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CALT’s new Teaching Fellow on assessment, writing retreats and the Royal Opera House

11 December 2012

Dr Teresa McConlogue, a newly recruited School-Facing Teaching Fellow working in the UCL Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching (CALT), tells Ele Cooper what she hopes to achieve in her work with the School of Life and Medical Sciences (SLMS).

Dr Teresa McConlogue, senior schools-facing teaching fellow for SLMS

Having come to UCL from Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL), Teresa will be working with SLMS to help improve their teaching, learning and assessment practices. With much of her work at QMUL having focused on individual modules, Teresa is excited at the prospect of working at programme level at UCL, and is keen to pilot cutting-edge projects and then disemminate them on a much larger scale.

Teresa is particularly experienced in developing effective assessment and feedback practice and has published on the topic. She says, “I’m really interested in the area of assessment literacy, where students are involved in assessment processes so they can obtain a better understanding of how assessment works and then apply their knowledge to their own work.”

Teresa talks time off

London is a great place to live. I love discovering cultural venues, out-of-the-way museums and going to the Royal Opera House – it’s such a treat. I am a big fan of independent cinema: last year I went to the Sundance Film Festival and I’m hoping to volunteer to help at the next one; I also go to the London Socialist Film Co-op at the Renoir every month. I went on a tour of the London Library during Open House weekend this year which was just fascinating – it’s such a beautiful building and they never throw a book away.”

According to Teresa, it’s easy to do this. “If an academic is setting an assignment, for example a lab report, they can provide examples for the students to look at on Moodle and then set tasks around them. But it’s important not to provide one model lab report, because then everyone will try to write in that style and it might be beyond the level of some students. It’s better to provide a range of examples of student lab reports with some form of commentary so that students can  benchmark their own work against the examples.”

She continues, “Research has found that students spot errors in their peers’ work more easily than in their own, so by looking at a range of example reports, they can build up an understanding of what constitutes a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ lab report and understand how that relates to their own work. It’s fairly straightforward but very powerful.”

One successful initiative Teresa collaborated on while at QMUL was a peer assessment scheme at the School of Engineering and Material Science. Students would mark and give feedback on four peer assignments, with academic staff moderating. The system worked well and was subsequently extended to other modules, with an online system for submission, distribution of peer marking and the calculation and distribution of marks and feedback also being developed. Teresa hopes to work on similar initiatives at UCL.

Helping to develop student writing is another passion of Teresa’s. “At Queen Mary I introduced academic writing retreats for PhD students and academic staff,” she says. “I am a real fan of academic writing retreats because they can help students develop strategies for writing large documents; staff meanwhile have reported completing journal articles, book chapters and, in one case, an inaugural lecture during writing retreats.”

Teresa is currently working with Dr Rosalind Duhs, the other CALT School-Facing Teaching Fellow for SLMS, to ascertain the School’s needs and develop relationships and projects across SLMS. If you work in SLMS and would like advice on any area of teaching, learning or assessment, you can contact Teresa by emailing t.mcconlogue@ucl.ac.uk or Rosalind by emailing r.duhs@ucl.ac.uk.

If you work in a different part of UCL and would like to speak to one of the School-Facing Teaching Fellows for your school, you can find out who to contact on the CALT website.

Page last modified on 11 dec 12 13:52


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