#ATLEF 4 Abertay Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund: Student-Led projects

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Today sees the launch of Abertay’s fourth round of funding to supporting teaching and learning innovation.   Abertay’s Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund Call 4 (known as ATLEF 4), consists of two strands.  One is a call for proposals to staff in the area of “online learning”, the other, is a first for ATLEF; we are looking for students to propose ideas and lead projects designed to help enhance the learning experience at Abertay.  The call is being run in conjunction with Abertay Students’ Association and opens on 3rd February, closing at 4pm on 4 March 2016.  Guidance and forms are available from the TLE intranet pages.

Why is Abertay doing this?

Supporting students’ deeper engagement in their learning and promoting pedagogical approaches which encourage greater partnership between staff and students is well established in contemporary academic literature and is part of the philosophy of Abertay’s Teaching and Learning Enhancement strategy and our Student Partnership Agreement. ATLEF has been very successful already in terms of building capacity in the University for pedagogic research but also supporting greater student engagement. The latest ATLEF call is an exciting new opportunity for students to obtain funding to work on an area which is of interest to them and make a positive difference to the learning experience at Abertay.  Abertay’s call follows a number of very successful similar initiatives at other UK universities which have demonstrated positive outcomes for both students and staff.

How will the scheme work?

Project proposals can come from either individuals or small (2-5) groups of students.  Proposals might cover an area of curriculum development, be related to a particular service area (teaching and supporting learning focus), surveying students’ perspectives on their experience or helping to develop student-friendly information or resources related to an aspect of teaching and learning or something else which students would like to explore.  However, projects should have benefits for/impact on the wider Abertay student community and should also have relevance to the current national enhancement theme “Student Transitions”.

In order to help support successful and sustainable project outcomes, all student projects will have a staff supporter and a Student Association supporter working with the student research team.  Depending on the nature of the project, the staff supporter may come from one of the academic schools or from a service area.  The purpose of the staff and Student Association supporters are to help and guide the student researchers.  The staff and Student Association supporters may act as critical friends to the students but should not lead the project themselves.  Staff within TLE provide a co-ordinating function but also mentoring support for each of the projects and overall management of the initiative.

The ACMs in each School have been nominated as a first port of call for students who don’t know which members of staff might be interested in supporting projects.  This will be facilitated by the Students’ Association for students whose proposed project requires support from a service area.

What does it mean for staff?

We would be very grateful if staff could please promote the call to their students and encourage them to apply. Staff can of course suggest potential projects to students but it is up to the students to take ideas forward and take ownership of the project whilst supported by staff.  Students are asked to obtain the signature of their staff supporter on the bid to ensure that the supporter is aware of the project and is willing to spend time on supporting it.

Budgets

The budget is set at a maximum of £1,300 per project with a maximum of five projects being funded.  The £1,300 per project covers a maximum of 100 hours of student time (the 100 hours to be split between the group, if a group project), plus some extra for travel or equipment (maximum £200).  Travel to other universities is particularly encouraged.  Funding will not cover FED/overheads, contingency funds or staff time.  All funding will reside within TLE’s budget and financial management. Projects are expected to run between 3-8 weeks, the start and length of projects is flexible though all projects are expected to be completed by 15 August 2016.  All projects are expected to present their findings (e.g. poster or short talk) at the next Abertay TLE conference in autumn 2016.

 Next steps

The call is being promoted through a variety of communication channels and through social media, supported by the Student Association. In addition, a Question and Answer session for both interested staff and students will be held on the 10 February, 2-3pm in the Events Area.  Students and staff who wish to know more can also contact Julie Blackwell Young in TLE (j.blackwell-young@abertay.ac.uk).

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