Tag Archives: Teaching Development Grant

HEA Teaching Development Grant Project Update 31st May 2013

Just a short update to let anyone reading know the latest on my Higher Education Academy funded project. I presented an update on my progress along with some preliminary findings yesterday, Thursday 30th May 2013 at a small HEA half-day conference that happened to be held at the University of the West of Scotland – so it was only a 5 minute walk from my own office to get to the venue! The conference was titled: Disseminating outcomes of Teaching Development Grant projects in Scotland, with the given remit “Disseminating practice and the benefits of undertaking a Teaching Development Grant project“.

Preparing to start my presentation – HEA Teaching Development Grant Conference, UWS, 30th May 2013. Picture courtesy HEA.

The results I was presenting were indicators from the summative assessment for the law of evidence module which covered the areas used by students in their courtroom observations during phase one of the project. By comparing their results to those results of students who did not take part in the practical phase and only learned about the subject via traditional classroom teaching, this allowed for some analysis on the areas of understanding and retention of key concepts. Thus far, the results are positive as the indicators are that indeed those students that took part in the practical phase of the project have improved performance relative to those that only learned in the classroom. These results will only be corroborated following some further analysis of both the summative assessment and also the set questions given to students during both phase one and two. At present I am still awaiting receipt of a few of these sets of questions prior to the final focus group to round off the project. It is anticipated that all of this will be complete within the next 4-6 weeks, allowing the remainder of the summer for analysis, refinement of results, and creating a full dissemination plan.

Further updates will be made as progress continues.

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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Higher Education Academy Project Update – 26th February 2013

Just a short update on the progress of my HEA teaching development grant project. As mentioned in the last update, I presented at the joint HEA / SHEEF conference ‘Disseminating Innovative Practice‘ at the Radisson Blu hotel in Edinburgh on Tuesday 19th February. There were some pictures taken at various times during the conference, but no video that I could see, and so I decided to video a little recreation of the paper I presented. Due to memory restrictions on uploading videos I had to compress and split the video into two parts, but in any case, here is my presentation:

Part One

Part Two

The quality of presentation was extremely high on the day from all of the presenters that went before me, and to be honest I was somewhat nervous as a result when it came time to carry out my own presentation after lunch (always prefer to present before lunch so that it’s not hanging over you and you can enjoy eating more!!). However what I presented seemed to go down relatively well as I was asked a number of questions following the conclusion of the session.

In the run up to the conference, in the two weeks prior to it, I managed to carry out the final focus group with the student participants on the project to complete phase one, the practical stage of the project. The group was well attended, with nine of the twelve students attending (this was exactly the number I expected), and there were very good levels of contribution from all present. The session was recorded to allow for a proper transcription and to ensure that conclusions and emerging lessons / indications can be drawn in an accurate context. This will hopefully allow for at least one further interim dissemination, whether written or oral, to be drafted in the coming weeks.

Finally, I managed to complete my interim report (circa 2,500 – 3,000 words), which had to be written and forwarded to the HEA by the 18th February, and surprisingly I managed to get this finished and submitted by the 14th. Unusual to not be still writing on deadline day!!!

So now it is on to phase two of the project, and to be honest I don’t think I will have too much to report on relating to that until close to the end of that, but I will of course note anything of interest as and when it crops up.

At this stage I would like to go on record as thanking a number of people for their contributions and help to date, and I feel that having completed the first phase it is an appropriate time to do so:

Professor Angus McAllister – now Emeritus Professor of Law, UWS, who gave me great support relating to my taking on the project prior to his retiral earlier this month.

Mrs Valerie Finch – now retired former subject leader for law, UWS, who allowed me to take on the project in the first place and gave me space in my activity plan to do so prior to her retiral late last year.

Dr Julie Thomson – from the Innovation and Research Office, UWS, for helping me get everything officially set up to run the project and approved at the outset.

Mr Ron Livingstone, head of the business school, UWS, who gave support to the project and said that it was exactly the sort of thing that he was happy for staff of the business school to get involved in.

All of the students who volunteered, successfully or otherwise, to take part in the project. Without their input, the project would have been impossible to get off the ground. In particular, the levels of engagement of many of these students has been absolutely superb and has helped enormously with being able to draw valid indications and conclusions thus far.

Patricia Meiklejohn and Graeme White from Paisley Sheriff Court and Hamilton Sheriff Court respectively, both of whom were so welcoming to myself and the students taking part in the project. Patricia in particular really helped by spending some time with the students on their first court visit, explaining various aspects of the court and personnel, as well as answering student questions. This was very much appreciated by both myself and all of the students.

