Friday, 12 August 2016

FHEA progress to date: Reflective Assessment Portfolio

This is part of my series of blogposts on gaining Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

The route I am taking to gain Fellowship is through my work and is called APEX Open. This involves creating an electronic portfolio comprised of the following:
  • A 2000 word Reflective Assessment Portfolio (RAP)
  • Two 750 word case studies
  • A 500 word Professional Development Portfolio (PDP)
  • Two teaching observations
  •  Two references
  •  and a Student Evaluation Summary (SES)


Where I am right now

I have completed the 2000 word reflective assessment portfolio which consists of five short case studies and this is now with my mentor who is having a look at it.

Each case study is based on an Area of Activity within the UK Professional Standards Framework. To gain Associate Fellowship, which a Library Assistant may wish to work towards, a person has to provide evidence they have successfully engaged with at least two of these Areas. To gain Fellowship, which is more suited to Subject Librarians and Learning Technologists who spend more time teaching and directly supporting students, one is required to do all five.

Core knowledge and professional values

For each case study I have been required to write about how I build on core knowledge and utilise professional values to do each. These, again, are quite specific and consist of:

Core Knowledge:
These areas are:
  •  Design and plan learning activities and/or programmes of study
  • Teach and/or support learning
  • Assess and give feedback to learners
  • Develop effective learning environments and approaches to student support and guidance
  • Engage in continuing professional development in subjects/disciplines and their pedagogy, incorporating research, scholarship and the evaluation of professional practices
  • The subject material
  • Appropriate methods for teaching, learning and assessing in the subject area and at the level of the academic programme
  • How students learn, both generally and within their subject/disciplinary area(s)
  • The use and value of appropriate learning technologies
  • Methods for evaluating the effectiveness of teaching
  • The implications of quality assurance and quality enhancement for academic and professional practice with a particular focus on teaching

Professional values:
  • Respect individual learners and diverse learning communities
  • Promote participation in higher education and equality of opportunity for learners
  • Use evidence-informed approaches and the outcomes from research, scholarship and continuing professional development
  • Acknowledge the wider context in which higher education operates recognising the implications for professional practice

What’s been useful about undertaking this process so far is that it’s given me ‘permission’ to spend time refreshing my knowledge of pedagogical theories and understanding, such as behaviourism, constructivism, scaffolding, and deep versus surface learning. It has encouraged me to consider how well I know what the students have learned within my workshops and how it fits within the bigger picture of QAA Benchmark Statements and the upcoming Teaching Excellence Framework.

What next?

I am now starting to put together material for the two larger case studies. At this moment in time, I am considering focusing on technology use for one (PollEverywhere, Box of Broadcasts and Twitter) and style for the other (problem based learning or a game/activity). I’ll then need to be observed which won’t happen for a little while yet as Term 1 teaching is yet to start.

Has anyone else taken a similar approach to gaining FHEA status? What did you focus on in your case studies?

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