Centre for Academic Practice


Learning and Teaching Conference 2017

24th May 2017, 09:00 - 16:15, Burleigh Court

The Centre for Academic Practice is organising the University’s Learning and Teaching Conference. The 2017 theme is Celebrating excellence in student learning, through research-informed teaching, scholarship and professional practice.

The conference will be focusing on research-informed teaching, i.e. staff using their research in their teaching, sharing scholarship, and the practicalities of teaching delivery such as maintaining student engagement. There will be presentations (oral and posters) by external speakers, and Loughborough University staff and students with the aims being to share and inspire teaching innovation and best practice.

Date: 24th May 2017
Venue: Burleigh Court
Time: 1 day
Cost: FREE Lunch is provided

Please join our discussion and share your experience on Twitter, using the hashtag #LboroLT17

Keynote Speakers and Programme

Details can be see below.

Keynote Speakers

Keynote 1 - Professor Rachel Thomson

Developments in Learning and Teaching at Loughborough

Our first keynote speaker is Professor Rachel Thomson, Loughborough University Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching. Rachel will give her views about teaching excellence at Loughborough and will announce the winners of the 2017 Teaching Innovation Awards and Research-informed Teaching Awards.

About Rachel Thomson

Rachel read for a degree in Natural Sciences at Newnham College, Cambridge University between 1986 and 1989, specialising in Physics. She then carried out her PhD in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, also at Cambridge, between 1989 and 1992. For the following 3 years she held the position of Research Fellow in the same department, supported by SERC (now EPSRC) and Rolls-Royce plc. Between 1993 and 1995 she was awarded a non-stipendiary Research Fellowship at Darwin College, Cambridge University. In 1995, Rachel moved to a lectureship in the Materials department at Loughborough University, being promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1999 and to a Personal Chair in 2002. She became the Director of the Materials Research School, one of 5 multidisciplinary Research Schools in the University, in September 2006 and from December 2013 was the Research Challenge Leader for the "Enabling Technologies" research challenge, one of the six overarching research challenges adopted by the University. Rachel became Head of the Department of Materials in 2011, from May 2014, becoming Dean of the School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering (AACME) and from September 2016 was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching.

Keynote 2 - Chris Resto

Designing and Launching a University-Wide Co-Curricular Program to Help Prepare Students for the Real Professional World

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program (UPOP) has a well-earned reputation as a “career success accelerator.” It’s a year-long professional development program that prepares second year undergraduates—regardless of degree programme—to thrive in their careers. Founded in 2001, it is one of the largest co-curricular programs at MIT (almost half of all second year undergraduates apply). They are coached to think strategically: where do they want to be 10 years after they graduate? What summer internship will position them towards that goal? The UPOP year gives students real-world skills, coaching from (and life-long connections with!) successful MIT alums, experiential workshops, company field trips, one-on-one counselling from UPOP staff, networking events, exclusive panel discussions with companies like Accenture, Akamai, Apple, Google, Northrop Grumman and Tesla Motors, and access to internships with the 2000+ employers who work with UPOP and who know and trust that a UPOP-trained intern will hit the ground running.

About Chris Resto

Chris Resto was founding director of MIT’s ‘Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program’ (UPOP) and took the program from “little more than vaporware” to being a central, sustainable part of MIT. To nurture UPOP, he energized large numbers of alums and friends to become actively involved. His ideas included incorporating volunteer Teaching Assistants into the curriculum. Dozens donate time to serve in the Independent Activities Period Workshops; others participate during the year; many more employ UPOP students. Leading a program deeply engaged with students’ personal development Chris Resto truly created connections.

Chris has long-standing links with Loughborough University. He is currently the founder and managing partner of Blueprint Talent Group, a consulting firm that helps growing organizations with recruiting strategy, process, and execution. He has also co-authored ‘Recruit or Die: How Any Business Can Beat the Big Guys in the War for Young Talent’ (Penguin, 2007).

