Making learning authentic: ‘real-world’ assessments for Masters level study

Dr Jude Brereton, Department of Electronics, will report on recent ‘real-world’ assessment tasks incorporated into a new masters level programme in Audio and Music Technology.

Four different types of ‘real-world’ tasks will be presented:

  • a research blog
  • a data-gathering exercise made available to the wider research community
  • a science communication event for school students
  • a self-promotion video.

Please bring your own laptop to the workshop, and to register, use the booking form.

How do you solve a problem like literature searching?

How do you solve a problem like literature searching? Adding professional value to academic skills development

David Brown, Acting Academic Liaison Team Manager at Information Services, delivered on 14 November the third 2016/17 Forum workshop.

As the title suggests, there is a link between ‘literature searching’ and professional skills. Employability is a key word currently echoing in most university/academic contexts. The topic was discussed and highlighted from other angles in the two previous workshops (see Articulate – A toolkit to help us support students in the game of understanding and articulating their competencies), and today has been reflected upon and further discussed from another perspective.

David shared good practice reflecting on his experience working with the Nursing programme in the Department of Health Sciences and the Social Work programme in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work. As discussed in the workshop, some students, especially those from ‘professional programmes’ like Nursing or Social Work, find it difficult to see the value of ‘advance literature searching’ in their fields and, future, day-to-day jobs. Critical thinking and document use are two very important professional skills/competencies that university students will be able to acquire and further develop throughout their degrees. In order to foster appreciation of the skills among students, we must ensure that they understand the value of those skills now and in their future careers.

David worked with BSc Nursing and BA Social Work students using a flipped-classroom approach to have more productive face-to-face sessions with the students. He wanted to ensure that the students understood the why and how, not just the what, providing them with a more holistic yet concrete, meaningful and long-lasting knowledge.

View David’s presentation and find out more about his approach, which can be adapted and used with students from all departments. Included in the presentation there is a very interesting video for Health Sciences students where current students, academic staff, a practising nurse and himself discuss the importance of ‘literature searching’.

Summary by Carmen Álvarez-Mayo

Articulate – A toolkit to help us support students in the game of understanding and articulating their competencies

Dr Lorna Warnock (Biology) and Dr Amanda Barnes (Biology) delivered the first Forum workshop of the academic year. Their workshop focused on an HEA funded toolkit they have developed in collaboration with Dr Hillary Jones (University of Sheffield) to help students articulate the professional competencies they will develop through their programme of study.

Their workshop highlighted the importance for students to understand how they can best present themselves and the skills they have developed to future employers. The framework, which can be developed by academic staff, identifies the core competency developed for each programme. Academics can provide examples of how the core competencies will be achieved, which can then help students to see how they can articulate these skills to future employers.

What was really useful about this workshop was the chance to design our own framework for our own programmes – which stimulated some interesting discussions on the different types of competencies required for different programmes. It was stressed that the competency framework should be updated every two years to ensure that it is still relevant to the programme and also employer’s expectations.

We saw, through supporting videos how useful this approach was to support students, and how we could use this tool to stimulate workshops or personal tutorial sessions with students to help them focus on the skills that they have developed and those that need more development.

To find out more about their framework see:

Summary by Maddy Mossman

Deep learning or easy marks? A question of peer assessment

Tuesday 15 March 2016, 12.30pm to 2.00pm

Speaker: Ollie Jones, TFTV (Chair: Sara Perry, Archaeology)

image for Forum workshop 15 March 2016

Peer and self-assessment have increasingly been advocated as a means to encourage deep and effective independent learning.

This workshop will look at the theories and practicalities of implementing peer assessment, and discuss some of its common pitfalls and potential shortcomings and how these can be negotiated.

If you wish to attend an event, please use our booking form or email

If you are unable to attend an event but would like a copy of the materials, please contact

Location: room LMB/036X, Law Management Building, Heslington east

Technology in practice: ‘Creativity in the connected classroom’

Monday 22 February 2016, 12.30pm to 2.00pm

Speaker: Sara Perry, Archaeology and Tom Smith, IT Support


This workshop offers an introduction to the principles, challenges and best practices of using a variety of Google-enabled digital media technologies in student teaching, research and public communication.

Tom will provide a guided tour of the often overlooked, or little known corners of Google tools, from Apps Script to Awesome Tables.

Sara will discuss the application of Blogger, YouTube, Google Groups, Google Docs and related social media spaces in building intellectual independence, critical thinking, professional networks, visibility, and confidence amongst their users.

These tools offer not only meaningful creative opportunities, but also mechanisms by which the very nature of academic and professional fields of practice can be prodded, extended and perhaps even fundamentally reconfigured.  Although often fraught with tension, digital social technologies are powerful conceptual devices for both students and instructors.  We discuss here how they promise both to narrow the gap between theory and practice, and simultaneously hone and empower emerging professionals.

This is an interactive session – please come ready to discuss your experiences and share your questions and concerns about digital media in the academic environment.

If you wish to attend an event, please use our booking form or email

If you are unable to attend an event but would like a copy of the materials, please contact

Location: Room HG21, Heslington Hall

Rethinking feedback in light of the York pedagogy

Monday 2 November 2015, room HG21, Heslington Hall, 12.30-2.00pm

The next Forum workshop will be run by Cathy Dantec and Bill Soden and will explore the theme of ‘Rethinking feedback in light of the York pedagogy’.

Cathy and Bill would like participants to consider the following questions before the workshop:

  1. What do you include under the term feedback, and what do you think your students understand by the term feedback?
  2. Are there aspects of your feedback practice that you have changed / developed in recent years, or aspects of feedback practice that you would like to change?

Please think about these questions and add any comments to this post. Specific points will not be focused on during the workshop.