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Educational Research Seminars


Please note Educational Development moved to Scape East in September 2016.  All research seminars will take place 1-2pm in the new seminar room: Room 0.15, Scape East, 438-490 Mile End Road, London E1 4GG (unless otherwise advised).  Please feel free to bring along your lunch.

You can register for the 2016-17 seminar series via the tabs below. Recordings from the 2016-17 educational research seminar series are published on the ADEPT website as they become available. On the ADEPT website you can also browse recordings of previous research seminars.

Follow the research seminars on twitter: #eddevseminar


13 October 2016Ian Turner

Engaging Large Audiences: Tips and Tricks

Dr Ian Turner, Head of Forensic Science, University of Derby




Cast your mind back to your days as an undergraduate student can you actually recall all those session you sat in? Chances are they have been assigned to the brain waste disposal bin. There may of course be some lectures you can recall. These could be because of the scintillating subject matter, but more likely it was because of the presenter! We can all recall that doctor or professor that no matter what they were talking about they made every session engaging, enthralling and entertaining.

Entertainment is not something that is taught in a traditional Postgraduate teaching course or flagged up as essential on job criteria of lectureship posts, but I think they should be!  This session looks at some entertaining and innovative ways to assist with the delivery of your subject material specifically when teaching larger numbers of students in classrooms and lecture theatres.


Dr. Ian Turner is the Head of Forensic Science at the University of Derby.  Ian is interested in all aspects of learning and teaching and especially keen on innovative ways to engage students.  Ian was appointed a National Teaching Fellow by the HEA in 2014, primarily based around his ‘pantomime’ approach to teaching.  Despite his management role Ian loves nothing more than getting in front of the students and passing on his enthusiasm for his subject.

17 November 2016Kirsty Finn

Understanding the spatiality of student support and belonging: An exploration of commuter-students’ experiences at an English University

Dr Kirsty Finn, Lecturer in Higher Education, Lancaster University


The paper will draw on empirical research with undergraduate and postgraduate students whose participation at university is based upon regular travel to and from their permanent residence. The paper considers how this group conceptualize institutional ‘support’ for their well-being and belonging, highlighting formal and informal processes and the particular spatial dimensions of these for commuter-students.

Kirsty Finn is Lecturer in Higher Education at Lancaster University. She is Co-director of the Centre for Higher Education Research and Evaluation (Lancaster University) and Co-convenor of the BSA Youth Study Group. Kirsty’s main interests include students’ experiences of transition, mobility and change in the context of Higher Education; and particularly the gendered, classed and place-based dimensions of student expectations and everyday experiences of university. Kirsty is author of Personal life, young women and higher education: A relational approach to student and graduate experiences (2015, Palgrave) and has published in sociology and educational journals.

Friday 16 December 2016Claudia Halina

Internationalising HE: strategic aims and pedagogical practice

Dr Claudia Bordogna, Senior Lecturer, and Halina Harvey, Academic Skills Tutor, University of Huddersfield


The internationalisation of higher education is a complex phenomenon. So how are universities reacting to the changes which it brings? Is it a case of simply recruiting international students or are there more significant changes within British HEIs?

As practitioners working in international and transnational education we are aware that we represent a global academic community. We have a responsibility to ensure all our students, staff and organisational functions, support the needs of our changing student cohorts. From 2000 – 2010, the number of internationally mobile students doubled world-wide. The UK is the second highest ranking destination. At the same time faculty are becoming increasingly international. It is evident to all of us who work in HE today that the demographic has changed and that the change has been swift.

This session will focus on how these changes impact on British HEIs and the implications for teaching and learning practice.
The session will cover the following:
• HEI strategic aims and how pedagogical practice is manged in the light of key performance indicators.

• Research into international students’ prior learning and the implications for studying in UK HE in terms of both the curriculum and student achievement

• Internationalisation of the curriculum

• Current research into the experiences of international academics working in UK HE

• Examples of staff development and teaching activities associated with internationalisation


Dr Claudia Bordogna BA (Hons), MA, PGCHE, FHEA, is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of People, Management and Organisations in the University of Huddersfield Business School. Claudia is a member of the HEA internationalisation of the curriculum and TNE research and practice networks, and was involved with the HEA on a consultation process of the HEAs draft framework for internationalisation of the curriculum. Claudia’s PhD explored TNE partnership development between the UK and China, where she explored the value of activity theory and the morphogenesis approach as tools for deconstructing and analysing TNE partnerships. She is therefore a member of the international society for cultural and activity research (ISCAR), BERA and the SRHE. Her research interests include the development of international (educational) partnerships, soft skill development for improving partner relations, internationalisation of HE, curricula and pedagogical developments.

