason for activity MateriaIs needed Comments/ Notes
10:15 10:20
Prepare AV system and
ensure slides are displaying
correctly.
AV system and slides.
10:20 10:25
ntroduce myself and where
they can find me. Signpost
assumed knowledge and
where this topic fits into the big
picture.
Gives students a contact
point if they have further
questions. Shows where
gaps in their knowledge
may hinder their
understanding of current
topic.
Might be worth ensuring class
are familiar with prerequisite
knowledge.
10:25 10:26
Begin with false quote,
demotivating topic. Query if
the class agrees with simple
yes/no shoutout.
Wake up the class. Enthusiasm!
10:26 10:35
Motivate topic of compiler
verification use concrete
examples, statistics and
theory.
Gives introduction to bigger
picture. Why we study this
topic.

10:35 10:40
Display a list of possible
correctness properties. Ask
the class to discuss among
themselves which they agree
with and why.

Go through the list and ask
class what their conclusions
were.
Engage the class in the
topic.
Set a time limit for discussion but
use as a point to control speed of
delivery.
3
3
10:40 10:45
ntroduce concrete problem
from literature.
Encourages those who are
interested to look up the
original source.

10:45 10:50
Ask class to discuss the
different ways in which they
would solve this problem.

Collect answers and list on
whiteboard. Add missing ones
if necessary.
Engage the class before
introducing concepts.

10:50 11:00
Discuss automated testing.
Signpost it for tomorrows
practical.

Discuss theorem proving and
quickly sketch proof.

11:00 11:05
ntroduce my own research
and highlight other literature.
Enforce my own expertise
and encourage deep
learning.

11:05 11:10
Summarise and collect written
feedback. nvite questions.
For evaluation. Design feedback forms for
purpose.


3
4
B. Reective logs
Contents
B.1. Reective log for an MFCS practical . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
B.2. Reective log for an MFCS formative assessment . . . . . . . . . . 39
B.3. Reective log for a CGO practical . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
B.4. Reective log for a CGO guest lecture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
B.5. Reective log for an LSA practical . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
35


Preparing Future Academics (PFA) Form Learn 1

Learning Log TempIate

TitIe of teaching session: Mathematics for Computer Science: Practical, Week 8



Date: 3rd December 2010

1. Did you achieve your intended Iearning outcomes? If not why not?

For the most part, yes. All students successfully completed all questions relating to LO1,
representations of relations and many of the questions relating to LO2, types of relation.

Some students struggled with either reaching or completing questions relating to LO3, proofs
about relations. This is likely due to the students concentrating their contact time on the earlier
questions and this learning outcome involving the higher cognitive domains (Bloom et al,
1956)
of analysis, synthesis and evaluation.

Near examination update: t would appear that those students who struggled with LO3 did
not then work on it in their spare time or ask for further assistance.

2. Did your structure and session pIan work? In not why not and what wiII you do
differentIy next time?

Despite directions from the module leader, many preferred to compIete aII the
questions reIating to each Iearning outcome before proceeding to the next.
This lead to some not touching all the learning outcomes in the allotted contact time.
Perhaps this could be alleviated by marking some problems to be done outside of
contact hours or giving guidance on how much of the contact time we would like
students to spend on each group of questions.

3. What faciIitation techniques were used to engage students in the topic and in
discussion? Did they work? If not what eIse couId you do?

The vast majority of the cIass enjoyed the caf-styIe, working in pairs and fours.
Those who preferred working alone were permitted to do so where it was of benefit to
their studies.
Most seemed happy to engage the demonstrators and moduIe Ieader when they
were stuck.

Near examination update: Our failure to track which students did not hit all three learning
outcomes lead to some surprising absences of knowledge during revision time. Better records
should be kept on the questions that students are completing.


B.1.
37

4. What did you Iearn most from the experience and what wiII you do differentIy next
time?

The caf-styIe Iearning breeds heaIthy discussion and encourages deep
Iearning. would like to see it applied elsewhere.
Students need to be encouraged to try to hit aII Iearning outcomes during the
contact time, otherwise some may slip through the cracks.

