Projects

The Faculty is committed to building our reputation for excellence in learning and teaching. We fully fund a range of exciting projects each year which enable us to advance our provision, enhance the student experience and lead new thinking across the sector.

Current projects

FASS Learning and Teaching Project Fund

The Faculty has been able to support the design and delivery of numerous projects across disciplinary areas. We have looked to fund initiatives which develop new or existing practice, which create new resources and which evidence impact on the student experience. We have particularly welcomed inter-disciplinary work and the creation of staff-student partnerships within project teams.

  • Mark Ashton, Dr Sumeetra Ramakrishnan and Prof Chris Cowls – School of Hospitality and Tourism Management

The project will collect more detailed feedback on the module Restaurant Operations (MAN3140) through focus groups including student and industry partners. The project team also plan to develop more contemporary learning resources to support students studying the module next year, including student-friendly summaries of key theory and ten multimedia case studies drawing from a series of interviews. These will be multimedia using text/hyperlinks/social media and interviews but available digitally. 

Project funding covers the costs of vouchers for student focus group members.

For more information contact: Mark Ashton, Senior Teaching Fellow, m.ashton@surrey.ac.uk

  • Dr Stephen Mooney – School of Literature and Languages

The project will create a small staff-student partnership team to inform the design and delivery of the ongoing new Writing Gaming creative writing modules (ELI3059 & ELIM05). The team will include students from the current cohort of module students, Level 5 students for whom this would be a module option in 2021-22, members of GameSoc (Surrey’s student gaming society) as well as the Surrey Video Games Society (SVGS).

The team will be asked to feedback on current gamic elements of the module, propose and design a specific gamic activity and a specific gamic assessment unit for the 2021-22 iteration. In addition, a games industry expert will be invited to take part in the design aspect of one or both of these design exercises. The results of this work would be made available to students on SL and via the GameSoc and Surrey Video Games Society sites. Feedback on the activity and assessment will be measured through a short survey. The project would be open to students from other programmes with a specific relevance to Gaming Studies in order to share and potentially embed interdisciplinary practices in the exercises students engage with (Computer Sciences, Film and Video Production, Psychology, Sociology, Contemporary Theatre and potentially Electronic Engineering, for example). Partnering with GameSoc and SVGS is one way to do this.

Project funding covers printing costs, stationary, snacks for student participants and guest speaker travel expenses.

For more information contact: Dr Stephen Mooney, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, s.mooney@surrey.ac.uk

  • Dr Theofanis Exadaktylos –Department of Politics
  • Colin Loughlin, Julia Brennan and Ashani Wadu Mesthri – Surrey Institute of Education

This project builds on a recent piece of work exploring the relationship between learning design and engagement. The team are exploring issues of content, effectiveness of guided learning, utility of resources, types of activities in class and online, nature of modules, teaching methods and assessment patterns and how these impact on engagement. The project’s point of departure is the assumption made by some analytics research that more student engagement (with measurable online resources) equates to better outcomes, and a correlation between the two should exist. The team has found diverging quantitative results, and hence, will run three focus groups drawing on students from three modules with different attainment levels to understand these relationships between approaches to teaching, student approaches to engagement and the limitations of currently available metrics. Results will feed into institutional thinking around the way we may use and incorporate analytics to monitor student performance. The group will present to the LA programme team and plan to publish in an education and learning & teaching journal.

Project funding covers the costs of vouchers for student focus group members.

For more information contact: Dr Theofanis Exadaktylos, Reader in European Politics, t.exadaktylos@surrey.ac.uk 

  • Dr Ranjana Das and Dr Emily Setty – Department of Sociology

The project will involve collaboration between staff and students to explore how to embed employability in the curriculum, specifically within assessments. This group will review existing provision and develop new employability-enhancing assessments in at least one trial module in each of the three degree programmes. It will generate a toolkit of guiding principles, lessons learnt for embedding employability into the curriculum in the social sciences and a webpage showcasing project outputs. 

The projects findings and outputs will be disseminated within the department and across the faculty, including potentially through a staff-student partnership focused conference.

For more information contact: Dr Emily Setty, Lecturer in Criminology, emily.setty@surrey.ac.uk

  • Nayiri Keshishi – Library & Learning Support
  • Christoper Macallister – FASS Faculty Admin

University of Surrey foundation year students, from the Social Science programme, will work asynchronously with international peers to create a living history presentation on their experiences of living with Covid-19. Groups will have one or two students from each partner university and participants will be expected to contribute to the poster, between March and May, in numerous ways, for example research, design, creating other media links. The project will conclude with a poster conference/ presentation, where each group will present to the panel (made up of UGPN representatives) and 1st/ 2nd/ 3rd place will be announced. There will also be two online live events with guest speakers, Q&A and opportunities to network.

Project funding will cover vouchers and competition prizes.

