Introducing…Steve Briggs

The Committee of the Association of National Teaching Fellows with CATE are absolutely delighted to welcome Dr Steve Briggs to the team. Here’s an introduction to Steve, and his plans for CANTF…in his own words. Welcome, Steve!

I am Head of Professional and Academic Development (PAD) at the University of Bedfordshire where I manage a team of Learning Developers. My team support students to enhance their academic skills, literacies and practices with a specific focus on writing, maths, study skills and ICT. The PAD team provide a range of extracurricular student support (including drop-in, 1:1 appointments and online materials). They also work in partnership with course teams to develop and deliver targeted and contextualised learning development opportunities (such as workshops and webinars).   

I have Chartered Psychologist status from the British Psychological Society. Prior to this, I was awarded a PhD (examining how university life events impact on student career decidedness and professional development), a MSc in Applied Psychology and a BSc in Psychology. I was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2020 and Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy status in 2018.   

I am also currently Co-Chair of the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education (ALDinHE) and have specific responsibility for professional development activities. My main contributions to ALDinHE have been leading the development of a recognition scheme for Learning Development Practitioners and establishing ALDinHE regional networking events. I am currently co-leading the introduction of mentoring opportunities for Learning Developers.   

I am passionate about teaching and learning and particularly interested in how excellence can be promoted and recognised amongst individuals within professional learning services (such as Learning Developers, Learning Technologists and Librarians). I am delighted to join the Committee of the Association for NTF, with CATE and am really looking forward to building new connections within members of the NTF and CATE communities.  

Looking forward, I will be working with the ANTF Equality, Diversity and Inclusvity Officers to explore professional learning service under-representation amongst NTF/CATE winners. Please get in touch if you work in a learning service and would like to discuss participation barriers or make suggestions for how the ANTF could provide more tailored application support.   

Dr Steve Briggs | Head of Professional and Academic Development, University of Bedfordshire

PhD, MSc, BSc, CPsychol, NTF, PFHEA, AFBPsS, ALDinHE Certified Leading Practitioner.

Reflections on transforming assessment and feedback: complexity and collaboration

National Teaching Fellow Professor Debbie Holley shares her experiences of preparing for, and delivering, an online keynote

Keynote Lecture by Bournemouth University academics Debbie Holley and Anne Quinney to the Medway universities’ Creative and inclusive assessment and feedback Festival September 2020.

Medway Learning and Teaching festival is an annual event which has run since 2014. Because of the unique set-up of three universities; Kent, Greenwich and Canterbury Christ Church, on the Medway site, the festival organisation is shared by a small committee of representatives from each of the three universities.

Below, Louise Frith, Learning Adviser and co-organiser of the three University festival,  offers her insights on running a complex conference in an engaging and interactive format, with a wide range of speakers and participants, some digitally expert and others less so.

“Our staff were initially a little hesitant about having an online Festival ; but these comments show how, with careful design, we were able to make it an engaging, inclusive and informative day.”

Participant feedback:

  • Extraordinary! Full commitment with the cause.
  • Interesting and innovative.

Planning for the festival always starts a year in advance, so back in September 2019 we planned our event with the usual considerations of conference theme, key note speaker, venues and refreshments. The theme chosen was ‘Creative and Inclusive Assessment and Feedback’ and we decided to invite Professor Debbie Holley because of her innovative work in these areas.  By March 2020 a physical conference was looking unlikely, so we decided to go online. This decision was conveyed to our keynote speaker and potential contributors. Although an online festival was not what we had planned, all of the contributors embraced the new format and in some ways it presented new opportunities; for example, Debbie suggested that she invite a colleague, Anne Quinney, to co-present with her, making the session more interactive and enabling smoother online management of the keynote. We decided to use MS TEAMS as the presentation platform because it is the most familiar platform for all three institutions and it is free to use.

Debbie and Anne now pick up the narrative, and share their reflections:

Learning to teach and present online has been a steep learning curve for most staff in HE, but by September 2020 it was beginning to feel like the ‘new normal’. Some sessions were perfectly suited to online presentation; such as, one from the School of Sports and Exercise Science on the use of a chatbots and another from the University of Greenwich on feedback literacy for prospective students. Other sessions were harder to imagine online; an example of this was the session on mindfulness. This session was presented by a collaborative team from the Kent’s Student Support and Wellbeing Service and Student Learning Advisory Service. The aim of the session was to introduce participants to the aims of mindfulness and some of the mindfulness initiatives which exist at Kent and then to deliver a 10-minute guided mindfulness practice. Despite the challenges of delivering this session online, the presenters were able to create a sense of group cohesion and a moment of clam within the busy conference environment enabling participants to experience mindfulness remotely. Feedback on the session was very positive one participant commenting,

You got me to stop checking all of my screens/phones for 30 minutes and actually breathe and relax a little. My shoulders especially appreciated it!”