Near examination update: Students will often get stuck on learning outcomes that they did
not reach in contact time. Better records will allows the team to track and chase those who do.

BibIiography

Bloom, B. S. and Engelhart, M. D and Furst, E. J. and Hill, W. H. and Krathwohl, D. R.
Taxonomy of educational objectives: the classification of educational goals. Handbook I:
Cognitive Domain, Longmans, Green, 1956.
B. Reective logs
38


Preparing Future Academics (PFA) Form Learn 1

Learning Log TempIate

TitIe of teaching session: Mathematics for Computer Science: Formative Assessment 1



Date: 12th November 2010

1. Did you achieve your intended Iearning outcomes? If not why not?

The intention of this session is to "recognise and respond to student learning in order to
enhance that learning. (Cowie & Bell, 1999) A short assessment was constructed by the
module leader, sat in closed conditions with marked and annotated scripts returned within a
week.

Students largely responded well to feedback, accepting it as a useful learning aid. We found
the results useful for guiding our own teaching. Most students who did poorly, improved by the
second formative assessment.

2. Did your structure and session pIan work? In not why not and what wiII you do
differentIy next time?

The assessment was intentionaIIy cIose to the styIe of the summative
assessment. Only topics from the previous three weeks were covered to help target
their revision for this instance. Both of these gave the feeling of the actual examination
without overwhelming the student and defeating the point of the exercise.
The markers were asked to sit the assessment in advance under a tighter time
constraint and then mark another's script. This helped check the consistency and
soundness of the assessment and write relevant feedback .
As this was the students first closed assessment of the course, explained the
purpose of formative assessment, the precise protocoI of this session and how it
would differ from the summative assessment. Students appeared to appreciate the
use of the assessment as a learning tool.
The intention was to return scripts in time for midterm supervision meetings.
Unfortunately, some supervisors did not follow guidance on arranging these meetings
after the assessment marking deadline. t is a concern that some students missed out
on this face-to-face feedback.

3. What faciIitation techniques were used to engage students in the topic and in
discussion? Did they work? If not what eIse couId you do?

Scripts were generally returned through supervisors, providing an opportunity to
discuss how to orient their studies. Both supervisors and students appreciated the
practical evidence on which they could base their discussions.
Students were invited to discuss their results with the markers and module leader in
person or by e-mail. None did. t is unclear whether this was a problem given most
discussed the feedback with their supervisors.


B.2.
39

4. What did you Iearn most from the experience and what wiII you do differentIy next
time?

AIign the formative assessment with the summative assessment, giving a clear
mapping between the two. This will help manage student expectations and provide a
path to learning.
Ask other peopIe to actuaIIy sit the assessment in advance of the students. This
will help iron out any inconsistencies.
Better communicate the intention to have face-to-face meetings. Ensure that some
face-to-face meeting (either with module leader or PGWT) takes place if it is not
possible to have one with the supervisor.

BibIiography

Cowie, B. and Bell, B. A Model of Formative Assessment in Science Education. Assessment
in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 6:1, Routledge, 1999.
B. Reective logs
40


Preparing Future Academics (PFA) Form Learn 1

Learning Log TempIate

TitIe of teaching session: Code Generation and Optimisation: A Picture to Turtle compiler
(with Matthew Naylor)

Date: 18th February 2011

1. Did you achieve your intended Iearning outcomes? If not why not?

Yes. All those who attended the class completed both intended learning outcomes: (LO1)
mplementing a picture to turtle compiler and (LO2) defining appropriate properties for
compiler correctness.

2. Did your structure and session pIan work? In not why not and what wiII you do
differentIy next time?

As the exercises stack on top of the previous weeks, we ensured that students were
not stuck by asking individuaIs to demonstrate functionaIity and providing
exampIe soIutions to the previous weeks exercises. As all students reached the
intended learning outcomes, this appears to have succeeded.