Halina Harvey MA, FHEA, is a Senior Lecturer in English for academic purposes/learning development at the University of Huddersfield Business School. She holds an MA by Research, BA (Hons) in French and English and a PGCE (PCET) and is working towards an EdD at the University of Manchester. She was Strand Leader (staff development) for the Higher Education Academy’s consultation on the Internationalising Higher Education Framework (2014). She was awarded a UKCISA PMI2 Overseas Study Grant in 2010 and has recently been published in. P. Kneale (Ed.), Masters Level Teaching, Learning and Assessment: Issues in Design and Delivery (1st ed., pp. 105-116). Basingstoke: Palgrave. Her research interests revolve around practice and pedagogy for international students in HE, internationalisation of HE, language and acculturation.

16 February 2017IMG_2572

Managing Competing Agendas in a Transformed HE Landscape: the case for critical engagement with employability and graduate attributes

Dr Finola Farrant, Senior Lecturer (Criminology), University of Roehampton



Higher education in the UK is going through significant transformation. A number of governmental policies have been put in place that have had – and will continue to have – a major impact on the teaching and learning experience within universities. Simultaneously, student expectations have shifted, with a greater focus on ‘value for money’, employment readiness and high quality teaching.  At the University of Roehampton a new set of graduate attributes have been introduced that seek to ensure that the needs and expectations of students are met, particularly in relation to employability. This session will reflect on some of the tensions and opportunities created in engaging with employability at a subject level.

Drawing on my experience as programme convenor for criminology and our strategy of embedding employability into curriculum design whilst also seeking to maintain academic rigour, the aim of the session is to encourage participants to consider what it means to have a university degree in contemporary society; to reflect on their own experiences of employability; to explore how employability can be taken forward in different academic programmes; and finally, to share good practice.


Finola Farrant is Programme Convenor and Senior Lecturer in Criminology at University of Roehampton. She has experience as a practitioner, researcher and in policy development in a range of criminal justice settings. Her main areas of research interest include: penology, popular culture, gender and identity, and life story methodologies. She has undertaken extensive research on behalf of a number of Government departments (Ministry of Justice, Home Office, National Offender Management Service, Youth Justice Board, Department of Health and Department for Education); as well as for local government and non-governmental organisations.

16 March 2017

Ipsative assessment: motivating students through recording feedback and progress over time

Dr Gwyneth Hughes, Reader in Higher Education, UCL Institute of Education

Gwyneth Hughes


Ipsative assessment is a powerful and under-used approach that provokes a radical rethink of the purposes and methods of assessment (Hughes, 2014). In higher education a strong focus on grades, marks and the implicit ranking of students in a competitive system means that it is not possible for the majority to excel and for many learners it is difficult to maintain self-esteem and the motivation to learn (Dweck, 1999; Sennett, 2003). By contrast, ipsative assessment means an assessor makes comparisons with a learner’s previous work to record progress and this enables learners from all backgrounds to achieve an academic ‘personal best’.

Research at the IOE on explicit use of ipsative feedback and ipsative assessment criteria will be presented which demonstrates the potential of ipsative assessment to have motivational effects. However, there were also some challenges. Ipsative assessment requires that learning can be easily tracked over time so that students can demonstrate how they have built on feedback to meet self-identified goals. The Assessment Careers project at the UCL institute of Education explored how technology could support feedback over a whole programme and not only at the module level. Feedback was stored in many different places, sometimes in the VLE, but not always easily accessible to a tutor and it was difficult to follow whether or not students had engaged with feedback. A Moodle plug in was developed to enable reporting of a student feedback history over a programme and the system was piloted with an EdD programme. Such detailed tracking of student progress is useful for identifying and motivating struggling students. The system is now being more fully developed at UCL but discussion about who should have access to the student feedback history has brought out some tensions between the role of assessment as a robust method of measuring outcomes and assessment as a longer-term developmental process for learners.

Gwyneth Hughes is Reader in Higher Education at the UCL Institute of Education, University College London where she leads and teachers on Masters programmes in higher education and supervises doctoral students. She led a three year JISC funded research project: Assessment Careers: learning pathways through assessment ( She is on the editorial board for the journal London Review of Education. She has published widely on learning and teaching in higher education and her latest book Ipsative Assessment: Motivation through marking progress was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014.

