Learning Innovation Unit, Dublin City University

Learning Innovation Unit

Teaching and Learning Innovation Scheme 2005

Justin Rami

Workshops and manual aimed at the professional development of part-time and guest lecturers in relation to assessment and marking of education students

Principal applicant

Justin Rami

School or Unit

School of Education Studies

Amount requested



The project is chiefly concerned with

· promoting educational learning

· managing lecturer learning and development effectively

· creating new knowledge.

In recent years the School of Education Studies has grown from forty to over three hundred students, many of these part-time and many of the specialist lecturers involved in teaching on the programme are also part-time. During this time the School's activities have grown from one Programme to seven and it has established a significant research profile in the areas of Training of Trainers in Adult, Further and Community Education, Values, Pluralism, Access and Inclusion in Education and Training and the innovative use of Information and Communications Technologies to support learning. The School has also developed a learner-centred pedagogy in all programmes and has received research grants from both within and outside the University to extend and disseminate this work. Support from the TLF would enable the Programme co-ordinators to provide a series of workshops on approaches to designing cross modular curricula and to using learner-centred techniques in devising and marking assessme

nts and modes of assessments. The outcomes of these workshops will be published on-line using DCUs Moodle facility. Hard copies of the workshop material will also be produced.

Project URL


Will the project facilitate flexible access (in the context of lifelong learning or otherwise) or facilitation of longer-term provision for special needs


Is the project related to the development of DCU's six academic themes


Strategic Context

The core themes of the strategic plan for DCU ` Leading Change' have informed the focus of this application. The proposed project connects at a range of levels to the plan particularly those areas dealing with progressive and developmental approaches to practice. This project is one of the elements, which seeks to develop DCU, through the School of Education Studies, as one of the leading Universities in the professional development of teachers and trainers. This is in keeping with the plan's aim to position DCU as the leading Irish university in the key targeted areas encompassed in its strategic themes. The Strategic Plan also suggests that DCU will be the leading centre of expertise in Ireland, and a leading centre internationally, in relation to each theme. The proposed project will help to further those aims. Target constituents, and end users through team meetings and other fora have encouraged the development of this project. Small-scale research conducted internally with lear

ners and postgraduates has highlighted the need for the development of this project. Research conducted with employers, other institutions and guidance counsellors have also driven us to develop this idea.

The two main themes that this project falls under are: Education & Learning and Business & Innovation.

Theme 1: Education and Learning: This project particularly addresses a number of key areas such as technological development and pedagogical/andragogical development.

The project will be multidimensional in terms of access to the workshop and support material. All work will be converted to digital media and uploaded to domains such as Moodle to provided outside and further access to the material. Access is at the centre of this aspect of the proposal with a variety of outcomes platforms such as online environments being utilised. The project also addresses issues relating to lifelong learning and sustainability and longevity in external educational and pedagogical arenas as well as issues pertaining to University developments in these areas.

Theme 2: Business and Innovation: Under this theme the project addresses enterprise and innovation: e-business, internationalisation, and product and process innovation (including that of indigenous firms). This project aims to be innovative in relation

· to the outcomes

· to the process' employed during the delivery of the workshops

Implementation Plan

The project will be carried out within the School of Education Studies and will be open to all those teaching and marking School of Education Studies modules throughout the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and other Schools and Faculties where ES modules are delivered. A small team led by Justin Rami will,

· conduct the series of 4 workshops

· document these innovations for further development

· publish the outcomes and content from each workshop in a manual in the form of a manual towards good practice

· publish all material and outcomes within the staff section of the School of Education Studies DCU Moodle domain.

The project will commence in second week of August 2005. It is envisaged that the project will be 8 weeks in duration.

· Week 1: Introduction to modules, indicative syllabus and learning outcomes. Exploring learner attributes and learning styles.

· Week 2: Understanding the importance of quality assurance in assessment and practice oriented assessment systems.

· Week 3: Devising appropriate assessment modes based on module descriptors and relevance to education students needs.

· Week 4: Marking assessments and developing marking schemes for external examiners. Session evaluations and feedback.

· Week 5-6: Collating, documenting and printing manual towards good practice for part-time lectures.

· Week7-8: Transferring the material to Moodle and other relevant online learning environments, subject to additional funding.

We have built into the schedule flexibility in relation to the timetabling of the workshops. These will take place on agreed days subject to availability of the majority of the participants. The only concern we have is in relation to week 5 and 6, this will be subject to printing schedules etc. Week 7 and 8 will be dependent on accessing the technical expertise at this time.

Internal and external research has shown that there is a direct correlation between lecturer motivation, quality outcomes and in-service training. In order to help the students understand aspects not only of their own learning but also the skills that will be need as potential teachers and trainers themselves. The pedagogical aspects are combined with andragogical elements of research conducted in house within the School of Education Studies.

Kruger J, Dunning D. Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one's own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessment. J Personality Soc Psych 1999; 77:1121-1134.