3. What faciIitation techniques were used to engage students in the topic and in
discussion? Did they work? If not what eIse couId you do?

We engaged in students in a number of ways;
We toured the cIass, observing progress directly, and asking students both
generaIIy about their progress and specific questions. Specific questions tended
to invite fuller responses.
Students were also encouraged to indicate if they were having difficuIty. We
endeavoured to see those having trouble immediately, before returning to the tour.
Most of our questions came from this technique.


4. What did you Iearn most from the experience and what wiII you do differentIy next
time?

The use of automated assessment (as referred to in my symposium presentation)
allows quick assessment and targeted feedback on functionality.
The class seemed to enjoy the baIanced probIem specification. We had attempted
to give enough information for the student to understand a high-level approach to the
problem, while not feeling constrained by it. However, providing a variety of exercises
of differing difficulties can be used to stretch the able and support those needing
assistance.


B.3.
41


Preparing Future Academics (PFA) Form Learn 1

Learning Log TempIate

TitIe of teaching session: Code Generation and Optimisation: Getting compilers right
(guest lecture)

Date: 17th February 2011

1. Did you achieve your intended Iearning outcomes? If not why not?

All learning outcomes were discussed but think more detail on "Apply some verification
techniques to a problem (LO5) could have helped strengthen the concept. As it was, the
class seemed confused.

2. Did your structure and session pIan work? In not why not and what wiII you do
differentIy next time?

The pauses for discussion worked very well. They could be lengthened or shortened
as necessary to keep to the session plan timing.
More time should have been given to "Apply some verification techniques to a
problem, (LO5) possibly at the expense of some of the motivation. Not enough time
was available to properly explain the concepts.

3. What faciIitation techniques were used to engage students in the topic and in
discussion? Did they work? If not what eIse couId you do?

Different techniques were used to encourage discussion depending on the stage of the
lecture.
A quick yes/no shout out was used near the beginning to engage the class with
an 'easy' question. Nearly all responded, all those who did correctly.
A structured discussion point was used around the middle, where students were
asked to discuss in a number of well-structured questions in small groups and then
contribute back to the main class. All students participated in a group and most groups
contributed back to the class.
An unstructured discussion point was used towards the end, where students were
given an unstructured question to discuss in small groups and contribute responses.
These responses were then used as further class discussion points. While all students
participated in groups, not as many felt comfortable supply responses. However, the
class did manage to supply all the expected responses.
Brief, written feedback on the lectures was requested by means of a structured form.
Everyone in the class responded, to varying degrees of depth.
What seemed to be missing was a practical exercise, something to be considered for another
occasion.


B.4.
42

4. What did you Iearn most from the experience and what wiII you do differentIy next
time?

While and the majority of the class found the discussion points useful, one or two
students found them superfluous and disengaging. am unsure whether they can be
accommodated.
Another area of feedback was that needed a more confident style. had a tendency
to defer to members of the class.
Multiple paths are required for complex topics, such as theorem proving. Different
classes need the information at varying degrees of depth. The choice needs to be
made on-the-fly.


B.4. Reective log for a CGO guest lecture
43


Preparing Future Academics (PFA) Form Learn 1

Learning Log TempIate

TitIe of teaching session: Lexical and Syntax Analysis of Programming Languages: Bison,
a Parser Generator (with module leader Matthew Naylor)

Date: 23rd May 2011

1. Did you achieve your intended Iearning outcomes? If not why not?

Yes. By the end of the two hour practical, all of the students were able to use Bison to build
a syntax checker (LO1.1) and evaluator (LO1.2) for a small arithmetic language. Nearly
all managed to extend the language (LO2) for Boolean expressions. Most had at least
begun include (LO3) imperative statements. Those who did not achieve this weeks learning
outcomes had missed the previous practical. They were encouraged to complete it in their
own time and feel free to request help by e-mail.