For more information contact: Chris Macallister, Senior Teaching Fellow, c.macallister@surrey.ac.uk

  • Dr Georgia Stavraki and Dr Joanna Anninou – Surrey Business School

The project will explore arts-based elements of the photo-elicitation method as a pedagogic and assessment tool.  This method is currently being used as part of an assessment strategy in an undergraduate module within the Surrey Business School. The project will investigate students’ experience with this approach and, specifically, how the method promotes learning in the business curriculum. The project leads will use interviews and the collage visual method to collect the data from students who have undertaken the module.

Results will extend the relevant literature on innovative assessments by providing insights into how students experience and frame their own learning emerging from innovative arts-based assessments, and enrich the assessment toolkit of teaching staff.  Project findings will be disseminated internally, for example through the next relevant showcase event, and externally via a conference presentation and a target journal article.

For more information contact: Dr Georgia Stavraki, Teaching Fellow in Marketing, g.stavraki@surrey.ac.uk

  • Dr Emma Reardon – School of Tourism & Hospitality

This project aims to re-evaluate the learning and teaching of rooms division management. The project will run a focus group to explore the student experience and suggestions for change, drawing on students from this year’s module cohort. This will give the group an active role in reshaping and redesigning delivery. The project will also evaluate the experiences of industry partnerships and other academics within the sector.

The project lead will draw on this work to create three video case studies. The first will showcase new and innovative rooms division teaching practices both within the University of Surrey, and broader sector. The second will look at rooms division training in the hotel industry and explore whether some practices being used in the hotel industry could be adopted into the classroom. The third will evaluate the current teaching of rooms division management on the student experience and suggest improvements.

The key project outcomes will be further disseminated through a learning and teaching conference presentation in 2022.

For more information contact: Dr Emma Reardon, Teaching Fellow in Hospitality, e.reardon@surrey.ac.uk

  • Katy Peters - School of Law and Catherine Batson – Learning and Library Support

The project will involve a small-scale evaluation of the first year of the BibliU Personal eTextbook programme. It will run a series of FASS focus groups to explore qualitative feedback on student experience with the Bibliu eTexts initiative, and the impact the scheme has had on their pedagogic engagement with their teaching materials. There will also be work with module leads to support and enable increased student engagement with assigned reading and in-module links, encouraging students to develop their ability to read critically using features from the BibliU eTexts. 

A key deliverable will be a best practice guidance/resource/checklist to support module leaders in creating engaging, structured reading lists which can scaffold students’ learning, and embedding BibliU eTextbook content. A second deliverable will be the creation of a student and staff-informed case study on using BibliU to develop critical reading skills. This would inform the creation of a student-facing, academic skills resource, focused on helping students to use BibliU to develop their online critical reading skills, hosted on Library webpages or in SurreyLearn. Project findings and additional resources will be shared at a presentation at the internal L+T Conference, ‘ExciTes’, in 2021/22, a presentation at the School of Law Away Day and a Faculty Blog post.  There is also potential for an academic paper to be submitted to The Law Teacher or other relevant journal.

For more information contact: Katy Peters, Teaching Fellow, k.peters@surrey.ac.uk and Catherine Batson, Faculty Engagement Manager, c.batson@surrey.ac.uk

  • Dr Shelini Surendran –School of Biosciences and Medicine
  • Nayiri Keshishi – Library and Learning Support
  • Sanna Nurmikko-Metsola – School of Economics
  • Nick Edwards – Surrey Business School
  • Julia Moldoveanu – EFCS Utility & Sust
  • Nathaniel Bingham – Department of Chemistry
  • Rachel Stead – Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
  • Katrina Mack – Innovation.

This is a cross-discipline, co-curricular project across foundation year programmes. It will support students to work together in mixed-discipline groups on key sustainability themes. The project involves running a three day online ‘hackathon’ after the exam period. Students will be presented with problem statements relating to different areas of sustainability. They will spend time getting to know one another and forming teams before undertaking two days of ideation and pitch formulation with the support of mentors. Teams will then work on preparing their sustainable solution over the following weeks before pitching to a panel of judges online for a prize. Before the end of the project, the team is planning to ask participants for feedback on their experience and how to improve in following academic years. The team will use a survey, before and after the project, to measure increased student confidence/ awareness of a variety of skills/ knowledge/ attributes which link to the University Education Strategy pillars. Results will be disseminated via internal and external Learning & Teaching conferences, such as the Foundation Year Network.

For more information contact: Dr Shelini Surendran, Teaching Fellow, s.surendran@surrey.ac.uk and Nayiri Keshishi, Library and Learning Support, n.keshishi@surrey.ac.uk

TQVT Teaching Innovation Fund

Additional projects have been funded by the Surrey Institute of Education (SIoE) and these are designed to be student centred and enrich teaching and learning environments with an emphasis on practice-based learning.