Entwistle, N. and Ramsden, P. (1983) Understanding Student Learning, Croom Helm, London.

Falchikov, N. (1996) `Involving students in feedback and assessment', in D. Hounsell (ed) Rethinking Assessment, London, Kogan Page.

Brown, G., Bull, J. and Pendlebury, M. (1997) Assessing Student Learning in Higher Education, Routledge, London.

Impact and Evaluation

This project aims to develop a series of workshops and manuals aimed at the professional development of part-time and guest lecturers in relation to assessment and marking of education students

This project is not only about the skills, knowledge and competence of the lectures involved in relation to conducting and marking assessments, but is also about the learners themselves. Quality systems implemented at this level will ultimately result in the students having a greater understanding of curriculum development and assessment. It has been proven that students are more motivated if they understand their own strengths and weaknesses. Feedback and assessment are closely connected: assessment often drives student learning and feedback motivates students to learn. It reinforces what they have learnt and encourages them to pursue their areas of weakness. In this way, the type and extent of feedback influences learning outcomes.

Evaluation is a key aspect of this project. Evaluation of the actual workshops takes place on a formative and summative basis. Further impact evaluations will be conducted though the staff team meeting and lecturer inputs at Programme Board level. Improvements in the understanding and delivery of assessments, and in relation to marking and feedback to the learners will be monitored through a triangulated system of evaluation, i.e.: the learner's views, the lectures views and the results and grades of the learner's assessments. A recent focus group survey conducted by the Communications and Marketing office in DCU showed that students are more motivated by their actual grades the thought of a final qualification. This survey will be presented to the Deans and Heads of Schools in the next few weeks.

Dissemination and Sustainability

If the School continues to grow at the rate it has in recent years it is foreseen that we will need 20 to 30 part-time lecturers with expert knowledge in their related educational and industry fields. Therefore sustainability is at the heart of this project. Traditionally these workshops have happened on a 1 to 1 ad-hoc basis often putting enormous time and resource pressures on programme Chairs and coordinators. The object of the project is to reduce this labour intensive system and create outcomes that can be retrieved through accessible modes. It is envisaged that this project could have a video documentation element to it. The School of Education Studies is currently investing in digital media for its Microteaching lab work. With this in mind there is a possibility that the media lad could also be used as a phase 2 element to the proposed project. The School of Education Studies has recently become part of the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. This is a huge developmen

t in the life of the School. It is a positive development that should have mutual benefits. One of these benefits is that the project could have Faculty participation at a second stage level.

Detailed budget

Outlined below is a detailed estimated budget for the project. Please note that the support sought from the TL fund is not the full budget of the programme. The School of Education Studies has agreed to support project by contributing a significant element to the budget.

Phase 1: Workshops

Travel expenses, 32.pp

Coffee and snacks, 6.50pp

Car parking, 5.50pp

Workshop materials, 9.00pp

Subtotal = 53 pp x 15 persons = 795

Facilitator & trainer fees = 100 per hour x 2 hrs per workshop x 2 facilitators x 4 weeks = 1600

Phase 1 subtotal = 795 x 4 weeks = 3180 + 1600 = 4780

Phase 2: Manual towards good practice

4 colour bound external cover, black and white internal, approx 50 pages

Minimum print-run 50. Note: for larger print runs costs will be reduced in relation to units required.

Design costs, 650

Print costs, 1300

Subtotal = 1950 minus Agency discount at 12%

Phase 2 subtotal = 1715

Phase 3: Online version of material

Technical expertise, 12hrs at 85 per hour = 1020

Domain hosting & Server fees = 450

Technical sundries = 200

Phase 3 Subtotal = 1670

Secretarial services = 370

Proofing = 500

Admin support for workshops = 850

Administration Subtotal = 1720

Contingency (at 5 percent) = 494.25

Estimated Total Project Cost = 10379.25

Minus School of Education Studies support = 3000

Total sought form TLF = 7379.25 (7380)

Support from Head of School/Unit

As the Head of the School of Education Studies I fully support this innovative project. Justin Rami has spent a considerable amount of time planning and pricing this project for the last 9 months after there was a need for it identified. This project builds on practical and imaginative work conducted by the School in recent years especially in relation to the assessment of adult learners. I believe that this project could have University wide appeal due to the fact that our adult intake into DCU is continuing to grow yearly. This project will also add to the work already done in examining assessment modes appropriate to adults. Assessment modes currently used within the School of Education Studies that will be explored in this project are; portfolios, group assessment, ipsative assessment, practice oriented assessment, reflective diaries, online learning environments, peer to peer assessment and many more creative approaches. This work will certainly have positive long-term impact

on the School of Educations Studies and with the growth in adult and post-experience learners; it will also have an impact on the DCU as a whole.

Gerry McNamara - Head of School of Education Studies

Additional Information

I think the TLF evaluation system is an open, transparent system. I think the independent scoring systems are the key to this system. Hopefully applications will be accepted on their innovation as well as their capacity to fulfil the TLF criteria.