Reflections on the TaLIC Away Day

image Deborah CustanceThe Teaching and Learning Innovation Centre (TaLIC) had our first Away Day in two years on Monday 17th September. Eight new staff have joined the team since January. The Away Day was a great opportunity to get to know each other better.  We didn’t actually go away or at least not very far. Rather than pay for a venue, we booked the Garden Room down through the archway beyond the back of the Whitehead Building. The Garden Room is such a lovely space. It is adjacent to an open green space that most people are not aware even exists.

st.-james-by-laundry

“St James Hall Garden is a mindful space on campus where staff and students can take a break.” Source: https://www.gold.ac.uk/find-us/places/st-james-hall-garden/

 

We completed a mixture of silly, fun and serious activities. For me the most inspiring discussion was raised by Suzan Koseoglu about Angela McRobbie’s characterisation of education as a public service rather than a customer service. It has made me think about what kind of service TaLIC is providing to Goldsmiths’ staff and, indirectly through our support of staff, students. It seems to me that our work with staff in some ways mirrors the most advanced methods of working with students. The most satisfying and advanced pedagogy involves a two-way process of co-creation with ‘student-researchers’ and ‘learning-professors’. TaLIC has certain skills and expertise, but we can’t simply deliver or impose this upon our colleagues. The only way that we can be of real use is enter a process of co-creation.

We all agreed that one of our most important functions is to create opportunities for thinking spaces for staff to come together from across the whole college and explore their practice. It can be so liberating to break out of the day-to-day routine and engage in blue sky thinking with one’s colleagues. The Away Day provided such an opportunity to the TaLIC team. We are now enthused to find ways of providing similar opportunities for our colleagues outside of TaLIC.

Dr Debbie Custance

Update on the development of the key situations in social work research

adi_staempfiAdi Staempfli (Lecturer in Social Work) updates us on the progress made in his project supported by TaLIC’s Fellowship (now Awards) scheme in 2017.

In my research I am developing the Key Situation reflective learning model for English social work education and continuous professional development.  It is a situation-based pedagogical approach (Ghisla, Boldrini and Bausch, 2014) that organises learning and artefacts around typical recurring professional situations (Tov, Kunz and Staempfli, 2016).  The concept of ‘situation’ is thus a tool for capturing and describing practice that allows reflexive learning and knowledge management that is rooted in practice.  To adopt the model for English social work I have started a participatory research process with experienced social workers to describe English social work key situations.

Funding, obtained through Goldsmiths’ Teaching and Learning Fellowship, enabled me to offer participants vouchers for their participation in a one-day research workshop.  I have successfully recruited 13 participants who took part in one of two workshops.  The social workers represented both adult, children and families and independent social work fields and came from far and wide, from both urban and rural areas of England.  I was humbled by the willingness of these practitioners to give up at least a day of their time to participate.

The participants identified over 180 tasks, processes and practice situations that were visualised, discussed, analysed and clustered into 16 areas of responsibilities.

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Participants started to name key situations, such as ‘Having an initial conversation’; ‘Gather information to plan next steps’; ‘Dealing with a crisis situation’ and ‘Having a first meeting’ and around 40 draft situations have been named.

Following these workshops, I will review the situations and analyse whether any important fields or practice areas have been left out.  After this, participants will be invited to join a Wiki page on the key situation platform to further develop the key situations.  In a last round I am planning to invite others to join the online discussion and to review the whole title list as part of an external before opening the new Key Situations in English Social Work platform to the profession.

If you are interested in contributing to the review and validation of key situations, please contact me by email: adi.staempfli@keysituations.net.

Adi Staempfli, Lecturer in Social Work, Programme Convener MA in Advanced Social Work (Practice Education) and Co-president of the Association Network Key Situations in Social Work

 

Selected publications

Ghisla, Gianni; Bausch Elena and Boldrini, Luca (2014) Bausch SiD –Situation-based Didactics. A guide for teachers in vocational training. Lugano and Zollikofen: Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training SFIVET.

Staempfli, Adi; Tov, Eva; Kunz, Regula, Tschopp, Dominik & Eugster-Stamm, Stefan (2016). Improving professionalism through reflection and discourse in communities of practice: The key situations in social work model and project. Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning, 14(2), 59-79.

