2019 Universal Design for Learning (Breaking Down Divides)

Designing Learning Communities for All – An Overview of the QAA ‘Belonging’ Enhancement Mini Projects
Jacqueline Brodie, Avril Gray and Christine Haddow
(10 minute presentation)

This presentation will provide the audience with an overview of the QAA ‘belonging’ enhancement mini-projects that have been undertaken across the University since the launch of the theme in 2017. This strand of the current QAA enhancement theme seeks to impact on student experience by (a) enhancing the breadth of voices and valued ‘learning communities’ that are understood and recognised (b) support staff to better tailor learning and student support to meet the needs of diverse students (c) support staff and students to build relevant and impactful learning communities within and across programmes.

After a brief introduction to the completed mini-projects, the presentation will focus on two of those projects – highlighting the challenges/decisions that have to be made when designing learning experiences suitable for all. The first mini project outlined is the Big Read, a shared reading scheme that began at Edinburgh Napier University in 2016. We will reveal how the scheme has sought to bond and galvanise groups of students/staff across diverse disciplines and campuses through shared action and the joy of a great book. The second mini project discussed explored how to create a sense of belonging for online students, highlighting the kinds of activities/support students need to feel connected when studying online. The presentation ends with an update on the current set of mini-projects and highlights further opportunities for the audience to engage with the current enhancement theme.

Key literature
Spanierman, L.B. et al. (2013). Living Learning Communities and Students’ Sense of Community and Belonging. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 50(3), pp308-325.

Belonging Mini-projects
Mabel Victoria and Sibylle Ratz
(3 minute presentation)

This student-led project was designed to promote student belonging by providing primarily first-year students with a space and an opportunity to engage in a fun and educational activity of watching a film together in the Bainfield common room. A total of four films selected by the students were shown once a month over four months. These films were chosen based on the languages, cultures and themes that the students were interested in.

In this presentation we present our reflection on our experiences of coordinating the film project including how the notions of ‘belonging’ (Masika & Jones 2015; Scanlon et al 2007), ‘student-led’ (Biggs & Tang 2007) and ‘educational and fun’ were co-constructed and negotiated.

Key literature
Biggs, J. & Tang, C. (2007) Teaching for Quality Learning at University (3rd edition). Berkshire: Society for Research into Higher Education & Open University Press

Masika, R. & Jones, J. (2015) Building student belonging and engagement: insights into higher education students’ experiences of participating and learning together. Teaching in Higher Education, 2517 (February), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2015.1122585

Scanlon, L., Rowling, L. & Weber, Z. (2007) ‘You don’t have like an identity … you are just lost in a crowd’: Forming a Student Identity in the First-year Transition to University. Journal of Youth Studies, 10(2), 223–241. https://doi.org/10.1080/13676260600983684

The Importance of Mindful Design-Identity Creation
Maria Therese Mullan
(3 minute presentation)

To enhance individual student engagement and participation in design briefs in the context of product design. A pilot study – notebook creation across two module cohorts for 2019.

Key literature
Klaus Krippendorff (2004) Intrinsic motivation and human-centred design. Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, 5:1, pp43-72, DOI: 10.1080/1463922031000086717

Co-creative Learning About Purpose Driven Business by ‘Knowing’, ‘Doing’ and ‘Being’
Dr Wendy Wu and Dr Hock Tan
(10 minute presentation)

Higher education faces challenges in cultivating graduates who are ready to deal with uncertainties and challenges in the business world relating to complex social and environmental issues. The new generation of graduates are expected to come up with innovative business solutions to many challenges and enduring issues facing society. To what extent can students develop the readiness required through teaching and learning whilst at university? How can we collaborate with business to create an innovative learning environment to develop their real world knowledge, validate their learning and develop a positive mindset?

During this 10 minute presentation, we will share our journey harnessing the power of co-creation in a university setting. What we have learned so far by bringing real world thought leaders and challenges into the classroom and placing students in a new and stimulating environment. Finally, we will discuss the challenges of creating that new environment, in particular, how to implement the triangular model integrating ‘knowing’, ‘being’ and ‘doing’ into learning engagement.

Key literature
Snook, S., Nohria, N. and Khurana, R. (eds.) (2012). The handbook for teaching leadership: Knowing, doing, and being. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

No Alarms and No Surprises – the results of over a decade of reflection on inclusivity in teaching and learning
Dr Claire Garden
(10 minute presentation)

In this presentation I will outline a number of case studies where I have learned from working with students from different learning backgrounds to develop my teaching ethos of ‘no alarms and no surprises’. I address the accessibility of ‘surprise’ through reflecting on the experience of assessing, lecturing and exploring active learning approaches such as LEGO Serious Play and Problem-based Learning with a diverse student demographic. For example, I will examine the ‘reasonable adjustments’ for a written assessment in a first-year module for a blind student and how that led to my setting a precedent at the university for an alternative assessment for a research student with dyslexia and ask ‘what is the point of lectures and exams?

Key literature
Lawrie, G., Marquis, E., Fuller, E., Newman, T., Qui, M., Nomikoudis, M., Roelofs, F., & van Dam, L. (2017).
Moving towards inclusive learning and teaching: A synthesis of recent literature. Teaching & Learning
, 5(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.5.1.3

Katrina Swanton
(3 minute presentation)

Sketchnoting can be a fun, playful way of capturing student learning in real-time. There is also some (neuro)science behind the fun – research suggests that prompts that engage dual coding produce higher levels of retention because two representations of the stimuli (visual and verbal) are stored in long-term memory. Could this approach help our students to create better lecture/study notes?

Key literature
Cuevas, J. & Dawson, B.L. (2018) A test of two alternative cognitive processing models: Learning styles and dual coding. Theory and Research in Education, Vol. 16(1) 40 –64