Learning and Teaching Conference 2017 Programme

Please note: Posters and the Augmented Reality Sandbox are on display in Wye until 14:30
Time Session  Room
09:00 - 09:30  Registration, plus tea / coffee Lounge – adjacent to Wye
09:30 – 09:40 Housekeeping, welcome and introduction - Professor Carol Robinson  Convention Room
09:40 – 10:00 Keynote 1 – Professor Rachel Thomson
Loughborough University Pro Vice-Chancellor for Teaching - "Developments in Learning and Teaching at Loughborough"
Convention Room
10:00 – 10:20 Professor Rachel Thomson - Announcement of Teaching Innovation and Research-informed Teaching Awards Convention Room
10:20 – 11:20 Posters and Augmented Reality Sandbox demonstrated by Harry Sanders - tea and coffee available Lounge and Wye
11:20 – 12:20 Parallel sessions 2 x 25 minutes  Avon, Derwent,
Soar and Swift
12:20 - 13:20 Lunch Restaurant
13:20 - 14:10

Keynote 2 - Chris Resto
Blueprint Talent Group

"Designing and Launching a University-Wide Co-Curricular Program to Help Prepare Students for the Real Professional World" 

Convention Room
14:10 – 15:10 Parallel sessions 2 x 25 minutes  Avon, Derwent,
Soar and Swift
15:10 – 15:30 Tea / coffee available  Lounge adjacent to Wye
15:30 – 15:50 Working with Loughborough Students’ Union
Lewis Wood, LSU Executive Officer for Education - "A Summary of my Year"
Hannah McManmon, LSU Student Voice Peer Support Coordinator - "Peer Assisted Learning at Loughborough"
Convention Room
15:50 – 16:10 Closing Remarks - Professor Rachel Thomson Convention Room

Please join our discussion and share your experience on Twitter - hashtag #LboroLT17

Parallel Sessions

There will be a choice of parallel sessions provided, led by previous Teaching Innovation Award winners. An overview of the sessions, along with a programme and details of the LU Sandbox project, can be seen below:

Developing a common language: enhancing communication and feedback

Dr Hilary McDermott

This presentation will introduce colleagues to our on-line learning resource aimed at improving student understanding of feedback. The resource was developed with the support of a Teaching Innovation Award.

The aim of our project was to enhance feedback practices and promote better two-way communication between students and staff. The project was student-led.

Preliminary interviews/focus groups were undertaken with academic staff members and students to identify their perceptions of feedback. In addition, a survey was conducted with first year psychology students, during their second week of study, to identify their baseline perceptions of what constitutes feedback.

These activities informed the development of an on-line learning resource which was administered via Learn to all 1st Year Psychology Students.

Finally, the survey was re-administered to the same cohort of first year psychology students during semester two, to establish the effectiveness of the e-learning resource.

Cooperative Learning in Higher Education Pedagogy

Dr Ashley Casey

Cooperative Learning (CL) is a pedagogical approach used by many in primary and secondary schools but far fewer in higher education. Why? Perhaps because it’s assumed that large lecture theaters and old students are not conducive to such pedagogies. Over 2000 articles in general education demonstrate that Cooperative Learning significantly impacts on students’ academic achievement as well as their social and affective development. Using research-informed pedagogical practice acquired and refined over a twenty-teaching career in both secondary and higher education this session gives examples of CL structures that can be used in large lecture theatres, seminars and practical spaces to enhance learning in the physical, cognitive, affective and social domains. The session will use structures such as student team assessment divisions (STAD), Jigsaw, numbered-heads together, quiz-quiz-trade and timed pair-share to help colleagues find small ways of making research-informed pedagogical changes in their teaching. 

Research-informed curriculum design: embedding a field visit in your curriculum

Dr Line Nyhagen

This presentation focuses on a field visit to a local community site as a form of research-informed curriculum innovation. The pedagogical value of the field visit, as well as its introduction and organisation, will be outlined. The presentation also covers student feedback and changes made to the initial design of the field trip, as well as the introduction of an innovative form of assessment that asks student to reflect on their learning experience from the field visit. The field visit case is that of Leicester Central Mosque, visited by approximately seventy students on my optional 'Religion & Society' module in March 2017.

Flipped Lecturing for Student Engagement

Dr Simon Hogg

The session will focus on lecture flipping, i.e. information required for the session is provided to student in advance and the contact time is used for higher-level learning objectives. We will show how this can provide more active learning for the student, with a strong element of peer instruction, and a more rewarding experience for the lecturer (teacher). Examples of how flipping can be implemented including some of the technology that is available at Loughborough will be given. The session will be largely discussion based and both positive and negative aspects of the flipped classroom will be explored.