2. Did your structure and session pIan work? In not why not and what wiII you do
differentIy next time?

The lesson plan worked well. Most students immediateIy understood the probIem and what
resources they needed to complete the exercise sheet. The solution was sIightIy mechanicaI
and, next time, it would be preferable to supply a problem that required a bit more ingenuity
to stretch abIe students, without scaring those who are struggling.

3. What faciIitation techniques were used to engage students in the topic and in
discussion? Did they work? If not what eIse couId you do?

We engaged in students in a number of ways;
The probIem sheet was introduced and summarised to the class 'from the front.'
At this point, immediate questions about the problem sheet were invited but few had
look at it in advance and, therefore, did not feel comfortable asking questions on it.
Next time, would like to introduce the problem sheet, give a chance to work on a
small, accessible section and then summarise the rest of the sheet before asking for
questions.
We toured the cIass, observing progress directly, and asking students both
generaIIy about their progress and specific questions. Specific questions tended
to invite fuller responses.
Students were also encouraged to indicate if they were having difficuIty. We
endeavoured to see those having trouble immediately, before returning to the tour.
Most of our questions came from this technique.


B.5.
44

4. What did you Iearn most from the experience and what wiII you do differentIy next
time?

The majority of questions were not actually on the intended learning outcomes but
technicaI matters about pecuIiarities in the tooIs. This may be an indication that
the tools selected are not the best for teaching this topic.
Most students were working alone and, while teamwork was not an explicit intended
learning outcome, it often helps students to work in small groups. Perhaps the set
problem can be orientated to encourage this better.


B.5. Reective log for an LSA practical
45
C. Peer and sta observations
Contents
C.1. Peer observation of my teaching, performed by Christopher Poskitt 49
C.2. Peer observation of Christopher Poskitt teaching, performed by me 51
C.3. Sta observation of Dr Chris Fewster, performed by me . . . . . . 53
47

Preparing Future Academics (PFA) Form Obs/1


Observation of Teaching

(Depending on which observation (either peer or other teaching) not all questions below will
be appropriate for all sessions)

Title of teaching session: CGO Guest Lecture: Getting Compilers Right (Jason S. Reich)

Date: 17
th
February 2011

Observer: Chris Poskitt


1. What in your opinion went well in the session? Why?

The lecture was very effectively structured a lot of thought had gone into this. Jason
began with a clear set of learning objectives, then placed the lecture within the context of
both the CGO module, and previous modules that the students had taken. The main part of
the lecture was organised into sensible sections, and breadcrumbs at the top of each
slide allowed students to clearly see where they were. The lecture closed with a summary
of what had been covered, and Jason was careful to relate this to the learning objectives
stated at the beginning.
Jason ensured on multiple occasions to motivate the work by linking it to real examples. A
sense of excitement was conveyed to students by linking the work to ongoing research.
Humour was used effectively and made the lecturer appear approachable.
The group discussions mid-lecture were an excellent feature. They broke up the lecture
(avoiding information overload), and really did encourage students to think about the
issues with the people sat next to them. The students were asked to ponder over a number
of open-ended questions; from what I could tell, they engaged with these questions very
well, and even challenged each others views.
The pace of the lecture was good (initially it was quite fast, but this became steady very
quickly and then remained at a good pace).


2. What in your opinion could be improved or developed? How might this be achieved?

Jason asked audience members (myself included) on a couple of occasions if what he had
just said was correct. On all occasions, of course, he was right but I suggest not to ask
for reassurance like this in the future, as it could potentially affect a students confidence in
the lecturer.
For much of the lecture, Jason stood behind the AV Tower. This was not a problem for
most of the students in the room, but I felt that potentially, students sat at the far right of
the room may not have had such a clear view of the lecturer. (This is speculation since I
was not sat there but nonetheless it remains very good practice to carefully consider
where it is you stand when delivering a lecture.)
I felt that the code slides had a bit too much information on them. It might be more
effective to use overlays for these, introducing lines/blocks of code one-by-one. I suspect
that a student would find it much easier to focus on the code if presented this way, rather
than presenting a lot of code all at once (it is easy for tired eyes to wander).