27 April 2017Portrait/Headshot: Julie Bélanger, Analyst(TALIS) EDU, OECD.

Defining and demonstrating teaching quality and impact – what we learned from the literature

Dr Julie Belanger, Research Leader, RAND Europe


While the assessment of ‘quality teaching’ and its impact in higher education has historically been neglected by researchers, the context around higher education teaching is rapidly changing. Excellence in teaching has become more entrenched in higher education policy and in the educational strategies of academic institutions, and increasingly linked to the performance and assessment of these institutions. Despite this, debates remain and indeed have intensified in recent decades over what ‘quality’, ‘excellence’ and ‘impact’ in relation to teaching really mean. This seminar will focus on the key themes which emerged from a literature review on ‘Defining and Demonstrating Quality Teaching and Impact in Higher Education.’ This work was commissioned to RAND Europe by the Higher Education Academy and reviews research published since 2012 on how ‘quality teaching’ and its impact are currently being defined and demonstrated in institutions of higher education.

Dr Julie Bélanger is a Research Leader at RAND Europe in the fields of education and social policy. Her responsibilities include providing leadership for research projects ranging from early childhood education and care to higher education. Prior to joining RAND Europe, she worked as Analyst at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) where she was responsible for the development and implementation of the second cycle of the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), a large scale teacher and school leader survey which was implemented in 34 countries. Before this, she was a Senior Researcher at the Canadian Council on Learning, an independent not-for-profit corporation with a mandate to provide evidence-based information about learning, where she worked with provincial governments on several evaluations ranging from large-scale school system reforms to targeted school intervention programmes. She has over 15 years of experience in designing, managing and implementing rigourous research projects and of leading diverse teams of researchers in the field of education. Her main professional interests include education evaluation, research and policy in international and local contexts. Julie holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in experimental developmental psychology from the University of British Columbia (Canada).

25 May 2017

Evaluating academic development in Higher Education

Prof. Pauline Kneale PhD, NTF, PFHEA, FRGS
Director Pedagogic Research Institute and Observatory,
Professor of Pedagogy and Enterprise,
University of Plymouth


Increasing emphasis on the professionalisation of university teaching has brought into sharp relief the need to know how ‘good’ teaching and learning evolve in university settings. One key element of this is the delivery of academic development and its impacts on teaching and learning. This seminar reports on the findings of a national research project which underpinned the development of a toolkit resource for evaluating academic development (Kneale et al.2016). The research suggests that evaluation practices vary across the sector and that there is a definitive need across the academic development community for practical guidance and support. Piloting the toolkit with the academic development community revealed consistent challenges to enhancing current evaluation practice. These included the presence and distribution of evaluation expertise and the complex nature of evidencing student learning. These findings informed the final development of the toolkit which advocates for inclusive, holistic and longitudinal evaluation supported by aligned institutional process. There will be opportunity to critique these ideas and consider alternative approaches to evaluating academic development- and to view the toolkit resource (available here).

Pauline Kneale studied at University College London and University of Bristol, and has held academic posts at Bristol University, Trinity College Dublin, Kingston Polytechnic and the University of Leeds, before moving to Plymouth in 2009.

Her hydrology and teaching and learning expertise was recognised through her Chair appointment and a National Teaching Fellowship award in 2002. In 2010 she took up the Pro Vice-Chancellor Teaching and Learning post, and shortly afterwards the Directorship of the Pedagogic Research Institute and Observatory at Plymouth University.

Recent research has focused on developing innovative teaching and pedagogical research particularly at master’s level. In 2010 she led two open educational resources projects funded by HE Academy / JISC: ‘The Open Fieldwork (OF) Project’; and ‘Open Educational Resources for Accredited Courses for Teachers in Higher Education Educational Development’. A 2009 the British Council Education Partnerships in Africa project, ‘Engendering Entrepreneurship in Ethiopia’ project followed on from the award for White Rose Centre for Excellence in Enterprise Teaching, developing innovation in teaching across three universities. Recent work includes an edited volume on teaching at Masters level, projects on inclusive assessment and student engagement, and HEA funded projects ‘Evaluating teaching development in HE: towards impact assessment’, and ‘Learner Analytics’.

15 June 2017Dr Edd Pitt Headshot

Students’ utilisation of feedback: A cyclical model

Dr Edd Pitt, Programme Director for the PGCHE and Lecturer in HE and Academic Practice, University of Kent


Frequently lecturers report that feedback does not always have the desired effect of improving a student’s subsequent performance. It also appears that the students’ emotional response, motivation, self-confidence, and subsequent effort deployment in future assessments following feedback, is unpredictable and warrants further consideration. The findings being reported in this workshop indicate a multifaceted interpretation of the student experience and, as such, a six stage conceptual cyclical assessment and feedback model is proposed.

Dr Edd Pitt is Programme Director for the PGCHE and Lecturer in Higher Education and Academic Practice at the University of Kent. His principle research field is Assessment and Feedback with a particular focus upon student’s emotional processing during feedback situations.


To find out more about previous Research Seminars click below.

2015-16 Research Seminars

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