  • Lead researcher: Dr. Georgia Volioti – Department of Music and Media

Transition in higher education has been described as a cumulative process which creates opportunity and space for the individual learner to: reflect on their self-development; shape ownership of learning; and develop effective coping strategies. Research in music education has focused primarily on musicians’ transition from institutional training (university or conservatoire) to becoming a successful professional performer or composer (e.g., Burland & Davidson, 2004; Creech et al., 2008). Little scholarly attention has focused on the critical importance of higher education musical placements in shaping professional careers in the creative industries.

The present study has three overarching aims:

a) Explore music placement experiences in the context of self-determination and self-regulation theories of learning

b) Identify how higher education musicians negotiate successfully the transition in and out of placement

c) Offer evidence-based recommendations for curricular adaptations in enhancing practice-based music learning.

A semi-structured interview methodology is employed, and qualitative data are analysed using a thematic-inductive approach (e.g., Braun & Clarke, 2006). The study received ethical approval by the University of Surrey Ethics Committee.

Funding: FASS Teaching Innovation award, and part of a VICI award have covered transcription costs.

References

Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3, 77-101.

Burland, K. & Davidson, J. (2004). ‘Tracing a musical life in transition’, in J. Davidson (Ed.), The Music Practitioner (pp. 225-50). Aldershot: Ashgate.

Creech, A. et al., (2008). ‘From music student to professional’. British Journal of Music Education, 25(3), 315-31.

For more information contact: Dr. Georgia Volioti, Lecturer in Music, g.volioti@surrey.ac.uk

  • Dr Darren Tunstall – Guildford School of Acting

This was a project supported by the Teaching Innovation Fund which launched in the summer of 2019.  The aim was to create a digital workbook of fundamental contextual knowledge on topic areas that would fit into a new module created for MA Theatre Distance Learning. With an animator, Dr Darren Tunstall created ten short, punchy cartoons with voice-overs that paint in background knowledge and that feed into topics of discussion in seminars and on the module discussion board. These animations now sit into the module content alongside video recordings of Zoom seminars and presentations and links to carefully chosen websites. These assets have since been exported into other modules to support course content. The animations offer a distinctive content for the module and help to keep students engaged with the learning platform rather than exiting the VLE in search of audio-visual material elsewhere on the internet.

View Animation 9: Romanticism, here.

For more information contact: Dr Darren Tunstall, Head of Theatre, d.tunstall@gsa.surrey.ac.uk

  • Venetia Evergeti – Department of Sociology

This student-staff partnership study explored student perceptions and experiences of their usage of and interactions with lecture capture and wider capture content. In particular, the study explored three main research questions:

  1. The ways in which content capture is utilised by students outside the classroom before or after the lecture
  2. The degree to which there is a noticeable change in lecturers’ performance and delivery of the material because of lecture capture software used
  3. The students’ perception and experience of the degree to which lecture capture supports the delivery of a student-centred lecture.

The study was based on an online survey, interviews with lecturers and focus groups with students. Two of the most important issues that came up, in relation to lecture capture in particular, were the discussion of sensitive issues and the ways in which live recordings could affect the lecturer’s performance.

The study’s results were published in a book article and presented in Surrey ExciTeS 2019. Details below:

Evergeti, V. and Garside, H. (2019) Lecture capture vs captured context: enhancing the learning experience or jeopardising student performance? Paper presented at Surrey ExciTes, University of Surrey.

Evergeti, V. and Garside, H. (2020) ‘Captured Content and Lecture Recordings: Perceptions and Experiences of Students and Lecturers’ in Gravett, K. Yakovchuk, N. Kinchin, I. (Eds.) Enhancing Student-Centred Teaching in Higher Education: The Landscape of Student-Staff Research Partnerships. London: Palgrave Macmillan

For more information contact: Venetia Evergeti, Senior Teaching Fellow, v.evergeti@surrey.ac.uk

 

  • Robert Meadows – Department of Sociology

The increased salience of mental illness within society makes it essential that we engage students in critical sociological studies of mental health.  At one and the same time, this increased salience requires us to reflect on how best to do so. The proposed project aims to evaluate the assessment methods used on Meadows’ final year Sociology of Mental Health module. As part of this, it seeks to explore the possibilities of the co-creation of units of assessment. Four focus groups will be held – involving both sociology students with no knowledge of the course and students who will have studied on the module during 2020/2021. All focus groups will follow the same instruction.  A ‘backwards’ approach will be taken, and students will be told ‘we want you to look at the aims of a unit, then to consider what a student is expected to know, to do, and to understand, before moving forward to look at the assessment’. See Bournemouth University (n.d.) 'The co-creation of unit assessments based on the principles of "backward design"’.

For more information contact: Professor Robert Meadows, r.meadows@surrey.ac.uk

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