C.1.
49
3. What techniques did the lecturer use to encourage discussion? Did they work?

The lecturer broke off from lecturing on two occasions for students to discuss some open-
ended questions amongst themselves. As discussed earlier, this proved to be very
effective, and clearly engaged the students with the material.


4. Please comment on areas in which the lecturer invited feedback

N/A


5. Any other comments or suggestions

Did I see Comic Sans font in one of the diagrams?!?! :-)
The lecturer handed out some very effective feedback forms, not dissimilar to those used
by the RDT. From what I could tell, students actually left some meaningful feedback, as
opposed to the pleasant but unhelpful generic good lecture comments that other
types of forms may have invoked!
Overall, an excellent lecture and I am not alone in thinking this! I hope that some of these
comments are helpful.


C. Peer and sta observations
50
D. PFA symposium submission
Contents
D.1. Executive summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
D.2. Symposium slides . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
D.1. Executive summary
I chose the topic, Do you see opportunities for innovative assessment methods in modules
that you have been involved in supporting or are the current methods still t for purpose?
and applied it to the teaching programming within computer science and beyond.
The presentation; (section D.2)
Highlighted the many departments were computer programming was taught.
Described and explained the common intended learning outcomes from a programming
module.
Discussed the existing teaching strategies.
Presented informal feedback from both students and teachers.
Used this feedback to motivate suggestions, based on research into the teaching of pro-
gramming skills.
Demonstrated how these suggestions could have also been derived from the existing
intended learning outcomes. In particular, these suggestions were related to professional
practice.
Briey described real world results where the suggestions had be put into practice and
indicated where further study was required.
Constructive alignment runs deep. Going back to the beginning may give you the solutions
you need.
55
D.2. Symposium slides
D.2. Symposium slides
57
D. PFA symposium submission
58
D.2. Symposium slides
59
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D.2. Symposium slides
61
62
E. Skillsforge points summary
Points Summary (Green Card)
The name Green Card is taken from the professional development programme used in The
Department of Biology. The Green Card pulls together all of your completed courses and
development activities and sums up the points that have been awarded.
Points total to date: 37.0
10-
Jun-
2011
Maintaining Innovation and Enthusiasm in
University Teaching
3.0
Researcher
Development
Team
26-
May-
2011
Research with Impact in Computer Science,
Electronics and the Physical Sciences
3.0
Researcher
Development
Team
27-Apr-
2011
Evaluation and Quality Enhancement 3.0
Researcher
Development
Team
15-
Mar-
2011
PFA Symposium 2011 5.0
Researcher
Development
Team
28-
Feb-
2011
Learning Styles & Student Motivation 3.0
Researcher
Development
Team
14-
Feb-
2011
Introduction to Pedagogic Research 3.0
Researcher
Development
Team
26-Jan-
2011
Planning Assessment Methods for Student Work 3.0
Researcher
Development
Team
20-Jan-
2011
Structuring and Designing Courses 6.0
Researcher
Development
Team
13-
Dec-
2010
Effective Lecturing 3.0
Researcher
Development
Team
20-Oct-
2010
PFA Introduction 5.0
Researcher
Development
Team
* Please allow 3 weeks from the end of the course for points to be awarded. If, after this time,
points still have not been awarded, please contact the department responsible.
Date Title of course / activity Points
Points
Awarded By
63
F. Student feedback
Contents
F.1. General feedback from Mathematics for Computer Science . . . . 67
F.2. General feedback for Code Generation and Optimisation . . . . . 68
F.3. Specic feedback for Code Generation and Optimisation guest
lecture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
F.3.1. Rating feedback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
F.3.2. Free-form feedback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
F.3.3. Keyword feedback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
65
F.1. General feedback from Mathematics for Computer Science
F.1. General feedback from Mathematics for Computer Science
All students were asked to complete a standardised feedback form during the last practical