Staempfli, Adi; Kunz, Regula & Tov, Eva (2012). Creating a bridge between theory and practice: working with key situations. European Journal of Social Education, 22/23, 60-78

Tov, E., Kunz, R., & Stämpfli, A. (2016). Schlüsselsituationen der Sozialen Arbeit. Professionalität durch Wissen, Reflexion und Diskurs in Communities of Practice. 2. Auflage

Online Reading Lists

picMaria O’Hara, Reading List Services Officer (Library), reports on how online reading lists are being used at Goldsmiths and encourages academic staff to take advantage of the benefits of their use.

In the wake of changes to the DSA (Disabled Student’s Allowance) last year the College decided we needed to take a more coordinated approach to reading lists. We feel that inclusive accessibility practice is to make sure as many aspects of the university experience as possible are accessible by default so that students don’t have to request special accommodations.

In the case of reading lists, this meant ensuring as many of the essential articles and chapters needed by students as seminar readings would be available online in accessible formats. In the library, we knew that many of our academic colleagues have been going to a lot of trouble every year to ensure students received printed course packs with readings or uploading PDFs to the VLE. While that was brilliant for many students, those with special requirements were often left having to request accessible copies be made for them and then wait for them to be produced.

So last summer we made a big push to encourage everyone to send us their reading lists so we could get as much material as we could legally provide up on the system and have them available for students when they arrived. Since July, we have received over 300 lists to be converted into online reading lists.

The number of 2016/17 modules with online reading lists has risen to 38% compared with about 17% in 2015/16. Visual Cultures, Politics and Anthropology have particularly high coverage, Anthropology has almost made it to 90% coverage. However, other departments have also made significant progress, Psychology have doubled the number of lists on the system since September. Here at the library we’ve made about 3423 scanned readings available and purchased 4,441 reading list items. 90% of chapters marked as essential on Reading Lists @ Gold are available online as either ebooks or accessible, copyright-cleared scans.

With an increasing number of lists on the system we’ve begun collecting feedback from students to see what impact we are having on the student experience. Feedback has been very positive so far with one student telling us “Useful to have, a great help for studying!”

We recently ran a focus group to collect student feedback from online reading lists from Student Library Representatives. As part of this they filled in a library ‘love letter’ to sum up their impression of Reading Lists@Gold:

“Very sad. I just found out about the reading lists now they seem mega helpful, hope it was advertised better! Got one more year to go. I’ll use the hell out of it!”

“I find reading lists useful. I can find all my reading and suggested ones in one place so I have more time for me. Thank you”.

We plan to gather more feedback from students over the next few months but one stand out factor is that students probably won’t find your reading list if you don’t point them towards it. Most of the students we talked to found their lists because their lecturer either told them about it or they put a link to it on the VLE.

We’re happy to accept any lists you’d like to be converted into online reading lists throughout the year. You can find out more on the Reading List LibGuide here:

http://libguides.gold.ac.uk/ReadingLists/What-is-Reading-Lists

The Key Things To Know (when sending us a list):

  • Tell us the student numbers (and the module code), we can’t make digitisations if we don’t have an estimate of student numbers.
  • We are happy to update existing lists but please highlight changes – they may be obvious to you but we have to compare everything word-for-word to be sure.
  • Send us your list as soon as you can, we get loads over the summer and it can take a while to order and scan everything.

The Key Things To Know (when making your own list):

  • If you’ve never used the system before you’ll have to request staff access by emailing readinglists@gold.ac.uk
  • Make sure you publish after adding or removing references from your list or students won’t see the changes.
  • Make sure you send your list for review when you’re finished adding or removing items (references) so the library checks it.

Changes to the Disability Student Allowance and the implications for Goldsmiths

Foreword from Professor Elisabeth Hill
ProWarden Learning, Teaching, Enhancement

The Government announced a number of changes to the Disabled Students Allowances (DSA) in 2014, the most far-reaching of which come into effect this year. These will impact  on disabled students entering higher education this autumn and there are clear implications for the level of student support that Goldsmiths must now offer.

This will mean extra responsibilities for staff and Goldsmiths has established a working party to identify what these will be and the support required by staff to carry them out.

The emphasis of the Government changes is to reduce reliance on DSA and place a much greater responsibility on higher education institutions to meet the needs of their students. Academic staff will need to teach in more accessible ways and libraries will need to widen availability of accessible texts.

