Department for Curriculum and Quality Enhancement
Dr Ruth Woodfield,
School of Law, Politics & Sociology,
University of Sussex
Chair: Phil Verrill
Gender and age in HE: difference, diversity – disadvantage?
The landscape of higher education (HE) has been significantly transformed in the last three decades. Men now represent the minority group in HE in the UK, they achieve less ‘good’ degrees and are less likely to complete their studies once they start them. Yet we know comparatively little about how men experience and engage with their studies and the opportunities HE has to offer, and why the gender gaps have been transformed in recent years.
Mature students also now make up a significant proportion of undergraduates and, although they perform well in terms of attainment and employment outcomes, there is good evidence that their HE journey is experienced quite differently from many traditional-aged students.
This presentation and discussion will focus on a series of questions designed to explore the relationship between a student’s key background characteristics and their HE experience and attainment patterns. What is the evidence that gender and age impact on HE experience and engagement? How do gender and age relate to other characteristics such as disability and ethnicity? Does ‘difference’ always bring disadvantage? What does this evidence signify for HE staff and students?
Our core aim will be to explore the ways in which evidence of difference can enlighten teaching and learning policy and practice in HE.
Dr Ruth Woodfield is a Reader in Sociology, Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Sussex. She has written widely on higher education and on the subject of gender and age in particular, exploring these key social categories in relation to a range of issues including: attendance, degree attainment, study experience and post-degree employment outcomes.
School of Pharmacy
Chair: Aaron Sayers
Ethnic background and student attainment and progression on the MPharm degree course at the University of Portsmouth (UoP)
The University of Portsmouth’s Equality and Diversity Annual Report for 2009/10 was published in February 2011 and compared student attainment across each of the five faculties. The Science Faculty had the highest proportion of black and minority ethnic (BME) students compared to white students and 33% of all BME students at UoP studied in the Science Faculty.
University figures showed that 69% BME and 79% white students progressed without trailing any units into the next academic year. However, significantly more BME students withdrew from their studies than white students. Furthermore, 39% (n=185) of BME students who withdrew from their course stated it was due to academic failure compared to only 17% (n=901) of white students who withdrew. Most marked were the numbers of BME students withdrawing from the Science Faculty. Almost two thirds, 65% (n=49) of BME students studying in the Science Faculty who withdrew from their course said it was due to academic failure compared to only 28% (n=167) of white students.
This session will briefly present the findings from a research project into BME student attainment and will invite discussion on the implications of this study for learning and teaching practices in order to improve BME student attainment.
School of Languages and Area Studies
Chair: Dr Mary McKeever
Differentiation in teaching German to adult learners: a personal account of teaching on the UoP German SKE course in summer 2011
The aim of the session is to outline how differentiation was practised in the classroom of the German SKE course in summer 2011, which, as an ‘ab initio’ course of 12–14 weeks, took 5 French and 2 English adult learners to approximately GCSE level. Examples from the classroom will serve to illustrate how differentiation strategies were chosen in terms of students’ abilities, prior knowledge, cultural background, temperament and age, the teacher’s personal background as well as the teaching environment. There will be a short report on the students’ own evaluation of some of the teaching methods employed. These observations are made with reference to a wider psychological framework; in particular, the principle of social construction of knowledge originally developed within developmental psychology by Lev Vygotsky.
School of Health Sciences
and Social Work
Online Course Developer,
Faculty of Science
Chair: Dr Peter Starie
The development of a blog, for the complete novice, emerging out of the student assessment process
In this session we will describe how, in the last year, we have supported students on placement using a discussion board on Victory. Currently we are developing a blog, which is open source and due to go live in February 2012. Our presentation touches on what we have learnt so far. We will describe the opportunities not only to showcase and celebrate student achievement online but to use this opportunity to develop the blog as a platform for professional discussion and debate.
Our three objectives have been to:
- Develop a virtual presence of the teaching team for students whilst on placement.
- Provide scaffolding for relevant contemporary discussion and debate within our professional area.
- Consider ways of engaging students in creative and novel learning activities.
Over all we hope this will contribute to increased levels of student satisfaction. We set out some of the hurdles and the challenges that have emerged for us in the design and implementation of this approach. This presentation is aimed at beginners like us and there will be opportunities for discussion, commentary and feedback.