The various other personnel of the courts, many of whom took the time to come and speak to the students including at times the fiscal depute on duty, defence agents, clerk of court, court officers, police officers and others.

The HEA and all of the hard working staff there. Without their hard work (and money!), projects like mine would be unlikely to exist. In addition, the events and conferences that they organise ensure that results and indications can be disseminated to a number of relevant people, which of course helps enormously.

And finally, anybody else that I may have overlooked in the few minutes I have been typing – if you have helped, then I am grateful, and apologies for not mentioning you by name. I would also include here anybody who has taken the time to come to this blog and read / watch the videos of my ongoing progress, hopefully you have found something interesting on your visit.

As mentioned, I’ll of course make further updates as and when necessary.

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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Uncategorized


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HEA Project – Phase One Dissemination

A happy new year to all. This is just a short update on my ongoing HEA teaching development grant project: (Legal Education – academic or practical? The use of flexible learning to compare undergraduate students observing professional practice with those learning in a traditional academic setting).

The focus group which officially ends phase one of the project was delayed slightly so as not to interfere with the exam diet for the students who have been taking part. This has now been confirmed as taking place on Tuesday 12th February 2013.

February will be a busy month for working on the project as in addition to the focus group and (immediate!) transcribing and analysis of results, the official interim report is then due to be completed and sent to the HEA by Monday 18th. Immediately following the submission of the interim report I am presenting the activity and results of the project to date at a conference on Tuesday 19th.

The conference, which is being hosted jointly by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in conjunction with the Scottish Higher Education Employability Forum (SHEEF) is:

Disseminating Innovative Practice
Tuesday 19th February 2013
Radisson Blu Hotel,
80 High Street,
Royal Mile,

My presentation is simply titled “Learning via traditional academic methods versus learning by observing professional practice” and will last fifteen minutes followed by five minutes of plenary questions.

Hopefully this all passes without any major issues and I will update with a further blog toward the end of the month.

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Posted by on February 1, 2013 in Uncategorized


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HEA – Teaching Development Grant – Update December 7th

This is just a short update on how the HEA project (Legal Education – academic or practical? The use of flexible learning to compare undergraduate students observing professional practice with those learning in a traditional academic setting) I am leading has been going.

Thus far, as suspected, of the participants there have been a few students who have been inconsistent in terms of attendance, but on the other hand at each of the two locations (Paisley and Hamilton) there have been a core group that have attended either all sessions, or indeed missed a maximum of one. The students that have missed sessions have all indicated that they will (or in some cases have) voluntarily attend an additional court session to ensure that the total number of hours spent in court will reach the minimum threshold to ensure fair comparison across all participants.

As of the end of today (Friday 7th December) there will have been ten court visits in total, to a large range of court types including:

– Solemn trial (Trial with judge and jury)
– Summary trial (Trial with judge alone)
– Custody court
– Summary court (where accused has pled guilty)
– High Court of Justiciary (Trial with judge and jury)

At both Paisley and Hamilton there have been cases with witnesses giving oral testimony, and also physical evidence presented. In at least two sessions there have been objections lodged by one of the counsel based on the evidence being presented.

From my own observations, it would be possible to have answered a number of the questions the students have been asked to attempt to answer, whilst there have been other areas that a limited amount of information might have provided an indication, for which a student may be able to find the answer with a little investigation. There are other questions which I would not expect the students to have been able to answer yet unless they have taken the initiative to source answers elsewhere.

There has been some adaptation to the original research plan as initially there were seperate days scheduled for feedback sessions, however due to time constraints this was restructured to instead seek feedback and ask questions directly after each court visit. In many cases there have been questions to clarify what has been observed, or probing questions to lead on from questions raised during the course of the session.

The final court visits will be next week (week beginning 10th December) with a final focus group (to be filmed) thereafter. It is expected that an interim publication will be possible in January following the observation of the focus group and analysis of student responses to set questions. A further update will be made on this site prior to the end of January.

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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Higher Education Academy Individual Teaching Development Grant Project 2012 / 2013

As I wrote a few weeks ago, I am now in the early stages of a research project funded by the Higher Education Academy (HEA). The project is as a result of an application submitted in early summer containing a lengthy proposal, and having commenced last month, will run until August / September 2013. It is anticipated that the results of the research project will be both published in relevant journals and presented by way of at least one relevant conference. There may be the possbility of an interim publication following the first phase of the project, but this is tbc. Below are two videos that comprise the introductory lecture given to research subjects, presenting more information on the project.

Slides from the presentation: HEA Project Introduction

Further updates relating to the project will be made here throughout the year, if anybody has any questions about it feel free to ask.

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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


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