A ‘Blueprint’ for Peer-Based and Collaborative Learning in a Teaching Laboratory

Dr Sweta Ladwa

In a laboratory-teaching environment, students are very much focused on getting to the end product of an experiment, sometimes without taking in or thinking about the steps to get to the end of the experiment.  Students are provided with a laboratory manual, which gives detailed instructions for completing their experimental work.  These instructions will include a number of ‘core’ techniques pivotal to a student’s time at university.  Although the laboratory is sometimes considered to play a supporting role to the lecture in higher education (Boud, Cohen and Sampson, 2014), it is a vital learning environment for STEM subjects. 

Through personal observation, when students are encouraged to discuss their knowledge to their peers in the laboratory, there is much more development in their individual and collective engagement with the material and processes.  Information is retained as knowledge and is generally disseminated in their own language without necessarily using a large amount of technical jargon. This allows students to explore the higher levels of learning objectives such as application and analysis as discussed in Bloom’s Taxonomy (Atherton, 2013).  Peer learning will incorporate high order and strategic cognitive tasks into student laboratory time.

We have developed a blueprint to enhance student lab engagement, centered around peer-based learning with an emphasis on problem-based solutions.  The blueprint was developed in partnership with current students to test its effectiveness and suitability for use in undergraduate teaching laboratories, initially within Chemistry. 

A brief overview of the blueprint is as follows: students work in small groups to evaluate research and disseminate a laboratory technique back to their peers. In the case of our methods we have used videos to enable the dissemination.

We believe that one of the main benefits of this practice is to increase student engagement in the laboratory environment to ensure that knowledge is retained of key techniques, which are used across a number of different experiments.  In addition to this, students will become proficient in skills such as communication, working with others and time-management. 

Once developed and evaluated with partner students, wider opinion was gathered through discussion during student focus groups.  With further work, the intention is to incorporate the blueprint as part of laboratory teaching and assessment.  

Empowering students to develop a ‘user friendly’ framework for LEARN

Dr Hilary McDermott, Dr Ashley Casey, Mr Lee Barnett, Mr Phil Taylor

A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is a system for delivering learning materials to students via the internet (Oxford University Press, 2014). Such systems are designed to facilitate and support independent study by allowing students to access different learning tools, such as programme information, course content, teacher assistance, discussion boards, document sharing systems and learning resources (Martins & Kellermanns, 2004).  However, anecdotal evidence suggested that the virtual learning environment (VLE) at Loughborough University (Learn) was being used by both staff and students as an expensive file repository; in short, a one-way system of delivery rather than one which promotes two-way interaction.

This project was designed to develop an evidence base of how the VLE was actually being used by students and to work with students to develop a more intuitive and interactive learning space. Following a survey of over 300 students from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, a one-day workshop with eight students and three staff from the School was facilitated by the Higher Education Academy. The students mapped the way they used technology, both socially and in their learning, and considered how the VLE could be used to more effectively support their learning. An appreciative inquiry model was used to provide a professional and practical environment where students could explore their own ideas and recognise the diverse needs of different learners.

This project was a unique partnership between academic staff, professional services, current students and the Student’s Union and encouraged student engagement in learning and teaching. The insights from this study have allowed us to conceptualize a coherent, university wide approach to the VLE.

An exploration of the benefits of active learning strategies for Loughborough University students with neurodiversity

Dr Karisa Krcmar

Some of the best brains in the business can’t all be wrong!

Beethoven Aristotle         Virginia Woolf David Thoreau


What do these great thinkers and creative geniuses all have in common?

 “me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow”

  Henry David Thoreau                                                                                                                                    

                                                            ...they walked as they thought or taught.


The aim of this project was to explore whether standing or light movement (versus sedentary behaviour) has a positive effect on learning and processing information.

Be prepared to stand and move during this interactive workshop which will ask you to experiment for yourself and explore how you might be able to develop standing practice within your own teaching environment – and assessment practice.

Reflective Goal setting - A research informed framework for the successful transfer of learning

Dr Cheryl Travers

Since 2002, I have been developing and employing an innovative goal setting framework which has also become my key research area. This has resulted in a five stage model which supports the transfer of learning across a range of university based UG, PG and Post Experience modules. The enormous resulting data set provides evidence for the power of what I now call Reflective Goal Setting (RGS). I designed this theoretically-based, yet highly practical, framework after identifying a gap in our teaching provision related to the transfer of students’ learning and personal development in areas such as, maximising job placement experiences, balancing the pressures of study with other lifestyle choices, academic growth, job search, and management and leadership development. Adults learn differently to children and are intrinsically motivated, problem focused and resourceful. RGS provides an ‘andragogical’ approach to their learning, resting on a bedrock of written goals and diary-keeping. I have now started to harvest this data and disseminate the findings and the work has been internally and externally recognised for its innovative contribution.