session of each module. The question relating to postgraduates who teach asked;
Please comment on practicals and/or problem classes and/or case study sessions.
For instance, were the Postgraduate Teaching Assistants (PTAs) helpful to you? If
you can identify specic PTAs, that would be helpful.
Example response 1 PTAs helpful as they explained it instead of just pointing to formulas
like Colin [, the module leader,] did. (Jason was very good)
Example response 2 Jason was very good, gave useful pointers or hints instead of full
answers.
Example response 3 They were helpful, it was sometimes hard getting hold of them. Jason
was particually good.
Example response 4 Jason was helpful. [The other PGWT] struggled to explain things.
General themes Helpfulness, approachability, friendliness, knowledge, hints, dierence from
lecturer style.
67
F. Student feedback
F.2. General feedback for Code Generation and Optimisation
All students were asked to complete a standardised feedback form during the last practical
session of each module. The question relating to postgraduates who teach asked;
Please comment on practicals and/or problem classes and/or case study sessions.
For instance, were the Postgraduate Teaching Assistants (PTAs) helpful to you? If
you can identify specic PTAs, that would be helpful.
Example response 1 Good support in lab practicals. Interesting tasks and good that each
lab builds on the previous one. Paper practicals not as enjoyable might be better if they
were weekly one-hour sessions.
Example response 2 PTAs in this module are far better than any other modules this year.
They are approachable and helpful when you ask them questions. The problem classes were
good though reasonably challenging.
Example response 3 Both Jason and [the other demonstrator] were extremely helpful in
both lab and pen/paper practicals.
General themes Helpfulness, approachability, friendliness, constructive and connected exer-
cises, length of sessions.
68
F.3. Specic feedback for Code Generation and Optimisation guest lecture
F.3. Specic feedback for Code Generation and Optimisation guest
lecture
I collected written feedback for my guest lecture in the Code Generation and Optimisation
module using a custom form. This form, inspired by that used by the Researcher Development
Team, encourages respondents to supply structured but constructive feedback. Thirty-three
responses were received.
F.3.1. Rating feedback
Figure F.1.: Chart of rating feedback
Participants were to rate three statements on
a scale from strongly disagree to no opin-
ion to strongly agree. The results are sum-
marised in Figure F.1.
The statements used were:
Q1 I feel the knowledge/skills learned will
help me in my work or study.
Q2 I found this session useful.
Q3 I found the facilitator was suciently en-
gaging and informed.
F.3.2. Free-form feedback
Participants were asked to
indicate one thing that the facil-
iator should stop, start and con-
tinue.
Example response 1 STOP: Asking the audience if you are correct. CONTINUE: Dicussion
breaks! START: ...
Example response 2 STOP: Writing on whiteboards. CONTINUE: Lecturing!
Example response 3 STOP: (nothing to say here!). START: Making questions more precise
(unless the ambiguity is indended?) CONTINUE: With engaging style of presentation!
Example response STOP: (cant think of anything sorry). START: Making people feel
they can ask questions (answering Fair Enough seems a bit negative) and more notes on slides.
CONTINUE: Discussions and questions, sessions for consolidation of discussion.
Example response 4 START: Using a pointy stick for projector slides.
Example response 5 CONTINUE: Interactive aspect of lecture and top bar [breadcrumbs]
on slides.
69
F. Student feedback
Example response 6 STOP: Interactive Q & A in lecture.
General themes Most respondents enjoyed the discussion breaks. Only one specically asked
for them to stop. A few comments on my visible nerves, either rushing parts and asking the
audience if I was correct. One response commented that I may have not been engaging with
audience questions.
F.3.3. Keyword feedback
Participants were asked to circle three keywordss (out of a selection of eighteen) that they felt
best described the lecture.
Keyword Frequency
Informative 19
Relevant 16
Interesting 15
Interactive 13
Engaging 12
Constructive 7
Worth my time 5
Helpful 4
Theoretical 4
Keyword Frequency
Practical 2
Too fast 2
Boring 0
Irrelevant 0
Too detailed 0
Too slow 0
Unfocused 0
Unhelpful 0
Waste of time 0
Table F.1.: Keyword feedback
70