Overall, our first experience of running an online conference was successful. We have learnt a lot through the process; such as, the need to provide presenters with support and reassurance regarding the technology, the importance of building in enough breaks for participants to have some time away from their screens and the value of having a clear website with simple joining instructions. Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive one participant commented that it was, “Thoroughly interesting and applicable!”

Reflections from Debbie Holley and Anne Quinney – keynote speakers

This was a first for us – a joint keynote, separately and online. We have delivered several conference papers and workshops together in person (Quinney et al 2019; Quinney et al 2018) but since Covid-19 restrictions meant that travel to conferences was no longer possible we had gained experience of delivering joint conference papers separately from our own homes online (Holley and Quinney 2020, Goldsmith, Holley and Quinney 2020),  and learnt ‘on the spot’ what worked well and what to have contingency plans for.

It was important to consider how to create social presence, particularly important for a Keynote which will set the scene for the day and link to conference themes and the concerns of the delegates, without being present and without the energy generated between us when presenting in person. We suggest an icebreaker, setting scenarios for participants to consider, following up afterwards to close the feedback loop by sharing materials and resources.

Link to the BU Assessment and Feedback Toolkit

Link to blogpost on designing assessment principles

Link to the presentation here

With thanks to Louise and the Medway team for inviting us.

Introducing… Leisa Nichols-Drew

Leisa Nichols-Drew is honoured to be a member of the newly formed CATE-Net and a friend of the NTF Committee.

I am a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science and have been at De Montfort University since 2016, for the Chartered-Society-of-Forensic-Sciences (CSoFS) accredited undergraduate degree programme, where I work in a team with truly fantastic colleagues. However, my journey to DMU started in 2000, as a Forensic Scientist at the Home Office Forensic Science Service, coordinating the laboratory examinations of crime scene exhibits.

I am proud of this practitioner career and refer to myself as a ‘pracademic’. On the way to DMU, I facilitated Further Education qualifications including the BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science, in addition to university modules, enabling me to qualify for both DTLLS and PGCertHE. This FE experience has undoubtedly informed and shaped my HE pedagogy, which is a holistic blend based of connectivism and constructivism.

In 2017, I obtained my Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, and in 2018, I was awarded a DMU Teacher Fellowship, and honoured with a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to investigate international approaches to knife crime in Australia and Canada. Also, in 2018 as part of the acclaimed CrashEd team led by Professor Angela O’Sullivan (NTF 2017), we were delighted to be successful with a spotlight and CATE award. In 2019, I was beyond proud when my application for National Teacher Fellow was successful. In 2020, my practitioner expertise was recognised with Chartered Forensic Practitioner (ChFP) status by the CSoFS.

I have an altruistic pedagogic partnership with Angela O’Sullivan and Julia Reeve, who are creative and inspirational DMU colleagues. Our conference workshops and online disseminations have included lego, xylophones, 150-year-old crimes, and treasure chests!

I am also undertaking practice-based PhD research. Recently, my first ever journal article, on rounded knives was published, hopefully preventing future injuries.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, it is a privilege to have collaborated with 2 other forensic science NTFs; Associate Professor Rachel Bolton-King (Staffordshire University, who is a CATE winner too!) and Professor Ian Turner (University of Derby). Together, we have launched a forensic science community (#RemoteForensicCSI) for FE/HE lecturers, practitioners and trainers, sharing ideas for teaching in a blended way using novel resources, promoting engagement and transforming forensic science education. Our first webinar (August 2020) was viewed by participants from around the world, focussed on three areas: crime scene, forensic laboratory, and court. Our resources are hosted on a website ‘Lecturemotely’, established by three DMU academics: Dr Jo Rushworth (NTF), Dr T J Moore and Dr Beth Rogoyski. This website also includes the #DryLabsScience material by Dr Nigel Francis, Dr Francis Smith, and Prof Ian Turner (which originally inspired #RemoteForensicCSI), and Final Year Project material by Dr Dave Lewis.

Here is the link to the ‘lecturemotely’ website and #RemoteForensicCSI resources:

Forensic science is my absolute passion and it remains an honour to be both an NTF and CATE in this subject, so I look forward to building connections within the CATE and NTF community and communicating these awards across all sectors (HE and FE).

Leisa Nicholls Drew, NTF, CATE