This workshop will outline the development of Reflective Goal Setting as both a teaching and learning tool and a fruitful area of research. Participants will also be taken through the model by applying it to goals of their own. 

Remotely Accessed Laboratory Suite (RALS) using the Internet of Things

Dr David Kerr and Anthony Sutton

We present our recent work on development of a core system for remote delivery of student laboratories using Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Laboratory experiments are an integral part of our science and engineering programmes. Our students are attracted to courses that provide relevant practice and experience opportunities. Growing student numbers and limited laboratory resource have in recent years reduced opportunities for self-directed learning and interaction with lab equipment on an individual basis. Distance learning is now a common feature of many of our programmes and remotely accessible labs can offer unique opportunities to students studying overseas. Access for disabled students can be greatly enhanced if lab work can be undertaken more conveniently via a remote system.

We have investigated a range of currently available, inexpensive hardware and software technologies in order to design a concept modular system that could form the basis of a range of remotely delivered undergraduate laboratories. Based on the fast growing demand for IoT services in the home and workplace, such technologies are increasing in sophistication and capability, whilst becoming cheaper and more widely available.

We demonstrate how a lab system can be built on a modular basis, using a Raspberry Pi server and public domain web software, with a currently delivered undergraduate lab as an example. We have also surveyed staff within the School to assess the present degree of awareness and potential interest in using IoT based remote labs in future teaching, and we present the results of this survey along with a review of some of the potential pedagogical benefits of remote labs in general.

Evolving a Laboratory from hands-on, to virtual, to remote

Dr Sheryl Williams and Dr Richard Blanchard

The remote laboratory is an innovative project as it utilises cutting edge technologies with ICTs to develop a replica of complicated physical laboratory. With the remote laboratory distance learners will be able to access and remotely control the experimental equipment based at Loughborough University via the Internet. The lab allows distance learners to use the bespoke and purpose designed booking system to select a time to do the experiment. Then log onto the experiment through the graphical user interface. With the aid of a webcam the students can see the experimental rig in action. They then follow a series of instructions to set and measure, download their results to critically analyse and discuss them in a report according to the coursework instructions.

The presentation outlines the rationale, process and lessons-learnt including challenges and successes. Participants will be able to implement the concepts presented to inspire ideas for their own projects and using the lessons- learnt to successfully develop similar projects.

A Student-Led Video Library for Undergraduate Experimental Labs

Michael Walsh, Kelly Morrison and Mark Snape

The aim of this TIA was to develop videos designed to provide an introduction/additional help for new undergraduate students with varied experimental backgrounds. So far approximately 15 videos have been made and uploaded into the ‘Physics Lab 1’, ‘Multimeters’, ‘Signal generator’, and ‘Oscilloscopes’ playlists that were then signposted on Learn. Feedback on these videos has now been collected and will be followed up with a second wave of videos to help address the problems that have been identified. These problems include upgrading the commentary to address some of the difficulties the students are still having with the equipment and using alternative scenarios that need more complex control.

The use of video in improving learning, teaching and assessment of design skills to large cohorts

Ian Storer and Karl Hurn

In Loughborough design school we have over 600 students studying design across 3 courses. There are a number of practical skills, considered essential for novice designers to develop including: sketching, computer aided design and foam modelling. Traditionally, we could devote significant time within the curriculum to develop essential design skills; however, the design curriculum is increasingly packed with other subjects, such as: research methods, user experience/interface design, ergonomics, manufacturing, sustainability, statistical analysis, entrepreneurship etc.

Previous teaching methods worked well and the students reached a high standard of competency. However, with less time available for the teaching and practice of design skills a more efficient delivery method was required. The most well received elements of the existing teaching were retained and augmented with video tutorials delivered through LEARN. The use of video provided a number of benefits, including:

1)      Video can be rewound, paused and repeated as often as required for a deeper level of understanding

2)      Video can be used as a revision resource, where previously students would have to remember the content

3)      Much more in depth demonstrations can be created using a mixture of media to illustrate specific methods or points than lecture/studio based teaching allows.

4)      Coursework feedback is simplified in that students can be directed to the most useful videos to revisit to improve their work.