In order for us to do this, all staff and teaching staff in particular will need to have a clear understanding of their disabled student’s needs and have strategies in place to meet those needs.

Among the changes, DSA will no longer fund practical support assistants, library support assistants, or help with note taking or transcription. Universities are also expected to provide full access to reading materials and online resources by providing access to alternative formats if required.

In short we need to make all aspects of university provision accessible and inclusive. We cannot expect DSA support to fill in the gaps in our accessibility.

Goldsmiths has set up a working party to identify and remedy shortfalls in our current provision. This group will also identify the resources and support needed by staff to fulfil their obligations. More details of this will follow. As the working party does this they may contact you or your staff and any help you can give them will be much appreciated. From September, Goldsmiths will be legally obliged to comply with these changes so it is essential that we are all fully prepared in time for the new academic year.

Backdrop to the changed Disability Support Allowance by Barry Hayward, Inclusion & Learning Support Manager

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) changes were announced in 2014 and a number of changes were introduced in 2015. The most far reaching changes were deferred to 2016 however, and so from September, universities are now looking at the potential impact on disabled students entering higher education and the implications for student support.

In my view these changes represent a major step change in disabled students’ provision. The key emphasis is to reduce the reliance on Disabled Students Allowances and to place a much greater responsibility on higher education institutions to meet the needs of disabled students.

There is also a greater emphasis on independence. Whilst DSA can be seen as empowering students, it can also be seen as creating dependence in certain circumstances. An example would be a DSA support worker scanning printed materials into an accessible format for a visually impaired student. An independent student should be able to access accessible materials independently.  I use this example to highlight the point that some universities are seeking to address this type of change by employing their own support workers or by expecting Library staff to do more scanning.  My view is that we need to find ways to meet disabled students needs through accessibility first, and support second.

 

In many ways disabled students were pretty much invisible on the policy landscape prior to 1995.  Despite the disability movement being in existence from the 1960s, disabled people were not included when discrimination legislation began to be enacted in relation to race and gender in the 1970s  (in the 1980s, when I went to university there was no DSA, no disability support services, no legal protection – this wasn’t extended to education until 2002. We were entitled to a full grant though).  However, that doesn’t mean people were not campaigning for change. The social model of disability emerged from the movement (mostly amongst UK-based activists). This important new perspective gave the movement a unifying message that engaged disabled people from different experiences. It now forms the key principle underlying disability politics today. It was a slow process, but gradually the arguments began to be taken on board in Parliament

In 1995, the Disability Discrimination Act was introduced at which time only 3.5% of students entering Higher Education disclosed a disability on application (by 2012 nearly 10% of students disclosed, however most of the increase is amongst those with dyslexia and those with mental health conditions).  Those with physical impairments / sensory impairments are still under-represented – students with visual impairments make up around 1% of all those who disclose a disability. This has remained virtually unchanged over this time period.  DSA was first introduced in 1990, but it was very limited and was means-tested.  In the subsequent Dearing Report (1997),  no mention was made of disabled students, until the charity SKILL lobbied.  Reforms followed in 1998, when the DSA became much like it is today.

 

The Equality Act 2010 (previously Disability Discrimination Act) says: Discrimination is unlawful.  Institutions are expected to make adjustments to premises and procedures in
anticipation of disadvantage that could be caused to disabled people. It is not a
defence to claim no one is affected because no current students have a particular
disability

What this means is universities need to adopt inclusive practices. Where this fails to address the needs of disabled students we should make reasonable adjustments. Only where these approaches fail to address the challenges faced by the student, should we look to DSA for additional support.

 

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) changes 2016  University obligations  –  some examples

Pre-2016 2016 onwards
Disabled Students Allowance supported student Inclusive University
Digital recorder provided to record lectures, or provision of Note-taker human support Lecturers teach, taking account of:

  • SpLDs (Specific Learning Disorders),
  • visual impairments
  • hearing loss

supporting information provided in accessible format.

 
Library Support worker employed to assist student find texts, convert to accessible formats etc.
  • Academic departments identify accessible reading lists and provide all information in electronic and large print formats.
  • Library staff source accessible formats when text-only version are held.
 
Student is provided with equipment / software / training to meet access to learning needs The university ensures compatibility of facilities, technology and people skills.