You Shape UCL


Staff-Student projects get funding to make education better

12 December 2016

UCL ChangeMakers has funded 18 new projects that aim to enhance UCL education.

Staff-student projects get funding to make education better

Guidance for staff working with students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Practical elements for a third-year undergraduate module on bioreactor control. An investigation of actions that students and staff can take to ensure UCL remains welcoming for international students.

These are just three of 18 new initiatives that have received funding to enhance UCL education.  The projects, proposed by both students and staff, are funded by UCL ChangeMakers, the programme that drives improvements to teaching and learning through formal collaborations between students and staff.

Dr Jenny Marie, Director of UCL ChangeMakers, said, "We had a really impressive range of submissions in our latest funding round. We support educational enhancement projects proposed by either staff or students, so long as they are conducted in partnership with each other. The projects investigate an educational issue and make improvements or pilot a change and evaluate it.  There is up to £1,000 funding available for projects, awarded by a panel of staff and students. This can be used for things like incentives, catering, travel, specialist materials (for example 3D printing costs) or to pay for the expertise of, say, designers or programmers."

The central UCL ChangeMakers team help coordinate and guide the projects so that they are relevant, effective and enjoyable for everyone involved. Students benefit from training and peer support sessions while staff receive pedagogical support from staff affiliated with the UCL Centre for Advancing Learning & Teaching (CALT).
The funded projects are expected to be completed by either the end of the spring term (for projects involving undergraduate students) or by the end of June (for projects involving postgraduate students).  There are two windows each year for project submissions: November and June. Find out more on the UCL ChangeMakers website.

Brief descriptions of the funded projects outlined below show the range of innovation and areas of interest.    

ADHD and my university experience (Institute of Child Health)    

Working in partnership with undergraduates with ADHD to create a learning and support resource, chiefly for UCL staff involved in undergraduate teaching, such as personal tutors and seminar leaders. By creating videos, the project aims to raise awareness amongst teaching staff at UCL and the undergraduate student body of the difficulties faced by UCL undergraduate students with ADHD and show how alterations and coping strategies may increase engagement in and enjoyment of university life for these young people.

Assessing student-¬staff dialogue (Chemistry)    

A project to assess student views and preferences regarding office hours and Moodle forums. It will review the effectiveness of the personal tutor system as a conduit for personal and professional development and discuss the feasibility of third year tutorials with both students and staff.

Development of a prototype bioreactor system for hands-on teaching of control loops (Biochemical Engineering)

The project aims to develop two new practical elements for a third-year undergraduate taught module on bioreactor control. This will allow the students to write software to monitor and control temperature and pH, and observe the effect on a real-life bioreactor system.

Discovering, dreaming and designing: using Appreciative Inquiry to improve formative feedback (Institute of Education)

The project aims to improve the formative feedback provided by tutors on students’ assignments. It will investigate, through Appreciative Inquiry, what can be done to enhance and improve the learning experiences of Masters students at UCL.  There will be a specific focus on the formative feedback provided by tutors to students studying on the Secondary Teacher Education Programme (STEP)

Supporting extra-curricular experience and knowledge in Engineering PGT (Faculty of Engineering Sciences)    

The project will identify the resources needed for students to thrive at UCL during their MSc study. This information will then be used to curate and create high quality and relevant resources.

Enhancing the student experience, academic achievement and support for career ambitions of BME students (Faculty of Brain Sciences)      

The project will build on prior quantitative research by the Faculty, which investigated whether national concerns of an attainment gap between BME (Home) students and non-BME students in the UK, was reflected locally at UCL (Evans et al (2015)). A qualitative approach will develop greater insight into the causes underpinning this difference in attainment, so that relevant and appropriate support / interventions for BME (Home) students can be developed within the Faculty.

Far Field Near Field (Slade)

The project will facilitate the development of audio field recording within the Slade as a practice-led methodology in art making and research.

Gateway to Success programme for students in the MA Translation and MSc Specialised Translation (School of European Languages, Culture and Society)    

The project has two themes; one theme will look at what exactly translation commentary aims to assess in order to produce an (alternative) study guide written by students for students regarding how to write a good translation commentary. The other theme addresses the subject of how to be prepared for further studies and for language/translation careers.

Integrated Learning, Teaching and Knowledge Transfer through Industry Partnership Project (School of Construction and Project Management)    

To involve students in scoping a research project engaging with industry, and in identifying organisations and individuals that can provide relevant case study material and other inputs into their programme; as part of wider discussion about the course curriculum. The project will create sense of partnership between students and academics and a network will be established that will continue after course completion for the exchange of ideas and discussion between students and academics.

An introduction to clinical art and sculpture in plastic and reconstructive surgery (Surgery)    

To provide a practical, hands-on learning experience, for students who are keen to pursue a career in either plastic surgery or medical illustration, the project seeks to equip students with the skills to improve communication in healthcare through better illustration, which ultimately affects the care of patients. The project will pilot 6, two-hour workshops in sculpturing and sketching. The course will be open to students from the MSc in Burns, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, as well as students from the Arts and Sciences BASc.

Learning about what research is and how researchers do it: supporting the pursuit of and transition to postgraduate studies in mathematics (Curriculum, Pedagogy & Assessment)

The project aims to raise the maths undergraduates' awareness of and engagement with the research wealth and research culture of the mathematics department. The project will trial some strategies for engaging undergraduates, postgraduates (PGRs) and academics in a partnership intended to develop their subject-based research and enquiry skills and support the postgraduate researchers (at doctoral level) to develop their skills of synthesising and communicating about own research.

Mental Health Awareness Day – what do you think? (Medical School)    

Organising a free-to-attend day event in order to give all members of the UCL community the chance to better understand the many facets of mental illness, the ways it affects the people who suffer from it but also those close to them, and the role individuals might have in looking out for the mental health of our loved ones and ourselves.

Peer Academic Writing Support @ PPP (Institute of Child Health)    

A review of existing peer writing support at UCL with the aim of developing guidelines for running a peer writing support group. To develop facilitation materials for sessions on core academic writing skills, based on results of the scoping review and to organise peer support writing sessions in the Population, Policy & Practice (PPP) division.

Piloting and evaluating a tool for the peer assessment of individual contribution in student group work (Electronic and Electrical Engineering)

Researching the advantages and disadvantages of the current system of peer assessed individual contribution in group-work, as seen by students. The results will inform IPAC (Individual Peer Assessment Contribution) project and contribute to the design of a new method for a more accurate and fair way of assessing group work assignments.

Shut up and Write (Geography)    

The project aims to introduce the geography department to group writing.

Student Integration and Inclusion: making the UCL community even more welcoming (International Student Support)

The project will research the extent to which overseas and EU international students view UCL as a welcoming institution and define concrete actions for students and staff to ensure UCL remains welcoming and inclusive for international students.

Study in the City: student-led recommendations for UCL in East London (Urban Laboratory)    

The project will use multiple research methodologies to assess current student experience around the UCL Bloomsbury campus, forming a series of recommendations that could be applied to UCL’s expansion in to East London - at both Here East (UCL Bartlett and UCL Engineering) and UCL East.

What is the impact of the Learning Designer on trainee teachers’ thinking and practice in their use of learning technology in their teaching? (Culture, Communication and Media)

The project will evaluate how the Learning Designer toolset enhances the understanding of trainee teachers of how to employ digital technologies within their lessons and pedagogical approaches. To explore the implications the Learning Designer tool holds on lesson delivery with digital technologies for trainee teachers.