5)      Less repetition of teaching [some demonstrations were previously repeated up to six times due to class sizes]

Although there are many benefits to video use, there are also some down sides. To create useful video content the lecturers need to invest the time to master the editing software and have somewhere quiet to record narration. This can be difficult in shared offices.  The preparation time for this improvement in teaching can leave less time for research and enterprise work.

Building on the success of the video project, we are experimenting in using video to assess students’ design project work. The aim is to remove the barriers between the stream of consciousness nature of designing and the limitations of traditional communication media. We believe this will reduce the time required to assess project work while providing a deeper understanding of design activity.  

The LU Sandbox Project

Professor Joanna Bullard, Richard Harland and Harry Sanders – Geography
Professor Shuang-Hua Yang, Kip Sahnsi, Yuan Tian – Computer Science

Please Note: The Sandbox will be on display in Wye until 14:30

The Loughborough University sandbox project is funded by a 2016 Teaching Innovation Award. A sandbox is a way to enable people to interact with a miniature physical landscape by sculpting mountains and valleys from sand and exploring how this landscape responds to changing inputs such as from rainfall or lava flows. The sandbox uses ‘augmented reality’ which provides a way to combine real world objects and virtual world objects by projecting virtual reality on to a physical model. The project is a joint venture between Geography and Computer Science. Staff and students in Geography have built the physical sandbox and are developing and testing educational resources to enable students and the public to use augmented reality to improve geomorphological understanding. Staff and students in Computer Science have been working to develop and apply the computer programming to make the visualization responsive to real-time changes in the landscape. We presented some ideas about how to support undergraduate student learning using the augmented reality sandbox at a recent conference session on Technology-Enhanced Teaching in Geosciences in the USA and are hoping to test these ideas and include them in our teaching next academic year.

The programme for the parallel sessions can be seen below:

Parallel Sessions programme

 Parallel Sessions  11:20 - 12:20  
Avon Derwent Soar Swift

Dr Hiliary McDermott

Workshop - double session

Developing a Common Language:
Enhancing Communication and Feedback

Clickers: Matt Hope

Chair: Dr Hardeep Basra

Dr Ashley Casey

Workshop - double session 

Cooperative Learning in
Higher Education 

Chair: Sasha Dosanjh                        

Dr Line Nyhagen
(11:20 - 11:45)


Research-informed curriculum design:
embedding a field visit in your curriculum

Chair: James Moran

Dr Simon Hogg
(11:20 - 11:45)


Flipped Learning for Student

Chair: Sophie Cookson

Gabi Witthaus
(11:55 - 12:20)


Evaluating the Effects of Community
of Practice on Teaching                                

Chair: James Moran  

Dr Sweta Ladwa
(11:55 - 12:20)


A 'Blueprint' for peer-based and Collaborative
Learning in a Teaching Laboratory

Chair: Sophie Cookson

 Parallel Sessions  14:10 – 15:10  
Avon Derwent Soar Swift

Dr Hilary McDermott
(14:10 - 14:35)


Empowering students to develop a
‘user friendly’ framework for LEARN

Chair: Dr Nick Allsopp

Dr Cheryl Travers

Workshop - double session

Reflective Goal setting – A research
informed framework for the
successful transfer of learning

Chair: Dr Duncan Stanley

Dr David Kerr and Anthony Sutton
(14:10 - 14:35)


Remotely Accessed Laboratory Suite (RALS)
using the Internet of Things

Chair: Lee Barnett

Michael Walsh
(14:10 - 14:35)


A Student-Led Video Library
for Undergraduate Experimental Labs

Chair: Dr Tina Barnes-Powell


Dr Karisa Krcmar
(14:45 - 15:10)


An exploration of the benefits
of active learning strategies for
University students with neurodiversity

Chair: Dr Nick Allsopp

Dr Sheryl Williams and Dr Richard Blanchard
(14:45 - 15:10)


Evolving a Laboratory from hands-on,
to virtual to remote

Chair: Lee Barnett

Ian Storer
(14:45 - 15:10)


The use of video in improving
learning, teaching and assessment
of design skills to large cohorts

Chair: Dr Tina Barnes-Powell

Please join or discussion and share your experience on Twitter - hashtag #LboroLT17

Please contact CAP@lboro.ac.uk to register for this event.

We look forward to celebrating teaching excellence with you; please join our discussion and share your experience on Twitter, using the hashtag #LboroLT17